Welcome to Magickal-Musings!

Greetings All ~

I thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll make yourself comfortable & stay a while. I have a great many things to share that I believe are interesting & I hope that you will find them interesting as well. Please friend me also on Facebook. I'm there under "Nefer Khepri" & I hope you will also visit my site, Magickal-Musings.com. I wish you all many blessings.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Announcing Contest Winners!

Thanks to all who entered the contest for the free mini reading and free enchantment as part of the "Thanks" article on my blog. 

To find the two winners I used a random list generator at random.org.  The # 1 name on each randomized list was the winner.  

The winners are:  Susan and Salisha!

Congratulations to you both!  I will contact you via email to see which you prefer - the reading or the enchantment.

Please keep your eyes on this blog for news of the tarot deck I'm creating.  I'll also be posting a tarot reading on the energies of December that will be affecting us all - hopefully later today since the month isn't getting any younger.

Blessings to All,

Nefer Khepri

Monday, November 29, 2010

Contest Ends Tuesday, Nov. 30th

In the post about "Giving Something Back" I announced a contest for a free mini-reading and a free single votive enchantment.  There will be 2 winners chosen, one for each, and everyone who comments here is entered into the drawing, plus everyone who commented under the post, "Giving Something Back" is also entered. 

So get those entries in to me today & I'll be choosing two winners tomorrow.  The contest closes at 7 PM CST on Nov. 30th. 

Thanks to all who have entered so far and many thanks to each of you for following my blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Promise Kept

This is something I just had to share.  It's very special and so far the only person I've shared it with is my cousin, Rosie.

My father passed away on Sept. 20, 2009.  He was a very loving, generous, compassionate man.  Everyone who knew him loved him.  He had tons of friends.  Sadly, he died of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease, but I'm very thankful that he knew who all of us were right up to the end.

My dad loved playing practical jokes on people.  He used to work on the janitorial staff at a hospital - just for one example.  One day he decided to go down to the morgue & lay on a table.  He put a name tag on his toe & pulled the sheet over his head.  When his friend came in he slowly rose up from the table, the sheet still over his body and head.  Naturally, his friend freaked!  

A few days prior to the anniversary of my dad's passing I was thinking of him often.  However, I had birthdays to prepare for.  My daughter's is the 14th and my husband's is the 15th.  We also went out of town for the birthdays to celebrate with his parents.  So I was pretty busy.  Upon our return I got back into the swing of things working on my business.  The day that September 20th rolled around I wasn't even aware of the date.

I was seated at the table in our breakfast nook.  It is next to a bay window that overlooks the deck we had built behind our house.  I keep the curtains closed until I'm dressed, but there's a gap in the center of the middle window so I can still see a bit of the yard even with the curtains closed.

As I ate some movement outside caught the corner of my eye.  Then I saw a light blue jacket and a straw fedora hat go by. When the weather would just begin to get cool my dad would go for his favorite jacket and hat - which was exactly what I saw outside my window.   Had we still been living in Illinois it most likely would have been a cool day, but here in Houston it was in the 80s that day.

The mind is a funny thing.  You never know how you're going to react to something like that until you're in the midst of it and even then you're never quite sure how it will all play out.  I sat there and thought to myself, "Oh, there's Dad outside on the back porch."  

I took another bite before I realized that Dad is dead.

I froze.  I felt my heart skip a beat (quite an unpleasant situation, despite what the songs say).

I jumped up & ran outside.  The air felt electrified, like it does during a huge lightning storm.  The hair on my arms stood up.  I ran along the back porch, which is only about 10 feet long, yelling, "Dad!  Dad!"  I ran out into the grass.  There would have been nowhere for him to go.  Of course, he wasn't there.

I came back into the house and had a good cry knowing I had just seen my dad's spirit.  I didn't even think to look at the calendar.

My cousin Rosie and I are very close having grown up together until our early teens when her branch of the family moved away.  As I sat at my table crying the phone rang. It was her.  When I answered she immediately heard the tears in my voice and said, "I'm so sorry.  I figured you'd be having a bad day so I called."  Rosie had also been very close to my dad.  He was a second father to her and her four brothers.  

I was confused and told her I didn't know what she was talking about.  She then cautiously said, "well, you know.  Today.  It's been one year since your dad died, right?  Today is the 20th, right?" 

I sat there too stunned to say a word.  Then I told her what I had just experienced.

Growing up my dad always told me that on the one year anniversary of his death if he was okay he would come to let me know.  He said this repeatedly over the years in front of everyone - including Rosie.  She immediately recalled that and said, "Wow!  That's so much like my uncle!  Not even death could make him break a promise!"  

When my dad made a promise, he meant it.

Until next time, wishing you all many blessings,

Nefer Khepri, Ph. D., R. M-T.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Giving Something Back

 It's that time of year when we express thanks and show our gratitude for blessings received.  I wish to also do that now with all of you and offer you your choice between:

A free 3 to 5 card tarot reading; or,
a free single votive candle enchantment.

Just comment here to enter by November 30th.  Two winnders will be chosen December 1st, but please read below so you can see what I'm grateful for.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook and those of you who receive my newsletter from my website, Magickal-Musings.com,  you will know that my husband recently freaked out over a slow period with my business.  He's a banker & he's accustomed to be able to create a monthly budget and stick to it.  He has never fully understood the nature of my business.

Unlike other commodoties, people usually do not order a spiritual service from me unless they have an actual spiritual need for that service.  Getting a reading or undergoing a reiki attunement is not like running out to buy a new pair of shoes.  My income has enjoyed some great peaks, but it's also gone through some long, dark valleys, as well over the decade I've been in business.  Such is the nature of the beast and it's never bothered either one of us until recently.

Long story short - Stuart told me on a Thursday that I had until Monday to bring in another $500 through my business, otherwise he expected me to start pounding the pavement look for a new job.  I was understandably upset and totally besides myself.  I quickly drafted a newsletter and mailed it to all my clients, plus I posted an announcement on Facebook about the situation asking that if anyone was thinking of placing an order, to please do so ASAP because if I didn't have $500 by Monday I would not be able to maintain my business because I'd have to get a regular 9-to-5 job.  I was in serious jeopardy of not only losing my business, but of losing my dream.

I just want to say that I was extremely touched by the response I received.  Many of you wrote emails of support and made supportive comments on my Facebook page.  I saved all those emails and plan to look at them whenever things aren't going well.  They totally boosted my spirits and I wish to thank every single one of you who took the time to write and give me your beautiful words of support and encouragment.  

As it turned out, eleven people placed orders with me over that weekend so that by Sunday at noon, not only did I have the $500 Stuart required of me in order to keep my business, but I had surpassed that goal!  

I have a VERY firm commitment to client/practitioner confidentiality.  I never discuss any of my cases with Stuart.  He has no idea what goes on with my business, really.  All he knows is people pay me to read their cards and light candles for them.  He also doesn't believe in anything that I do, nor does he in any way, shape, or form take it seriously except that it generates an income for me that has allowed me the blessing of staying home to raise our daughter, who is now a very well-adjusted 12-year-old.  Just something else I am grateful for and without my clients it would not have been possible.  

When those supportive emails came in saying things like: 

"Nefer, if it hadn't been for the Lovers Reunite you performed for my husband and me, I know he would have gone through with the divorce.  He totally changed 2 days after you did that spell for me and I have you to thank for my happiness and the happiness of my children," (J. T. in Janesville, Wisconsin, quoted with permission); or,

"Nefer, please don't go!  Don't stop what you're doing!  You are of great spiritual value to us all and I for one would be lost without your readings!  PLEASE, do whatever you can to stay in business!  I'll order as soon as I can!  Love you bunches!!!!  (P. B., Evanston, IL., quoted with permission); or,

"Nefer, you have given everyone so much of yourself over the years.  I've been with you for 9 of those years & must say you have never once disappointed me.  Your readings are the most accurate I have ever received & I for one do not want to see you put an end to the great good you do for all of us.  I'm praying for you and here's my order (R. T., Hermosa Beach, CA., quoted with persmission).

They continue on.  Well, since none of these shared any personal information I decided to break my cardinal rule.  I showed them all to Stuart.  All 114 supportive emails.  I then let him read the comments on my Facebook page.  He had NO idea, NO clue.  By the time he was halfway done with the emails he had tears in his eyes and he kept saying, "I had no idea," over and over again.  

It has always been my purpose to be of service to others.  I was told this when I was standing on the stage of an auditorium upon being "hooded" by the Dean upon receiving my doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.  A chorus of voices said all at once, "At last!  She's ours!"  Less than a year later my life took a totally different turn.  I ended up getting a job not as a university lecturer, which had been my plan, but as an assistant manager in a new age shop.  From that point I began reading tarot for customers, I received my reiki training, and eventually I left that shop to open my own business out of my home and over the internet.  

It has never been my intention to make tons of money, although it would be great, I won't lie to you.  However, it has always been my intention to be of service and once I created my business to keep my prices as affordable as possible.  If you look around on the internet you'll see I'm among the lowest priced across the board for all my services.  This is how I want to keep it because I know full well many of us aren't flowing in money, myself included.  It is my hope that when a need arises that it's not too difficult for someone to put the funds together in order to place an order.  For higher priced items, such as my soul portraits, I've even been open to clients arranging to pay on an installment plan.  If you ever need to do that, please feel free to email me and we'll work something out - for any of my services, not just the higher priced ones.  

I am grateful for each and every one of my clients and all of my like-minded friends I've "met" through Facebook and other internet venues over the  years.  Everyone who has ordered from my site at any time has made the following possible for me:

* I"ve been able to stay home and raise our daughter who has never spent a day in daycare,
* I clean and cook for my family everyday (maybe not cook every single day, but you know what I mean),
* I am here for my child everyday when she comes home from school to welcome her & help her with her homework and to just show her that Mommy is here for her all the time & without fail,
* I've been able to run a successful internet-based business for over 10 years now, thanks to all of you & many more who probably don't read this blog,
* By creating a career through which I offer spiritual services I have been able to nurture and expand upon my own spirituality, which in turn has influenced my daughter along similar lines - she now has told me she wants to grow up to do exactly what I do and when I retire she plans to take over my business.  You have no idea how proud that made me, but she can do whatever it is she's meant to do, it may not necessarily be what I do.
* By staying home I've been able to give voice to my creativity and am able to create artwork as my work and family obligations permit.
* Lastly, but most importantly, having my business has allowed me to fulfill my soul's purpose.

So, I give thanks for all of the above, and more.  I give thanks for each of you and I pray that your hearts and minds are filled with gratitude for all the blessings that the Universe/God/Goddess has bestowed upon you this past year and beyond.  May we all rejoice in what we have received, which will then open our hearts to receive even more in the coming years.

Many Blessings!

Nefer Khepri

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's That Time of Year!

Fall is finally here again.  My favorite time of year.  I love the cooling temps.  We live in Houston so it's mainly hot & humid like you would not believe.  Everyone here welcomes Fall with open arms.

I remember as a child growing up in northern Illinois walking to school in the fall.  My street where I grew up was lined with a number of huge oak trees.  As the trees would lose their leaves more and more would naturally end up on the ground.  People would rake them into wonderful multi-colored piles.

You have ONE guess as to what I'd do every time I was fortunate enough to come across a pile of raked leaves.  My cousins would come over on the weekend & we would go "pile hunting" up & down my street.  Every time we ran across one, well, let's just say the pile wouldn't exist as a "pile" for very long. 

Those were the good 'ol days.  Life was grand because you were a kid and the biggest worry in your world was finishing your homework on time & studying for the occasional test.  Heck, most kids I knew didn't even worry about that.

Every fall I grow nostalgic for home.  I yearn for the turning of the leaves.  We get very little of that here in Houston.  My sweet husband, in an effort to make me feel more "at home" planted two red oaks in our backyard.  They're still babies, only just now turning 2 years old.  However, they've got enough leaves on them this year that I'll finally be able to SEE fall, in addition to feeling it.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait for their leaves to start turning.  I've examined each tree since the equinox, but still have no colorful sign of fall in my yard yet.  Perhaps tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.

As a kid, fall was always so much fun.  In addition to "pile hunting" (and the subsequent "pile jumping") activities, my dad would take my cousins & I to the park every single weekend.  There weren't many good park days left once fall hit.  Of course, when the snow came he also took us to the park where we had a huge hill and we'd go sledding.  I have many fond memories of fall picnics in the park, my mom insisting I wear a windbreaker while other kids ran around in short sleeves making me feel odd and slightly out of place.  Sometimes, if my cousins and I were particularly good, Dad would grab a big bag of McDonald's hamburgers and we'd take that to the park, eat, and then play to our heart's content.  

As an adult fall has come to mean more to me than just fun outdoors, cooling temps, and the changing colors.  It's a time for reflection for me.  I think back to the good 'ol days, but I also spend time thinking over the past year and all the things my daughter has experienced and accomplished, plus our experiences together as a family.  

Samhain is the pagan new year, the time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.  Spirits walk amongst us all the time, but during this season we either become more sensitive to their presence or they become more forceful in letting us know they're with us.  

As the Wheel of the Year turns and we begin a whole new cycle on November 1st, a new turning of the Wheel begins.  Where will you be next year?  How do you envision your life for the new year?  Do you have any goals you wish to work towards?

Personally, my main goal right now is to lose weight.  I started Weight Watchers on Monday.  Today is Day 4.  So far I have stuck to my diet, and on each day I've even been 1 - 3 points under my daily allowance.  As of tonight, if I don't eat anything not on my pre-planned menu for today, I would have banked a total of 7 points this week so far.  That's almost enough for a McDonald's hamburger :D  

What I wouldn't give to be able to eat that hamburger in the park with my dad. The one year anniversary of his death came upon me suddenly on September 20th.  I knew it was coming up. My daughter's birthday is the 14th, my husband's birthday is the 15th.  I thought about Dad a lot those two days and the few days  leading up to the happy ocassions.  However, once the hubbub of preparing for the two birthdays passed, so too did my thoughts about Dad. 

In fact, I didn't think about him at all, which was odd for me as he's never far from my thoughts.  Having lost both my parents, Dad was the last to go, and only 20 months after Mom passed.  His death had remained very fresh for me, but the 4 days that fell between Stuart's birthday and the one year anniversary of Dad's death, I didn't think about Dad one single time.

The anniversary of his death came and I was in the breakfast nook having my lunch.  I wasn't even aware that it was the 20th.  We have a bay window there that overlooks the backyard and our deck.  There are gaps in the curtains. I can never get them to close completely.  That day the gap was rather large and as I sat down to eat I made a mental note to myself to fuss with the curtain once I was done eating.

There I was, minding my own business and eating when quite unexpectedly I saw movement outside the window out of the corner of my eye.  I turned just in time to see my dad.  He was wearing a light blue jacket, the one he'd always wear in the fall, and he had on a straw fedora.  He walked right past the windows towards two rose bushes I have at the end of our back porch.  He was looking straight ahead so I saw him in profile.

It takes the mind a couple of moments to gain any comprehension whatsoever when something like this happens. It' also amazing how quickly the mind works.  My very first thought was, "Oh my God, someone got into the backyard and is trying to break into the house!"  That thought was quickly followed by, "I'm seeing things!"  As my mind wrapped around the image my eyes had seen it became quite obvious that I had just seen my dead father walk past the bay window.

I jumped up.  I would guess only 3 - 4 seconds had passed. I ran to the back door, which is right next  to the table.  I flung it open calling out as I did so, "Dad?  Dad?"  I walked along the back porch where he had just walked.  The air felt charged.  The best way I can describe it is that it was like when you stick a finger between the prongs of a plug just as you're putting it in the electrical outlet.  You get this slight charge or a zing! goes up your finger.  That's what the entire back porch felt like to me.  

I didn't see Dad, but I felt the aftermath of his visit.  As I stood outside slowly the air returned to normal.  There was no sign that the spirit of a loved one had just paid me a visit.

I came back in the house to find the phone ringing.  It was my cousin Rosie.  She and I had grown up like sisters and she and her brothers were the ones my dad would always take with us every time we had an outing.  Rosie and her brothers had dearly loved my father as if he were their own.  

Rosie informed me she had stayed home from work because she wasn't feeling well and then she realized it was the one year anniversary of Dad's death.  She reminded me of something Dad would always joke about to us kids.  He would start to make scary "ooooohh, boooooo" sounds and tell me in front of them that on the 1 year anniversary of his death he'd come to see me.  Rosie had called to remind me to keep an eye out for him or any sign from him.  I had totally forgotten about all the times Dad would tell me that.   I almost allowed the phone to slide from my hand as I realized that - as with ALL promises my dad ever made to me that he kept that promise to me, too.  

Samhain is a time to remember our loved ones and to honor them.  On Samhain night don't forget to light a candle & place it in the window.  It helps to guide the spirits back to their homes.  At dinner you may wish to set up a plate of food for your departed loved ones in honor of all the love and blessings they brought to your life while alive.

Believe me, your loved ones are still around you and they would very much appreciate being remembered.

Wishing you all the brightest of Samhain blessings!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Lesson of the 3 of Cups

I tell you what, rarely do I become so shocked over something that my mouth drops open and I am struck dumb, but it happened to me 3 days ago, and it's all courtesy of someone in the packaging/shipping department at B&N.com (Barnes & Noble).

On July 2nd I ordered Emily Carding's Transparent Tarot from B&N.com.  I never order from them as I prefer Amazon, but I had a $25 gift certificate and that is a pricey deck, so I figured I'd get it from B&N and use my gift certificate, plus B&N had a 15% off coupon & they allowed me to combine both for one order, so I figured, oooh, a bargain!

Well, ... On July 5th I was informed they were getting ready to ship my item.  On July 7th I was told in email they were delayed and would let me know when they could ship my item.  Said item didn't arrive until July 14th, 12 days after I had ordered. Had this been Amazon I would have received it a lot sooner.  So, based on that alone I decided to never use B&N again and to ask my friends to not give me B&N gift certificates.

The deck arrived and the box for it had obviously been opened as the seal was no longer present.  Also, as the seal was broken this gave the cards room inside their box to move around so all the majors and half the wands were splayed out and thankfully trapped between the plastic cover, companion book and reading cloth provided.  So I carefully put back the majors and wands in order without really looking at them since I wanted to read the book first.

When I dive into a new tarot deck, depending on the deck itself, I may decide to play with the cards immediately or go intio the book first.  When I read I use a highlighter.  So there I was happily highlighing bits of interpretation that differ from the traditional.  As I reached the Hermit card I decided to take the deck out and look at all the cards.  This is when first shock, then absolute disgust ensued, and I'm NOT referring to the artwork on this deck, but rather the condition in which B&N had sent it to me.

Firstly, these cards are printed on clear plastic, like transparencies used for overhead projectors.  They show up best on a light box, and being that I'm an artist I do own a light box.  The art is very simple, but also gorgeous in that Emily Carding managed to take each card down to the bare essential of its symbolic meaning and use that for her illustrations.  But I digress.  This not a deck review.  I'll post one later once I've had more time to play with my mutilated deck.

That's right, mutilated, and PURPOSEFULLY mutilated.

So there I am gleefully examining each and every card. Once I got past the Wands, however I noticed that the cards had FINGERPRINTS on them!  These are transparencies so they do pick up your oils and you can see your fingerprints on them.  Also, some of these fingerprints were a bit dirty.  I hadn't examined the deck when it first came (BIG MISTAKE I'LL NEVER MAKE AGAIN!).  Otherwise, I would have seen immediately that all the cards had been examined.  I wondered why the heck someone at B&N would have gone through that deck and figured at some point they would have put the deck down and stop before reaching the end.  However, the fingerprints continued, and by the time I made it into the Cups suit that was when my mouth dropped open and I was struck dumb - LITERALLY!  I simply could not speak.  Had I been able to, nothing nice would have issued forth from my mouth, I assure you!

Someone had defaced the 3 of Cups.  Not with a Sharpie marker, or some other artistic medium.  Nope. They had used a pair of scissors and had made TWO CUTS into the card, both from the right-hand side!!  The 3 of Cups in my copy of the Transparent Tarot is RUINED.

I was absolutely furious.  Firstly, due to the fact that Emily Carding worked hard on this deck and it's a great deck, one I am sure I will get years of good use from.  Secondly, this is not a cheap deck.  It retails for $59.95.  Now, I did get $25 off, plus had a 15% coupon, but still, it was the principle of the matter.

Since I've already highlighted in the book I can't return it.

However, all is not lost.  There were 2 additional cards, one with ordering information and the other with the publisher's logo on it.  I now use the logo in place of the 3 of Cups.  I've taped the actual 3 of Cups so it won't further fall apart, and have only had it come up once so far in a reading, so I've removed the logo and carefully placed the 3 of Cups into my reading.  So the deck is fine, still useable.  I see no problem in using the logo in place of the 3 of Cups once I charged the logo card accordingly.

Now, what do I take away from this experience?  First of all, I'm never ordering anything from B&N.com again.  This is the third time they've had a hard time shipping my order out and the other two times I wasn't ordering decks (one was DVDs, the other was a Stephen King book).  Secondly, it left me wondering - was there a message here just for me?

My first reaction was some crazy person working at B&N is going around defacing tarot decks, probably thinking it is their Christian duty to do so.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I attend church (Lutheran) in an attempt to give our 11 year old daughter a well-rounded spiritual education.  She's learning tarot on her own, attending church, and she is a reiki master.  I'm NOT blasting Christians, but there are some, let's face it - who do take it upon themselves to attack pagans, our practices, and our spiritual beliefs.  Every religion and spiritual point of view has got a few bad apples in the basket.  That's just a sad fact.  So, my first thought was that someone at B&N was defacing every tarot deck they could get their hands on and that totally infuriated me.

Yesterday, while using this deck the 3 of Cups came up for me for the first time in a reading. I was asking about my most recent artistic pursuits & where they may lead for me.One of the interpretations of the 3 of Cups is "creativity" and it came up in the strength position of the Celtic Cross.  I carefully replaced the Schiffer logo with the actual 3 of Cups so I could do my reading.  Then I got to thinking.

What if this purposefully defaced 3 of Cups was a message for me?  And why THAT card?  Why didn't the person deface a major arcana card, for example, or any other card from the entire deck?  What was so special about the 3 of Cups?

The 3 of Cups is a card of happiness, joy, celebration, enjoying time with friends, socializing, and in the Transparent Tarot it also means creativity.  As I looked at the card the number 3 struck me.  My life has not been very joyous for the past 3 years.  My mother got very ill in March, 2007 & it turned out she had a blood infection.  After many weeks in the hospital and with major problems with her quality of care (she was even abused while in a long-term care facility), she finally got over the blood infection, went to a physical therapy facility where she worked hard for several weeks, and after 4 months was able to come home.  Home Health began visiting her and a few weeks later they somehow infected her with another blood infection.  She went back to the hospital never to come home again.  She died January 20, 2008.

My parents had been married 1 week short of 48 years when Mom died and they had exclusively dated for 4 years prior to that, so my dad had spent his entire adult life with my mom.  She was all he had.  He sunk into a depression, then his heart began to cause trouble and he was in the hospital twice for that, then I noticed he had developed a tremor in his right hand and his right foot was also beginning to shake. I immediately thought "Parkinson's."  He refused to see a neurologist until June, and the day before my birthday he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.  There's no cure, and the treatment is iffy at best.  His doctor gave him the medication they use.  It did nothing.  His condition was too far advanced.  By August he was losing his short-term memory, he could no longer find his way around so I had to take his car keys (what an awful day that was for everyone), and by the beginning of October he was quickly developing dementia.  He became violent and uncontrollable.  The last straw was when he tried to stab my daughter in the eye with a fork.  I had to find somewhere else for him where he could be properly supervised so I had to make the painful decision to place him in a nursing home.  Being unhappy with them I moved him several times before finally being able to get him into a rehab place where Mom had been where she had been treated so well. They treated Dad like a king, having all remembered him from when Mom was there, and he lived out the last 5 months of his life there.  He died on September 20, 2009.

I"m an only child so all the decisions fell on me, plus all the responsibilities. I also have a daughter, husband, and home to take care of, not to mention running my internet business, which at the time Mom got sick was doing very, very well. I was busy with orders every single day.  But when she got sick I had to start issuing refunds and slowly most of my clients stopped ordering.  I basically lost my business for 3 years and was in no condition anyway, so it all worked out for the best.  I would still receive a few orders from very loyal clients, but nothing like what I was receiving before, but I was thankful to have some work as it helped for a short time, at least, to take my mind off of the problems I was facing every single day on behalf of my parents.

As I looked at that mutilated 3 of Cups I was reminded of my parents and I.  It had always been the 3 of us, through thick and thin.  My parents had next to nothing, but they sacrificed for me to be sure that I was able to live a middle class life, even though it's now quite clear to me in hindsight we were not middle class.  They sent me to camp, art classes in the summer, cello lessons, and when I sprung on them my junior year of high school I wanted to attend Northwestern University (at the time it was $13,000/year to go there, now it's up around $40,000!!), Mom went back to work after staying home to raise me, and Dad took on a part-time job.  Neither of my parents wanted me to have to work.  They told me repeatedly once I start working all I'd want is the Almighty Dollar and I'd no longer be interested in attending college.  Once at Northwestern I took on a work/study job in the archaeology lab there (I received my BA in Anthropology), to help out each year, plus I did receive some merit-based help and had a student loan.

So, as I looked at that 3 of Cups with the 2 cuts in it I thought to myself, "one cut for my mom, one for my dad, the two people most important for most of my life now cut out of my life."  I cried for almost an hour.  I looked at the card again and asked myself, "what could the message be, other than that?"  Well, first of all, I have a new 3 of Cups - Stuart, Ariel, and myself.  They are my two greatest blessings, without a doubt.  Upon further examination of the card and its meanings I also realized that I had recently return to doing artwork, something I totally gave up when Mom got sick and hadn't even attempted all this time, with the exception of 2 soul portrait orders received through my site during this awful time.  I've been given a series of dreams in which I've seen animals morphing into one another or in close proximity and have realized these are the animal manifestations of various Egyptian gods.  I'm in the process of painting them now, and will continue until the dreams stop and the series is complete.

I've undergone a slow, but steady healing that began in December, 2009 when my husband took me to a Duran Duran concert (read the story here).  That took me back to Feb. 23, 1984 when I had first seen them at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.  They were older, sure, but the only way they had changed is they had become better musicians.  It was an awesome show, all seen from the 4th row, too.  I experienced a major healing at that concert, one I won't ever forget.  After that, it was slow baby steps as I slowly began to reclaim my life by returning to the things I used to enjoy doing before my parents became so ill and required all my time everyday.

So, in looking at that mutilated 3 of Cups I can honestly say that, yes, there IS a message here for me.  The message is that although I've lost, I still have.  Also, my creativity has been reborn and I now consider my healing to be complete.  I'm back to my old self, praise the gods, and I'm back to fully enjoying life just like I used to instead of being bogged down with stress and being pulled in 25 different directions at once as I was when my parents were sick.  That 3 of Cups with its 2 cuts gave me a very definite message.  It told me that I still have great blessings and that it's time for me to fully immerse myself in my artistic pursuits once again.

I am taking that card's advice.

Until next time, I wish you all many blessings!

Nefer Khepri

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tarot Deck Review: The Tarot of Trees by Dana Driscoll

I collect decks ~ lots of decks.  At any given time I have 50 - 70 decks in my home.  Some I use frequently, some are only for use with clients, & some I love for the art & would never dream to part with them.  I just went through my collection of tarot & oracle decks.  It took me quite a while, but out of a total of 74 decks I have sorted out 42 of them.  I'll be offering them for sale as used decks through my website sometime in the coming weeks.  I'll post here when they become available.

Every once in a while I am very impressed with a deck.  The Tarot of Trees is one such deck.  First of all, I am attracted to bright colors.  This deck is very bright.  The cards have a black border that makes the bright colors "pop" & almost jump off the cards.  I love that.  They look awesome against a black reading cloth.  To your left is the Fool.

The Tarot of Trees was created by Dana Driscoll over a 3 year period and she self-published her deck.  It's available as a deck only (mine did not come with a LWB, just FYI for any tarot newbies out there), and also with her guidebook.

The guidebook has an attractive purple cover (I love purple) with 5 cards illustrated on the front.  The interior pages are all purple with every card reproduced in full color at full size.  This is great for those of us who like to study the book without getting the cards out of their box.  The guidebook has 98 pages.

Card interpretations mainly follow the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith interpretations we are all most familiar with, plus an ocassional additional intepretation added by the artist that serves to supplement the traditional interpretations.  Two spreads are included in the book:  a 9-card Mind/Body/Spirit layout and a 4-card Daily Divination Tree layout.  Both work very well with the cards, and these cards also work well in a wide variety of other layouts, both traditional and non-traditional.  Here is the 3 of Wands.

What makes this deck unique in the vast and varied world of tarot decks is that there is not a single human figure represented.  The title says it all.  This is a deck of trees and ONLY trees.  

The 4 of Cups is one of my favorite cards from the deck.  That's strange as it's one of my least favorite tarot cards.  My first thought when I heard about this deck was, "how can that possibly ever work?"  Well, I'll tell you how.  Dana Driscoll conveys the meaning of every single card in her deck through the posture of the tree, additional symbols (such as a black cat in the limbs of the Queen of Wands, for example), and color that lends to the mood and atmosphere of the card.  This is a real triumph.  If you examine the cards closely without referring to the book and if you have any knowledge of the traditional RWS interpretations, this deck is very easy to use.  It may take a little while to learn what the cards are at a quick glance as they show up in a reading, but it can be done.  The process took me only two days of working with the deck to be able to tell the Page of Cups from the Page of Pentacles, for example.

Another nice thing is the size of the cards.  They are made in typical playing card size.  This makes them very easy to shuffle.  They are covered with a very light laminate that doesn't stick, even in this humid as heck Houston climate I have the misfortune to experience daily.  Now, THAT impressed me!  I can't tell you how often my cards stick together and make doing readings sometimes a tricky business as I sometimes find one card hiding directly behind another.  Here is the Queen of Pentacles.  As you can see, discerning the court cards can be a bit difficult at first, however, the Queen of Pentacles is a protective nurturer, a theme that Dana Driscoll conveys through the imagery of this card as the tree bends over to protect the pentacle from the snow.

The deck is fully reversable with the card backs decorated by the image of a tree and its mirror image.  When you're shuffling and laying the cards out there is no way to tell if they're upright or reversed until you flip them over.  I always appreciate this in a deck.  

The Majors are traditional.  The Minors represent the four seasons:  Cups = Spring, Wands = Summer, Swords = Fall, & Pentacles = Winter.  The landscapes depicted on the cards also reflect this seasonal orientation.  

Dana Driscoll says she chose to create a tarot of only trees due to a life-long love of trees, and "also as a political statement about the massive deforestation & lack of respect for the natural world & its inhabitants" (guidebook, page 7).  She dedicates her deck to the memory of a friend who died far too young.

Other things that make this deck unique - included in the guidebook is a recipe for Tarot of Trees incense that can be made at home.  The Author/Artist also includes instructions on how to plant a tree.

The deck is available for sale at the link provided.  The deck alone is $25, deck + guidebook is $40.  I wholeheartedly recommend this deck.  It is a real joy.

I would like to thank Sherry Wood who first brought this wonderful deck to my attention via Facebook.

Until Next Time, Many Blessings!

Nefer Khepri


Monday, June 28, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

How many times have we heard that phrase?  Yet, in the vast majority of cases it's so true. 

I remember back when Stuart and I were first married.  Money was always tight. I was completing my dissertation and wasn't working.  Stuart was working as an accountant and wasn't making much since his former financial experience consisted of bank teller.  Each month we were barely making ends meet.  If I needed something I had to cut back in other areas so I could save up for it.

We'd buy generic store-brand food.  Not the same as the name brand stuff, I don't care what anyone says.  Even today, I can tell if it's generic. We'd use generic paper towels that were only a slight improvement over using kleenex for the same job. We hate spaghetti and hamburger twice a week (each!).  I'd wear my bras until they were literally falling apart and making my boobs look funny.  We even had to go without routine medical care, like dental cleanings for a brief time.  Thankfully, neither one of us ever had any problems.

We all work hard for our money. I don't care if you're in an office job, bank job, public servant of any kind, academic, babysitter, or even a stay-at-home-mom who has to budget carefully to be sure she can remain at home with her kids.  We all work hard for our money and we all have valuable skills for which we are compensated for when we get paid.

Now, let's think about this for a minute.  Let's say you're sick and you need to see a doctor, but like many Americans you don't have medical insurance and you're low on cash.  What to do?  Do you call your doctor and say, "Oh, you know, I'm sick, I really need an appointment, but I have no money right now.  Can I pay you later?"  Or - worse - "will the doctor see me for free?"

Your doctor sacrificed to go through years of medical school.  He or she may have gotten a scholarship for a good part of that, but they may be up to their butt in student loans and you have no idea.  The doctor is a highly skilled individual who's knowledge and gifts are worth something.  It's just common sense that a person would never ask for a free medical consultation.

I got my hair colored a few weeks ago.  Here is my new "do". Did I ask Kevin, my stylist, if he could do it for free even though Stuart had just lost his job two days before my scheduled appointment?  NO!  I would never dream of it! Kevin is an artist in every sense of the word.  He created this color for me.  I simply told him I wanted to go lighter, but not too light, with a few highlights.  This is what he came up with.  A masterpiece, in my opinion, and well worth the $85 he charged me.  He stands on his feet most of the day, he even eats his lunch most times standing up. I've seen him do it.  Don't you think this is worth $85?  I sure do.

So, why do people insist on asking for free spiritual consultations???  Now, I'm not saying I'm on an even footing with a doctor. However, in my case, I can't say for all - of course, I have over 25 years of experience behind me.  Not to mention numerous classes, seminars, I've read countless books, and have worked hard to master what I know and the types of services I offer through my site.  I've done this at all a great personal and professional cost to myself.  I have a PhD.  Not many know that as I don't flaunt it.  I just use the letters after my name or I sometimes refer to myself as "Dr. Nefer Khepri", but that's very rare and I'm sure many of you have never even seen that.  I studied anthropology, archaeology, and the spiritual belief systems of indigenous peoples for 12 years at 3 universities as I worked hard to get my bachelor's, masters, and my doctorate.  My education left me with a student loan of over $18,000. 

Yet, despite being set up for a lucrative career in academia, I turned my back on all of it when I heard the call of my guides and the universe wishing for me to be on a spiritual path.  My husband nearly left me over this.  Yes, I nearly lost him.  It caused a tremendous amount of friction in our marriage for a few years.  This issue did not go away overnight.  It was years before I began to make any money.  

At first, I only wanted to do as I was asked and help people.  That's it. I wanted to help people find guidance through the tarot.  Help them to heal through reiki.  Help them connect with their own spirit guides through classes I offered at my home.  Help them to manifest their dreams through candle work, or enchantments, as I call them.  All I wanted to do was help.  When someone told me they didn't have the money I'd do it anyway.  They either paid me later on or they never did.  I can tell you that those who never paid me would later ask me, "why didn't it work?"  Well, I did it with the right intention, with their highest good in the center of my mind and heart, but energy is energy.  An even exchange must occur for the energy to be balanced and for it to be able to do its work.  My own reiki master teacher explained the concept to me when she found out I had done 5 free reiki attunements in a single day and was flabbergasted.  

Another thing.  The more you say "yes" to people who ask for free services, the more likely they are to come back, asking for MORE free services.  They always have a hard luck story to tell me.  Never fails.  It's VERY rare that I've had a person come to me weeks or even months after I did something for them for free and they pay me.  However, it did happen.  Things like that kept my faith in humanity intact.  Other times they'd come by my house with a plate of food.  Again, energy being exchanged for energy, and those meals were always yummy as people would bring me their specialities :D

Eventually, in order to save my sanity I had to start saying "no" to people, as much as that hurt me. I am one of those people who simply has a hard time saying no.  I do not like the word "no."  I don't like using it with others and I certainly don't like it when they use it with me. Yet, there I was doing 3 - 4 free readings a day, giving free reiki attunements, doing few free soul portraits (and those can take weeks to complete as every single color must be correct and I get all that info through repeated meditation sessions).  So I had to start saying NO, and wow, no one liked it, but then who could blame them?

People got angry with me.  People belittled me.  They told me I wasn't spiritual.  They said I was a fake (even though they had reaped benefits from the work I had done for them in the past at no charge!).  They said I was a horrible person.  I went from always having people at our house to having no one for months as I worked hard to build up a client base of paying clients.  I finally succeeded, then we had to move to a new city and I lost my local clients except for a very few. I had to start all over, but I had no local base from which to draw clients, so for the past 10 years I've been available strictly over the internet.

Yet, every once in a while someone will send me an email of their story, explaining why they can't pay me, yet they know my services are valuable.  Their story may be true, then again, it may not.  I have no way of knowing.  I respond the same every time.  I nicely explain I had to pay for all of my classes, seminars, workshops, and books. I underwent a 3-month unpaid apprenticeship to my reiki master teacher in order to fully master giving reiki sessions and passing attunements on to others. Often, I had to postpone my spiritual studies because I didn't have money to take a class or attend a workshop.  I explained that my time, knowledge, and energy were valuable to me and therefore I had the right to charge for my services (something for which every once in a while I receive criticism). 

Now, in all cases, until today, the person is NICE. Remember, they're trying to get something for free, something they know is of value so they are as nice as possible hoping I'll say yes.  After being taken advantage of so many times, though I never say yes anymore, as much as that pains me.  Then today I receive an email on Facebook from a young man who obviously found my FB through the links on my site.  He starts off by asking if I'll give him a free reiki attunement and says he doesn't have the money to pay, but yet he knows my services are valuable.  Same 'ol, same 'ol.  However, in the next sentence his tone changes as if he's got multiple personality disorder.  He tells me that if I don't answer his email that will prove I'm just a fake and full of BS.

Well, I did reply because I thought he at least DESERVED a reply.  He did take the time to write, after all, even though he was out to get a very valuable thing for absolutely nothing, for no exchange of energy at all. I would understand if he was a reader, for example, and offered me a reading in exchange.  But he came with hands held out and his hands were empty.  I simply told him what I tell everyone else, exactly what I wrote 2 paragraphs ago.  

He wrote back full of venom claiming I'm a fake, that I "prey on gullable, innocent people."  Why was he being so ugly, I asked myself?  Why was he insulting my clientele by claiming they were gullable?  Had I written something to offend him?  I looked back at my response to his first email.  Nothing there was offensive in the slightest.  I had concluded that email by telling him that if he didn't have the money for a reiki attunement now then it was not the time and the Universe would work to get him the money when the time was right. I have found this to be true in my own life countless times.  I told him that, too. Yet, there he was claiming I'm this horrible person out to steal everyone's money from them.  Then he said if I didn't respond I was truly full of BS, yet he concluded by thanking me for the information I provide on my site!

Well, if I'm full of BS, then why is he thanking me for information I provide? Isn't that also full of BS by association with me???  I wrote back and simply asked, "why do you feel so intent on spreading hate?  I feel that before you can be attuned to reiki you need to pray and focus on clearing yourself of the hate you so obviously feel.  I'm praying for you and wish you nothing but the best. When the time is right you will be attuned to reiki.  I know that."  

Then I did something that is still troubling me.  I blocked him from my Facebook. He can no longer email me and he can't access me in any way through Facebook unless he creates a new profile. He can, however, email me through AOL if he took the time to see the numerous email links I have spread all through my web site.  If he does, I'll block him on AOL, too if he continues to be hateful.  

If you're a spiritual practitioner, just because the majority of people may not believe in what you do, YOU know it to be REAL.  You know you have a gift, you have talents, and you're opened your mind and heart to share them with the world. 

Every spiritual practitioner has sacrificed to get to where they are today.  Some, like me, have given up a guaranteed $50,000/yr income to make peanuts doing what I do.  Most months I don't even make enough to cover a single house payment.  I have for the past 2 months, praise the Gods and thank my clients since Stuart's been out of work, but this is an anomaly, but perhaps the start of a new trend (let's hope!).  I don't begrudge anyone that regular income.  In fact, I consider myself MUCH MORE blessed to be in this line of work than to be an academic who is always under the gun to "publish or perish" and always having to brown nose to get ahead (I have never been good at kissing ass, nor is that something I aspire to).  My old friends from grad school - the majority of them are divorced due to all the stress, some are on medication and some have health problems.  I'm thankful that I'm not among them.  Sure, I have up a lot to be here, but look at all I have.  I set my own hours. I can work in my pajamas if I want (and have done so - many times!).  I stay at home and raise my daughter.  I don't have to put up with a boss or any crazy co-workers. I have it MADE.  I am so blessed and so very thankful.

This guy obviously really upset me.  His emails brought back a lot of unpleasant memories from the past that I thought were gone.  I guess this is a good lesson for me.  It showed me that although I had convinced myself I had released all those memories, I clearly have not or they would not have raised to the surface so easily and so immediately.  This young man taught me something important.  He taught me that after all these years I am still in some way holding on to some old resentments against those people who took such extreme advantage of me in the past. I haven't even seen or spoken with any of these people in YEARS, yet the feelings are still there when I think of them.

I am taking my own advice here. I suggested to him that he work on cleansing himself of his hate.  Meanwhile, I am starting to work on releasing my old resentments so I can finally allow the past to be the past so it will stop influencing my present and future.

This is an excellent example of how a great lesson can come to us through adversity.  Back when I used to channel St. Michael (who since 2002 has been too busy, it seems, but he'll be back again one day, as he promised me), in his words:

"Humanity's greatest Teacher is Adversity.  Through Adversity the most difficult of lessons are mastered."  

Amen, Michael :)

Many Blessings to You All,

Nefer Khepri

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FREE Enchantment Offer - LIMITED TIME!

Well, let's see how many people actually read my blog, shall we?  I'm offering a FREE single-votive enchantment to three lucky people.

Your enchantment can be for any purpose.  This is a single candle votive, and will include 3 herbs and 3 corresponding essential oils that are helpful to your intentions.  You will receive an Enchantment Report that will consist of a brief summary of how your candle performed and a psychic interpretation of your candle's remains.

This is open to everyone who reads this blog.  Simply leave a comment here.  I will write everyone's name donw on slips of paper and have a drawing on Tuesday, July 6th.  Winners will be chosen at random from all who have posted a comment here.  You don't have to leave a long comment.  Just a simple, "Hey, cool, hope I win!"  will suffice. 

I will post the names of winners here on Tuesday, July 5th after 5 PM CST. 

Contest ends Tuesday, July 5th at 5 PM CST.

I am also posting a link to this blog on my Facebook page so all my Facebook friends will also be aware of the contest.

Good luck to everyone!  I shall look forward to performing your candle work for you!


Nefer Khepri

Monday, June 21, 2010

What I Plan to Do During My Summer

Normally, when someone speaks of their summer images of surf, sand, fun in the sun, picnics, and just general fun outdoors comes to one's mind.  Well, it comes to my mind, anyhow.  

The thing is, I will most likely be doing very few of those fun things this summer.  My husband lost his job the week before Easter and was unemployed for 9 1/2 weeks.  Thankfully, he's now back at work.  However, he can't take a vacation until September.  By then our 11-year-old daughter will be back in school, which will then preclude us from being able to leave town.  Last summer we went to Maui.  Then last November we went to New Orleans.  Both were awesome trips, each very unique, and for me, both were quite spiritually fulfilling.

I have discovered that with this summer that will be spent completely at home I had fallen into a trap.  Perhaps this trap was invented by the travel industry. Maybe it's somehow engrained into us by society. I've no idea.  The trap I'm speaking of is "home-isn't-any-fun-so-we-must-leave-town-in-order-to-find-fun-things-to-do."  

How many of you have fallen into the same trap?  I took this picture as we sat down for our first dinner in Maui last summer.  It's idyllic, isn't it?  There was the sound of the surf not 50 feet from our table.  You could smell the plumeria blooming in the trees all around us.  The ocean breezes caressed our faces.    Fond memories, one and all.  

This summer what are we doing?  I'll tell you.  Every summer I work with our daughter. I prepare her for the coming school year.  This is why she excels year after year to the point that moving into middle school next year her teachers instructed us to enroll her in all Pre-AP (Advanced Placement) courses.  Since she was averaging 4 to 5 A's per report card, we agreed with their assessment.

As with every summer, the first weekend school let out Ariel and I headed to the bookstore to get her work books.  I started working with her last week, giving her a couple of weeks to have nothing but fun to start her summer.  I am now very shocked and downright furious with the three teachers she had for the fifth grade.  I am discovering her vocabulary is lacking.  Her math skills are not up to snuff, and her reading comprehension isn't where it should be.  Those workbooks are arranged so the first few lessons are meant as review.  The child should always know all this material and be able to breeze on through it.  However, Ariel is having problems.  LOTS of them.

Now I know my summer will be spent cracking the whip over the poor child, who through no fault of her own, is having all sorts of issues with division, fractions ("Mom, we did those, but I don't remember any of it"), not knowing that "create" and "destruction" are antonyms, and so on and so forth.  I am so dismayed with her teachers, who never once communicated with me she was having any trouble whatsoever.  In fact, they stressed how well she was doing.  Well, I guess if you're teaching a fifth grader on a 3rd or 4th grade level and the child is intelligent, they are bound to do well.  I had no idea that's what had been happening.  The fifth grade teachers for this year had decided to abolish homework.  YES!  The time-honored tradition of giving a kid work to do at home so they could practice the concepts they were learning in school - ABOLISHED FOR THE YEAR!!  She got a few assignments here and there, but nothing like she did every single year previous - even in kindergarten she had homework every single day.  I discussed this with her teachers who assured me Ariel was doing fine and would do very well moving on to middle school, so well, in fact, that they insisted she be placed in all Pre-AP courses.

Now Mom is freaking thinking, "there's no way on earth this child will be able to remain in Pre-AP, she'll get moved back and this will traumatize her for life."  I was in Advanced Placement in 8th grade and my best friend got moved back.  She NEVER got over it, and although after we moved on to high school very few people knew about it, she carries that stigma with her to this day.  I do NOT want that for MY child.  

So now Mom's cracking the whip, and suddenly Mom had become the BAD GUY.  Oh, Mom is MEAN because Mom wants her kid to do Math.  Mom is horrible because I force my kid to do these reading assignments and answer questions about what she's read.  Wow, and we haven't even gotten to the grammar section of her workbooks yet!  So just she wait.  She's in for a real treat when it comes to grammar, not one of my specialties, either.  Then again, neither is math.  Thank goodness for those answer keys that come tucked in the back of each work book.

So there I was on Friday, the day before my 47th birthday, feeling sorry for myself.  I was going to be stuck home all summer long with a surly child who did not want to do her workbook assignments and who was repeatedly insisting I was mean as I repeatedly patiently explained to her how her teachers had let her down, how she had to get up to speed if she expected to do well in 6th grade, and how important a good education is to everyone in our family and that one day she will be going to college if we have anything to say about it, and believe me, we have PLENTY to say!  

I was sitting in our breakfast nook that overlooks the backyard.  Back in April, 2008 as my mother was in a long-term care facility recuperating from a severe blood infection that nearly killed her, we had a deck built.  It's a very nice, large deck with room for a dining room-size patio table with a ceramic tile surface and six comfy patio chairs.  Our propane grill is also on the deck.  There's also a lot more room available.  I was sitting there thinking that with all that had gone on with my mom, who ended up getting a second blood infection and died January 20, 2008, that we hadn't had any time to really use that deck.  After she died, my dad moved in with us as it was sadly apparent he had no idea how to take care of himself.  He put himself in the hospital with gastric interitis a week after Mom had passed.  That was it.  We moved him in and I was looking forward to spending time with him.  That's when it became apparent something was very wrong with him.  He developed dementia and was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.  He passed away September 20, 2009.  

The day Dad passed away I was also looking out at our deck thinking, "wow, what a great deck, but we've never really used it with all the time I spend in the hospitals and nursing homes.  Wish I had time to use my deck."  Ten minutes later I got the dreaded call.  Dad had just died.  As I hung up the phone in tears I heard his voice.  He said quite simply, "it's okay now.  Go ahead and use your patio."  To Dad, it was a patio.  We call  it a deck.  So I knew for sure it was him and not my mind playing tricks on me.

Time has passed.  My husband and I were planning a trip to England for this summer, my spiritual home. I've had 3 past lives there of which I can recall some vivid details to the point I found one of my former houses, still intact and now a lovely B&B in the Somerset countryside.  I was excited beyond belief I was going to get to go back, having last been to London in 1991.  Prior to that I was in England in 1989 for a 2-week tour of England, Cornwall and Wales that had the theme of "The Real and the Legendary King Arthur."  We saw all the places mentioned in the stories. I felt I'd died and gone to heaven. Perhaps more on that in another blog.  I had some interesting experiences there - one involving a crop circle, the other my own personal ghost in my hotel room.  

Happily planning our trip and about to start making reservations, Stuart came home with tears in his eyes to tell me he'd just lost his job.  I remember all the pamphelts of the London tube system, day trips to Stonehenge and Bath, a trip up to the Cotswolds, all slid off my lap and landed willy-nilly on the cold tile floor.  I looked down at all those lovely photos of places I had either never seen or dearly loved to see again.  I cried more over that trip than my husband losing his job.  For me, the day that trip ended was the day my dream of returning to my spiritual home died.  At least for the time being.  There's always next summer.

So, no trips, no weekend getaways as my husband doesn't like to travel for just a couple of days unless it's to see his parents in Austin (something I loath doing as they're fairly negative people who are quite judgmental of what I do and what I believe).

Friday, as I sat there looking out at our deck I told the Universe, "I'm going to have a nice vacation this summer and it will be right out there on our deck.  So, let's make it happen!"  Then I let it go as Ariel needed me, the dinner needed to get cooked, the dog needed to be played with - duty constantly calls when you're a mother, even if you're only a mother of one, as I am.

Saturday was my birthday and Stuart took me for lunch at McDonald's, then it was shopping for me.  He gave me a Sony Bloggie, a pair of Sketcher's Shape Ups (which really do seem to work, I'm so shocked and pleased!), and then dinner out, the evening ending with a wonderful full body massage courtesy of my husband.  All in all a great day.  I was too busy to spend any time out on the deck.

Sunday was Father's Day and we shopped again, this time for Stuart who wanted an iPhone, but changed his mind and didn't want the new one. He wanted the same model I have, so we found it for $99 at WalMart.  We had to go to 2 WalMarts to find one and once we did he got the last one they had.  While we were there he wandered off and came back with a cart loaded with two chez lounge chairs for our deck.  I immediately thought back to what I had told the Universe.  Stuart hates to spend money, being a banker and also having security issues, so for him to splurge on additional patio furniture when we don't use the patio was pretty much downright insane of him.  As he came up to me he said, "I figure we have this great patio we haven't had much of a chance to use due to all the bad stuff going on with our family these past few years, so I figured I'd get these chairs and we can spend more time out there." 

I smiled.   Yes, the Universe DOES work in MYSTERIOUS ways :)

So this summer I'll be out on my patio enjoying the view of my rose garden, half of which died off in the winter hard freezes we had this past winter, but they're coming back slow, but sure.  

As I gazed out into my yard early this morning I realized that a real vacation isn't a place.  It's a state of mind.  Relax. Enjoy the moment.  That's how you really get away.  You can go to the most exciting or romantic location you can dream up, but if you're weighed down with the concerns of your life how is that a vacation?  

While I stretched out in my new lounge chair sipping an amaretto ice coffee I had just brewed, I sighed.  The humidity, ever present around here, was causing my hair to clump in an unruly manner.  My bra was collection perspiration.  I wasn't extremely comfortable, but as I drew in a deep breath and caught the faint whisper of the scent of roses from my rose bushes, I smiled.  This is my summer vacation and I can take it any time I want, as many times as I like throughout the day and well into the evening.  There's no airplane to catch. No uncomfortable hotel bed.  It's just me, my deck, my roses, and the Universe. 

This is what I plan to do with my summer.  What about you?  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pluto and Mercury Go Retrograde Together

Although Pluto has recently been demoted by astronomers from a planet to a dwarf planet, it still has a strong astrological influence over the earth and all of humanity. Pluto is the planet of creation and regeneration. However, it is also the planet of upheaval and destruction. Often, Pluto creates chaos within the astrological house of a birth chart in which it appears, but out of this chaos great creative potential arises. When our lives are bombarded by chaos, Pluto is often at the root of the changes that are occurring. Pluto’s energy urges you to let go of the old so that the new may enter your life, thus helping you to transform into a new person or reach the next level of your own spiritual evolution. Pluto rules the astrological sign of Scorpio and both have death and rebirth as their shared domain of major influence. Pluto also has a strong influence over power, power struggles, and the relations between authority figures and those beneath them, as well as relations among nations. Despite the fact that Pluto often appears in our lives to teach us harsh lessons, these are lessons governed by “tough love” and the planet Pluto’s energy appears in our lives to help us, through hardship, to reach our fullest potential.

Mercury is the planet of communication and of the intellect. It rules the astrological signs of Gemini and Virgo. Mercury influences how we view the universe and how we think things all work together. As the ruler of communication, Mercury has direct influence over all of our relationships – romantic, familial, work, and friendships. Mercury helps to create a keen intellect and is the planet whose energies are called upon on behalf of students and teachers or anyone else concerned with increasing the intellect and who is seeking help in the learning or teaching process.

When a planet enters retrograde motion many interpret this to mean the planet is moving backwards in its orbit, but this is not true.  What really occurs is the planet slows down its rotation around the sun, thus creating the optical illusion that it is moving backwards in its orbit.  Imagine being in the back seat of a car driving 70 miles per hour.  If you look behind you at another car that is only driving 55 miles per hour, it will appear to be moving backwards, even though it’s moving forwards, but at a slower rate than the rate you are traveling.  This is how a retrograde appears in a planet’s orbital path.

Retrograde periods of a planet’s orbit increase the less-than-desirable aspects of that planet’s influence and can magnify that planet’s more negative aspects.  For example, Pluto in retrograde means that it will act as a type of euthanasia – putting out of its misery things in our lives that have grown outmoded or no longer serve our higher good (despite how we may think or feel about the situation!).  Relationships and other various types of situations could blow up in our faces if they are no longer serving our highest good as Pluto Retrograde forces us through its own unique version of “tough love” to force us into new situations that will serve our higher good and help us to fulfill our purpose in this lifetime.  Retrograde influences, although beginning on certain dates, can extend their influence backwards in time, hence hitting us a bit early with their retrograde influence.  Both Pluto and Mercury are known for influencing us early.

A good example of the retrograde influences of both Pluto and Mercury hitting a person early is my husband, Stuart.  He is a Virgo who has both Pluto and Mercury in Virgo in his natal chart (I am a Gemini and have Mercury in Gemini in my natal chart.).  Last Wednesday Pluto and Mercury hit my husband hard as he lost his job without any warning, no earlier reprimands, no complaints from his boss, not a hint of trouble of any kind.  He was brought before his boss on trumped up charges and forced to sign a letter of resignation and that was that.  He was unceremoniously sent home and has been frantically searching for another job all day long ever since.

As a psychic I have known for the past year that the # 2 man at the bank was jealous of Stuart’s abilities.  He saw Stuart, the # 3 man, as a direct threat to him falling into the boss’s position as bank branch president when he retires in 2 more years.  I warned my husband who accordingly refused to listen to me.  Virgos always think they know everything (no offense to the Virgos reading this, this is just how that sign is, just as Geminis – of which I am one – are always scattered with a  lot of “pie-in-the-sky” ideas they seldom bring to fruition due to their scattered energies).  I told Stuart it was time to start looking for a new job, that stuff was about to hit the fan, but he kept on going as he only judged the situation by what he saw in front of him, unaware of the devious undercurrents flowing around him.  Now he’s unemployed. 

I am sharing this with you because Stuart’s problem serves as a perfect example of how retrograde planets can cause us to undergo a major wake up call.  They shove us out of our complacency and force us to act, even when we don’t wish to do so.  Retrograde periods, are therefore a good time to take stock of our situation, evaluate our relationships, and determine which areas of our lives need to be worked on in order to avoid chaos from gaining a foothold and undermining all of our plans, wishes, and ambitions.

Now is the time for each of us to carefully evaluate all areas of our lives.  We have two very powerful planets undergoing a retrograde period that coincide with each other.  Pluto went retrograde on April 6 and Mercury goes retrograde on April 18.  Pluto’s retrograde period (which occurs in Capricorns, so those of you who are Capricorn or have Pluto in the sign of Capricorn in their natal chart will be the most affected) will last until September 13, 2010 while Mercury will be in retrograde from April 18 – May 11 and will then enter another retrograde period on August 20 through September 12th, so that Mercury retrograde will also coincide with the current Pluto retrograde period.

While a Pluto retrograde is a time of renewal through chaos and eventual rebirth, a Mercury retrograde is a time during which communication can, and often does, go awry.  Disagreements can occur and this is never a good time to begin new projects or sign any contracts.  Paper work is also deeply affected and this can cause issues in the work place.  Mercury also governs travel so a Mercury retrograde period is not a good time during which to travel as it can often influence the loss of our luggage, flight delays, and even flight catastrophes, such as airplane crashes and train derailments, the vast majority of which occur during Mercury retrograde periods

On the plus side, while Pluto Retrograde can bring a lot of chaos into our lives quite suddenly and without any warning, this chaos will result in something better.  Pluto Retrograde upsets the balance in our lives in order to create MORE balance than what had existed previously.  It brings an end to things we see as blessings (such as my husband’s job) in order to clear the way for new and greater blessings to enter our lives.

The positive aspects of a Mercury Retrograde period include presenting us with a time during which deep inner reflection will be its most useful and powerful.  If you’re interested in self improvement of any kind, a Mercury Retrograde period is the time to examine yourself to discover the best ways you can use to implement necessary changes in your life.  This is a good time to undertake personal cleansings of either a physical or spiritual nature.  This is the best time to clear the clutter in your home and bring it to a thrift store, spring cleaning is always the most successful and complete during a Mercury retrograde period (and, wow, it’s spring now so talk about perfect timing!), and reviewing projects, plans, and relationships is always best undertaken during a Mercury Retrograde period.

Taking the combined retrograde influences of Pluto and Mercury in retrograde, now is the best time to undertake spiritual self-improvement.  If you’re seeking to become more intuitive or psychic, open to your guides more, remember your dreams better, or perhaps begin to perform your own candle work, now is the prime time to start such projects.  The retrograde period is also a good time to reinforce protection magic, protective wards around yourself, home, career and relationships, and it’s the best time for spell casting in order to promote harmony in all areas of life.

Wishing you all harmony during this time,

Nefer Khepri Hemet