Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Secret of Abundance

“Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
This quote seems to sum up the secret of abundance, in the simple and elegant way of Eastern mysticism and philosophy. Those of you who are familiar with the Law of Attraction know you attract whatever you think about. When you focus on the blessings in your life, you attract more blessings. But when you constantly worry about what you lack, you’ll create more lack. Easier said than done, I know, but true.

The great sage reminds us that the universe offers unlimited bounty and joy––it lacks nothing. All we have to do is open our eyes to it. By appreciating the goodness you already have, you tune your personal resonance to a vibration of acceptance and receptivity. From this place, all things become possible.
I find making “vision cards” like the one shown here helps me focus. I use these cards as meditation/visualization tools to attract whatever I desire. Vision boards overwhelm me with too many ideas and images––the small scale of a single card (4” X 6”) also enables me to carry the card with me. You may want to try it to see if it works for you, too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Aromatherapy Card Deck

I'd like to let you know about my new Aromatherapy Card Deck, published by Fair Winds Press. This is the third in my series of holistic healing decks, and it's beautifully produced. The boxed set contains fifty full-color cards that describe various therapeutic uses for aromatic plants, along with striking images of each plant. 
For thousands of years fragrant oils, gums, and resins have been used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Ancient Chinese and Indian texts describe the therapeutic, philosophical, and spiritual properties of aromatics. The Egyptians employed them in all areas of life, from seduction to embalming. The Bible discusses special oils for anointing and healing; aromatics were so highly prized that the "wise men" gave them to Jesus at his birth.
French chemist and perfumer René-Maurice Gattefosse coined the term "aromatherapy" in 1928 when he discovered, quite by accident, that lavender oil helped heal a burn on his hand and prevented scarring.
Essential oils are extracted, usually by distillation, from the flowers, leaves, bark, or roots of aromatic plants. Some essential oils can be rubbed directly on the skin to provide therapeutic benefits. Others may be ingested. When inhaled, scents affect the limbic system of the brain, causing shifts in brain wave function that can trigger emotional and/or physical reactions. Here are some popular ways to use aromatic oils:
  • Put a few drops of oil in a diffuser or vaporizer and inhale the steam.
  • Add several drops of oil plus a half-cup of milk to bathwater.
  • Make a massage oil by blending 10–15 drops of essential oil into an ounce of a “carrier” oil, such as almond, grape seed, olive, or jojoba.
  • Combine 1 teaspoon of oil, 8 ounces of distilled water, and 1 ounce of isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle and mist the room with it.
Only pure essential oils offer therapeutic properties––synthetic concoctions lack the plants’ natural vital energy. Some essential oils should not be ingested and some can be irritating to the skin––don’t them full-strength. Citrus oils can cause sensitivity to sunlight. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly, in particular, should exercise caution when using essential oils. Because essential oils are highly volatile, store them in dark, glass bottles in a cool place. Aromatherapy should be considered a complementary therapy, not a substitute for professional medical care.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Acupressure Card Deck

I'd like to introduce my new full-color illustrated Acupressure Card Deck, which I hope you'll find interesting and helpful--it's now available from Fair Winds Press. One of the world’s oldest healing modalities, acupressure has been used in Asia for thousands of years to relieve a wide range of common ailments. Chinese medical texts dating back to 300 B.C.E. describe the practice of acupressure. Although virtually unknown in the West until the middle of the 20th century, acupressure is becoming increasingly popular as a self-help and first aid treatment that supports the body’s natural healing ability.

Acupressure, it’s sometimes said, is acupuncture without the needles. This gentle and effective form of therapeutic touch follows the same general principles as acupuncture, but it’s less invasive. Instead of inserting needles into certain points on the body, you apply pressure with the thumbs and fingertips to stimulate the flow of life energy––or Qi, as it’s called in China––to the affected area(s).

According to Chinese medicine, disease results from imbalances in the body’s Qi. Acupressure facilitates the smooth, harmonious flow of Qi through a system of invisible channels known as meridians that run through the body. Hundreds of acupressure points lie along these meridians, like stations along a train route. Usually they are designated by the meridian name (abbreviated) plus a number to indicate their positions. They’re also called by colorful names, such as Sea of Tranquility or Three Yin Crossing, that describe their benefits or locations.

Using acupressure to treat common complaints

Acupressure is safe, easy, and virtually painless. You can use it to treat yourself or someone else, for all sorts of common problems––psychological as well as physical. Indeed, holistic healers generally believe that most physical ailments are linked with psychological issues. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a single acupressure point might benefit various disorders. “Heavenly Pillar” (B 10), for example, eases stress and helps heal acne––two conditions that often are connected.

Pressing a point can relieve discomfort locally––that is, at the place where the point exists––and/or in another part of the body that may be quite some distance from the point’s actual position. That’s because activating a particular point affects the flow of Qi through a meridian, generating healing along the way. For best results, you may want to stimulate several points together, as the cards in this deck suggest. Pressing both “Big Mound” and “Outer Gate,” for instance, can ease tendonitis in the wrist and arm.

Use your fingertips or thumbs––or both––to apply steady, gentle pressure to a specific point. Don’t tap or pump a point. Don’t grip it so hard you cause pain. If you wish, make small circles with your finger on the point. In most cases, you should hold a point for at least 30 seconds to a minute or more at a time. It may be necessary to activate a particular point several times a day to produce continued results. 

Many people experience acupressure’s benefits quite quickly. For example, applying pressure to “Intermediary” (P 5) quells motion sickness almost immediately. Some problems, however, require regular, repeated attention over a period of time. Daily treatment can produce long-term benefits and even help alleviate chronic conditions. (copyright 2010 by Skye Alexander)

I hope you'll check out my other colorful healing card decks, too: The Reflexology Card Deck and The Aromatherapy Card Deck.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Sixth Sense

Psychic activity can occur when you are awake, asleep, or in between. Everyone experiences it differently. Some people have visions, some hear sounds or voices. Others feel distinct bodily sensations such as chills, twitches, or a tingling in the spine. Many just know something without understanding how they know it.

Psychic experiences fall into several categories. Clairvoyance (literally “clear seeing”) is the ability to see things beyond the range of ordinary physical perception, including events that have not happened yet. Psychic visions often come to us in dreams, but they can also appear in a shiny surface –– a crystal ball, pool of water, or the hood of a well-waxed automobile. Sometimes visions of nonphysical beings –– saints, angels, fairies, ghosts, elementals –– or even entire scenes emerge unbidden, seemingly out of nowhere, right before the eyes of the startled beholder.

Painter Marc Chagall was inspired to paint angels by a vision he had when he was a young man. Living in poverty and questioning his artistic calling, Chagall one night saw a huge, brilliant blue angel on the ceiling of his room. The angel, he believed, had come to give him the encouragement and confidence he needed to continue with his work. 
Clairaudience means hearing things that don’t actually resonate with our ordinary auditory mechanism. This includes sounds too distant to be picked up by the physical ear, such as a mother hearing her child’s cries of distress from miles away. Hearing things that have no physical source also falls into this category. 
Clairsentience or “clear sensing” is the term used for those inexplicable feelings we get when we know something without having seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched it. Sometimes clairsentience may be accompanied by a physical sensation, such as a tingling, prickling, burning, or chill, but the actual awareness arrives via a “sixth sense” instead of being received through one of our five physical senses. 
Precognition or premonitions about the future, telepathy or mind reading, communicating with entities in other planes of existence (also known as mediumship or channeling), psychic healing, intuitive medical diagnosis, psychokinesis (moving physical objects with your mind), psychometry (picking up psychic vibrations from an object), near death experiences, and past-life recall all fall under the “psychic” heading. 
These forms of enhanced awareness are often referred to as extrasensory perception or ESP. However, this implies that psychic ability is something “extra” when in truth it is as common as the senses of hearing, sight, and taste.

(Excerpted from 10-Minute Crystal Ball, by Skye Alexander, published by Fair Winds Press. Copyrighted material.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome the Spring Equinox or Ostara

Pagans and witches celebrate Ostara (also known as Eostre) when the sun enters 0 degrees of Aries, which this year occurs on March 20. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox ushers in warmer weather, days that are longer than nights, and the advent of new life. Christianity adopted this joyful period of the year for the celebration of Easter (which usually falls near the Spring Equinox). Ostara gets its name from the German fertility goddess Ostare; the word Easter derives from the same root. Both holidays celebrate the triumph of life over death.
In an old German story, a rabbit laid some sacred eggs and decorated them as a gift for the fertility goddess Ostare. Ostare liked the beautiful eggs so much that she asked the rabbit to share the eggs with everyone throughout the world.
Some popular Easter customs have their roots in Ostara’s symbolism. Eggs represent the promise of new life, and painting them bright colors engages the creative aspect of the sabbat. You might enjoy decorating eggs with magickal symbols, such as pentagrams and spirals. And rabbits, of course, have long been linked with fertility.
The Holiday’s Significance

The Sun King’s chariot continues climbing higher in the sky, reaching the point at which day and night are of equal length on Ostara. Therefore, this sabbat is associated with balance, equality, and harmony.
The Spring Equinox marks the first day of spring and the start of the busy planting season in agrarian cultures. Farmers till their fields and sow seeds. Trees begin to bud, spring flowers blossom, and baby animals are born. Ostara, therefore, is one of the fertility holidays and a time for planting seeds—literally or figuratively.
Ways to Celebrate
On Ostara, sow seeds that you want to bear fruit in the coming months. This is an ideal time to launch new career ventures, move to a new home, or begin a new relationship. If you’re a gardener, you’ll start preparing the soil and planting flowers, herbs, and/or vegetables now. Consider the magickal properties of botanicals and choose plants that represent your intentions. Even if you aren’t a gardener, you could plant seeds in a flowerpot to symbolize wishes you hope will grow to fruition in the coming months.

Witches connect each plant—herb, flower, and tree—with specific magickal properties. Sage, for example, is used for purification rituals. Mint and parsley can be added to prosperity talismans to attract wealth. White snapdragons insure protection and roses play an important role in love magick.

Excerpted from my book The Everything Wicca and Witchcraft Book, published by Adams Media (see Skye’s Books). Copyrighted material.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Contest––Call for Submissions

Twenty-first century humans have become entirely too 
serioso. We just don’t laugh enough. So Lyndsey Powers, my writing partner and blog-mate at The 3:15 Club, and I have decided to help make Planet Earth a funnier place. We're launching a contest––and hopefully an anthology––about absurdly humorous work-related experiences. We're looking for true tales of bizarre tasks, wacky work environments, and ludicrous predicaments you've gotten into while trying to earn your daily bread. We're so eager for a riotous, side-splitting laugh that we'll even award cash prizes for the three best tales we receive. Please view our new blog  for more information about entering. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love Alchemy

Love is the ultimate alchemical substance that transforms fear into peace, judgment into acceptance, and pain into joy. The Beatles were right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”
At any moment, in any situation, regardless of how things appear on the outside, we can choose to respond with love or fear. When other people reject, insult, or attack us with their fear, we can either draw our swords or let the offense pass through us like arrows through smoke. We can decide whether to listen to the voice of Spirit or the voice of ego.
"Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look to see who's there." – Rumi

Every day we are presented with opportunities to express love instead of fear. Harried store clerks might behave rudely toward us; impatient drivers may cut in front of us on the highway. If we bless rather than condemn, we will change not only our reactions but the circumstances themselves.
“Love is the total absence of fear.” – Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.

Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu

Many people suffer from colds, flu, coughs, and other respiratory ailments during the winter season. Aromatherapy is the natural solution for the respiratory problems associated colds in the head, sinuses, nasal passages, and lungs because essential oils are inhaled. They go to work immediately on the affected parts, offering fast, gentle, soothing relief. In fact, essential oils actually get into the blood stream faster when they're inhaled than when they are taken orally and absorbed through the stomach lining.
For many people, aromatherapy is superior in every way to decongestants, shots, and other cold medicines, not only because they are fast-acting, but because they rarely cause unwanted side effects when used properly. Children and the elderly, who are often quite sensitive to medications, can derive wonderful healing benefits from the use of aromatic oils.

Inhaling the cool, stimulating aroma of eucalyptus, spearmint, or peppermint will instantly relieve stuffy nose and sinus congestion without drying out your nasal passages or causing drowsiness. Frankincense, balsam, sweet marjoram, and lemon balm can also be beneficial in treating congestion, coughing, and irritation in the head, nose, throat, and lungs. Pine, fennel, myrrh, and eucalyptus can help bronchitis and sinusitis; cedar wood, bergamot, hyssop, and cypress are effective in treating colic, asthma, and dry coughs. Tea tree oil is soothing to sore throats and can also relieve sores in the mouth and gingivitis.
Tea tree oil, peppermint, and eucalyptus are sometimes available in inhalant sticks, but you can also simply inhale the fumes of these essential oils directly from an open bottle. Tiny "pillows" or "sachets" of some aromatic herbs are available in health food stores and can be placed on your bedside table or pillow at night to help you breathe freely while you sleep. Or, you can simply put a few drops of one of these oils on a handkerchief and keep it close enough to inhale the healing fumes. Aromatic salves can be rubbed directly on the chest, much like Vicks, to break up congestion in the chest and head.
Some essential oils should not be ingested and some can be irritating to the skin if rubbed on full-strength. (Make sure you read the label before using any essential oil to avoid problems.) In this case, you can put several drops in a vaporizer or humidifier to fill your room with refreshing, healing scent. Or, add essential oils to your tub water and enjoy a soothing, healthful bath that will make you feel wonderful inside and out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Brigid’s Day, Imbolc, or Candlemas

This sabbat honors Brigid, the beloved Celtic goddess of healing, smithcraft, and poetry. A favorite of the Irish people, Brigid was adopted by the Church and canonized as Saint Brigid when Christianity moved into Ireland. Her holiday is celebrated either on February 1 or around February 5, when the sun reaches 15 degrees of Aquarius. In the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is increasing and the promise of spring is in the air. Therefore, Imbolc is celebrated as a time of hope and renewal.
The Holiday’s Significance
Brigid is one of the fertility goddesses, and Imbolc means “in the belly.” This holiday honors all forms of creativity, of the mind as well as the body. Illustrations of Brigid sometimes show her stirring a great cauldron, the witch’s magick tool that symbolizes the womb and the receptive, fertile nature of the Divine Feminine. As goddess of inspiration, Brigid encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to stir the inner cauldron of creativity that exists within.

Brigid goes by many names, including Lady of the Flame, Goddess of the Hearth, and Bright One. Her feast day is sometimes called Candlemas due to her association with fire. In magickal thinking, the fire element is believed to fuel inspiration and creativity.
Although Brigid is an aspect of the Divine Feminine, her day falls under the zodiac sign Aquarius, a masculine air sign in astrology. Her blazing hearth is both the metalsmith’s forge and the homemaker’s cook fire. Thus, she represents mind and body, a blend of yin and yang energies, and the union of polarities that is necessary for creation.
Ways to Celebrate
On Imbolc, the Sun King’s chariot ascends in the sky; the sun’s rays grow stronger and days grow longer. Witches celebrate this spoke in the Wheel of the Year as a reaffirmation of life and a time to plant “seeds” for the future. You may wish to build a fire in a magick cauldron to honor Brigid. On a piece of paper, write wishes you want to materialize during the year, then drop the paper into the cauldron. As the paper burns, the smoke rises toward the heavens carrying your requests to Brigid.

In keeping with the holiday’s theme of fire, many people light candles to honor the Goddess. Candles are the most common tool in the witch’s magickal toolbox, used in all sorts of spells and rituals. Engrave words that represent your wishes—love, prosperity, health, etc.—into the candle’s wax. Then light the candle and focus your attention on its flame, while you envision your wishes coming true.
Excerpted from my book The Everything Wicca & Witchcraft Book, published by Adams Media, copyright 2008. To order this or other books on magick click my books link.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Your Sun Sign and Your Dharma, Part II

Aries: You are the pioneer, the explorer, the adventurer who forges ahead into uncharted territory. Because your dharma is to break new ground, you must separate yourself from traditions, social conventions, and accepted norms as you charge down the road less traveled.

Taurus: Your role in life is to help bring the dreams of others to fruition. A lover of art, music, and sensual delights, your dharma is to create forms and make beauty manifest in the physical world.

Gemini: With your many interests and curiosity, your role in life is to gather information of all kinds. A natural teacher, your dharmais not only to acquire knowledge, but to share what you learn with the world.

Cancer: Your role is to nurture and protect your loved ones. Your dharma is to use your sensitivity to care for the needs of others and to build a safe, stable environment where other people's children as well as your own can thrive.

Leo: Your role in life is to express yourself in some distinctive way and to inspire others. A natural leader, your dharma is to rule not only courageously, but also fairly, whether you are head of state or head of a business.

Virgo: Your role is to help others to help themselves. Hard-working, meticulous, cautious, and analytical, you're the person who keeps things running smoothly. Your dharma might go something like the "Serenity Prayer"––perfect what you can, accept what you can't improve, and learn to distinguish between the two.

Libra: You seek to maintain balance in all areas of life. Your dharma is to be the peacemaker who weighs issues dispassionately, mediates disputes, and brings harmony out of chaos. Your challenge is to compromise and cooperate without sacrificing yourself or your principles in the process.

Scorpio: Your role is to probe beneath the surface and uncover what lies hidden from view––whether you're adetective investigating a crime, a psychotherapist probing a patient's unconscious, or a miner searching for gold. Your dharma is to use your power toward constructive, rather than destructive ends.

Sagittarius: Immensely curious, you desire to learn a little bit about everything and to expand your horizons in every direction. Your dharma might be to use your vision and enthusiasm to explore the great beyond, without forgetting your responsibilities in the here-and-now.

Capricorn: You possess managerial skills, common sense, financial acumen, and organizational ability.Your dharma is to confront life's obstacles, learn from them, and overcome them, without letting them limit you. Work hard and accept your responsibilities, but don't sacrifice joy in the process.

Aquarius: Progressive and unconventional, you are usually ahead of your time and can awaken other people to new discoveries. Often you can be found on the cutting edge of technology or in the vanguard of social change. Your dharma is to implement constructive changes, without rejecting the wisdom of the past in the process.

Pisces: Many of you are artistic and seem to hear "the music of the spheres." Your concerns are of a higher nature and you may overlook the mundane world around you. Your dharma is to bring the wonders of the spiritual realm to earth. One of your challenges in this lifetime is to learn to give of yourself without giving yourself away.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Your Sun Sign and Your Dharma

When someone asks “What’s your sign?” what he really means is “What zodiac sign was the Sun positioned in at the time of your birth?” Most of us know our Sun signs, but what does this really mean?
The Sun, Moon, and planets all embody certain qualities, and each one influences certain facets of your life. These heavenly bodies continually move through the twelve signs of the zodiac (well, of course, the Sun doesn’t move, it only appears that way to us from our vantage point here on Earth). 

When an astrologer looks at your birth chart, she examines the placements of not only the Sun, but also the Moon, planets, and maybe some asteroids, stars, sensitive points, and other things as well. Most astrologers, however, consider the Sun the most important feature in your birth chart and its sign position reveals a great deal about you.

I like to think of the Sun as the symbol of the "present you," the person you are right now, in this lifetime. You could also view the Sun as representing your dharma, or your "role" in life. (Dharma is a Buddhist concept that means your divine duty.) Your Sun sign describes the essential and distinctly unique part of yourself that you aspire toward, the part you are striving to express and fulfill, the part for which you want to be recognized. It is your kernel of selfhood.
In fact, if someone were to ask you what you want to be  (not do) in life, or how you want others to view you, you might quickly describe yourself in terms of your Sun sign. An individual with the Sun in Leo, for example, might say he wants to be a leader, a figure who commands authority and respect. Someone with Sun in Pisces might say she wants to be a compassionate, caring, creative person. The Sun also shows the part of yourself that you generally like and accept––flaws and all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Writing and Publishing Workshop

Do you have a story to tell? Would writing a book help your business?Want to preserve family memories for your children and grandchildren?
If you're in the Texas Hill Country, please join me on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. to learn more about writing your book and getting it into print––everything you need to take your book from the idea stage to the printed page.

We'll meet at the Healing Arts Center, 144 Fairway Drive, Suite A, just south of downtown Kerrville, TX, off Rte. 16. Fee: $20. For more information, email or call 830-896-1275.