Posts tagged: spiritualism

Summer So Far

Ye gods! I just realized that the last time I posted on my blog was MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND!

I am a blog loser.

Well, I won’t beat myself up too much. It’s been a busy summer. I hit the ground running in June when my boys wrapped up their school year, and I traveled to Pennsylvania to teach a Tarot workshop for my good friend Gloria at her beautiful Spirit Education Center and Sanctuary. When I came home, I was ready to party with my theatre friends to celebrate the end of another successful community theatre season here in Cincinnati. By that time, it was July, and I celebrated my birthday with good friends in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s a glimpse of the festivities:

Yummy cake batter-flavored martinis created by my friend Jonathan. And  my husband baked a yellow cake with homemade caramel icing. I know, you’re jealous!

Once my birthday was over, it was time to pack and head to beautiful Lily Dale, New York to teach some workshops. I never tire of walking the lovely grounds there, working for Spirit at the outdoor message services, and meeting new people to share ideas and experiences. If you are at all interested in metaphysics, you should definitely plan a trip to Lily Dale for a future summer holiday. Here are some photos that might capture your interest:

The welcoming gate sign at the entrance to Lily Dale.

The Lily Dale Auditorium, where many famous speakers and mediums have addressed crowds.

The lovely Healing Temple, a space filled with amazing peaceful healing vibrations.

A gorgeous view of the lake from the Lily Dale grounds.

One of the gorgeous Victorian homes on the grounds. Need a new place to live?

While in Lily Dale, I also got to meet up with one of my best buddies, my dear friend, fellow author Char Chaffin. Without Char, my novel Merlyn’s Raven would not have seen the light of day. Here we are together for breakfast:

Photo taken by Char’s wonderful husband, Don, who was good enough to share his wife with me that morning. 

My workshops were well-received, and I truly enjoyed my time at Lily Dale. Coming home just last week, I celebrated my 22nd wedding anniversary with my husband. And now I realize it’s time to get back in the swing of things here at home. Only a few more weeks of summer remain until my boys go back to school. Time moves so fast, and we are left with our jaws hanging open, saying, “When did that happen?”

I have quite a few more things on my plate this summer. I am offering a one-day Tarot class on Saturday, August 4 at my office. I am starting a 6-week Mediumship Development class for beginners on Wednesday, August 8. On Saturday, August 18, I will go to Camp Chesterfield in Indiana to teach a 3-hour workshop on Protection. Lexington, Kentucky is my last destination of the summer, when I travel to Patti Starr’s Mystical Paranormal Fair on Saturday, August 25 for a book signing and gallery-style message event. Details for all of these events are available at the websites tagged above or on my website’s events calendar. If you are in the neighborhood and so inclined, I hope you’ll join me for some summer fun.

So now, I’ve got to wrap up this blog. My boys are learning to drive this summer, and it’s time to leave for our dental check-ups. The Universe continues to bless me with plenty to keep me busy. I hope you find the blessings in your everyday life, too.

See you soon!

 

A Perfect Mother’s Day

So Mother’s Day is this Sunday. I am looking forward to continuing my family tradition of spending the day with my boys (my twin sons and their dad) seeing an action movie. This year’s choice: The Avengers.

A little eye candy never hurts.

My mom passed away in 2000. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She was a very special lady, and I miss her. I especially ache to share with her events from my boys’ lives that she’s missed since she’s been gone: all their school achievements, the funny and witty things they’ve done, the plays they’ve performed in and the artwork, stories, and movies they’ve created. As a Spiritualist, I believe she checks in on us, and I know she’s seen and experienced these things in whatever way that is possible from her place on the Other Side. Still, it would be nice to have her here in person.

Mom with my niece, Samantha, who is now 18.

I hope I’ve made my mother proud over the years. I’ve tried to be as good at mothering as she was. She wasn’t perfect, and neither am I. Still, I find myself thinking more and more about how she parented my brother and me, and I think we turned out pretty well. I ask her often to watch over my sons, to help them in their struggles, and to give me patience and understanding when I’m dealing with my dad. I know she sends energy to those ends, and I’m grateful.

So a perfect Mother’s Day might not be entirely possible for me, since my mom is no longer in the body, and I can’t hug her as I’d like to. But I know I’ll have a good Mother’s Day this Sunday because I get to spend it with my family, doing something that I know we’ll all enjoy.

My talented sons recently made a book trailer for my new novel, Merlyn’s Raven. I hope you’ll check it out. And if you’re so inclined, a copy of the e-book might make a nice gift for your mom. Or buy her a Kindle and load it up with some of your favorite titles. I highly recommend the book Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed. Do read the book–I hear the movie’s not nearly as wonderful.

I wish all mothers a bright and beautiful Mother’s Day celebration. May the loving bonds we share with our moms and our children continue to strengthen and enrich our lives.

Metaphysical Movie Review: NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE

lily-dale-gate

I’ve visited the town of Lily Dale, New York, several times in the last few years. As a Spiritualist minister and medium, I’ve heard about Lily Dale ever since I began studying mediumship. Most Spiritualists consider Lily Dale to be the Mecca of the Spiritualist movement. Its own small town and community, Lily Dale was established in 1879 on the banks of a lovely lake in upstate New York as a place for believers in the new religion of Spiritualism to meet and exchange ideas. Ever since, people have been flocking to Lily Dale to experience its serene energy, to take classes and workshops presented by leading speakers and teachers in the areas of metaphysics, healing, and philosophy, and, of course, to have a chance to connect with their loved ones who have passed over to the Other Side.

Currently, 40 registered mediums live and work on the grounds at Lily Dale. To be a registered medium, one who is allowed to give private readings to those seeking these services during a visit there, a person is rigorously tested by the Lily Dale Board of Directors. I have a good friend, Rev. Jaccolin Franchina, who is a registered Lily Dale medium, and I often stay with her when I make my visits. I have had the opportunity to teach classes and workshops at Lily Dale several times in the last few years, this past June most recently, and it’s always an honor for me to present there. I enjoy the tranquility of the grounds and the sense of camaraderie I experience from being with like-minded people. I dream about Lily Dale often, and I won’t pretend I haven’t thought about becoming a resident there myself at some point in the future. So when Jaccolin told me about her appearance in the HBO documentary NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE, I was excited. I hoped that Spiritualism and mediumship would be presented accurately and fairly so that more people could see what this small, mystical town was really all about.

no-one-dies-in-lily-dale-9

The documentary, directed by Steven Cantor, was made during the 2009 summer season at Lily Dale. It mainly follows three people who have lost loved ones as they seek to communicate with them through the mediums at Lily Dale. The film shows these visitors, and others, attending Lily Dale’s daily message services and sitting with mediums for private reading sessions in their attempt to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual worlds.

For the most part, I liked the documentary. It was quite moving to get to know the seekers who had lost loved ones and to hear their stories. I found myself in tears several times, understanding and deeply feeling the anguish the seekers were experiencing. Two of them had lost children; one had lost the man she’d hoped to marry. Any loss is hard to bear, but the pain carried by these people was quite palpable throughout the film.

I was especially interested to see the mediums and how they were depicted in this film, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although we didn’t get to know any of them in intimate detail, I enjoyed hearing from several of them about how mediumship works, why they live at Lily Dale, how they interact with Spirit, and other fascinating topics. Most of the mediums featured seemed very comfortable talking about themselves, their beliefs, their homes, and their work, and they were articulate and intelligent in discussing the matters of Spirit and Spiritualism. I appreciated this very much, because I know that for many folks who watch the film, this will be their first exposure to mediumship and the people who are its ambassadors. I hope the viewers will take away many positives from their encounters with the mediums in this documentary.

Of course, I loved seeing my friend Jaccolin and her sisters featured in the film. Jaccolin and her family amaze me, as they come from a family of Spiritualists and have participated in Spiritualism all of their lives. Jaccolin also happens to be the mother of my awesome office partner, Joanne Franchina, and they’ve always made me feel just as if I’m a part of their family. I loved seeing the sisters interact, talk about their spirit relatives together, and even participate in a seance with other mediums on the grounds. This sense of community and love is something I’ve been able to witness first-hand, and it’s a joyful experience.

I also appreciated the beautiful way the film was put together. Lily Dale is a lovely place to visit, and its grounds are a treasure trove of natural beauty. These sites were often highlighted throughout the documentary, and I could feel the peace and the balance of Lily Dale’s healing energy in each of these scenes. I applaud the director for including so much of this footage.

I do have a few criticisms of the film. Well, perhaps they’re more frustrations than anything else, but they are there. I was curious as to why a visiting medium, Michelle Whitedove, was featured so prominently in the documentary. Ms. Whitedove is not a registered medium at Lily Dale, and yet she was filmed doing a private reading for one of the seekers followed in the film. Granted, the seeker did seem to find some closure and some healing after her reading with Ms. Whitedove, but I couldn’t help wondering why another Lily Dale medium wasn’t suggested to this client. Ms. Whitedove has an entertaining and rather larger-than-life personality (and some killer shoes, no less), and I found myself thinking that she was selected to be featured in the film for this reason. That’s not a criticism of her work, simply an observation. I don’t make it a habit to criticize other mediums because I know that every medium receives her information differently and presents it in line with her own personality, and I like to believe that everyone who does this work is doing it from her heart and to be of service to Spirit and humanity. I was surprised, however, to see Ms. Whitedove give medical intuitive readings on the platform at Inspiration Stump (one of the venues where the public gathers daily at Lily Dale to receive spirit messages given by the student, visiting, and registered mediums). At every Spiritualist institution I have ever worked, giving medical advice is prohibited because mediums are not medical professionals. A medium giving medical advice can place the institution in legal danger by doing so, and Ms. Whitedove brought through a great deal of medical information while at Inspiration Stump. Perhaps Lily Dale bent the rules for her just for the filming of this documentary, but I hope that this won’t continue in the future. My student mediums don’t need to be confused by seeing someone do something they know they’re not supposed to do!

I was also a bit puzzled by one of the seekers that came to Lily Dale. This lady was a fundamentalist Christian, and she’d lost her son to cancer. Because the director had made a point of showing evangelical Christians protesting at Lily Dale’s gates about the damnation of the mediums and anyone who entered there (honestly, something I tend to think was set up for entertainment purposes, as I’ve never encountered or heard about other protests taking place at Lily Dale in all the years I’ve been going), I was very surprised to see this lady take any interest at all in anything a medium would tell her about her son on the Other Side. At first, she seemed open to receiving whatever healing she could through the experience; she said as much when she first appeared in the film. However, she certainly was not open to anything the medium who read for her had to say when she sat with him. I have encountered similar experiences, and it’s definitely not fun. Again, this lady is entitled to her opinions and her beliefs, and I’m sure it makes for entertaining viewing to see two people arguing about religion and the existence of Spirit. But honestly, I couldn’t figure out her motives. If she wasn’t really open to the idea of spirits communicating and felt it was wrong according to the Bible, then why come at all? I felt the medium dealing with her handled the experience very well, but it left me feeling sorry for him and even sorrier that she wouldn’t be able to receive the healing she so desperately needed.

I also found another seeker’s reaction to her first reading at Lily Dale to be rather exasperating. So many people come into a reading with a very definite expectation of what they want to happen. They want to hear what they expect to hear, and if they don’t, it negates for them the validity of the whole reading. Granted, we did not see the entire reading during the documentary, but the seeker was obviously dissatisfied with the results and complained bitterly about how she just didn’t believe it. I couldn’t help wondering what she wanted to receive from a reading that she felt was missing. This seeker did receive a second reading that seemed more in line with her expectations, but again, I think it’s unfortunate when folks can’t keep an open mind, which will help them to realize that not everything that comes through in a reading makes sense right away. It’s also important to remember that so many of these folks are grieving when they come for help, and this can block the process and make giving and receiving a reading more difficult.

All in all, I found NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE to be a rewarding viewing experience. Seeing Lily Dale on film was wonderful, and I do feel that everyone in the documentary, mediums and seekers alike, were treated fairly, respectfully, and compassionately. Death is not an easy subject to deal with or to document, and it’s difficult to even know what to say to someone who is grieving a catastrophic loss. Healing from this pain can happen through mediumship work — I’ve seen it myself countless times, and I’m always, eternally grateful for it — and I was especially glad to see that some measure of healing came to some of those who made the pilgrimage to Lily Dale.

I look forward to visiting Lily Dale many more times in the future. I hope you’ll consider a trip there, too. In the meantime, NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE can give you a taste of what this special place is really like.

“See Ya In Another Life, Brother”

desmond-lost-finale

By now, most people who care about it have seen the series finale of the television show Lost. If the buzz I’ve heard around the Internet is any indication, people feel two ways about the ending: they either loved it, or they hated it. I unabashedly fall into the camp of those who loved it, and I’ll tell you exactly why if you indulge me and keep reading.

I came to Lost much later than most fans of the show. I’d heard a lot about it over the years, but I didn’t want to invest in another television show. I’m the kind of person who gets attached to T.V. shows pretty easily if I like the characters, but watching a weekly program is a huge time commitment, not to mention the level of emotional investment I usually tend to make. When Lost started, I wasn’t prepared to do that, and as the show continued on in subsequent seasons, I knew I’d have to start back at the beginning if I wanted to make heads or tails out of the island mythology. But I had a lot of friends who watched the program and would chat about it, and I started to feel a bit left out. Was I really missing something spectacular? It sure sounded like I was. So, last summer, at the beginning of June, I rented season one of Lost from Netflix. I knew that the upcoming season six would be its last on network television, and I wanted to get caught up on the show before it began airing its final episodes in January, 2010. My intention was to watch the show by myself–but when I saw the pilot episode, that quickly changed.

jack-lost-pilot

I was so visually and emotionally impressed with the first episode of Lost that I said to my husband and twin teenaged sons, “I think you guys would really like this show. Do you want to watch it with me?” Thus began a family odyssey last summer, where we watched the whole mystery of the plane crash, the island, and its inhabitants unfold over five seasons. We viewed all five years of the show by the end of 2009, and we were all definitely ready to invest in the final season when it began in January.

I know there are plenty of people out there who think that the mysteries of the island were not explained in a plausible, satisfactory way. I am not one of those people. Quite frankly, I never really cared much about why Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the island. Although the smoke monster and the polar bear were kind of interesting and frightening, I never really cared why they were strange anomalies on the island. Although the Others and the fights between the different factions of people made for intriguing story lines (sometimes, and sometimes for tedious ones), it never really mattered to me why or how those Others got to the island. All I cared about was the fate of the passengers who crashed, the ones I was introduced to in that pilot episode, the ones who made indelible imprints on my heart.

charlie-claire-lost-finale

Yes, some of the characters bugged me (Shannon), and some of their story lines didn’t make any sense (what was all that about Walt being psychic or something?) And yes, I am in the camp of “Why were some of those characters in the finale and some weren’t?” (Michael and Walt were noticeably absent, but Penny, who’d never even been on the island, was there.) Be that as it may, I can look past that, because the finale was so, so good in so many ways. Mostly, to me, a Spiritualist and a medium, it was incredibly emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, which is why I loved it so much.

jin-sun-lost

The beauty of the Lost finale lies in the relationships between the main characters. One by one, in their alternate reality off the island, the characters “wake up” to the reality of their lives on the island and the importance of the people that shared those experiences. The emotional intensity of the scenes between Jin and Sun, Charlie and Claire, and especially Sawyer and Juliet were some of the best moments of television I’ve ever witnessed.

sawyer-juliet-lost

Sure, the flashbacks helped, but what mattered were the connections re-made by the ones experiencing them. And as far as I’m concerned, Terry O’Quinn deserves another Emmy award for his portrayal of John Locke. His post-surgery scene with Jack was breathtaking.

105055_0223

And wasn’t that always what Lost came down to in the end? The struggle between faith, represented in earlier seasons by John Locke, and science, represented by Dr. Jack Shepherd? I think this is a huge part of the importance of Lost, but to me, the show’s message can be summed up even more simply. It’s a show about love. We see that in the finale as we watch all of the characters come together in a better understanding of themselves and each other while in the alternate reality. And we see that in Jack’s heroic actions on the island itself as he attempts to destroy the Man in Black (now walking around in Locke’s body) and to restore The Light that the island keeps on behalf of the whole universe.

Much has been made of the alternate reality timeline that has been running since the beginning of season six and plays such an important part in the final moments of the show. It’s obvious to me that the alternate reality is a level of the afterlife where, as Christian Shepherd tells his son Jack, there is “no time.” He explains it’s a place that the survivors of the plane crash made after they died so that they could all remember, let go, and move on, together. Did they all die in the plane crash, as some people seem to think, deeming the whole six seasons of Lost a kind of purgatory (or, as Richard called it, “hell”)? No. As we’ve been told many times on Lost, what happened, happened. Everyone died. They just did it at different times: some on the island (like Boone and Shannon and Libby, and, in the heart-breaking way it played out, Jack), some off the island after they’d made their final escape at a time in the future we don’t see (Kate, Sawyer, and presumably Desmond, since Hurley and Ben decided their first order of business as the new island caretakers was to get him back to Penny and their son). For me, this was a beautiful and inspiring idea on the part of the writers, an idea that highlighted once again the importance of our relationships. No matter what our actions in life (Jack’s heroics, Locke’s spiritual growth, Ben’s despicable actions and his subsequent turn-around), what carries the most weight are our connections to the people in our lives. These are the members of our soul group, the ones with whom we learn our most important and valuable life lessons. The survivors of Oceanic 815 and many of the other folks who interacted with them are members of a soul group, and they needed each other for their spiritual evolvement and growth to take place. What a beautiful message!

I’ll admit it: I cried buckets throughout the finale. I never realized how much I cared about Jack until he was mortally wounded, and he and Kate were forced to admit their true love for each other.

jack-hurley-kate-lost-finale

The scenes between Hurley and Jack were very touching as well, as were the interactions between Ben and Hurley. Hurley always was the voice of the viewer on Lost, asking the questions we wanted to ask and voicing our frustrations and our fears. How appropriate that gentle, loving Hurley ends up the caretaker of The Light when Jack completes his final earthly mission. And how wonderful that he can forgive Ben all of his faults and ask him to help with the protection of the island, allowing Ben to finally find some measure of redemption and honor, which is all he really ever wanted in the first place.

ben-hurley-lost1

Of course, being human, I was a little disappointed in a couple of things about the finale. I have a hard time believing that Sayid’s relationship with Shannon was more important than the one he shared with Nadia. But perhaps I’m being narrow-minded. Maybe Sayid’s relationship with Shannon was critical to his spiritual evolution, and this was why they were reunited in the afterlife as opposed to him being reunited with Nadia. I’ll have to live with it, I suppose, but I wanted more for Sayid, one of my favorite characters on the show and one who tried so hard to shake off the restraints of his questionable past.

sayid-shannon-lost

I also found myself wondering about the nature of Jack’s relationship with his son, David, in the afterlife they all created. What did this mean? Was this Jack’s way of trying to work out his own issues with his father before he moved on to a higher plane of the Other Side? Was David some other member of Jack’s soul group who stayed behind (like Ben) when Jack moved forward and beyond with his friends from the island?  I don’t know that I’ll ever get an explanation for this, but that’s OK. The mysteries of the Universe sometimes remain that way.

jacks-son-david-lost

Naturally, I’d love to know what happened to Sawyer, Kate, Claire, Miles, Lapidus, and especially Richard in the interim between their leaving the island and the time they all actually passed on to Spirit. What must 19th century Richard think about the modern world he finds himself in? (Is that a Lost spin-off in the making?) I’d love to know how Hurley and Ben get Desmond off the island and back to Penny (again, this might make an intriguing extra episode!) But these are minor questions that don’t really need answers. It’s gratifying to know that eventually, when they’re all ready, they find their way to the people who mean the most to them.

120169_470

By far, the scene in the church between Christian and Jack at the end of the episode was incredibly rich and emotional for me. Jack’s transformation and final understanding was incredible to watch (kudos to Matthew Fox for his work in this entire episode), and Christian’s explanations to his son’s questions were especially fulfilling to this Spiritualist medium. I also truly appreciated the set decoration touch of having a stained glass window behind the two that represented many of the world’s most prominent religions. The beauty and the immense understanding offered in the afterlife are available to everyone, no matter what faith they embraced during their physical lifetimes. By the end of Lost, Jack had become a man of faith. Yet his connection to his soul group was critical to his spiritual progression, and none of them could move on without the others–thus, the wonderful scene in the church where they’re all reunited in understanding and love once more.

jack-vincent-lost

Jack’s final scene in Lost brings the whole story full circle in an amazing way. Lying on his back in the bamboo field, bleeding out, he assumes the same position where we first saw him in the pilot episode. He accepts his death and his role in the fate of the island. As he does, Vincent runs in, just as he did when Jack first awoke after the plane crash. This time, though, Vincent lies next to Jack, a beautiful moment of power and compassion as Jack takes his final breaths. He sees the airplane fly over head, the one carrying Sawyer, Miles, Claire, Richard, Lapidus, and Jack’s true love, Kate, and he knows that he’s saved them. He smiles, reassured that he’s fulfilled his destiny. And, as the first episode of Lost began with a shot of Jack’s eye opening up, the last episode ends with a shot of Jack’s eye closing forever.

Well, until he reaches that point of understanding in the afterlife, which has been happening throughout the whole episode.

For me, this episode of Lost fulfilled my hopes for a powerful, provocative, and happy ending for the members of Oceanic Flight 815. What could possibly be better than reuniting with your true loves and your friends in a beautiful place after the hard toil, frustration, and challenge of this physical lifetime? To me, the castaways of the mysterious island deserve this fate. They’ve been through hell on earth, and they’ve found a little piece of heaven on the Other Side.

When we first met Desmond, he said something strange to Jack as they parted: “See ya in another life, brother.” He was certainly right, after all.

AP on TV Lost Reaction

Thank you, Lost. You’ve entertained my family and helped us grow closer by discussing you and your weird, quirky story lines. You’ve helped me to explain commitment and violence to my sons, thus making our communication with each other stronger and better.  You’ve filled my life with adventure and love, and you’ve ended by giving me hope and inspiration. And you delivered, by far, the best television finale I’ve ever seen.

The Radio Ambush

A week or so ago, I was a guest on an internet radio show. I do a lot of these since I’ve published my books, and, for the most part, I really enjoy them. I get to talk with some very interesting, smart, fun people about topics I love: mediumship, ghosts, Tarot, magick, Spiritualism, writing, the creative process, and many others. Whenever I get a request to do one of these shows, I try my best to fit it into my schedule. It’s another way to connect with more people and to spread the message that my books promote. I consider it an honor to be asked to appear, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Most of these radio shows are done on stations that cater to a metaphysical audience. This latest one was no exception. When the host contacted me, I checked out the webpage and thought the show’s audience would be right up my alley. They’d featured interviews with other mediums, psychics, and ghost hunters. Via email, the host and I arranged a night that would work for both of us for my appearance. That correspondence took place over 3 months before my spot. In the meantime, I tried to send him copies of my books (which didn’t work out), but we didn’t really have any other contact.

The day of my appearance (which was scheduled for that evening), I received a surprising email from the host. He explained that he had a co-host on the show who was a conservative Christian and might have some questions for me about my mediumship work. I got the distinct impression from this that there might be a confrontation about religion on the docket.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to respond. The terrified, non-confrontational part of me wanted to immediately back out. I don’t enjoy fighting about anything, let alone feeling as if I have to defend my spiritual beliefs. I even wrote an entire chapter in my latest book, Ask A Medium, about a similar topic. I wrote that chapter for all of the clients and students who tell me how much they hate trying to defend themselves against radical religious types who berate them and try to scare them out of their spiritual views. I don’t like this any more than the next guy, but over the years, I’ve learned some strategies to at least feel more sure and steady when embroiled in this kind of debate. But having to do this on the radio was not my idea of a fun time.

The responsible part of me chided myself for wanting to cancel my appearance. Having hosted my own radio show, I didn’t want to leave anyone in the lurch if I backed out at the last minute. My reasonable side posited that I had not been treated fairly and told up front that this show might turn into a religious debate, and if I didn’t want to do that, I shouldn’t harbor any qualms about saying, “Forget it.” The self-righteous part of me swelled up, too, saying that I shouldn’t be driven away from an opportunity to talk about my beliefs because I was scared I would offend someone with more strident and stringent views. I should be allowed to speak my piece; after all, wasn’t that why I was invited to participate in the first place?

In the end, I dashed off an email to the host, saying that I was not very happy about the prospect of debating religion on the air, but I would do my best.

Well, I did my best–and then some, perhaps.

Look, here’s the thing: if you’re a Christian, and even if you’re not, don’t fling Bible quotes at me. Truth be told, I like the Bible, and there are some wonderful, inspirational words of great wisdom in there. There is also some stuff that is a product of its time and the many, many interpretations and translations the writings have gone through over the centuries. Using the Bible to back up your case is like building a Three Pigs house out of sticks: it won’t withstand the wind from the Wolf. The Bible can be used to support ANY argument that you want to make. Think it’s OK to kill someone? There’s certainly a lot of havoc-wreaking vengeance in the Old Testament, often initiated by Yahweh Himself. Want to sell your daughter into slavery? Go ahead–the Bible says you can! Considering consulting a medium to talk to the dead? The Old Testament says you shouldn’t, and that God will hate you if you do–but isn’t it funny that God didn’t seem to hate Jesus when he had his pow wow with Moses and Elijah on the mountain as his disciples watched? Do you see what I’m driving at here? Evangelical Christians use the Bible as the literal Word of God, but many, like the co-host of this radio show, use it to support their way of thinking while ignoring some of the other parts that don’t suit their parameters.

So, in this radio discussion, I was lambasted with Bible quotes and had my integrity as a medium called into question. How did I know I was talking to good spirits when there are lots of righteous Christians tricked by the devil? Didn’t I know it was wrong to speak to spirits? Didn’t I worry about the health of my soul?

Well, quite frankly: give me a flipping break.

I believe in intention. And I believe in a loving, nurturing God. If you set your intention to always remain in that Divine Energy that is God, then you are not going to touch in with anything in your mediumship work that is evil or negative. Why? Because God’s energy is in EVERY energy. If you set your intention to connect with the Divine Spark of God that resides within every energy, then you will be able to connect with loving, high vibration energies of loved ones who have passed as well as guides, teachers, and angels. Yes, I am aware of the warnings in the Bible that the devil can disguise himself as an angel. But why would a loving God allow this to happen? If you set your intention to connect first with God, then God is not going to allow anything negative to happen to you. Period. Nothing can harm you. You will find your peace, and you will do your work–any work–in that loving light of Creator. End of story.

So what happened in the interview? I tried to be patient, and I tried to answer the questions in a mild tone of voice and explain my position as lovingly as I could. I even threw a few Bible quotes of my own in there to prove my point about being able to use the Bible to support any position. (Another reason not to quote the Bible to me: I can quote it right back to you, mister.) But ultimately, I said, “Look. You are not going to convince me that I’m wrong, and I’m not going to convince you that you’re wrong. You have your faith, and I have mine. All we’re doing in arguing is perpetuating a negative energy cycle because we’ll wind up mad at each other. Why do that?” Eventually, the co-host relented, and the first host went on with questions about mediumship development–questions I would much rather answer.

I am not advocating disagreements here, nor am I advocating picking a fight and trying to belittle someone else. But I am advocating standing up for your beliefs. Educate yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to read arguments against your beliefs and then to come up with intelligent answers as to why those arguments don’t hold any water. If you’re going to argue theology, know your subject. Be as smart as you can about what you do so that you can present your side in a thoughtful, organized, intelligent way. Knowledge is power.

Try not to let yourself become embroiled in a heated argument, though. I did my best in this instance to control my temper. It takes a lot to make me mad, but I was mad by the end of that segment. (And hey: Jesus got mad in the Bible, too. Remember the scene he made at the temple?) But I tried to remember that keeping a cool head was only going to make me look more reasonable, and raising my voice in anger would make me look defensive. In the end, I was proud of myself for defending my beliefs and not backing down when confronted while remaining reasonable and gracious.

I was, however, quite miffed about the whole situation. I don’t think it was very professional of these radio hosts to treat me this way. I think there’s a lesson here for me about better preparation for these shows. I’ll have to be more careful, more selective, in the future. So I do thank Spirit for this, because I know it will make me a better person in the long run.

I hope some of you will find encouragement by reading this post. Be respectful, but don’t make nice; don’t back down. Your beliefs, and your integrity, are worth more than that.

The Dixie Chicks say it pretty darn well.

May blessings abound for you.

Tarot Tuesday 3-31-09

Before we get to Tarot Tuesday, I have to say: Happy Birthday, Modern Spiritualism!

fox-sister-maggie-kate-leah

This is a picture of Maggie, Kate, and Leah Fox. Maggie and Kate are thought to be the founders of Modern Spiritualism. On March 31, 1848, the girls discovered that they could communicate with a spirit entity that was inhabiting their family home. The spirit established contact by rapping on the walls, and the girls developed a method of questioning the spirit, who would then knock out answers that corresponded to the letters of the alphabet. It was later discovered that this spirit was Charles B. Rosna, a traveling tinker that had been murdered. His body was unearthed in the Fox house’s cellar many years later. Maggie and Kate, along with their older sister, Leah, became very famous mediums and demonstrated their communication abilities for many years. Spiritualism swept through the United States and Europe as more and more people became interested in communicating with the dead and tried to enhance their own spiritual development. So thanks, Maggie and Kate, for opening the eyes of the world to the possibilities of spirit contact!

*****

Today’s Tarot Tuesday question comes from Maria, who writes: “Are my partner and I as rock steady as I think we are?”  To answer this question, Spirit led me to the beautiful Shapeshifter Tarot, by D. J. Conway and artist Lisa Hunt (check out Lisa’s website, linked in my blog roll on the right hand side of the page). The Shapeshifter is a nontraditional Tarot deck in that it’s added a few extra Major Arcana cards, and the suits of the Minor Arcana don’t correspond to the usual suits in a traditional Tarot deck. The cards are quite beautiful and evocative, however, as you can see from the sample picture below:

shapeshifter

When I use this deck, I tend to use more intuitive reading methods than traditional card interpretations, since it’s such an unusual deck. I also do not read reversed cards in this deck since so many of the images spur such detailed interpretations. In linking with Spirit, I felt a 5-card reading for Maria’s question would give some good insight into where her relationship has been, where it is now, and where it’s going in the future. Here are the cards I threw after my normal shuffling and 3-stack cutting method:

Card 1: God (King) of Earth (Pentacles)

Card 2: Major Arcana The Lovers

Card 3: 5 of Earth (Pentacles)

Card 4: Goddess (Queen) of Water (Cups)

Card 5: Goddess (Queen) of Earth (Pentacles)

Because I wanted more clarity for an outcome card, I threw one additional card:

Card 6: Major Arcana Choice (The Devil)

The first card, the God of Earth, gives us an idea of the foundation of Maria’s spirit. It’s important to her to feel stable and solid, and the Major Arcana Lovers card coming right next to this tells us that she’s found a good relationship with her current partner. The Lovers card indicates a relationship that serves Maria on many different levels: emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. It seems from the imagery of this card that she and her partner have built a bonded relationship with a great deal of growth potential. 

The 5 of Earth in the present time, however, brings a somber energy to the reading. This card depicts a desolate tree and many sad faces that blend into its roots and its branches. Maria and her partner may be experiencing some loss or isolation at this time, but the important thing for them to do is to allow this emotional landscape to bring them closer, not to drive them apart. Sometimes when we’re feeling down, we shut out the very people who can most help us to feel better again. The 5 of Earth reminds Maria to be supportive of her partner, but also to allow her partner to support her, too. 

The Goddess of Water and Goddess of Earth cards represent the energies of Maria and her partner and where they will be in the next several months. Both of these people have very different personalities and energies. I am especially impressed with the beautiful imagery on the Goddess of Water card, which depicts a woman sweeping over a calm body of water with a lovely swan overshadowing her. I feel that Maria is especially creative and has some very deep, hidden emotions. Some of these are emerging because of the relationship she’s currently in, and she may feel more comfortable sharing these secret feelings that she’s never shared before. She is revealing the beautiful swan within her (when maybe she’s always felt like an ugly duckling), and this is a huge, important step forward. Similarly, the Goddess of Earth, representing her partner, depicts a lovely half-woman, half-rabbit image, with beautiful green swirling around her. I feel that Maria’s partner is making great strides in her understanding of herself and her needs, too, and that although she may have a strong need to remain active, she also needs peace and balance that only a nurturing, sheltering partner can provide. There is healing that comes to her in this relationship, too, which Maria may not acknowledge, but it’s very prevalent and very nice.

Finally, I drew one more card to see how the two would proceed forward together for the next few months. The Major Arcana card Choice, or The Devil in the traditional deck, tells me that this relationship has come together for karmic reasons. There is more going on here at a deep, intrinsic level than either partner may completely understand. However, this card depicts a couple looking up, moving up, with their hands clasped together–not bound by ropes or chains, but holding hands because they want to support each other. This card indicates that movement forward in the relationship is very possible, and indeed probable. Of course, it’s always up to the two people involved in the relationship, but the steps are laid out for the couple to follow. They need to acknowledge their differences but remember that these can make their life together stronger and better. There is energy surrounding them to carry them forward as well as support from the spirit world. The choice is theirs whether they move forward together, but the cards indicate a strong relationship where differences are celebrated and embraced rather than used as an excuse to separate.

Maria, I hope this helps you. Thank you for allowing me to touch in with your spirit!

*****

Folks, the blog may not be a priority for the next several weeks as I finish up my new manuscript. I promise to update when I can. Until we meet again–be happy, be at peace, and know how loved you are!

xo

WordPress Themes