Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

 

Graciella la Gitana Oracle

The weekend was filled with friends, food, and partaking of spiritual sustenance. There was celebration and ceremony. I’m not able to do any of these things alone and they are all done by choice.  These are some of the activities that allow me to refuel so that I can do the other things that may be my life’s work but also may leave me vulnerable or feeling drained- no matter how much I love my work or feel that it is my chosen path. While I may have chosen to do my work, I fully believe that my Higher Power and chosen me to do the service that I do.

Graciella la Gitana Oracle- Health-Salud

Reading for week of October 14, 2018:

This evening I went through my regular ritual of smudging with sage in my abalone shell. I had first lit a candle, one of the tall boys, and shuffled and fanned the cards. Before I pulled the card, I centered and felt myself become one with my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana. We pulled the card together. It was the Health-Salud card that came to the front of the room to speak for us. Health is one of those fundamental aspects of ourselves that we must tend to on a daily basis in one way or another. Health encompasses the body-mind-spiritual connection. There are other aspects such as financial and housing concerns that need to addressed to keep ourselves balanced and feeling a sense of general well-being.

Last Monday I ended up having a cold and was glad to leave work finally at five. While I was sitting on the train imagining the comfort of my bed I received a call that my eighty eight year old Dad was in the hospital with similar symptoms and fever. Instead of curling up, I walked my pups, had a quick dinner, and spent the evening in the emergency room with him until the doctor determined a quick treatment and discharge back to his assisted living facility would help him get on the right track. I eventually got home and slept a great restorative sleep. He was better the next day and I was a few days later. A couple of days ago, my spouse received disappointing news and is now pretty sick too.

The card shows one in need of help and the other tending to that person. Whether the treatment be herbs, bandages, or the love of another that can help a person heal there are certain things that we mustn’t take for granted. The green area rug shows me the foundation of the earth that we need to stay grounded and is reminiscent of the outdoors that will provide us with fresh air. The green also reminds me of how a walk in nature, especially these days with the autumn leaves crunching underfoot, will take me a long way toward the tranquility that I often miss in the city that is bustling and busy and often chaotic. It is okay to take to my bed sometimes and pull those covers up to my neck if I need to remove myself from the pandemonium of my world. The old saying, Stop the world, I need to get off, may be exactly what needs to be done in order to return a refreshed version of ourselves.

Con mucho cariño,

Theresa y Graciella 

More on Spiritual Familiars

The Love Potion by Evelyn De Morgan

Last Sunday night’s reading was fascinating for me. I hadn’t given much thought to familiars until Graciella pointed one out when we pulled the Wind- Viento Card from the Oracle deck. The little white dog that accompanies Graciella shows up in several of the cards. There is also a larger brown dog that sits by her side when she engages in divinatory practices. I was intrigued and decided to search for more information. I was captured by the concept of familiars.

I was initially dismayed to see that familiars are thought to be demonic. It’s probably because I have my own little white dog, who is my heart. There is nothing demonic about my four-legged, except for when she tries to bite my fingers when she’s had enough of human contact. She does this instead of walking away like most beings. I believe that since familiars are thought of in the context of working with witches that, of course, they would be thought of as demonic starting in medieval times. During witch hunts, cats were feared just as the wise women who were close to the earth, who used natural remedies that worked, and who were healers in every sense of the word. What could be more frightening in those times, just as to many today, than a woman who could bring healing change to the ill in dark times?

The reading I did revealed that familiars often choose who they will work with. It reminds me that my pup, Ginger, was sitting in a cage as we walked by searching for our forever pet. She made eye contact with me and barked, simultaneously hitting the cage latch. I knew immediately that she was mine. That we needed to listen and bring her home. She actually chose Chutney, our younger pooch, but that’s another story. Ginger would have preferred the chinchilla but Chutney resembled one closely enough as a teeny pup. Some other familiars come in the forms of toads, birds, rabbits, and ferrets. 

Familiars have also been called fairies and their main purpose is to serve a witch or young witch, providing protection for them as they come into their new powers (Wilby, 2005). Fairies, wood nymphs, and such are thought of as more pure than animal familiars. It’s said that when separated from their human that they become weak or drained of their own energy. This reminds me of Peter Pan. Tinkerbell certainly lost her juice when she couldn’t flit about doing what she does.

There’s so much I still want to learn about familiars. Do you know something that you could share in comments below about familiars? Please do!

Below is a book to explore:

Wilby, Emma (2005). Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press

Graciella la Gitana Oracle Weekly Reading

Family is here. Outings are planned. Happiness has arrived! Taking a moment to sit with the cards to do the week’s reading is as important as all the wonderful things we are involved with here at our house! Sitting still for a moment is always priority. As always, I smudge with sage, light a white candle, and feel Graciella’s energy combine with mine. We center, fan the cards, and choose the one for this week’s reading. So it is done!

Reading:

Together, Graciella and I chose the Wind-Viento card. Usually we read this card as a card of transformation. Today it also brings a reminder to play with abandon in the winds. Note the little white dog in the image. Graciella’s familiar. We are used to our familiars, those beings that are close to us that come in the form of a pet, a crow, a dog, or maybe a cat. They are with us at all times. Sometimes in the visible and oftentimes in the invisible. Our familiars, spiritual buddies if you will, enjoy us, provide us information, and also protect us. Whether we are in touch with it or not. During the coming week, gaze at your familiar. Strengthen the bond that has been created between you and it. It may be that when your cat stretches across your keyboard as you desperately write a few lines, that it is giving you the message to relax, stretch, play, give it the attention it seeks. You may hear or see what you have not been privy to yet. They may be bringing you the message you most need to hear if you take a moment to listen. Listen to the winds, listen to your familiar. They speak of times transformed.

Con mucho cariño,

Theresa y Graciella

 

Spiritualism: Victoria Woodhull, still today’s woman

The sin of all time has been the exercise of assumed powers. This is the essence of tyranny. -Victoria Woodhull

I kept a picture of Victoria Woodhull on my altar during my doctoral process at New York University. Victoria Woodhull with a whisper of a smile gazed at me benevolently in her silver case frame. I’d begun feeling her presence everywhere. My review of the literature led me to her. Granted that my topic was not originally about Spiritism or Spiritualism but that’s what happened. Because I was engaged in qualitative research, part of my study was to enter into the participants’ world without going native. I began exploring the world of spiritualism and eventually went native.

My gatekeeper invited me to misas, séances, where spiritual messages were channeled through mediums. I began reading on the topic and met channelers, mediums for the departed, and people who readily told me things about myself that they couldn’t possibly know. It reminded me of the backstory of my early life that had brought me much fear. As a very young child, my mother took my older sister and me to visit my sister’s paternal grandmother. She was in the middle of supposedly being spiritually possessed and yelled out that mother should break a leg. I don’t think she meant that in a stage performance celebratory wish of good luck! We had a hard time with that one since my mom did fall into a wide pothole on the way home and my sister’s initial illness started with subcutaneous hemorrhage of her legs. I had to work through that before I could embrace spiritualism and all the good it has brought me.

Victoria was born Victoria Claflin and was a role model for many women. From early childhood, she practiced as a clairvoyant and fortune-teller to augment her family’s income. She was a foreperson in the suffrage movement and her primary focus was promoting the idea of Free Love. Simply, free love was the notion that women should have choice in husbands, of having children, and the option of a divorce that was unheard of in those times. In 1870 she and her sister, Tennessee (Tennie), took Wall Street by storm when they opened the first female brokerage business. When I’ve walked along Great Jones Street I have imagined her walking along the cobblestone path in her long swishing skirts. Tennessee was close to Cornelius Vanderbilt and it was rumored that he made much of his fortune on her advice as a spiritualist.

Victoria and Tennie started a newspaper called Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly that addressed issues of equality for women such as free love, spiritualism, sex education and licensed prostitution.  While some of the other women’s rights advocates such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton saw her as a champion, others like The Beecher sisters who were powerful in those circles were not as open to her movement. In fact, Ms. Woodhull spent many a day incarcerated in the Tombs in New York City because she was such a threat.

Victoria was the first woman on the ballot for US Presidency in 1872. A major concern was that the female vote was not instituted until fifty years later. Frederick Douglass was nominated to be her running partner for Vice Presidency but did not acknowledge the nomination.  While they were both tirelessly fighting for the abolition of slavery, Ms. Woodhull’s prime focus was to promote the concept of free love.

Victoria Woodhull showed up on my pages in Coney Island Siren. One of the protagonist’s, Ellen, journals about her and is taken with her ways that leads to independence. The women of those times were in desperate need of hope that life could change and they wouldn’t have their lives dictated to them by people who never thought of them as people but as mere possessions. I believe there are many women who live under those conditions even today. I think it’s time for me to replace Victoria’s picture on my altar. Her sense of cause and action is one to be emulated still today.

Two wonderful books about Ms. Woodhull are:

Other Powers: the age of Suffrage and Spiritualism by Barbara Goldsmith and

Notorious Victoria: the Life of Victoria Woodhull by Mary Gabriel

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

 

My last blog post from the Graciella la Gitana Oracle © reading was in 2013.  The oracle hadn’t been completed and was changing in my hands at a fast pace. The concepts were shifting and the images were still under construction. I’m happy to say that the oracle is completed and at the printers.  I’m awaiting the sample in the mail. Once they are approved, by me, I will begin sharing them with you. The lyrical verses are both in English and Spanish. The packaging is divine. My fingers are crossed that they will be ready for shipping by the holidays.  I will be offering them at a promotional pre-order rate on this website. My plan is to do workshops early in the coming year for those of you who are interested in instruction on the different ways to read the oracle. I give my profound thanks to Mara Cordova, the illustrator, Orlando Ferrand, who translated, and Patricia Dornelles, who embarked on the art design for the packaging.

Below is the general weekly reading that Graciella and I did today for our readers. I won’t be writing out the verses that are in the booklet, those you can obtain with the deck. I do personal consultations if you’d like to reach out. I can do readings by phone if you’re not close by. Graciella and I aim to share her collective wisdom with the readings. If they don’t resonate at first, revisit the post a few days later. They may be more personal to you at that point.

XO

Theresa

Reading for September 30, 2018

As always in preparation, I smudged with sage, centered, lit a white candle, and shuffled the deck. I fanned it out in front of me. I felt Graciella’s energy and together we pulled a card. This week’s general concept is Friendship-Amistad. I listened for Graciella’s words and wrote them down as I heard them.

Reading:

There is no need to be alone or to feel alone as you truly aren’t. There are many who have shared separately in circumstances such as the ones that you are experiencing at this time. There may be a sense of solitude but that cloak may be easily shed by actively throwing it off. Don’t wait for someone to take it off for you. There’s no room for passivity here. Stretch your arms out to touch those like-minded individuals who can support you through any tribulation toward triumph. You are not holding the circle of friendship together by yourself but are merely one of the links that hold the golden strands collaboratively. Each piece gathers cooperatively to make the whole. Just like in a charm bracelet, occasionally a link may need repair or a charm may go missing. A little prayer, to St. Anthony, perhaps, often brings back the wayward piece, back to the circle in which it belongs and lives thereafter quite happily with the other charms- linked together in eternity. Times may seem trying but they are not insurmountable with the strength of friendship, with the love of a friend.

Con todo cariño,

Theresa y Graciella

©

The Veils are Thin

Spirits invite us

To walk through veils in the dark

The doors are open

We’re in autumn now. We celebrate Halloween and Samhain. We honor All Souls’ Day and All Saints day. Those of us who are developed intuitively feel in touch with spirit throughout the year. The rest of us may feel something out of the ordinary at this time of year but are unable to know for certain that we are in touch with the spiritual world.

We recently went on a Victorian Tour at the Green-Wood Cemetery. The sky was overcast and the ambiance just right. A couple of the guests were dressed in layered Goth-Victorian dress. We heard about the eighteenth century fad of using arsenic in facial creams, of the famous rapping Fox sisters, and the early death of mesmerist Irving Washington. We heard about spiritualism. Wait, I thought, I know about spiritualism.

This past summer I attended several of the New York Historical Society’s events on practices that were reignited when so many young men were killed in World War I. During this tour the guide spoke about spiritualism in relation to the Civil War. She mentioned how once William H. Mumler, a spiritual photographer, was exposed as a fraud that was the end of the popularity of spiritualism. I learned so much from the tour guide, but I know that spiritualism is alive and well.

My initial contact with spiritualism brought a special joy to me. It grew quickly in the 1990s as I worked as a mental health nurse in the community with people who were living and dying of HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Experiences were diverse and unexpected. One of my then clients, Richard, who was an artist, gave me a special showing of his art work displayed on his kitchen floor turned gallery. His first edition Allen Kardec books were bound with dried roses. Richard crossed over a few short months later. My early experience with him was just a prelude as to how deeply I would delve into spiritualism. This was also a time I began attending misas that are spiritual séances. When prayers were read from Kardec’s selection of Spiritist prayers my awareness of the connection of all things spiritual began to take hold.

My novels Covering the Sun with My Hand and Nights of Indigo Blue both have components of seances and spiritualism that the protagonists, Julia and Daisy, experience. Spirituality, for me, is as necessary as brushing my teeth after meals. I feel so much better when I tend to these basic needs. My creation of the Graciella la Gitana Oracle is all a result of spiritualism. I talk to spirits and they talk to me. I frequently speak about how the stories I receive are whispered to me by spirits. I plan to begin doing a weekly reading on this site using Graciella’s Oracle. These posts will alternate with my knowledge and experiences with spiritualism and how they integrate with my writing. See you here!


Full Harvest Moon

The moon filled the expanse of the sky

She kissed us

This feminine energy

Of love everlasting

My dad drove us into East New York to order the capias that we’d pin to our clothing, for my infant daughter’s christening. It was a time that telephones were still attached to the wall,  advertisements were found in glossy magazines, and textbooks were the only requirements for college learning. I’d used a phone directory to guide me toward the mom and pop shop that would make the perfect party favors.

We sat in the front seat of the Malibu Classic and I held my baby girl in my arms. We turned a corner and there over two-story buildings hung the moon. Splendid. It could have been that my state of love changed my vision, but the moon was deep orange in the dark blue sky and she captivated me. I later found out she was the Harvest Moon.

Over the years, I’ve come to know the Harvest Moon as the one who shines her love infinitely.  She returns each autumn along with the manifestation of whatever  creativity we’ve engaged in for the year. We reap what we sow. That saying always seemed harsh to me. When I reflect on it though, I see that it usually aptly fits and in a positive manner.

I recently recounted to my spouse that I miss my Dad driving me around. He hasn’t driven in years. He gave that up in his sixties. Just like when he put his pack of cigarettes down and never picked up another one. When he made those types of decisions he stuck to them. He’ll be 88 years on September 23- a night close to the full harvest moon this year. He’s still at the assisted living facility. It’s a good place for him and for me. I visit with him and he plays a mean game of dominoes. Doing the math in his head, as he counts points, is the one thing Alzheimer’s hasn’t robbed him of yet. Each week, I take note of something else he’s left behind.

I miss my Dad and the car. When I was super small, he drove me around wherever he went. I was his companion. He often left me in the car when he went into a store. This would be against all of our rules today but then it was just the way we lived. On Saturday’s he’d park on the streets of Red Hook and tool around with his car for hours. I usually sat in the front seat with a new comic book. Archie. Betty and Veronica. Josie and the Pussy Cats. When I was a freshman at community college, he drove me early in the morning to the hospital where I was student nurse. Sometimes he’d pick me up and take me to Flushing Avenue where he’d choose LPs at the record shop. It wasn’t a stretch that I’d be sitting with him and my daughter in the car when I first spied the moon and the moon spied me. I miss those times.

Life has changed. My daughter lives out of state but we still share the love of the moon. We’ll probably chat on the phone this week. I’ll visit my Dad today and he’ll probably chuckle at my domino losses. We’ll take him out to lunch to celebrate his 88 years if he’s up to it. At night, my spouse and I will probably continue to chase the moon. It’s a tender time for which I am grateful.

I prayed that to the moon

XO

Theresa

Say her name- Gladys Ricart

Gladys Ricart. Say her name out loud and she will live through all eternity. She will never be forgotten.

I didn’t know her personally, but I’d heard about her. How? I’m not sure. I think that I told someone about the book I was writing, and they mentioned the annual bride march. Ms. Ricart is one of those people who became famous after her death, although to her family and friends she was loved profoundly both on this planet and after she’d been murdered by an ex-boyfriend who purported to love her. Instead, he shot her in front of her loved ones on her wedding day. This all happened in 1999. There’s so much backstory that I don’t have. I only know the spirit of what occurred through my reading.

Ms. Ricart’s death was yet another in the senseless push-pull of one person’s dominance over another. She’d, according to what I’ve read, claimed her space in the world and chose to walk away from what was not healthy for her and walk toward love. This was effectively stopped by a coward who couldn’t handle the devastation he felt by her ability to be a fully independent person- functioning separate from him. He chose to engage in this act of rage and cease all possibilities for Ms. Ricart’s future.

When I began writing Coney Island Siren I wasn’t so thrilled when I realized it was going to be about domestic violence. As a mental health nurse, in all aspects of my practice, I’ve worked with women who have barely survived similar terribly harrowing situations. What I’ve desired for many has not come to fruition, in terms of my clients getting out of these disastrous relationships. It devastates, not only the individual, but families, children, and whole scores of women. I know that some of you will say it’s not only women, it’s men too. I respect that, but I’m focusing on the women in my experience.

In Coney Island Siren, the protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, lives this same type of existence. Always looking over her shoulder. Trying not to say the wrong thing. Sneaking her way to happiness. My heart is hurting for these women. I know I’ll probably sit in front of another tomorrow in my office at work. For this, I am committed.

On September 26, 2018 the 27th Annual Brides March will be held in NYC. We an join that march to honor Gladys Ricart and all women who valiantly march on this path on a daily basis.

Here’s the link for more information on how you can participate:

http://www.bridesmarch.com/

Time takes Time

 

 We had lots of chaos at our house during the spring when a harsh wind took down several of the tall pines on our property. We hired the landscaper to pull down whatever trees and branches were still dangling. After carting lots of the branches off and grinding huge stumps, the landscaper’s truck broke down. It seemed like we’d never be rid of the last tree carcass that took up the back of the house.

Our prayer and meditation site had also been blocked by fallen trees way in the back and we decided he could help us by moving some rocks to bring it closer to the house. The landscaper got the truck repaired but found a busted part that was made by the repair person. That was fixed eventually too. He’s finally finished the whole job, now in early September. Trees and rocks have been moved. Our prayer and meditation site is serene perfection. The fairies are happy and so are we.

That’s all just a snapshot of the backstory of my life. The frontstory about my writing is that it’s also stalled. My computer went dead. I couldn’t decide which computer I wanted to replace it. It seemed like there was a big old foot on the brake of my life. I eventually got a replacement writing implement. But I couldn’t do my creative writing because I’m tying up two projects that have been in the gestational stage forever.

I guess the projects are twins. The oracle is being born first. That makes it the younger twin who is scouting out the road for the older twin, Coney Island Siren. The oracle is on a hard path already. It’s kind of born but not. We’re having template issues with the printing company and just can’t seem to get it right.

I’m hoping these problems will be resolved like the trees, the rocks, and the computer. It’s taken group effort for each of these projects to be completed. Every person on the team is incredibly motivated, talented, and giving their all. While I’m dealing with technicalities and administrative processes my creative writing is quietly waiting for its turn to be back in my front story.

It seems like time is stalled. A few months back during my trip to Cuba a wise elder told me to get rid of any watches that had stopped running. I held onto two. One was my Timex that takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ and the other is my silver Mercury watch. The face is of the mercury dime with a headdress of wings to fly. I especially love this image of mercury. It reminds me of the FTD symbol. Ready to go and deliver at a moment’s notice. The deeper meaning for me is that Mercury, Mercurius ter Maximus also known as Thoth, and as Hermès Thrice Born, Hermès Trismegistus, who is adept in alchemical processes. Magic.

I went to a local jeweler convinced I’d have to be rid of the watches lovely silver mesh band that I thought was beyond repair. He suggested leather but then looked at me and said, I think you prefer silver. Of course, I’m a child of the moon! He told me he could easily fix it. A few minutes later both watches were in fine working order. Time was moving again. The jeweler was just another person who stepped in to make things work for me.

Time is rolling nicely again. There have been solutions and resolutions to things that I couldn’t figure out by myself. My impatience will admonish me about all the things I’m not accomplishing. When I’m right-sized I know something or someone other than me will come forth and help me and my creative endeavors move forward nicely again.

I prayed that to the moon.

XO

Theresa

 

 

 

Chasing the Moon

I’m smitten with the moon and that’s something that anyone who’s read my posts over the last few months knows. This last full moon-the full sturgeon moon seemed to go unnoticed by me. There was no post. I hadn’t forgotten it. I was out chasing it.

Pat and I were on Coney Island Boardwalk waiting for Luna’s appearance in the sky. We’ve been going there frequently taking photos for the cover of Coney Island Siren.  We sat near the Parachute jump. It was dusk so we were witness to many families dragging coolers, carts, and kids. Toddlers were carried along with umbrellas. I marveled at the energy needed to make it back home after a day in the sun. The sights brought back my  memories of hiking to the beach with my children when they were little. This was something my parents did for us too.

The sky was quickly darkening and we were scrutinizing it. Was it too cloudy to see her? Were we at the right place? We had pulled up our directions on the phone and we were certain she’d be up soon. Moon rise was almost here. As we waited, we saw a couple toting the supplies they needed for the day. Mama was pushing a stroller and seemed weary as she lugged a few bags along with it. Papa was alongside speaking loudly, insultingly, to her. She appeared to ignore him. I guess trying not to rile him up any more than he was. But he got louder and louder. It seemed like he had one ray of sun too many. He reminded me of a cranky toddler whose parent forgot to give him a nap.

Up close, as they neared, it was obvious that this was a scene that was all too common. For them. For many. A shiver went over me although it was about 85 degrees on that boardwalk. It occurred to me that if he felt free to act this way in public that it would be a lot worse when they arrived at their home. Another family walked by and the man in that group suggested the first guy take it easy. He said it gently. He saw the danger and wanted to quell it. Instead, this peaceful action antagonized the angry one who began focusing his anger on the man instead of the wife. For the moment.

It chilled me. This was a scene right out of the first chapter of Coney Island Siren. Frank takes hold of Maggie and tries to insinuate his misery on her. A passerby tries to stop him. To no avail. There’s never rhyme or reason to violence, in this case, the domestic kind of violence. There’s an entitlement to it that says I can do this. I own this and I can do whatever I want. It never makes sense. The families separated at the stairs, one to the parking lot and the other toward Surf Avenue.

Pat and I decided to walk down toward the other end of the boardwalk. Still searching for the moon. Trying to make sense of what we just saw and how we saw it on a night we were scouting out for a cover of the book that had the almost exact scene in it. Suddenly we saw her. Luna called down to us with her beautiful orangey glowing countenance. Pat took pictures from the beach. We let Grandmother moon turn her embrace of kindness, caring, and warmth on us and prayed that the woman who we saw would feeling the energy too. We prayed for her and for the women we aren’t, the ones who live these existences in their daily lives, like dresses that don’t fit but they’re the only ones they have, so they wear them. Some of them inherited those dresses from their mothers and they don’t know what to do to get a different one.

The August Sturgeon moon is called that because it is when an abundant number of sturgeon were caught in North American lakes and rivers. Among other names, this moon is also called by the native people’s name, Berries Ripening Moon. This is a time of gathering the ripe fruit and making jams that is traditionally women’s work. Women and children gather and may only include a very young male child who may still be breastfeeding. There is a power to women working, playing, and praying together. My teacher, Oh Shinnah Fastwolf, used to tell us that only women belong in women’s ceremony together. Gathering berries and making jams is a ceremony, I believe. Oh Shinnah said, the men should be holding their own ceremonies.  I’m hoping that more ceremonies, that is part of creating spiritual lives, will take place. Ceremonies contain tradition, ritual, prayer, and a sense of honor and respect for oneself and other.

I prayed that to the moon.

XO

Theresa