Dreaming in a new decade: 2020

Doggie Dreams

Do you remember your dreams? The ones you have in the night? I often do. A few nights ago, I dreamt that I was a staff nurse again after a long hiatus. I wasn’t doing a very good job. My patient who was a female was just not going to make it. A different nurse, a young woman, came in and the patient woke up and I had the sense the patient was going to recover. I had different interpretations of that dream. The one that stays with me now is to move on when the time has come. Our dreams can coincide healthily with those of others too. I think of the old dreams I had in the middle of the day. My daydreams. Those thoughts led to my many desires and visions. I couldn’t help but contemplate what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t. Have you been thinking of your dreams too? 2020 has arrived.

My dreams have changed over the years. I remember a big one was to be a nursing supervisor in the hospital I worked at in lower Manhattan. Wearing a lab coat over a pretty dress while carrying a clipboard with I-don’t-know-what on it was something I strived for. I also had a futile dream. One in which I was an Olympic ice skater twirling along the ice with my skirt flipping to Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway singing about love. Those were memorable. They didn’t come to fruition because I didn’t put the step work into them that would have ensured success.

Over the years, with lots of inner work and outside help, other dreams have come true for me. I remember telling a friend over thirty years ago that I wanted to write a children’s book. I haven’t yet. The nugget of the story is embedded in my heart and in a notebook where I’ve written ideas and character descriptions. A pocket in the notebook holds a drawing my daughter created for me of the characters. They are alive and their stories will be on paper in book form if I continue to work at it. I’ve realized that some of my projects take years to complete, if I stay on the course.

I’ve written a list of dreams that I would like to come to fruition in 2020. I’ll place these on my 2020 vision board sometime today. I write words on my vision board because that is my venue. Other folks use pictures and I may sprinkle a few on my board. I will be sure to leave an open space for Spirit to come through with Spirit’s vision for me. There may be some things that I’m not ready for and other things that I am that I’m not aware of yet. I embrace what Spirit knows. I don’t know as much and I’m content with that. I don’t have all my answers. That’s one of the reasons that I embrace the knowing of my Higher Power.

My vision for 2020 includes remain close with my family members, dating my spouse, a few writing projects, and travel. These visions are fulfilled by listening, picking up the phone, sitting at my desk, solitary runs, prayer, and meditation. These actions bring me to a level of serenity that I quickly lose when I forget to do them. I have a sweet feeling about this coming year. I hope you do too. I gently allow the pains and joys of the past year and decade wash through me and move along the river waters of my life. I gently accept the experiences my Higher Power has for me this coming year and decade.

What dreams do you have for 2020? Are you creating a vision board? How do you ensure that your visions and dreams come to fruition? Do you allow for an open space for your Higher Power to come through for you?

In joy and light and the clarity only 2020 can bring,



¡Comité Noviembre!

Every year I want to write a blog post about the most enjoyable event of the year for Puerto Rican Artists and Authors. The formal name is National Puerto Rican Artisans Fair and Book Expo. I think. It’s brought to us by PRIDA Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts. The event takes place annually at Hostos Community College on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. It’s an amazing way to begin holiday shopping for our loved ones and for the authors and artists to showcase their work in what otherwise proves to be a great challenge in New York City.

Luis Cordero, Olga Ayala, Teresa A. Santiago and Yadhira Gonzalez work tirelessly to make this an outstanding event. There are countless others, especially volunteers, who are involved, so be sure to look at the link I’ll provide at the bottom of this page for PRIDA so you can know all about it and how it transpires.

I haven’t made it to the workshops where participants learn to dance Bomba with Milteri Tucker, making of Vejigante masks by Felipe Rangel, or the children’s workshop with Teresa A. Santiago who tells the Story of the Three Kings. I’m stationed at my shared table and usually spend a few minutes at the mic reading from one of my latest novels.

Here are some photos that my spouse, Patricia Dornelles, and I took of friends, old and new, who stopped by our table and of some of the products we had on had this year. Every year is a new event with different items and books that we’ve created over the past twelve months.

Me, Theresa Varela, and a table full of creativity
Patricia Dornelles and Gloria Rodriguez

Graciella’s oracle and Pat’s photo creativity
Ella Santos and me
A new friend and me
Me, Pat Dornelles, Manuel Melendez, and Maria Aponte
Latanya DeVaughn, Manual Melendez, and me

I ‘m already anticipating next year’s event. I hope you will be there too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PRIDA: https://www.prida.org/


Graciella’s Spiritual Reading in the time of the Full Beaver Moon

Photo from Shifting-vibration.com

A full moon is at its zenith in terms of waxing. We think of waxing as the time to work towards things or take action on what we’d like to come to fruition. The full beaver moon certainly depicts one who is busy building, developing, storing, or demolishing in a quest for creation. When we create there’s usually a hope that whatever structure we’ve built will be strong and withstand monsoon rains and winds if need be. We use our strong teeth to whittle, to break, to tug, as we establish our place on this earth.

Along with the traditional native view points of the Beaver Moon, we are also enjoying Taurus in the Full Moon. We Taureans are sure footed bulls and love to have comfort, the kind such as the beaver has worked hard for and we may look lazy standing there chewing our grass. We are really sensual beings and are enjoying the fruits of our labor. We Taureans also often allow things to slide until it becomes just a little too much for us. Then, watch out, we will stampede and anything in our way should be wary. We will do our best to attempt to stop what we believe is not for higher good, either personal or universal.

Graciella la Gitana Oracle- Earth/Tierra

Graciella’s reading for this week, comes from the Earth/Tierra card. As we, not only Taureans but everyone of all signs, gaze upon the beauty of our accomplishments, eat from the abundance of what we’ve grown and gathered this autumn, and look toward the coming season, are strongly encouraged to return a gift to the Earth. It reminds me of smoking pipe in a spiritual manner. We always put a little tobacco back into our pouches when we’ve filled up the bowls of our pipe. We always give back.

Now is the time to give thanks for what has been created. It is also time to offer libations to the Earth. It is always time to do either.

With love,

Graciella and Theresa


Domestic violence lives on

We’re nearing the end of October and the time for recognition of those who’ve perished or are in the act of perishing to domestic violence. But the violence will continue. One out of three women and one out of four men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. One in seven women and one in twenty five men have been injured by an intimate partner. These numbers don’t include the ones that live with mental, emotional, and spiritual torment on the daily by their loved ones.

In my work life, I am a psychiatric practitioner at a women’s mental health shelter. I would say that ninety percent of the women I speak with having lived through some form of sexual, physical, or mental abuse as children or have watched parents who are in DV relationships. Sometimes it is a biological parent and sometimes its a step parent. The violence continues at foster homes and in group homes during adolescence. There is always someone ready to violate another. In the shelter this colors the relationships between the women. The lack of trust and fear of or actual betrayal is impressive in its significance. Really, how does one trust after being involved in such violence sometimes intermittently or constantly in one’s life?

There’s lots of alcohol and cannabis use that comes along with the territory. This substance use works until it doesn’t anymore. Until one finds themselves in a shelter because there are no more sofas to safely sleep on or the non-ceasing train rides prove to be too much to handle. According to the AA Grapevine, 21 percent of women and 23 percent of men have been harmed because of someone else’s drinking in the previous twelve months. These harms include threats, harassment, property damage, vandalism, and physical aggession, or family and financial problems. The list goes on.

This isn’t my usual blog post. But I was moved to share some of the specifics about domestic violence. Because I sit with these affected women most days at my place of work, maybe my perspective is skewed. Maybe if I worked in a bank I might see a bruised cheekbone or a woman wearing sunglasses indoors. Instead, the abuse is upfront and placed on my desk in my tiny office. The experience is offered to me. I in turn offer some possible healing techniques from referrals to maybe just listening because she isn’t ready to make a change and has told me flat out that is her decision. My placement with these women is my spiritual work. It’s my calling. I guess this is why it was important for me to write my novel on this awful disease of violence.

Coney Island Siren: a novel

Each time I’ve read Coney Island Siren my novel about domestic violence at events someone has come to me afterward to tell me that it is their story. They tell me that I must have been in a relationship where violence ensued. They tell me the story is real. It is. It’s a hard story for the protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, who I believe whispered her story in my ear. It is real for many and maybe even some of you reading this post. https://www.amazon.com/Coney-Island-Siren-Theresa-Varela/dp/1732716714/ref=sr_1_1?crid=ZP84NNMBJSNZ&keywords=coney+island+siren&qid=1571796205&sprefix=Coney+Island+si%2Caps%2C139&sr=8-1

Here are some contacts if you or someone you know are in this type of relationship:

If you are in immediate danger, call 911

NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. www.opdv.ny.gov/help/helpfor.html

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Recognizing the Signs of an Abusive Relationship and Getting Help https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-abuse.htm


Leaving Paris

Walking along the Seine beneath a light drizzle of rain. The Lovre. Enjoying the subtleties of fashion. A leather jacket. Casual sloop of shoulders. Eating fromage at a sidewalk bistro. Remembering to say merci instead of thank you.

Visiting Paris was really never on my bucket list but the Goddess had other plans for me. This stop was my honey’s and my short vacay before we headed out to the Black Madonna tour beginning in France and ending in Spain. We’re on to meet our group.

The things that happen when you’ve called out your name to the Mother are as profound as deep. For that I give thanks!

River Seine

Rowing down that river

The Emmons Avenue bay that looks like a small river

Life can be a river. We encounter rocks that throw us off balance. We slip and slide as our canoes lurch along. We hang on to the oars as our kayaks hurtle through unseen falls that crop up when we least expect it. I’ve been away from my website since the end of July. We’re now deep into September. I had a series of glitches that I couldn’t fix. I couldn’t post. I had to reach out for help. Fortunately I was connected with a very bright and lovely woman who went behind the scenes to fix it all. She’s done a wonderful job! Thank you, Piper!

When I got back on I decided to change my website look. Ho-hum! It had to be clear, easy to use, and lighter than the previous setting. I like it. What do you think? I also thought about this extended leave from blogging. Is there anything I’d like to do differently? Yes, but time takes time. Now’s a good time to talk about my current in-progress creative works. There are plenty of them. If only in the thinking stage. That’s an important phase of development too.

My second Daisy novel is going strong. Right now I’m calling it Murder at the Gowanus Canal. Anyone who lives in Brooklyn knows about the Gowanus. It’s the perfect backdrop for a murder. In fact, if you’ve driven on the Gowanus Expressway, you might want to murder someone. The traffic is awful twenty four hours a day. Daisy encounters some unexpected complications with her beau, Rod. There’s more to him then we ever expected. I’m the first to admit that. When I write I hear the story for the first time. You’ll be surprised too, I bet. Jose and Rubio, my best couple of all times, have problems that aren’t for the weak of heart but remember this is a cozy. Wrap yourself in blankets to read it when it’s published. That will still take a while. I’m halfway through the tale and it’s a good one, if I may say so myself. Thank you!

Graciella la Gitana, my spirit guide, is ever encouraging me to go further. We are deep in meditation together many nights as she shares her insights on the concepts of her oracle. The lyrical prosy poems were not enough for her. She’s also showing me some new spreads that will be in this book. If it were up to her I’d be done already. I think things go faster in spirit world. I have to stop to make tea. To light candles. To smudge. I wish I had Samantha’s nose. You remember Bewitched, don’t you?

Those are two of my current endeavors. I do want to keep you updated as to events coming up. October 13 is the Festival of Books in East Harlem, NYC, and November 23 is the ever amazing Comité Noviembre at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. I’ll be at both. Will you? Sign up for my newsletter so you can know all the news as soon I get it. The link is to the right of this blog on this page.

Love that we’re together again

Theresa (Graciella says hi too! )


Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

The heat is a beast up here in NYC this weekend and everywhere else I hear. I’m sort of melting but it’s okay because I prefer that to freezing toes. There is so much going on in the world. I’m trying to keep a cool line of tranquility and perseverance while also trying to keep a this too shall pass type of attitude. My mom used to say that to me all the time when I was a kid. Sometimes I wish time would go faster than it actually does- at least when it’s something I’m not happy about. We all have our roles on this planet. That’s probably exactly why the West card turned up today when Graciella and I pulled from the oracle deck.

The West/El Oeste

What’s perfect about this card is that it’s all about looking within. The water reflects us like a mirror. We can’t really look outside of ourselves and hope that change will be made out there. By someone. By someone else. That’s an awfully frequent hope that I have. Someone else will do something. But what is that thing that we want changed that we can’t do ourselves? I’ve promised myself that I won’t be a political lout for the next year and then some. I’ll just keep being my spiritual self and vote when the time is here again, but already I’m rattled. Sorry if we don’t share political views but that’s okay. It’s important for all of us to speak our voices out into the world.

There’s lots of finger pointing even among friends. What are you doing? To be quiet is to be complicit I read a lot on social media. But what if we’re just not announcing what we’re doing? And what if we are announcing what we actually are not doing but feel would get a rise out of others. All these thoughts are quieted when Graciella’s energy merges with mine and we pull the cards. What is my message that I am to share with you? It’s to look at our reflections in the deep waters. It’s the message of introspection. Graciella is my calming influence and I’m grateful to be in touch with this wonderful spirit guide. The image depicts me. A big old rock in the ocean. The waves may crash all over me but I’m to remain steady. Maybe there are crusty little algae and the like growing on my shiny surface. They may be annoying but we can live together. The larger majesty of the Mother’s will eventually overtakes us with one huge whoosh. We are quieted again and ready to enjoy the serene beauty that envelops us.

Not sure if this week’s message is clear. The message is Look Within. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends. The endless cycle of the ocean’s wave are like eternity. It goes on without us. Look within. Do your part. I’ll try my very best to do mine.

In love and light and sparkly water,

Theresa and Graciella



I’m sitting with my Dad here at his Assisted Living facility that for him is also newly hospice. He just smiled at me as he listens to the fancy headphones that my spouse bought just for this purpose. Los Panchos. His favorite. He has enjoyed having two daughters again after losing my sister many years ago. Sometimes my Dad forgets my name but doesn’t forget Patricia’s name when she walks in the room. I finally have time to shed a few tears in the quiet of this room.

During his last hospitalization we decided there had been enough hauling him back and forth for treatments he wouldn’t have consented to if he didn’t have Alzheimer’s. The staff treats him exceptionally well here and I see their hearts through their actions and kindnesses. He can live out the remainder of his days here without being poked, prodded, and with the serenity that this time on earth should be for him.

This time of the solstice and the waxing full cold mean brings a time for reflection and stillness. It doesn’t matter what zodiac sign we happen to shine under. At my aunt’s recent funeral I read the words ‘a time to reap and a time to sow.’ This is the time to be quiet for us. A time to listen for what is important and to allow what is not to fall to the wayside. A time to remember all the good things that life has brought us. A time to let time standstill.

My Dad has been awfully good to me. Always. I’ve sat in his car reading comic books while he tooled around with the engine. I’ve listened to him sing and play guitar with his brothers and in the quiet of our living room. I’ve watched him get up at 4:30am for his daily labors for years without a complaint. My only complaint was that he was strict during my teenage years. I can smile about that now. He helped my children with anything they needed as he did me. He opened his arms to my spouse and played guitar with her.

My Dad is still here with me and I’m grateful. Last night I dreamt a dream that reminded me of my mother and her singing during my childhood. I recently had a meditation of my parents dressed to the nines. Toasting. She’ll be there for him when he crosses over. I feel relief and gratitude about that.

But for now I will allow my soul to be comforted in the time of the cold moon. We are not wanting. We are taken care of. I hope you feel that too.




The In-between Times

The notion of in-between times was so romantic to me when I first heard of them. I’d learned of the power of Spirit coming through at dawn and dusk. Those were the times to meditate and to slide through those slivers of space where I could experience more than my seeming regular world could afford me. I learned to scry water, to read cards, to listen with all of my senses and slowly built a foundation to always be in touch with Spirit.

This mid-morning, I find myself sitting at my computer. I am writing a few more pages in my slowly emerging second Daisy mystery novel. There’s a strong feeling of peace within my heart. I’ve placed all other things aside for this time. I’ve come to realize this is an in-between time too.  We received the shipment of our boxes of personal belongings that we sent up from Puerto Rico as we prepared to place our house on the market. We opened them last night and pulled out pots, pans, and art work from Puerto Rican artisans that we cherished and enjoyed several times a year on our trips to the island. I placed a few pieces of art up on my wall and can now enjoy them every day of the year.

This in-between time is bittersweet. I loved my little house in Puerto Rico. This is a time of letting go but also a time of accepting new things into my life. As I wait for a call from the realtor, I pray that the family who is meant to have the house ambles through the serene neighborhood. That they may speak with one of the vecinos who were so helpful to me over the years. The ones who shared food with my Dad. The ones who helped fix the television for him when he started losing the ability to do the things that we take for granted. The ones who called me to tell me it was time to check on him and that the time he needed me more than he wanted had finally come.

This chasm of time is one for Spirit to come through. The feeling of serenity is strong in my office/spiritual space. It is strong within me. It reminds me of walking through the Camuy caves in Puerto Rico. The bats hung above us occasionally tittering. The rocks whispered secrets from our ancient ones. The waters trickled- gently guiding us- ensuring we wouldn’t skate on the slippery paths we tread. I am grateful for this time. I can accept the changes that life brings and anticipate the beautiful new days ahead. I can sit in this moment of time and listen as Spirit tells me that all is okay for today.

I hope that you feel that too. ♥




Full Beaver Moon


This week we welcome the Full Beaver Moon! It is the last full moon before the winter solstice takes place in December. This moon has also been referred to as the mourning moon and the frosty moon. This moon was deemed the Beaver Moon for the trappers who busily trapped beaver before the deep cold winter weather set in.

Moving toward the full moon is an auspicious time to set an intention and to work on the fruition of projects. Being called ‘an eager beaver’ was a positive label. Working tirelessly as the beaver who focuses on the job of building dams  reminds us that when there is a job to be done. We can complete tasks more easily with the aide of our community. It’s easy to lose perspective and intention on self and our planned activities during this time of year.

it’s apropos that this year’s full moon is waxing on Thanksgiving. Many of us busy ourselves with meal preparation, early holiday shopping, and with the general bustle of stress at this time of year. For some the full moon magnifies all of this energy tenfold. Relax.

Being the busy beaver who builds dams and bridges and all else they do is hard work. Beavers, when feeling threatened, will bite with their long ever growing sharp teeth. When we bite we don’t feel good afterward.s. The person we’ve bitten hurts pretty darn hard too.

I’m not sure of the beaver’s capacity to retreat but we have the ability to say no mas or Calgon take me away! Take restful moments for yourself. A soothing bath, a massage from your honey or scheduled in advance at a spa can help. We can’t control everything and the belief we can adds to the stress. Do something that will bring tranquility into your life. It’s your holiday too. Enjoy it!

Remember that the beaver rests too!