Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I couldn’t let today go by without writing a few lines about Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s Her feast day. Many are celebrating Her love, compassion, and kindness.  It’s said that when She appeared to Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac, She said, “Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?”

I attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Her feast day many years ago. My memory is one of being struck by the love of the people who surrounded Her iconic image. The procession of the devotees stirred my heart. This Mother holds a gentle presence in our house and a small depiction of Her image watches over our dining room table. The face of this Goddess tells me that no matter one may go through, that may seem unbearable, may be made tolerable with Her love and support. Being led to acceptance of life’s harsh realities has often changed me and spurred me on to much needed spiritual growth. 

When my spouse and I traveled to Mexico City in 2001 and we saw Her shrine at the Basilica de Guadalupe, I truly felt Her energy suffuse me with love. When I read the words that were a message of hope to me, I knew that I would never be alone. I hope that you too can be filled with Our Lady’s message of love.

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. ♥

Theresa

 

Full Beaver Moon

shifting-vibration.com

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!

XO

Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle ©️Weekly Reading

Cambios/Changes

We just returned from a Mexican restaurant, La Frontera, here in Puerto Rico. The food was delicious and the service very nice. We sat outdoors and enjoyed this beautiful clear 75 degree weather. Last evening we ate at El Sarten Criollo where I usually eat mofongo. But last night I ate asopao de pollo. Chicken soup with broth that’s to die for with rice that’s perfectly cooked. It’s with a full and happy belly that I pulled a card with Graciella.

Tonight I didn’t smudge, but was sure to center and join with Graciella’s energy as I especially asked that the message I channel would be a general one for all for this week. I’ve been focused on the packing here in Puerto Rico as I’ve just placed my house on the market and didn’t want any mix-ups.

Together we shuffled, fanned the oracle cards, out and pulled the  Changes/Cambios card. This card tells us to be mindful of things, activities, and situations that will change. Keep the idea of quickness in mind. There’s no time to dwell or ruminate on our desires or wants. Be ready to jump into action..

This card brings forth sweetness such as the sugar I see falling out of the canister. In this particular read I also see a sliver of gold. Something that might have been lost shows up again.

This reading foretells that something good is coming. Be ready for it. Be sharp and on the lookout. It may entail family or loved ones. This may be your week!

Con mucho cariño

Theresa y Graciella ❤️

Full Hunter’s Moon

whats-your-sign.com

October’s Full Hunter’s Moon is most exciting! Autumn is fully here. The colors of the leaves are magnificent and there’s a chill in the air! The image of the hunter brings Ochosi, warrior in the Orisha tradition, to mind! Ochosi’s hunt is done for necessity, for food, for clothing, and warmth to his or her family.  For survival. This is the way of the Natives who don’t waste the blessed resources that are provided for them by nature.

The modern hunter who kills game for sport is not the hunter that I am speaking about here. That is the one who does so without any consideration of the balance of the Earth. The one who kills for trophy and for decoration of his or her living spaces. The one who does so for recognition in a photo shoot.

During this time of the full moon, you are challenged to go deep within. Meditate. Reflect. Be in the stillness of the truth you hold that is not visible to those outside of your being. Observe within. How do you operate during these tentative times? There is much chaos and conflict in many aspects of the Earth at this time. Can you be honest in your appraisal of your intentions and motives?

Oh Shinnah Fastwolf, my native teacher, prodded me into moving toward my newer self years ago when she charged me with Shooting my arrow and following it! That was not a easy task. It meant being in my truth and living it honestly, but I shouldn’t do it mowing others down in order to fulfill my needs. That was not an easy task. Fulfilling our needs takes courage and honesty and also a sensitivity towards others in our lives.

During a time of Oh Shinnah’s teachings at her home in Colorado, a group of us were guided in meditation. I remember sharing afterward about a spiritual connection with beautiful deer that I was blessed with during the meditation. Shortly after that a woman shared her father’s experience of killing most of a herd of deer that were paralyzed in fear during his hunt and his regret later. I was horrified that she would share such a thing after I’d just spoken about the opening of my heart through the love of the deer.

originalbotanica.com

Openness, sensitivity, and sharing of love with others may come at a cost. But then again, it may not. The idea is to shoot your arrow and follow it and accept and work with the results of that action. Heed the true characteristics of the Hunter during this moon. They are of respect, of esteem for self and others, and a regard of nature and the tentative balance of the life on this planet.

Be true to yourself and to the Earth. Both the Moon and the Earth ask that you participate in the balance of each, in this relationship of life.

All is made beautiful,

Theresa ♥

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!