International Latino Book Award Finalists!

I’m a bit stunned at receiving the news that our Graciella la Gitana Oracle/Oráculo de Graciella la Gitana is a finalist at this years International Latino Book Awards. I’m thrilled too and especially glad that the illustrator, Mara Alicia Cordova, my daughter, is a finalist along with me. That fact is beyond my wildest dreams. We’ve placed in the Best Art Book and Best Latino Focused Book Design categories. Wow. Just wow!

From seed thought to penning sample illustrations to figuring out whether we were using CMYK to RGB it took us fifteen years to complete this project. I’m glowing and marveling that my spiritual work and my loving close relationship with Graciella, one of my spirit guides, has enabled these very special oracle cards to come to fruition. I thank Patricia Dornelles, my VP and spouse, for her attentiveness and commitment to making sure the box and booklet design and cover were perfect for the oracle. I thank Orlando Ferrand for his finesse in translation and for being true to the spirit of the words so the magic could come through the portal of this work. I also thank Cindy Hochman for her editing suggestions of the lyrical prose.

I can’t help but shake my head. There were many times during the last fifteen years as I dug into my creative aka spiritual work that I’d received downright advice to give up the ship. Agents and publishing companies often didn’t take a soft stance when they offered their opinions of my work. I’m glad that I didn’t walk the plank as almost suggested. The vision of my work falling into the ocean wasn’t a pretty sight. These experiences helped me to learn to value myself and the worth of my work. It was definitely an inside job with the outside tears sometimes rolling down my cheeks. An agent I’d submitted Covering the Sun with My Hand to actually wrote me an email saying my writing stunk. Literally. I wiped away my tears and jumped right back in. That novel, just as Nights of Indigo Blue, won International Latino Book Awards.

Pollen Press was developed by me because I needed a company that would be truly behind me from the finances to the late nights editing ‘just one more time.’ This post isn’t about ‘how you like me now?’ It’s coming from a place of encouragement to not give up your dreams because someone else thinks you’ll never be any good. Believe in yourself. Develop a thick skin that allows well deserved critique and love to permeate into your self. This will help you to grow to be the person you journeyed to this planet to be. As Graciella would say, Compasión is for others, but it is for you too.

XO

Theresa

Tarot Wisdom

Tarot collection

During my Graciella la Gitana Oracle© workshops, I noticed that participants have begun asking me the difference between oracle and tarot readings. I was a bit stumped. There are similarities but also differences. I knew that it was in the underpinning structure of the cards. Readers of both quest for knowledge. The readings are of a spiritual path. I’ve been reading tarot cards for years. The cards have never been my preferred way to read. I prefer to sit with a cigar and listen for the messages that come to me or the visualizations that tell me what I need to share. Sometimes the cards have almost seemed like a prop. It reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Ana in Covering the Sun with My Hand, who does call the cards a prop!

I’ve used the cards intuitively and made up spreads without seeking outside counsel. I’ve picked them based on their design and my attraction to them. I don’t even really remember from where I’ve picked them up. The woman who reads for me uses cards that I’ve never seen anywhere but I don’t think those cards are even tarot. But maybe they are. They are delicate, rare, and beautiful.

Because I was asked about my knowledge of tarot I decided to take a class. I attended one at the Open Center given by Robert M. Place. I had no idea who he was but was happy to find he has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and is willing to teach what he knows. Did I mention he’s a nice guy? No ego disruptions during class. It was a three week, once a week, introductory course. I learned the history, the background, and how to read the cards in ways I’d never thought of.

What was great for me was the affirmation of how I’ve been treating the cards intuitively. Meditating with the cards, learning the symbols and my attribution of symbolic meaning based on my personal reflections and experience has definitely been the way to go. This is exactly how I created the oracle with Graciella whispering in my ear exactly what I needed to hear. When I originally began designing the cards with the scrawls and illustrations I thought I was designing a tarot. But it wasn’t moving. I had my expert friend-sister read her deck for me. It turned out that it wasn’t a tarot but an oracle. At that point, I began listening for the concepts and the project took on a life of its own. Dynamic! I shared my vision with my daughter who then began illustrating based on my child-like drawings.

The help that my spirit guide, Graciella, has given me is amazing. Her over-arching theme is of Compassionate Consciousness©. We’re writing a book that describes this but also provides details about each concept portrayed in the oracle. I sit in meditation with the cards during the time of the dark. Afterwards, I sit and journal what Graciella wants me to jot down. She frequently surprises me with her take on things. We’re working steadily to get this book out to you.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that the cards are not a prop. I’ve learned that using my creativity in designing spreads is exactly what I did and should continue to do. Traveling this oracle journey with a stopover at tarot has been enriching and I will continue that too. I hope that you join me on this spiritual journey.

I’m adding the link to the Graciella la Gitana Oracle on Amazon at the bottom of this post. They are available here in this website shop located on the top banner but on Amazon they are discounted by 15% until May 31st. Order a set for you and a loved one. If you are interested in attending a workshop the next one will be in Brooklyn on July 27th. I’ll add another Eventbrite for that. The cost for the workshops are twenty dollars. If you host one at your home, you, of course, attend for free.

In light and love,

Theresa

Ancestors/Ancestros

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1732716706?pf_rd_p=019ad97c-f176-43be-96b9-991a6dc65763&pf_rd_r=CK2SEQWT46ZZF69G4YY4

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

We’re back from Dallas where we attended my son’s graduation for his two year degree. He’s a husband and daddy, works full time, and managed to snag his white Cum Laude cords and gold sash representing the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. We’re all so proud of him. It reminded me of my years in school while raising a family. Not easy but doable. With support and determination anything is possible. That goes for writing too. Pick a goal. Set some objectives. Go for it. Our dreams can come true!

Tonight, a day late again, I shuffled the Graciella la Gitana Oracle deck and allowed Graciella’s energies to merge with mine. We centered. We spread the cards in a fan-like spread on the uncluttered desk. I breathed. Together we pulled the Prisoner/Prisionera card.

The Prisoner/La Prisionera

This is a great example of reflecting on what leads to feelings of being locked up. How do we find ourselves in these situations? Do we truly unknowingly commit crimes? Against others or ourselves? The prisoner state can be a metaphor for how I’m treating my life. As I’d written above, sometimes achieving goals can be extremely difficult depending on the situation. We often forget the reasons why we are imprisoned. The imprisonment is often self imposed. Do I need a reminder that the goals I’ve set mean that I must sit quietly by myself and complete tasks enabling me to check them off my written lists? I remember when I was in doctoral school. I happened to see the chair of my dissertation committee at a green market. Over fruit he assured me that I was almost finished the years of often grueling study, researching, and writing. I felt free at that moment although I had several months left to complete the work. I needed someone else’s say so at the time to tell me enough was enough. Today, I hope that I’m setting achievable goals and that I will know when I’ve reached them. Remember that whatever hardship you may be enduring will always find its end. All is temporary in this life! Cheer up and get to work!

In light and love,

Theresa and Graciella

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

The invites for the Coney Island Siren Book Launch are out. The books are approved and ordered. Yesterday, a warm and generous woman I’ve met within the last year hosted an oracle workshop and we had a great time at her beautiful and welcoming home. Graciella and I have been super busy but that’s no excuse for not getting the weekly oracle reading up here on the website weekly as promised.

One of the women at the workshop initially thought I was Graciella. That’s a great point. I’ve been working with her for so long that I tend to take it for granted that everyone knows who she is. Graciella is a gitana (gypsy) spirit guide of mine that I’ve been working with for over fifteen years. She was revealed to me in my meditations and through learning the way of the Spiritist. From my perspective, we all have spirit guides who protect, teach us, and offer their gifts to us in ways that resonate and often spark creativity within us. I write about her in the booklet that comes with the oracle deck. I’ll be expanding on her paradigm of Compassionate Consciousness © in the second book that I’m channeling for her.

The usual method we use is to smudge with sage, center, shuffle the deck, spread in a fan-like position on an uncluttered surface. I ask what is it that Graciella would like us to be aware of this coming week. Together we pulled the Contemplation/Contemplación card from the deck.

In this image, Graciella chooses fabric at a bazaar. She not only has used her eyes to look at the tempting fabrics, she closes her eyes and contemplates which to choose by using all of her senses. Her fingers cascade along the various textures and I’m certain her choices will be affected by the tantalizing smells of cooking foods in nearby stalls, and by the sounds of an accordion player who hopes to garner the attention and coins of other market buyers. As you contemplate your choices this weeks, as Graciella, use all of your senses. Include your intuitive sense. Don’t discount what you know from your gut. Your intellect may tell you one thing, but a whisper in your ear tells you different. Listen. Sniff. Touch. Look around you and within. Taste a sampling before buying the entire pie. By working with our gift of meditation, our third eyes are further opened to an expanded vision of the possibilities that are currently in front of us and that are soon to come.

Graciella also extends her thanks to you for being symbols of love and peace in this world and for the work of compassion that you extend to others.

In love and love

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

It’s late morning and I’m sitting to write down this week’s reading courtesy of Graciella. I usually do this late afternoon, but today as I did the meditation for my next Graciella project, I pulled two cards. She has me doing both. Graciella is not afraid of work. I’ve mentioned she is a task master and I must keep up with her in order to channel her work of Compassionate Consciousness. I may have previously mentioned that I’m in the process of a book that goes into depth regarding the concepts that the oracle deck introduced.

Balancing the spiritual with the material is sometimes tricky. When I originally designed the oracle deck booklet I had included a section of the history of Graciella and also descriptions of several layouts that can be used while reading the cards. You may have noticed that layouts are not included in the small booklet that comes with the deck. The printing company allowed for a certain number of pages that included exactly what is there. I made the decision to write a second book that would cover the rest of the information. Each day I sit in meditation with a pulled card, listen to what Graciella would like me say, and write the information down. This activity expands on the lyrical poem on each concept that is in the current book. I also have more information on themes within the cards and will sit with the illustrator, Mara Alicia Cordova, to discuss her perceptions about the cards that are so rich in texture, depth, and color! I’m hoping to have the book ready by the end of the year. Actions into vision!

I’ve also had the joy of doing Oracle workshops and each time I’ve learned new things about the deck and the process. If you’d like to host one let me know. We’ve had loads of fun learning to read the cards and sharing spiritual insights.

When I pulled the card for the meditation, two came up. The one for this week is the Water/Agua card.

This card is the epitome of having fun where you are in the glory and loving energy of the feminine principle of water. Will you be out in the rain? Will you wash your auto this week? We can be glum and grumble about the drops of water that we dodge from. Or we can enjoy them. That old adage of April showers bringing May flowers reminds us that when days are rainy or gloomy that sunshine is certain to appear later for us. This week comes the arrival of Aries in the new moon on the fifth. day. This is a time when we are faced with the energies of being emboldened, we are likely to feel a surge to start something new, to shout out to the Universes in ways that may not be usual to us. Welcome this week of new. Allow yourself to be awash in the waters of the Great Mother! She is there for us as we have been for her. Allow your masculine energies to combine with your feminine. The strong points of each will aide you as you move forward in this new enterprise. Be there for yourself!

In love and light

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

I waver between writing about the various situations in my life or going immediately to the reading for the week. There was a recent post I read where someone had lots to say about the blogger who went on and on about her upbringing and neighborhood when the ultimate post was going to be a recipe. I do believe there are times I don’t write enough about what I’m doing. I was intrigued by Julia Alvarez, I believe, who wrote on her website that she wasn’t blogging because she was writing. Blogging is like cross-training. It can’t always be a long novel. Or can it? I don’t know because I’m blogging and working a regular job and writing novels in-between times.

What’s up is that my novel Coney Island Siren is just about done. I’m down to the very last edits. I’ve given out a few Advanced Readers Copies and generally feel great about the book. The book launch will be at the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC on June 12 and I’m doing a reading, conversation, and signing at Café con Libros on June 14th in my hometown of Brooklyn. I hope to see you there. There will be a couple of other spots I’ll be with the newest of my literary libations and I’ll let you know here and on other social media places like facebook and Instagram.

I’m back to the weekly reading. Last week I must admit I was busy at a private party hosted in the Bronx by an author buddy for a Graciella Workshop. There were seven of us in total. We had a great time. Eating, talking, teaching, and learning how to read the oracle decks using several layouts. I’m in the process of writing a second Oracle book that includes the layouts with explanations and much more discussion of each concept. Graciella is a task master! There’s lots of meditation involved in obtaining the information so there I go in-between times again. Don’t forget that if you’re interested in hosting a workshop, please email me at theresavarela@gmail.com

Tonight as usual I smudged myself and the oracle deck with wonderfully smelling sage in my abalone shell. I shuffled the cards, fanned them out facedown on my desk, and pulled. The North/El Norte card appeared.

The North/El Norte

It’s here that as Graciella merged her energy with mine that I immediately heard and felt, Ask the ancestors! What have you made of your relationships with your ancestors? Are you close to them? Do you hear them whisper in your ear? Do you allow them to help you as you walk a path that is often rocky? Do you allow them to help steer you away from obstructions? Some of us are not so knowledgeable about the North and the reference to the old ones and those gone by. There are still those here on this side of the veils who come before us and those who have already crossed over who are rich with wisdom for us to learn from. Again, today I see red flags of warning or alertness for us to take note of. That’s not to say that danger is in the air, it’s to say that we can be aware of pitfalls and possible dangers that we don’t need to get entangled or embroiled in if we listen to the prophecy of the elders. There are many points of advice or suggestions that are handed to us that can alleviate a mountain of problems if only we’d listen. Sometimes we are too headstrong and want to do things our way. That’s fine if we first attempt to discern whether the old way is a way that will allay potential stressors or whether we need to walk on those jagged stones in order to determine who we are. Sometimes we do but then again, sometimes we don’t. We may use that available energy and passion for other more worthwhile things in our lives. Look for the flags this week and listen!

In love and light,

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

After a weekend of relaxation and errands, I’m happy to come to the oracle. The oracle continues to give me guidance in my day and especially in the observance of what may be in store for me. It’s not as though the messages strike me like lightning, but it’s more of a subtle knowing and understanding revealed that I look forward to when I pull from the deck.

As always, most importantly I join with my spirit guide, Graciella, who has gifted us with the concepts and images. I spoke with someone recently who said he felt Graciella’s spirit as he played with the cards. I affirm that she is present in each card doing. It is her energy and decision to share her wisdom in compassionate consciousness that we join with when we work with the deck. We centered, lit a white candle, shuffled the cards three times, fanned them on my worktable, and pulled one. The card that showed itself is the Fertility/ Fertilidad card.

Fertility/Fertilidad

This is a magnificent card! I love the deep purple of royalty of the pouch that holds, what? I’m not sure. I do know that each individual has his or her own cache of riches that is filled with promise. It’s important to know what your store of treasure is, where it is, and how you closely you hold it to your breast. There are coins here that seem to be falling out of the pouch. Tonight, I see the possibility that the pouch of goodness may have been placed on the coins. The coins seem to be antique gold that are riches of their own, separate from the pouch’s valuables. The green leaves surrounding the pouch and the coins are light in color, and that tells me something new, something that is growing, fresh like the spring leaves that will soon poke through the earth wet by the snow and rains will be encountered.

Look within to yourself. Find that precious object or objects belonging especially to you and listen for your next steps as it shows itself to you.

In light and love,

Graciella and Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

Every morning, I pull a card from the Graciella la Gitana Oracle deck. Although I’ve been working with the cards for over fifteen years, I gain new insights and I’ve come to rely on the guidance that each card gives me. Graciella speaks through the cards and she is the most excellent spirit guide.

When I pull a card for the weekly reading it is a different card than the one I’ve pulled that morning. Today, Graciella and I combined our energies and we smudged with sage in the abalone shell. We shuffled the deck three times and placed the cards on my work table this time. I was a bit surprised to see that the same card I pulled this morning was the one that jumped out. The Cape/la Capa.

The Cape/ La Capa

This card speaks to being ready to take action. That is an action in itself. We should have protection when we act. That is symbolized by the red color of the cape. Don’t confuse the red for anger, it is for protection in this case. The protection should be something that the individual has already devised for themselves. What looms large in this sitting is the stone wall that the person is facing. What does the phenomena of a stone wall mean to you? For some it is a memorable event that took place when the LGBTQ persons who were at the Stonewall Inn bar in the West Village decided that they were not going to continue putting up with being treated abominably only because of their choices to live fully as who they were meant to be. I’d like to add, as children of God. We are all worthy and valuable in this world. There may be a time this week when you are asked, maybe not in words, to stand up for yourself and take a decisive, not divisive, stance to proclaim that you are here! You mean something! You are important to this world and are ready to take a stand. A little drama may be in order. You are up to the task. You have been prepared!

Olé

Graciella y Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

Last week’s post was about Change and there was a lot of change for me that I noticed especially toward the end of the week. Most of the changes that took place were of the inside of the chest kind- the ones that affect the heart. I’m feeling lighter, less worried about a toppling skyscraper falling down on my, and felt a clarity I seemed to have missed without even realizing that I was a bit hazy. I’ve added a Twitter account for Pollen Press and you can find us @LlcPollen! I’m excited about that. I already have one follower there. Come on over and check us out there. Ahem, once you’re done with this post.

Graciella and I chose the weekly card together as usual. I smudged with sage in my beloved abalone shell. We centered and gathered our energies together. Shuffled. Fanned. Pull a card. Voila! The Ancestors Card!

Ancestors/Ancestros

This is indeed one of my favorite cards of all! It reminds me that we are never alone. That we are here because of the ones that came before us and that we must never forget that we remain connected although they are on the spiritual plane. This week I did a wonderful spiritual reading for someone and the ancestors were in full force. I was reminded then, as now, that we can do small things to remind our ancestors that they are still in our light and love. What do we remember they loved? A cup of black coffee, a cigar, a deck of playing cards? A piece of cake dripping with honey? What do you remember about your ancestors that you can use to pay homage to them? A white candle, a glass of water on your altar, or a picture that shows them in the prime of health may be thought of by some as mementos, yes, but they are something more. They show that you still respect, love, and are providing the warmth, love, light, and progress for their spirits as they traverse in their ways through the Universe, providing you and me with light, love, protection, and guidance.

Some of us are also conscious of our ancestors that walk with us that may not be of the blood line we carry. These spirit guides also attend to us, whisper in our ears, hold our hands, and navigate us through the challenges and the celebrations of our daily lives. Think about your spirit guides today and give thanks either silently in prayer or by speaking aloud to the night skies. Your relationship with your ancestor is a sacred one. Be there for your ancestor. Your ancestor is there for you!

XO

Graciella y Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

What could I possibly write about the full Super Blood Wolf Moon? I can say that it coincides with the only full lunar eclipse of 2019. I’ve read Chani Nicholas’s and Heather’s at Rising Moon Healing Center takes on it. They are experts at reading the moon and I expect you to run over to their websites and learn all of the intricacies of what this auspicious moon brings to your life in star and sun signs and all the rest. To me, the full wolf moon is the time to remember the homeless and the hungry. The ones who pull blankets over themselves as they lay against the cold concrete sidewalks and the ones who do the same in forests, less visible, but are there never the less.

theapopkavoice.com

In the image, I see the wolf howling for those who are still in need. I hear the plaintive cry to be heard. The wolf who is true to his purpose, sticks steadfastly to his message, to his relationships, to his mission. I too call out into the night and hope that I can stick to my purpose too. The challenge of praying to the moon is to be aware of prayers answered and to proceed with intent and love. The notion that I or my life will be transformed with the full moon is just that- a notion. I must heed my task throughout the year along with the waxing and waning of the energies of the moon. It’s the time between the astrologer’s blog post that counts the most. I must stay true- like the wolf.

Tonight, I shuffled Graciella’s oracle deck. I breathed, centered, and with Graciella’s energy melded with mine, we chose a card from the deck. We pulled the South-Sur Card.

Graciella la Gitana South-Sur Card


Walk in trust and innocence. Know that you are taken care of. Look to the sun and let it caress your face. There are things that may be unclear, may be harsh, or that you are unable to understand. Drop your shoulders and breathe. As the energy of the moon, as the energy of the sun, and the stars enfold you, know that there is something much bigger than you in process. Being vulnerable, allowing that we don’t know everything, or have all the answers all of the time is often felt as burdensome. Look to see where the magic is. Grant that Something, wonderful and good, the power to calm and to soothe you. Love is the answer.

Con todo amor,

Graciella y Theresa