Back to the cemetery

Last week we attended a talk at Greenwood Cemetery about the Egyptians by the Brooklyn Museum of Arts curator, Egyptologist Edward Bleiberg. I was fascinated to hear how the affluent were able to install tombs laden with riches and items to ensure a safe passage into the netherworld. The process of mid to low range earners creativity to do the same was even more compelling.

This is a short post, not discussing all those wonderful details, but about something else- totally related to the dead of those and other times. The talk was given in the evening during those in-between times I like to write about and experience. The times when the veils are more permeable for communication for those in both worlds.

We watched as the evening darkened. While the speaker shared in a low lit room, we felt the presence of the dead become more and more palpable. When we exited into the twilight, the air was stirred by a gentle breeze. By the time we entered the car I knew we weren’t alone.

As soon as I arrived home I smudged with pungent sage. The feeling of being accompanied by a different energy lasted throughout the following days. It was very strong. Lots of voices attempted contact but they were not clear enough for me to decipher.

This past Sunday we were elbow deep in suds as we scrubbed our doggies. The ancestors speak when they’re ready. They were finally ready or maybe they felt I was ready to listen. They gave me their simple message. Please don’t forget us. They wanted me to share it with you too.

I’m the first to say that I don’t forget my dead. I pray, I light candles, and carefully tend to my altar. One thing I heard at the talk that was different was that the Egyptologist spoke about families having picnics at the tomb sites. Truly celebrating their dead. Interesting, isn’t it?

It makes me wonder about what other ways I can commune with the dead. Seances, Misas, meditation, and the like, for sure. Maybe a trip to my family’s burial site with a full picnic basket and blanket is next in order. I’ll let you know. You can let us know by writing a comment too.

Through the veils,

With love and light,

Theresa

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

I made it a point this week to keep last Sunday’s read up front in terms of my experience. The concept of the Sun/Sol showed up clearly for me. The meaning wasn’t news that I might be unhappy to receive. But it did arrive with a starkness, a clarity of vision, of knowledge that I would be ill-advised to deny. Did I have to do anything about the information? No. But it was still helpful to know and it started a series of talks for me to begin managing an important part of my life.

Today, I smudged myself and the oracle with white sage. It smells so wonderful. I shuffled the cards three times, and fanned them out on an uncluttered surface, my creative table. I felt Graciella’s energy merge with mine as I centered and together we pulled the Change/Cambios card from the oracle deck.

Change! Yet again, we receive the message that change is afoot. What else is new? The image shows the hand reaching for two cannisters when there is one on the counter that is spilling sugar. Surprisingly, a piece of jewelry is also seen in the sugar. The wall tiles are vividly colored and today I see them as Christmas decorations already hanging. Can you see that too?

As we become busy with the holiday season, it would be prudent to take the time to tend to what needs to be done before we attempt to do more. Are we buying things we already have? Are we neglecting basic things  because we are harried and in a rush. What might we be purposefully neglecting because we believe that cleaning up our messes will take up too much time.

Take a moment. Look around. Where in our lives are things neglected or ignored because we believe that other things take precedent? The festivities are already here. We don’t have to look too far for them. We can create fun and happiness while still taking the time to take care of the things that ultimately bring a sweetness to our lives unrealized in our daily activities.

With much love,

Graciella and Theresa

 

Graciella la Gitana Oracle © Weekly Reading

Graciella la Gitana Oracle

Welcome to this week’s reading from Graciella la Gitana Oracle. As is our custom, I smudge with sage, light a white candle, and center myself. Feeling at one with Graciella la Gitana’s spiritual energy, together we focus our intent on what the message is that she would like to send out into the world. Her aim, as always, is to bring compassion into the world.

Together, we shuffled the deck, fanned out the cards, and pulled the Spiral/Espiral card. The image shows the tambourine that Graciella uses in dance, in music, and during gleeful celebrations. These are lighthearted activities that we need in our worlds to keep ourselves balanced. The ribbons that extend from the instrument are reminiscent of the double helix- like DNA strands that code our ancestry. While we may believe that we are undergoing the same as in past situations, we must remember that we have moved up on the rungs of the spiral. We may be familiar with the positioning but we have grown, we have learned, and we have progressed. Others may treat us as though we have not learned our lessons, but within we know differently and are encouraged to respond in a manner that depicts our development. Our progress may not easily be apparent, therefore, we must take the time to recognize our advancements as Graciella so lovingly encourages us to do.

Con mucho cariño

Theresa y Graciella

The Graciella la Gitana Oracle/El Oráculo de Graciella la Gitana © is ready for pre-order. This 56 card Oracle deck and accompanying booklet offers verses in both English and Spanish. Pre-order will be available via the store on this site this week. We also plan to pull a quick daily morning read that will show on Instagram. You can find us under Latinalibations.

 

 

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!


Palabras: Spiritual Oracle- Contemplation

Quickly readying for a busy week, I realize that I cannot take another step without first consulting the oracle. It is me and I am it. As usual, I smudged, grounded and centered myself. I invited the energy of my spirit guide, Graciella la Gitana to come forth. Together, our energies pulled the card-Contemplation.

 Image: The image is that of a young woman standing at the market place. Her necklace is of gold coins. The expression on her face is that of one in a meditative state. Around her hangs an array of cloths of vibrant color, patterns and fabrics. She fingers a soft piece of fabric of cerulean blue.

Words: Decisions to make may seem dizzying. Meditate on various aspects, colors, and ever changing patterns. Stay still in the moment. Open to what you may hear.

Read: The market place is symbolic of our interactions here in this lifetime on this planet, Earth. We are filled with choices; interact with people who vary in intensity, intent and possibilities. If we view our conversations and situations in this manner, we are then able to take an objective stance as to the true meanings of what may seem trivial or annoying. Sometimes we are the merchants, the sellers of ware, or the unfortunate one who is swindled. Your task is to be aware of what you bring to the market place. Is it an attitude, an expectation or a defeated stance that if changed could turn things around on a dime? Or a gold coin? Observe your motivations and your carriage. You may be surprised at what you see. You have the power and ability to bring change to your marketplace.