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Servant of the Underworld

I just don’t read the volume of books I used to when I was single. A fact of being married and having way too many interests in life that vie for my attention. So, when I saw this book at a local literary convention we do the blood drive at every year, I picked it up, read the back cover and was mildly intrigued. An Aztec High Priest of the Dead looking for a missing Priestess? That caught my attention more than it being a murder mystery. Unlike my mother who had read all the murder mysteries in the San Mateo Library back in the 70’s, I typically have no interest in that field of reading, but being a Priestess of the Goddess of Death, well, you can see why I would take the chance and bring it home to give it a go.

I was naturally skeptical it would be a good read for one good reason – it was a freebie one received when getting their registration packet upon hitting the convention floor. Hmmm…have too many copies that didn’t sell in your warehouse, Angry Robot Books? It was a warning sign that either the book wasn’t good enough to be a better seller or the subject matter was too esoteric for most reader’s palates.

Turns out it was both reasons.

It starts out SLOW. The only thing that kept me reading were the descriptions of how the author pictured blood magic working in the ancient Aztec world. Considering how few outside of the pagan/occult world know how powerful blood is (the blood is the life, after all, and not just in the Bible, but in real life!), methinks the author must either be a closet occultist or has studied the mechanics of blood magic enough to tell a pretty accurate account in her book.

Now I know it takes a bit to set up the characters, the world they are in and the crime scene and suspects, but really, Aliette, did you HAVE to take 300 pages to do it??? No, it didn’t take THAT long (it took 160!), but it did take that long to get interesting enough I didn’t want to put the book down. *sigh*

If that wasn’t bad enough, the main character just wasn’t that interesting. He seemed slow to catch on to what was going on and let’s face it, assigning American English cuss phrases with Gods we are not even familiar with yet to an ancient culture just doesn’t work! (And she used them way too often in the first section of the book, to boot.)

SPOILERS BELOW. PROCEED ONLY IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT HEARING HOW THE BOOK ENDS!

Upon finishing the book, I was left with a vague sense of dissatisfaction and the impression that it was ONLY okay. It surprised me later to learn that the author was a Writer’s of the Future contest winner. Let me tell you, it wasn’t because of this book. Still, weirdly, the more I thought about it, and the more the days went by after finishing it up, it kind of grew on me in some vague, undefinable way.

END SPOILER ZONE.

Despite my irritation with the book’s nagging little quirks, I actually want to read the other two in the trilogy, Harbinger of the Storm: book 2 and Master of the House of Darts:book 3 . Mictlan knows why, but after all that character and world set up, maybe the payoff is in the end of the trilogy.

Write your own Magic – the Hidden Power in Your Words

I have had this book on my shelf a while and only since having a lot of time at my job to read while my clients are sleeping, have I decided to catch up on the treasures there.

Approach this book as a reference guide and resource. It gives quickish introductions to all the ways words can be and have been used for thousands of years to create magical change in your life. There are tons and tons of instruction books out there, but this one happened to capture my attention in its introduction of the concept of sigils to my base of knowledge. Not coincidentally (I don’t believe in coincidence), I was introduced to sigils in my studies last week and encouraged to do more research on them if they were of interest. This gives me just enough information beyond what I was introduced to to whet my appetite even further and to go out and find a more specialized book. (If you know of one, by the way, please let me know in the comments.)

Not only does Write your own Magic – the Hidden Power in Your Words give one basic, working information on Sigils, Talismans, Amulets, Numerology, Sacred Names, Mandelas, Kameas, Scrolls and more, it also delves into techniques for discovering one’s purpose in life, spell casting and magnetizing yourself to the goals you want and are asking the Universe for. I found it a well-rounded, if very beginner’s basic read that was quick (I read it in one night) and to the point. If you are curious about what you may not know out there or are introducing a student to the basics, it should be on your bookshelf.

Let me know what you thought of it, how you applied its techniques to your practices and if they worked for you. I would love to know.

Blessings,

)O( Luna

Animal Guides in Our Lives

“My totem animal is a Zombie.” Believe it or not, I really did have someone say this to me not long ago as we were discussing spirit and totem animals. And why not? he asked me when I tried POLITELY to tell him, well, no, it doesn’t work that way. He went on to say, they eat, they reproduce, they exist (well, on a fantasy level at least). He had a point, but I was determined to prove him wrong. It took a while, but I found a fundamental difference (besides the obvious fact of THEY DON’T REALLY EXIST!). Come to Winnetka Tower tonight for a lively class on why they aren’t and how to discover and work with your REAL totem animal. 7:00 p.m.. Fee is $10.00.

If you cannot make it to the class, I would be honored to teach at another time and place. Please contact me at luna-whoticore@whocate.info for private or group lessons.

Making Your Golden Years a Life of Peace

It may be impossible to forestall unknown diseases like dementia, but when one cultivates a life of peace, love and mastery of their reactions to bad and unexpected situations, this often rewires the brain chemistry over a period of time. Hardwired habits continue, even in sickness, to retain these reactions even in the most advanced years. I learned this in quite a “hands-on” way over the weekend.

I have recently taken up the service of caring for the elderly. My first job with a local senior care agency turned into a hard lesson learned that I am still recovering from physically and emotionally tonight.

I accepted a position over the weekend which had the promise of being a good bit of income over this past week, but turned into me quitting after two nights. Upon contemplation into why my charge was so difficult to get along with, it wasn’t hard to see why when I also looked at his family. I was told the man was “cranky” and had “dementia”. While the scientific mechanics behind the plague that is dementia is still eluding scientists, I am convinced part of the reasons lie in the man’s life path, also reflected in his family’s behavior during those difficult two and a half days. There is much truth in the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. This old wisdom simply states that a tree’s fruit (i.e. it’s “children”) are much like the tree it came from. Before I tempt confusing you dear readers further, let me get into the nuts and bolts of what I encountered, then describe the family and perhaps things will become clearer.

My charge – we will call him, Roby (which is not his real name), was angry, hated his children, claimed they were only around to take his money, stole his and his wife’s cars and were never around to care for him. Having been around my mother growing up (17 years) who had been paranoid/schizophrenic and my mother-in-law (28 years) who had been manic depressive and dementia-ridden in her final years, I was ready to forgive Roby his behavior until I met the family. I discovered that not only was he to blame even though he had a mental illness he could not control, but it was not for the reasons I believed! The family held the seeds to his paranoid rants – his son-in-law had borrowed money and was indeed late paying it back, his grandchildren borrowed his car and one of his two daughters had borrowed his wife’s car and one of those daughters had lived with him three months before fleeing back to the sanity of her own household while the daughter that had hired me through the agency had been able to endure only two months with her difficult father.

In a sense, they had planted the seeds for their father’s demented rants in the first place by their behavior…never mind that that Roby had indeed told the granddaughter she could borrow it in the first place in that particular case. While the dementia and forgetfulness had twisted this last reality into a paranoid unreality, it was indeed based on a grain of truth in that the girl had borrowed the car in the first place. Now, while you might side with his two grown two daughters who ran exhausted, stressed and frustrated from such an unmanageable situation, it still all falls back to a man who by his very nature was nasty, surly, mean and self-centered.

How do I know this since I have known him only two days? He gave me clues all along the way that this was and had always been his personality. One disturbing example came in a moment of absolute clarity when he was not ranting at a relative and was actually pleasant to get along with. He talked about knowing that one day, God would purge all the homosexuals from the Earth, that they were not natural, etc. This very statement, echoed by another elder I had known years ago who was not demented, points to a severely intolerant personality of anything different from himself. Now that you know his behavior and that of his family, you might wonder why I said I was ready to forgive Roby completely for his behavior until I met the family, but not for the reasons I believedThis is why: Yes he was demented and yes his family were giving his dementia fuel, though unintentionally. Of that there is no doubt. And how can I still say after all this that I can still blame Roby when he has dementia? Easy. Because his nature of nasty, surly, mean and self-centeredness had shaped the very behavior in his family that was the fuel for his twisted view of their actions!

Let me clarify this further: A person’s behavior is learned from their parents. If a parent teaches a child that it is okay to borrow a car (instead of paying for their own and keeping it maintained), then passes this lesson on to his (Roby’s) granddaughter and she does it, well, is it the parent at fault or the grandparent for the child borrowing the car? The answer is it is both. The child’s parents okay’d it and so did their parent (Roby)…the parents learned the lesson from their parents.

If we do a little digging, we find a person’s tendency to drink, beat their children, etc. are either reactions to the actions of bad/evil parents and/or are learned traits 90% of the time. The same is true of lesser tendencies, like borrowing money, cars and leaving a situation when it gets bad. I am not arguing in this article nor taking sides on the issue of homosexuals, borrowing cars or senior abandonment. They are merely real-life examples that fuel the twisted view of a man who was very nasty and unpleasant even before the onset of dementia. I merely had to meditate and dig deeper to see who and what was really to blame here.

If you can wrap your head around the lesson of this digging behind the answers for the real answers you can see why it takes the wisdom of a Crone to understand it and why it is actually possible to not suffer so in our golden years, even if you have such debilitating illnesses like dementia. “Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate, Hate leads to suffering.”

Maybe the Universe is Trying to Tell You Something

Meditation this morning started off interesting. If you’ve already read my good experience with Robert Seutter the science fiction author, mythology specialist and celtic storyteller, you already know I had a nice night off from my stress-out fest. And if you read further, you also know I woke up with a case of the “Dragonfly Whispers” this morning that gave me a gentle reminder to work on a project idea I had received from a friend back in December.

When we listen to those outside of ourselves, we have a choice to either take their advice or not. Sometimes the most important advice-giver is the Universe itself. I read a fascinating book a few years back called, “Signs” (no affiliation with the movie) that made me ever vigilant for “signs” the Universe gives us in answer to our properly phrased questions. I believe I got one this morning as I went to meditate.

When our roommate moved out a month ago, I at once commandeered his room to set it up as my special space – a meditation room. I like to go in there, put on a special album of music that promotes quiet, calm and meditation. I also have three triple-wicked candles I usually light during the opening song.

There is one candle, the one under the window next to my BOS that has a wick that never lights. I have tried and tried and tried to get it to light, but it doesn’t any more. Maybe it has too much wax around it, maybe the wick is damaged, but as our impending move drew closer and I got more stressed, it burned lower and lower and finally stopped lighting at all.

I always try, it wouldn’t work, but guess what? This morning it light. And not only did it light, but it burned as tall as the other flames next to it!

Is it a true sign? Who knows. The Universe isn’t telling. But, as I always say, That Which You Believe Becomes Your World. If I want it to be a sign, a good sign, a sign of hope, then yes it is.

And who is to tell me differently?

Dragonfly Whispers

I call them “dragonfly whispers”. I have been getting them lately…those nuggets of inspiration waiting for me when I wake up in the morning before my brain kicks into high gear, already worrying and planning the day ahead. They are like a tiny whispered voice, and as I thought about that, it reminded me of a book I treasure called, “The Boy Who Made Dragonfly”.  In it, a Hopi Indian child makes the world’s first dragonfly out of corn husks and silk. Having been accidentally abandoned by his tribe as they set off on their annual migration, the dragonfly he creates to comfort his little sister comes to life. It becomes a guide and intermediary to the Other Side as he struggles to survive and take care of his younger sister at the same time.

The tiny voice of that “dragonfly” whispered in my ear this morning, reminding me of something I could do to ease our current financial situation. At the time I heard the idea way back in December, I thought it was brilliant, but was too busy to pursue it. Now, like a dragonfly that suddenly sees prey out of the corner of its eye, I can veer off and back to this project that just might bring in the much needed income to get us through the month.

I have been too stressed to remember this project up until now. I know that stress is the “mind-killer” – to steal a phrase from the Ben Gesserite from the movie “Dune”, but how to break through that stress was another matter entirely!

The breakthrough came last night.

I went to record an episode of “The Event Horizon” – a science fiction author podcast by my station manager Gene at Krypton Radio. His guest was Robert Seutter – author, broadcast technology specialist and most importantly to me, a wonderful Celtic Storyteller. Gene had prefaced our meeting with the information that he is a mythology specialist and that fascinated me. The first thing I asked him was if he knew any myths about dragonflies. He did indeed, one I had never heard, and from that moment on, he had my rapt attention.

We went to dinner afterwards with the local chapter of the Browncoats – a kind of “Firefly” appreciation group of very friendly fans. Speaking to Robert was a joy and further fascination as he and my husband found they had both attended USC’s School of Cinema Television within very close proximity of each other by a couple of years. It was so delightful to see they had something in common!

It was a wonderful night and for the first time since the stress of an impending move had descended, I completely enjoyed an evening out. It helped me reboot my brain back into a functional, happy and creative mode and for that I thank Robert Seutter immeasurably, but what he did for me was important beyond even the enjoyment of the evening. Like I mention in my post about Making Breakthroughs Depends on Listening to Other People, one often has to get the input of the wonderful, creative people in their lives to advance and flourish, flying past the negative, soul-sucking routines of our personal lives that keep us trapped in impossible situations. Remember this if you remember anything out of this post, it may not be what they say that gets you flying in the direction you need to go – it might just be the feelings and experiences they gave you when their paths crossed yours that will make the difference.

Meditation

single candle

A calm meditation can help replenish the energy of the body, making up in a small way, for lack of sleep. Done properly, it grounds and centers the body and in turn, the soul, making it easier to tackle the demands and stresses of the day. I once walked into a room after a particularly good, deep meditation and a friend commented on how grounded, how calm I appeared – this after several days of stress and panic over moving and financial matters were eating me alive.

We all make excuses not to meditate, and then suffer the consequences when we do. Priorities can be hard to set the higher the stress level. I once heard a saying I always use when faced with planning a day without meditation. “When you are stressed, meditate. If you feel you are too busy and or stressed to meditate, meditate. If you are still stressed afterward meditating, meditate some more. If you are still stressed after that, you haven’t meditated enough.” This may sound like it would take all day if we followed such advice, so why not do the meditation – and do it right the first time? Get the effect you are striving for – which is to calm, ground and center yourself, then you can go about the rest of your day.

This post is not intended on how to do the meditation itself. It is here to get you used to the idea of making meditation, “me time”, one of the priorities not easily sacrificed to a day when you will need it most. We will explore techniques and suggestions for improving the quality of your meditation at a later time. Stay tuned and check back often.

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