Getting Creative with Your Spirit Guides

by Debra Landwehr Engle

Have you ever wondered what creativity truly is?

What if we defined it as the art of living rather than the art of painting a portrait or writing a novel?

What if creativity isn’t an attribute that only certain people have, but a birthright of being human?

What if creativity isn’t something you do, but it’s who you are?

And what if your spirit guides are your creative partners every moment of your life?

When I was writing Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, my writing guide told me this:

“Creativity is not just a talent some people have. It is the intentional partnership between our world and yours, brought into human form by your willingness to listen.”

In other words, the more you listen, and the more you focus on spiritual guidance and act on it, the more you’ll be able to express your creativity in everything you do.

So when are you creative?

  • Any time there’s a problem and you manifest a solution, you’re creative.
  • Any time you help a friend see things a different way, you’re creative.
  • Every time you turn one thing into something else, you’re creative. (Case in point: transforming eggs, flour and sugar into a cake. It’s the alchemy of creation.)

Essentially, every time you breathe, you’re creative, since creativity is part of your DNA. So the question isn’t, “Am I creative?” Instead it’s, “How can I build an intentional partnership with my guides?”

There are endless ways to do that, but here’s one simple one to supersize your communication with your guides:

Do a vision board with your guides’ help. You may have created a vision board before, but it’s a more powerful exercise when you do it intentionally with your guides.

Get out a large piece of paper, several magazines, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. Now ask your guides what they’d suggest as a focus for your vision board.

Typically, a vision board is a way of visualizing what you’d like to manifest. But it could also be used to answer a question, help resolve an issue or point you in a clear direction.

So close your eyes, sit quietly for a few moments, take in three deep breaths, and ask your guides: “What is the focus of this vision board?” Pay attention to any sensations, images, words or feelings you receive, and trust their guidance for you.

Once you’re clear about the purpose of the vision board, set all expectations aside and ask your guides to lead you to the pictures and words you need most right now. Then simply start flipping through magazines.

Every time you see an image or a word that speaks to you, cut it out and set it aside. Do this for a set period of time—for instance, 10 minutes. Then spend another 10 minutes gluing the pieces at random to your sheet of paper.

Now it’s time to interpret your vision board. Ask your guides for help with this step, too, so you can understand the deeper meaning of the words and images you chose. It’s important not to judge or dismiss anything you put on your vision board. Instead, listen for the meaning.

For instance, if you’re married and you put a picture of a bride on your vision board, ask why. Maybe you’re going to feel newly married again. Maybe someone in your life is getting married and you don’t know it yet.

Ask other questions, too. For instance…

  • “Why did this particular image speak so strongly to me?”
  • “I have lots of white space on my vision board. What does that mean?” Or, in contrast, “My vision board is packed full. What does that mean?”
  • “What’s the connecting thread of the words and images?”
  • “What’s the one thing you want me to know right now?”

This is the beauty of the intentional partnership with your guides. It will reveal to you information and perspectives that you could not have thought of on your own.

So the next time you question your whether you’re a creative being, remember that partnership. Then let your creativity, and your spirit guides, speak.


Debra Engle is the author of the award-winning Let You Spirit Guides Speak and The Only Little Prayer You Need.

Spiritual Bandwidth

by Janet Conner

Have you noticed that the next big idea that sends your life into a whole new orbit always drops out of nowhere? You’re not looking for it, not asking for it, not expecting anything, when suddenly, wham, it lands in your heart. And the top of your head pops off like a champagne cork.

I had one of those moments recently.

I had just finished a delightful conversation with Kathleen Deignan on The Soul-Directed Life talking about Thomas Merton, prayer, and finding the natural rhythm of your life. We even sang to one another.

As we were saying goodbye, Kathleen blurte17d, “You are an ecstatic!”

This got my attention because it was the second time ecstasy came calling. The first time, a friend in book group interrupted me as I was describing the intense experience of writing Find Your Soul’s Purpose. She said, “You need more balance in your life.” Without thinking, I blurted, “I don’t want balance. I want ecstasy.”

Hmm. Ecstasy. Blurted. Twice. Time to investigate.

First stop. The dictionary:

  • rapturous delight
  • overpowering emotion or exaltation
  • state of sudden intense feeling
  • frenzy of poetic inspiration
  • mental transport of rapture from the contemplation of divine things

Well, now. These are what I like, what I want, what excites me.

But what is an ecstatic? 

I wrote to Kathleen. You might want to read her answer slowly:

“By ecstatic I mean vibrating at a very high and insightful frequency as a way of being in this world. Most of us do not use hardly ANY of the spiritual band-width we have as gift, never really let ourselves move into these more spacious, expansive realms.

You feel like a woman who lives in the power-state of joy and surprise and wonder and gratitude—all of that.

That is what I meant when I said you are an ecstatic being.”

I was tickled by how she described me, but it was Spiritual Band-width that sent my champagne cork flying.

In all my interspiritual reading (over 100 books a year), I’ve never seen anyone use that term.

So what is this?
In a word: Transparent.
Spiritual band-width is the measure of your transparency to the Transcendent.

Every tradition points to becoming so transparent that you merge into the divine in sacred union.

  • Jesus is transparent when he says, “The Father and I are One.”
  • The ultimate Vedic truth is, “You are That.”
  • Li Po in 8th century China wrote, “We sit together the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

The spiritual band-width of these souls is so vast it encompasses the width and depth of the cosmos.

Which is great for them, but what about you and me?
We’re not there yet.

But, as we explore the fields of the soul, embodying the living presence of the Divine in our mystical prayer practices, we become a wee bit more transparent.

Bit by bit, prayer by prayer, silence by silence, our spiritual band-width expands and expands and expands.

Thanks to Kathleen Deignan, I see that I have been slowly expanding my spiritual band-width for years. And everything I write and every course I lead helps you expand your band-width, too.

I’m in awe. I’m in wonder. I’m in love.

And it’s only taken me 10 years, 7 books, 220 radio shows, countless hours of deep soul writing, deep soul reading, and deep soul mystical prayer practice to see what is happening when we explore the fields of the soul: we are expanding our spiritual band-width!

So the question that’s probably bubbling up right now is “How do I expand my spiritual band-width?

I took this inquiry into soul writing. This surfaced:

  • Sacred Desire
    Acknowledge and express your sacred desire to become more transparent to the Transcendent
  • Big Questions
    Ask big questions, quest-inducing questions, and follow where they lead
  • Mystical Prayer
    Develop mystical prayers that you love with your whole being
  • Show Up
    Live your prayer practices and your prayer practices will transform your life
  • White Space
    Give yourself silence and emptiness in which to hear the voice of the Transcendent
  • Big Ideas
    Spend time with the mystics; chew over ideas that astonish you
  • Soul Community
    Explore the fields of the soul in community. Spend time with real soul friends
  • Serve the Divine
    Be the presence of the divine in and through and as you–this is the essence of transparency
  • Unknowing
    Open to what you don’t know, don’t understand, can’t figure out
  • Trust
    Release the need for safety. Pursue love. In perfect paradox, you’ll find true safety

Looking at my list, I realized we do all that and more in my deep soul exploration books and courses. And the result, as Kathleen recognized, is gratitude, wonder, and joy–even ecstasy!


Janet Conner is a writer, speaker, teacher, retreat guide, and radio show host of The Soul-Directed Life radio show for Unity Online Radio. Each year she teaches five global telecourses in her trademark series Your Soul Wants Five Things, which offers spiritual tools and practices that help people meet their soul’s primary needs. She lives and writes in Ozona, Florida. Visit her online at www.janetconner.com.

The Egyptian Pendant That is Not Egyptian

By Steven & Evan Strong

In one of our most recent articles posted, we comprehensively dismissed the credentials of the six mainstream reasons as to why the Kariong Hieroglyphs are a recently constructed prank/hoax. The three sandstone walls, found deep in the bush at a very remote post, contain close to three hundred hieroglyphs and do look, at first glance, decidedly Egyptian. Officially decreed fake, with at least four different sets of people or one individual deemed responsible, no motive is given, profit suggested, in fact any and all of these pretenders only share one common feature: anonymity. No name, address, court charge, photograph, statuary declaration or video is produced as evidence, it is all down to what just doesn’t fit into current models of the human past in ancient times.

Photo by Evan Strong

It is a flimsy charade easily dispensed with, all that is needed is to look away from the pros and cons involved in assessing whether the glyphs on the walls are authentic, pause for a second and look down to the earth, as one wise Original woman did some thirty years ago when standing beside those same engravings.

Another Original Truth

The pendant found by highly respected Original Elder, Aunty Minnie Mace, lying in the earth floor between the Kariong hieroglyphs, was originally thought to be an Egyptian product. Aunty Minnie was accompanying the first non-Original person to record the glyphs and liaise with Egyptian experts, Ray Johnson, at a time when very few people knew they existed. While on site she felt drawn to what appeared to be a solid clump of hard earth, even though it had no right to be given special privileges, she told us she intuitively knew there was more to this object than what met the eye.

It took her half an hour to clean away the thick coat of dirt. Beneath the protective coat was a metal object with a complete circular clasp which presumably held a chain that was strung around the neck. Unfortunately, a younger member of the family wore a necklace displaying this ancient treasure at a dance and through misfortune or a poor sense of rhythm, contact was made and the upper edge of the clasp broke away. Understandably, as it was found beside what is acknowledged through cat-scan analysis to be an extremely ancient piece of human bone, and was positioned less than five metres from hieroglyphs that make reference to unexpected death and nearby interment of Nefer-Ti-Ru (son of Khufu), there was no reason not to expect that it was also of Egyptian origin.

We held to the belief it was Egyptian and saw no alternative on any horizon, until it was scientifically analysed about six months ago. The results have made it clear that this metal object was never made in Egypt. However, it doesn’t end there, as it doesn’t belong to anywhere else on this planet. This artefact was found to have two identifiable elements that make up 76% of the compound, Aluminium is the major element and accounts for 73% of the object and the other 3% is Copper. What is left over cannot be determined, the laboratory found 24% of what lay within is unknown. Because of this analysis there are two problems in attributing any Earthy origin, there is no Aluminium alloy manufactured anywhere on this planet, before or since, that has less than 85% Aluminium, and this is 12% below the minimum standard. This metal only came into common usage after World War 2 and there is no alloy yet made on this planet that has one quarter of the content unidentifiable and is much harder than any present combination.

Photo by Samarah Wood

Moreover, with no deposit of Bauxite in ancient or modern Egypt to mine, this piece of jewellery cannot be Egyptian and is most likely well ahead of its time. Is it evidence of earlier advanced technology spoken of in civilisations like Atlantis and Lemuria? Or, what if this compound contains material that came from other planets and constellations? That’s it, there is nothing left on the table if relying on conventional accounts explaining how humans evolved and spread their ‘seed.’ There are no other logical possibilities, it can’t be Egyptian and has no known precedent or composition which leaves us with one of two answers, looking way back into the ancient past or up into the night-time skies. From that station it is a simple matter of one of these locations has to be right. Either one makes no difference, that still means so much of what is assured to be factual about our gradual evolution from ‘cave-man’ ignorance by degrees leading on to the present day pinnacle in all the facets of humanity we see today, is fundamentally wrong.


Steven Strong is a secondary school teacher with a background in Aboriginal archaeology and education. He co-wrote two units of the Master of Aboriginal Studies program for Sydney University and the New South Wales Department of Education. Evan Strong has bachelor of social science degree with majors in psychology/archaeology-anthropology/sociology and counseling.

The Heart Chakra

by Sasha Fenton

Location

Unsurprisingly, the heart chakra is based in the center of the chest in the area of the heart. It is associated with the heart, lungs, thorax, upper digestive tract, and ribs.

Basic Purpose

The heart chakra is concerned with love and also with the ability to relate to others. It is also associated with the ability to love and respect ourselves, to be creative, and to be wise. This chakra is the gateway between the humanity-orientated lower chakras and the more divinely-orientated upper ones. The heart chakra is concerned with emotional security and with loving comfort. It seeks to form a balance between the need for love and for spiritual excellence, so it rules selflessness, compassion, devotion, and a sensible measure of sacrifice on behalf of others. The heart chakra concerns physical and emotional healing, but also creativity, artistry, music, and crafts. In a way, it is also connected to the ideas of those things that offer us fun, amusement, and uplift , in addition to relaxation, rest, and recovery.

A Strong Heart Chakra

This is the second of the emotional chakras, as opposed to the instinctual, mental, or spiritual ones. Obviously those with strong heart chakras are loving and unselfish, but they don’t allow themselves to become martyrs or to be manipulated by others. These people don’t flee from emotional commitment, because they are happy to love others, but they like to be loved in return. They don’t need to play games. They forgive themselves when they do something wrong, and they understand and forgive others. Those with strong heart chakras neither hoard money nor spend it stupidly; they are neither stingy nor overly generous. They are balanced in every aspect of their lives. Those who have a strong heart chakra are reasonable to live with, work with, and to be around because they have a healthy self-respect, and they also gain the respect of others. Some of those with a strong heart chakra take a calculated decision to give up the chance of fun and freedom in order to take care of sick relatives, while others might even take up vocations in a religious order. Many choose to work with the needy.

One aspect of this chakra is the ability to cope when times are bad, which means that these individuals can handle loss, separation, bereavement, and heartache with a degree of equilibrium. They are not cold or unemotional, but they don’t fall into a heap of self-pity or dejection when things go wrong. They have a measure of spiritual acceptance, and they know that even bad times are necessary for growth and understanding. These folk hope for the best, and they trust others unless they find a good reason not to.

Someone with a good heart chakra will often choose a career that involves working with people. They work in the public sector or in jobs that require teamwork and that help people in some way. They work with children, the elderly, the weak, the handicapped, or those who need advice, and if they don’t happen to need money, they take up voluntary work. There is a measure of self-acceptance and of self-knowledge, so this person knows that while he or she may not be perfect, he or she is pretty much all right.

Too Much Heart Chakra
These subjects can put the needs of others above their own to a great extent, perhaps by choosing a partner who is very needy or needs to be rescued from alcohol, drugs, gambling, or some other destructive habit. Misplaced loyalty is common. At the worst end of the spectrum, these people can be manipulative and possessive or fond of making emotional scenes. Their love is conditional; it is only doled out when the other person does what they want, and they will withhold love when the other person needs it most. They can make a partner or child’s life a complete misery. Sometimes the person is self-centered, possessive, and jealous, or power hungry, bitter, and prone to hatred. This subject finds it impossible to forgive.

Not Enough Heart Chakra
Just as an angry and confrontational person can drive others away, so can a whining, self-pitying, and dependent one. Both behaviors are a form of manipulation. Just as those with too much heart chakra can give too much of themselves to others, so can they if they don’t have enough, because this is two sides of the same coin. Some people give far too much of themselves in the hope of obtaining or maintaining the approval of others.

In many ways, this chakra is about courage. All situations that involved relating to others, whether at home, at work, or elsewhere, require courage, common sense, and the ability to set limits. Thus, those who lack heart chakra energy may allow others to walk all over them. Alternatively, they might feel unlovable or unworthy of love. The individual might be stuck in a rut and lack the courage or energy to move out of it. Other problems might arise due to fear of the future. The person might be paralyzed by envy or they may feel unattractive, immobile, and helpless to effect change in their lives.

Interestingly, this individual may be perfectly happy, but just not be interested in romantic love or in relationships at all. He or she may get fulfillment in life through other routes—perhaps by creating a great garden, creating great art, looking after pets, or via some absorbing job or hobby.

Body and Health

Naturally, the heart is ruled by this chakra, but the heart chakra also rules the circulation, lungs, and rib cage. The heart chakra is associated with such ailments as asthma, allergies, and pneumonia, and it is also associated with problems in the upper spine and shoulders. The heart chakra is metaphorically linked to the air element, so it rules breathing difficulties. Those with a powerful heart chakra might cough or find it hard to breathe when they are upset or excited. This chakra also rules the immune system; therefore, it is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, Type I diabetes, and problems with cell growth. The heart chakra is also associated with the thymus and growth hormones, and it also rules the shoulders, arms, and breasts.

Spiritual Link

Tradition says that this chakra is associated with out-of-body experiences and astral travel. It also rules spiritual knowledge, so those who have a healthy heart chakra make wonderful counselors, healers, doctors, psychologists, and therapists. Some spiritual healers feel this chakra opening when they start to work.

Those who have a strong heart chakra can make excellent salespeople. They like and understand people, so they know instinctively how to make customers feel comfortable. This chakra can denote “putting one’s heart” into things like charitable work or social work—any activity that is for the benefit of others.

Exercises for the Heart Chakra

Affirmation: I Give and Receive Love

• Visualize a green bud at your sternum. With each breath you inhale, the bud expands and unfolds its leaves, increasing the life force within this chakra.
• Get out into nature. Stand with your back against a tree, your shoulder blades making contact. Breathe in the energy of the tree, feeling it entering your back and entering your heart
• Resist the urge to find fault in everything.
• Give a prayer of thanks every day for all you have

Excerpted from Chakras Plain & Simple by Sasha Fenton

Born in Bushey, near London (UK), Sasha Fenton became a professional astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader in 1974. She has written 127 books, mainly on mind, body, and spirit subjects, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies and translations into 12 different languages. Sasha has written articles for every national newspaper and major magazine in Britain and many overseas publications as well.

The Arcanas

by Sasha Fenton

A tarot deck contains two parts, these being the Major and Minor Arcana . The word “Arcana” means secret or hidden, in the same way that the word occult means hidden from view, and this implies that specialized knowledge is required . The Major Arcana is a series of twenty-two stand-alone cards, the only equivalent of which is the Joker in a deck of playing cards . The Minor Arcana is broken into four suits of fourteen cards each, which are similar to those in a deck of playing cards in that they have Aces, numbered cards, and Court cards.

The Major Arcana

Major Arcana cards carry powerful images that refer back to archetypes that have all but lost their original history and meanings. The Holy Roman Emperor, 15th century power struggles between the Popes, and the hatred of Franciscan hermits mean nothing to modern clients. The behavior of a ruler can affect the fate of a nation and its people, which is obvious if we consider Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Laden, or Robert Mugabe. However, in the Western world, it is often the fate of the orga­nization for which the client works that influences his life. Each genera­tion has to modernize the meanings of the cards to fit the current ethos. These powerful image cards often show major changes and turning points in a client’s life, but it is left to the Minor Arcana cards to fill in the details.

The Ratio of Fate to Free Will

There are just over double the number of Minor Arcana cards to Major Arcana ones in a tarot deck, so if a spread of cards throws up more than a third Major Arcana cards, the client’s future is, to some extent, being directed by fate . If there are very few Major cards showing up in a spread, the future is mainly in the hands of the client.

One word you will come across in many books on the tarot is arche­type. An archetype is a shorthand description for a particular type of person. Archetypes change according to the time and place that people live in. Figures such as a Pope, Empress, or Hermit would have meant a lot to medieval people, while modern archetypes might include such things as a whiz-kid, a tycoon, a bimbo, a lay-about, a doctor, a teacher, the boss, a tax inspector, or anything else that is instantly recognizable .

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana of the tarot is composed of four suits. In the Rider-Waite deck that illustrates this book, these suits are called by their tra­ditional names of Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords. In other decks, the Pentacles, which are pentagrams contained within a circle, are called Coins. In this book, I use the term Coins for this suit. Wands are also known as Rods or Staves. It is possible to find European cards that are halfway between tarot and playing cards, these being illustrated with Hearts, Acorns, or other similar features, but also showing Wands and Swords. Such cards are often used for playing games, and one can buy Tarocco or Taroc decks in Italy and Spain that are based on some or all of the Minor Arcana of the tarot.

THE SUIT OF CUPS is concerned with feelings, emotions, and the emotional response to a situation. This doesn’t mean only affairs of the heart but also the way a client feels about his job, his home, art, music, the situation that he finds himself in, or any other emotional response. These cards can indicate celebration, depression, and a whole host of other feelings or events that cause an emotional response.

THE SUIT OF WANDS is difficult to categorize because this covers a multitude of daily activities, benefits, and problems. These might include negotiating for something, carrying out a task, the action of moving house, traveling, working, running a home, or just the business of living.

THE SUIT OF COINS deals with a client’s resources, which may be money, goods, property, land, equipment, a business, a career, success, failure, and status or matters related to these topics. This suit deals with the practicalities of a matter.

THE SUIT OF SWORDS suggests those things that require action of some kind in order to put something right. These can indicate health problems, financial or marital issues, or quarrels and dissent of many different kinds. Sometimes they suggest that the only thing a client can do is to accept defeat, walk away from a situation, and do something else with his life.

One way I describe these suits to beginners in my workshops is to tell them the following story:

“You are fed up with your job. The job is unsatisfying, the pay is poor, the place is inconvenient for you to get to, and the people you work for or with are unpleasant. This is a Sword matter, as it shows that something needs to be done.

“You start looking in the local papers and on the Internet for some­thing new; you ask your friends and acquaintances to see if they know where you might find a better job. This is a Wand matter, as it requires travel, communications, and research.

“Finally, you find the job you want. The pay is good, the place is easy to reach by public transport, the job is the kind you want, the people you will work for and among appear to be congenial, and you have the skills and resources at your command with which to do the job. The practical side of this looks good, and practical matters are related to Coins.

“The outcome may be that the job is just what you want and that you are very happy. On the other hand, there may be something that you don’t see at the interview but that gets you down after a while. You may love or hate the product that the firm produces or sells.

“You could make lasting friends as a result of working at the new job and you might even find love there. Alternatively, you may feel uncom­fortable, unhappy, or just that this job is somehow wrong for you and that you could do better elsewhere. These fuzzy-edged emotional issues belong to the realm of Cups.”

To summarize:

Cups: Emotional responses.
Wands: Day-to-day activities.
Coins: Resources and practical matters.
Swords: Pain, action, quarrels, movement in affairs.

Excerpted from Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards by Sasha Fenton


Born in Bushey, near London (UK), Sasha Fenton became a professional astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader in 1974. She has written 127 books, mainly on mind, body, and spirit subjects, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies and translations into 12 different languages. Sasha has written articles for every national newspaper and major magazine in Britain and many overseas publications as well.

Lunar Magic

by Leanna Greenaway

The Moon has always been known to exert a magical influence on the Earth. Scientists are always adding to their knowledge of the Moon’s activities and are bringing more understanding to the way it affects our planet. It is interesting to note that many scientists studying the Moon have become more in touch with their spiritual side, while those fortunate enough to travel into space have often returned in a more spiritual frame of mind.

The Moon is traditionally linked with the feminine aspect and the functions of the right side of the brain, which tend to influ­ence creativity and insight. Men also possess these functions, but they tend to be found more abundantly in women.

The Moon sits approximately 250,000 miles away from the Earth. We generally say the Moon takes 28 days to complete its orbit around the Earth, but in reality it is 29.5 days—this lat­ter time is longer due to the movement of the Earth during the Moon’s orbit.

There are many theories about the Moon and how it affects us. One theory posits that the Moon and its phases influence our internal chemistry, pulling on the gravitational forces of our physi­cal bodies. Another concept states the gravitational field of a full Moon changes energy particles that reach the Earth, influencing the way we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain.

The word “lunatic” came into use because people suffering mental imbalances tended to become unstable at the time of a full Moon. Of course, the human body is about 80 percent water, so as the Moon affects the tides, perhaps it also changes the tide of our lives!

Dating as far back to humanity’s earliest tribes, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars were identified as having control over women and pregnancy. When we look at the connections between women and the Moon, we see that the female menstrual cycle lasts roughly 29.5 days. This is the length of time between two full Moons. Another interesting thing to note is that a pregnancy is around 266 days long, which is the approximate number of days within ten full Moons. It’s uncanny how women, especially in their fertile years, may be affected by the lunar cycle.

A very interesting experiment that you may wish to try is to study your own mood changes throughout the month and to note down how you feel during each Moon phase. You may be quite surprised at the results. My friend Sasha suggests that you also check how you, your family, and your friends or colleagues behave when the Moon passes through different signs of the zodiac. For instance, many people become irritable, angry, and subjec­tive when the Moon is in a fire sign (Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), or they may overwork when it is in an earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn). They may be somewhat unemotional and more detached and objective than usual when the Moon is in an air sign (Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius) and more intuitive and instinctive when it is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces).

The Full Moon

Research shows that when the Moon is full, more traffic accidents, murders, and suicides take place than at any other time during the lunar cycle. Those unfortunate enough to endure mental or emo­tional problems can experience difficulties around this phase. It has also been documented that people with criminal tendencies tend to offend more around this time. From a magical point of view, a full Moon is an excellent time to cast love spells, as the power from the full Moon intensifies emotional matters.

Cast spells during the full Moon for:

  • Marriage
  • Romance
  • Harmony in relationships
  • Beauty
  • Musical talents
  • Psychic abilities

The Waxing Moon

When the Moon is waxing (growing into a full Moon), many witches cast spells to remove blocks and to improve life in gen­eral. Rituals can be performed if you feel that you are in a rut and if circumstances around you are not changing quickly enough. The energies at this time tend to work in a very positive fashion and usually bring about the desired results quite quickly.

Cast spells during a waxing Moon for:

  • Problems at work
  • Health
  • Money
  • Education
  • Self-discipline
  • Moving house or property matters

The Waning Moon

Magically, the waning Moon (when the Moon is shrinking toward a new Moon) is a good time to cast spells to remove unwanted situations and to shift negative or bad influences. There are times when we may feel like we don’t have the strength to tackle cer­tain individuals, or that we lack the confidence that we need to face up to our fears. Spell casting during this phase gives us the power to take control, strengthen our inner selves, and become more assertive in our actions. It can also help us to find something that we have mislaid.

Cast spells during a waning Moon for:

  • Banishing enemies
  •  Clearing negative vibrations
  • Harassment
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Willpower
  • Being bullied
  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional healing p Lost property

The New Moon

Spells cast during a new Moon can bring many new changes: buy­ing a new home, starting a new job, enjoying a blossoming rela­tionships. White Witches favor the new Moon phase when spell casting to bring about new beginnings of some kind. Usually, a spell to be rid of a problem or unwelcome situation would com­mence on a waning Moon; the witch would then wait until the new Moon to bring about the positive replacement.

Cast spells during a new Moon for

  • Conception
  • New jobs
  • New relationships
  • Weddings
  • Travel
  • Money matters
  • Parenting
  • Communication
  • Legal matters

Excerpted from Wicca Plain & Simple by Leanna Greenaway


Leanna Greenaway has her own monthly column in Take a Break’s Fate & Fortune magazine. As their resident witch, she answers reader’s questions and offers quick and easy spells to combat problems. She is the author of Practical Spellcraft and the cofounder of the Psychic Study Centre. She lives in the south of England.

Luck – A Bird’s Eye View

by Jessica Lourey

Something bizarre happened to me recently. It was so strange that I haven’t been able to fully process it even 24 hours later. It involved an impossible feat of physics, coincidence, and a brutal exercise in perspective. See this picture of my car’s grill, noting the 2″ x 4″ openings in it? Hang onto that image because it is pivotal to this story.

But first, I need to tell you that it’s been a difficult few weeks. The end of March, my sister announced that she and her partner of 17+ years are divorcing. He’s a good guy. We love him, and of course we love her. My nieces are grown, but this still affects them. These sorts of lifequakes stir up unresolved family issues and arguments, too, at least they do in mine.

On top of that, my writing retreat business folded before it even got started. After five months of working like mad dogs with only a handful of sign-ups, in early April my partner Allison and I decided this is not the business for us. It was good to step away, but the whole experience is failure-scented.

Finally, my first and probably only nonfiction book releases in two short weeks. In it, I step out from behind the cloak of fiction to share how I turn my life into stories. I LIKE THE CLOAK OF FICTION. That’s why I write novels and not memoirs, for the love of Pete. But the fact-to-fiction process has been so transformative for me, so healing and so much the seeds of great writing, that I can’t keep it to myself. Sharing it is the right thing to do, just like TEDx Talk was the right thing to do, but I’ve still felt like a naked freeway turtle for weeks now, that sensation growing stronger as my May 1 release date approaches.

So yeah. I’ve been on edge lately, pessimistic, overwhelmed, looking forward to something just around the corner that’ll make me happy, promising myself life’ll get better soon. (That’s what’s referred to as Minnesota optimism. You can put up with really cold winters if you spend your time thinking about summer.)

That’s a recap of my recent life up until yesterday, which is where the weirdness begins. I was traveling the 3.5 hours south from my in-laws to my parents. I was driving fast, but not too fast. My mind wandered as I drove. I unraveled the guilt I felt for not spending the previous day with my kids, with Z only home from college for three days and X stressed from all the family changes. I worked through plot holes in Mercy’s Chase, the next thriller in my Witch Hunt series. I daydreamed about the honeymoon Tony and I would finally take when we saved enough money and carved out enough time.

I was mostly feeling relaxed when I crested that hill and discovered…a flock of pheasants sitting on the road, in my path. I gasped. A car was coming toward me and the ditch to my right was steep. I had to stay in my lane.  I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late.

THUNK.

Wikimedia Commons open source

Have you ever hit an animal with your car? It’s one of the top five worst sounds in the world. It’s visceral. It’s hollow and solid and feathers and bone. It’s pain and you created it. I sucked in my breath and my eyes shot to my rearview mirror. I grew up in the country and knew the rules: you didn’t leave an animal to suffer. Please be dead please be dead please be dead. Except…I didn’t see a carcass in the rearview mirror. My stomach dropped. The pheasant must be hung up somewhere on my vehicle. I drove a few hundred feet and parked on the shoulder, scanning the ditch for sticks. I was almost in tears because if I had to remove that poor creature from my car and then put it out of its misery with my bare hands…well, I couldn’t think about that.

And for one sweet minute, I didn’t have to. When I stepped out of my car and walked on trembly legs around to the front, I saw no bird. No feathers. No sign of an accident. I dropped to all fours. The pheasant wasn’t under my car, either. I stood, glancing all around. I felt a little dizzy. No way way had I imagined this. I leaned against my car to catch my balance.

That’s when the flapping began. The pheasant was trapped behind my grill.

Like some rural David Copperfield, that bird had squeezed his chicken-sized body through one of my grill’s 4″ x 2″ openings while the car was traveling at 60 mph. Not possible. (Let me share the photo again here so you can see how impossible this was.) There was no way a pheasant was trapped inside of my car looking at me through my grill like my own personal zoo creature. Except that it *was happening*. I popped my hood, felt the seams along every inch of that grill, scoured the tire wheels and underbody, looked for any other possible explanation, but there wasn’t one. The speed and angle must have been freakishly perfect.

Here’s something they don’t cover in driver’s ed: what do you do when you find yourself on a lonely country road with a huge wild bird magically trapped in an inaccessible part of your vehicle? You get in the car and start driving, that’s what. And then you call your husband who is 40 miles behind and to the east of you and has no suggestions off the top of his head but to be fair this was new territory for both of us. We agreed to meet 25 miles south where his road and mine converged. It seemed like a solid plan until I’d driven all of two miles and started crying. That poor bird. It must be terrified. I couldn’t drive slower because then he’d be there longer, but I couldn’t drive faster because the radiator would heat up faster. I was torturing this creature.

When I smelled burning feathers, I thought, *That is the unluckiest bird in the world. *

I couldn’t keep driving for another 23 miles, not with that poor animal suffering. There was a closer town straight east. Going there meant I’d miss Easter dinner for sure, but I couldn’t keep this up. Ten minutes later, I found myself pulling into a gas station, wondering if I should park with my pheasant facing or away from the store. I decided on facing. He flapped when I walked by.

Inside the gas station, I spotted a couple farmers talking. “Hey,” I said, “I’ve got an odd situation and I’m hoping you can help?”

They gamely followed me outside, and in true Midwestern fashion, did not lose one ounce of their cool. “Well I’ll be damned. That’s a full-grown rooster you’ve got in there.” They chuckled. They told me maybe I’d have pheasant for dinner. They looked every which on my car and came to the same conclusion as me: the only way in was through the grill, and the only way out was by dismantling the front bumper. I didn’t have the tools. They didn’t either. They pointed me toward the police department. The situation could’ve only grown more surreal if one of them took to the air himself.

At the police station, Officer Jeff didn’t bat an eye when I told him I had something weird to show him–you guys, you really do need to visit Minnesota–and as soon as he laid eyes on the pheasant, he jogged back inside to grab a pair of gloves, some tools, and spent the next 20 minutes wordlessly removing my bumper. The longest sentence he strung together came after I asked him what we’d do when we got that poor bird out. I was not looking forward to seeing the shape he’s in. He was surely broken every which way but Wednesday.

I wanted the officer to tell me that he’d take care of the bird. Instead he said, “Hopefully, it’ll fly away.”

Officer Jeff, for all of his quiet capability, was clearly a dreamer.

The top seal of the bumper was finally off. Jeff directed me to pull the lip of it forward and down, keeping out of sight because if that pheasant had one ounce of sanity left, he was going to hide from humans. I was still 99% sure that bird was never coming out and that I’d have to sell my car when a big pile of pheasant poop dropped near my feet, I heard a glorious mad fluttering, and that bird took off. Like, IT FLEW, low and wide, that graceful path that only a male pheasant can fly, most of his gorgeous tail feathers still intact. He disappeared over a hill into the nearby woods. I let the bumper slam back, ignoring the deep indents its left in my fingers. Jeff and I were standing side by side, watching the pheasant fly.

“It’s an Easter miracle,” I finally said. We both laughed.

He reassembled my bumper. Just another day at work for him. I thanked him profusely. Tony pulled up four minutes later and hugged me. There were a couple of those soft poofy underfeathers up by my engine, but no other evidence. We slid into our cars and drpve to my mom and dad’s, where everyone had waited to eat until we arrived. The food was cold, the company good, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that bird. He’d survived a collision with a car at 60 mph, had broken no bones as he slid through the tiniest of holes, and avoided being cooked alive on the radiator as we’d driven another 13 miles.

He was the luckiest bird in the world.

I’d thought the exact opposite when I’d hit him. I know life is about perspective, but it’s a hard truth to remember. Thanks to the pheasant, though, there was no missing it yesterday, and I began to realign my own perspectives accordingly. My family shake-up sucks right now. It really does, but it’s an opportunity for my family to clean out some calcified garbage. I lost $5000 and hundreds of hours trying to start that retreat business, but in the process, I remembered that I’m on this earth to be writing, not travel-agenting and marketing. More importantly? I realized that I’ve been living my life in the future for years now, waiting for the money and the time to finally enjoy myself. The time is now, always, and it was worth $5000 and hundreds of hours to learn that (I hope it’s cheaper next time I have to re-learn that, which’ll probably be in a few weeks). Also, thanks to that damn pheasant, I booked two trips yesterday, one of them my honeymoon, a year after my wedding. Yay! And finally, my book, Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction, my super-personal how-to guide that comes out May 1? Well, as my friend Aimee wisely said, for good or bad it’s no longer my book. It now belongs to whoever reads it. I hope it brings them what they’re looking for.

I’m smiling as I type this. I’m the luckiest bird in the world.


Jessica Lourey is best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries. Her latest book, Salem’s Cipher, earned starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology and a sought after workshop leader and keynote speaker. Visit her at http://www.jessicalourey.com.