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.

What Is the I Ching?

by Kim Farnell

The words I Ching (usually pronounced EE Ching or YEE Ching) translate into English as “The Book of Changes.”

The I Ching may be the oldest book in existence. Dating back to 1000 BC, it is an ancient divination text that has evolved over many centuries, later including a mix of Taoist and Confucian philosophy. The philosophy behind the I Ching is that nothing is static and that everything changes over time, so our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances.

I Ching Plain and Simple is not a translation of the I Ching. It is a book that explains the divinatory system of the I Ching and provides interpretations for each of the hexagrams in clear, modern language. The I Ching can help us to make decisions that logic alone can’t handle, therefore reducing the stress that decision making can cause. It enables us to manage sensitive relationships more successfully, to develop better timing and to tap into our creative insight and intuitive power.

Consulting the I Ching is different from using runes or tarot cards because its main task is not to tell the future as much as to make a situation more clear and to offer useful advice. It relies on the fact that achieving good fortune and avoiding misfortune depends on the choices that we make. When we consult the I Ching, we do not sit back and passively accept our destiny but actively create our own fortune. If our actions are in keeping with the advice of the I Ching, our fortune will be good. If our actions are out of harmony with the counsel or if we refuse to act when action is called for, then things won’t go as smoothly. Having said that, the I Ching often does offer guidance about the future.

Origins of I Ching

It is likely that the I Ching is the oldest form of divination on earth, as its origins reach back eight thousand years or so to the end of the Ice Age! The mythology of the origins of the I Ching includes the tale of Fu Hsi, the first emperor of China (3rd mil­leninum BC). The story tells us that Fu Hsi was sitting on the bank of the Yellow River when he saw a turtle emerge from the water. He paid close attention because he knew that all true wisdom came from observing nature. In his observation he noticed eight markings on the turtle’s shell; these became the original eight trigrams of the I Ching.

Out of this came the practice of tor­toise shell and ox shoulder-bone divi­nation. A red-hot poker was applied to ox bones, and wise men or “priests” deduced their meaning from the ran­dom pattern of cracks that appeared. Ancient Chinese soothsayers looked for portents in the cracks of tortoise shells, which were heated over a fire and then dowsed with water. The geometric patterns made by the resulting cracks were then stud­ied and analyzed. A secondary possible source of I Ching wisdom came from reading the lines that one can see on the flanks of an ancient type of northern Chinese horse. Whatever the ori­gins, the patterns of cracks inspired a systematic method that has developed over the centuries into today’s I Ching. This comes about via reading a three-line design that is called a trigram and a six-line design that is composed of two trigrams and which is called a hexagram.

The earliest appearance of a translation of the I Ching in the West was a Latin translation made in the 1730s by a Jesuit mis­sionary. The most influential translation into a modern Western language was made by Richard Wilhelm in 1923. Since then it has been translated numerous times and has grown in popularity in the West until the present time.

Excerpted from I Ching Plain & Simple by Kim Farnell


Kim Farnell has been a professional astrologer since 1990. She has taught astrology and lectured extensively in the UK and many places around the world. Kim has an MA in cultural astronomy and astrology and is the author of several books including Runes, Plain & Simple.

Imagine

by Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD and Tim Friend

As parents, we shape our children’s behavior from the day they are born. Their behaviors—desirable and undesirable alike— become established as we reinforce them through our own actions, reactions, and inactions. In this chapter, we’ll discuss how you can encourage cooperation in your children and help you to become aware of behaviors that may innocently send the wrong messages. As Jerry studied families in their homes, he developed what has become known as “coercion theory.” Coercion starts out as a vital, natural survival instinct that can be found in infants as well as baby birds. Before children develop language, they communicate their needs to be fed, held, or have their diapers changed by crying. Unattended infants can fly into little fits of apparent rage. It’s their only way of telling you that they need something, and they need it now. As they begin to develop language, we have to teach children to ask for what they need. If we don’t, that coercive behavior can allow toddlers to control their parents. To see unadulterated coercion in action, watch a three-year-old throw a temper tantrum in a grocery store. See how the parent and child react to each other. Observe the escalation in the intensity of emotions during the exchange. This is a battle of wills between a little kid and a grown-up. Watch how it ends, who wins, and why.

Coercion lies at the root of most of the battles we see between siblings and between parents and children. You can think of coercion as a dark side of human nature inside all of us. Understanding what coercion is and how it interferes with loving relationships can enable you to recognize it when it arises and do something about it. Because coercion is the cause of so much of the trouble between parents and young children, reducing it is a core component of our parenting techniques. When parents learn to reduce coercive actions in their children—and in themselves—cooperative behaviors have a better chance to grow and thrive. When we first become parents, many of us start out with vague dreams for ourselves, our individual children, and our families as a whole. You have probably had some kind of vision of the family you wanted ever since you were a child—though it is rare for anyone to sit down with us when we are young (and most receptive) and explain how to raise a happy family, let alone model how it is done. Your vision, however amorphous it may be, was likely influenced by the strengths and values that determined how you were raised—for better or worse.

Sit back and imagine the family you want. What you imagine is probably different from your partner’s ideal family. If one of you had a great childhood, you will surely follow in the footsteps of those amazing parents. If your childhood was rocky, you may be thinking of different ways to raise your children. Unfortunately, many of us are so busy that we don’t spend much time planning our parenting strategies. We live in a different world from the one in which we grew up. Raising children is more expensive than ever, employers demand more work, our relationships become loaded with stress, and we sacrifice our dreams to focus on the problems at hand. Now is the time to rekindle your dreams and get ready to create the changes you want for your family. Changing bad habits and teaching new skills require that you think carefully about your goals. We urge you to think big and reach high to create the family you have always wanted.

Dreams can lie dormant and may even die unless you awaken them and imagine ways to make them come true. Once you conceive your dreams, how do you give birth to them? It’s easy to say: “I want my children to get along with others or do well in school.” It is quite another thing to say: “Here’s how I will make it happen.” You start by setting goals. Begin with something feasible, and then break down the goal into steps using the Goldilocks rule—not too big, not too small, but just right. When you accomplish one goal, set a new one.

For instance, imagine teaching your children to get ready for bed on their own. Our approach is to first show them each tiny step; then we patiently teach them to put the steps together—take a bath, dress for bed, and brush their teeth. Gradually, your children learn to do it all themselves, and you can move on to another set of skills. Setting goals and planning the steps required to reach them is a kind of telescoping process—you look ahead to the future, you zoom back to the present, and you figure out how to get from here to that distant place. With practice, your skill at making long- and short-term goal statements will grow, and you will become a master of making dreams come true.

Excerpted from Raising Cooperative Kids by Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD, and Tim Friend


Marion S. Forgatch, PhD, is the senior scientist emerita at the Oregon Social Learning Center and a frequent lecturer at professional conferences. She is the coauthor with Dr. Patterson of Parents and AdolescentsGerald R. Patterson, PhD, was the founder of the Oregon Social Learning Center and was well known for his pioneering work in child psychology. His awards included the Distinguished Scientific Award from the American Psychological Association. Tim Friend has two decades of experience as a national reporter covering science and medicine.

Preparing Yourself for Spellcasting

by Leanna Greenaway

Some people love the idea of meditating, others think that it will be boring or a waste of time. The fact is that you won’t get anywhere with your spellcasting if you can’t attune your­self, so the following easy meditation techniques will begin to turn your mind, your psyche, and your aura in the right direction for the work that you wish to do.

Before you begin to cast spells, you must try to clear your mind and thoughts and rid yourself of any negative vibrations. Now let us take a look at meditation and visualization. It is impor­tant to focus when you perform ritualistic tasks, because you need to master the art of tuning in to your inner self so that the spells that you use will be effective.

When someone begins to learn the art of meditation, they usually follow the guidelines written in certain books or teach­ings. This is fine as a beginner’s guide, but as you progress, you will form your own methods and exercise your own techniques. There are many different ways to meditate, and I am sure that you will eventually discover the system that suits you best. What suits you may not work for another person, but as long as you practice regularly, you will find you can really can tap into your subcon­scious and become at one with yourself.

Meditation and visualization are not only useful for putting yourself into the right frame of mind for performing rituals, but they are also a fantastic sleep aid. I read somewhere that ten min­utes of good meditation is equivalent to four hours sleep, so it really is worth giving it a try. I usually advise my students to spend a couple of weeks working on their meditation before starting to cast spells.

How to Meditate

Find a quiet place in your home. It is probably best to lie down on your bed, but relaxing in a scented tub can create the perfect setting. Take care, because meditation can make you sleepy; so for goodness sake don’t drown! Surround yourself with scented candles. Ensure that you have complete peace and quiet and that your family and pets are unlikely to disturb you.

Take three deep breaths and clear your thoughts as you do so. In your mind, recite your protection prayer for whatever day of the week it happens to be and imagine that you are looking out through your inner eye. Keep your breathing steady as you do this. In your mind, count down from thirty to zero. Your body should start to feel light, floaty, and relaxed at this point.

Next, take ten deep breaths, but this time, imagine that with every inward breath you are inhaling all the magical energies of the universe. As you exhale, imagine that you are ejecting the negativity that is within you. This is called spirit purification, and if performed properly, it can give you a wonderful sense of well­being. The next stage is to take a further ten deep breaths, letting the magic that you have allowed in to envelope your spirit. It takes practice to perfect this, so don’t be too disappointed if you fall asleep; enjoy the rest and try again the following night.

Excerpted from Practical Spellcraft by Leanna Greenaway9781571747549


For the past 11 years, Leanna Greenaway has had her own monthly column in Take a Break’s Fate and Fortune magazine. As their resident witch, she answers reader’s questions and offers quick and easy spells to combat problems. She is the co-founder of The Psychic Study Centre and lives in the south of England.

Many Lives, Many Experiences

by Krys and Jass Godly

When you first embark on discovering your previous incar­nations, it is tempting to hope for a lifetime in which you were a great and famous person. In our experience, this rarely happens. There have been very many more ordinary people than famous ones, and the ratio of ordinary to famous is enormous. Based on the laws of probability, it is highly unlikely that you were one of the few famous ones. However, looking at your past lives is not about being famous or whether a previous incarnation has been written about in history books. What is important to recog­nize is that each incarnation that a soul experiences is a chapter in the book of that soul’s journey. In one incarnation you may be rich; in another you may be reasonably comfortable or even extremely poor. From each life, you learn something that your soul takes with it beyond the end of that physical life and into the next life.

Before you start your journey of self-discovery through your previous incarnations, you may wonder whether you have been rich or poor in past lives. Have you also wondered about being a different gender in past lives than you are in this lifetime? Living as male in some lives and female in others and having a wide variety of roles and experiences gives your soul a great opportunity to appreciate life from many different aspects. Therefore, whether you are male or female this time around, you have probably been both several times before. Able-bodied or disabled? You have probably experienced much of both before as well. Whether you are European, Australian, Asian, North or South American, Middle Eastern, or African, you have experienced life in other cultures before. You may well find that you have lived many different lives, thus giving your soul the opportunity to experience a diverse range of capabilities and control over your own life—or the lack of it.

It is also likely that you have experienced a variety of roles and responsibilities in your various lifetimes. Imagine lifetimes as a milkmaid, a laborer, a powerful property owner, a cook, an artist, a scientist, a law enforcer, a farmer, a nun, a priest, or a sailor. These are just a few of the roles that you may have experienced. In some lifetimes, you may have been playing a supporting role for another soul. In this kind of incarnation, you may not have experienced much opportunity for personal growth. It is a little like thinking of a life as a play. Occasionally you take a supporting role rather than the lead. In most of your lifetimes, you will be the lead, and there will be supporting actors to help you with your life challenges, but none of us exists in a vacuum, so you will also have played a supporting role in other lifetimes in order to help others along their path. That will certainly also be the case in this lifetime.

Each lifetime gives you a unique opportunity to live that life to the full, to develop your positive characteristics and qualities and to overcome your challenges. What matters is not the person you have been or the amount of power or wealth you have had, but what you did, how you did it, how you related to other people, and how you made the most of your opportunities for your own soul to grow and develop.

Before you embark on your personal journey of discovery, be open to the different types of lives that you might have had. Being open to the possibilities will prevent you from putting a limit on the incarnations you can access. If you believe, for example, that you only could have been wealthy and influential, that belief will limit you from experiencing the true range of your past lives. Experiencing your full personal variety of incarnations has the effect of helping you to understand that we really are all one big community and that in any lifetime you could have been in anyone else’s position. Really feeling this can be a massive revelation to you if you have not thought this way before.

Why Look At Previous Lives?

There are many reasons why you may be drawn to look into your previous incarnations. You could be experiencing ongoing health challenges, fears or phobias, relationship or intimacy problems, or financial or property issues that are connected to a previous incarnation. These may have been carried through to this current life for you to finally reconcile. Alternatively, you may be fascinated by a particular period in time or a particular part of the world or a cul­ture that you have not experienced in this lifetime; that means that it is likely that you lived during that time or in that culture in the past. Some people are merely curious about who they might have been during previous incarnations, the lives they lived and the family and friends who were around them.

Have I Been Here Before?

The fact that you have chosen to read this book means that, for you, the answer to this question is “yes.” It’s because you have lived before that you have been drawn to read a book such as this, so you can be sure that something you read here will resonate with you. Our view is that there are very, very small numbers of new souls generated from what we call the Source, which others may refer to as God, the Divine, the Great Spirit, or the Creator. For this reason, the majority of us have lived at least one previous life.

Will I Be Here Again?

The answer to this question varies. It may be that you are reaching the end of your human incarnations; you may have learned everything you need to from this unique and beautiful planet of ours, and you may be ready to ascend to the higher spirit realms. Alternatively, one of two things may happen: You may still be on your soul journey and therefore will come back and learn more after a stay in the discarnate world at the end of this lifetime, or you may remain in the discarnate world and enter the higher spirit realms, where you will have a greater understanding of the mean­ing, reality, and diversity of human life. So enjoy the wonderful opportunities there are for us as humans to live, laugh, and love and, especially, to learn and grow.

Will I Be the Same as I Am Now?

You may or may not be the same as you are now. You will still be you, but you may come back in a different gender, and you may or may not repeat some of the things that you’ve done in your current life. Indeed, there may be some themes that carry on from life to life.

Looking back over previous lives will show whether that will prove to be the case with you or not. Your friends and relatives may still be with you, but in a different pattern; for example, a friend may become a sister, or a brother may become a father, uncle, or son. You may do some things differently, possibly because the circumstances of your future life will be different from the current one or because you may have learned something useful from the previous life and avoid making the same mistakes again.

Excerpted from Reincarnation, Plain & Simple by Krys and Jass Godly

9781571747600


Krys and Joss Godly are psychic mediums. They live in England.

Crystal Color Folklore

by Cass and Janie Jackson

White/Clear Crystals

Small quartz crystals were thought by the Japanese to be the congealed breath of the White Dragon. The Greeks believed that quartz was permanent solidified ice, while aborigines thought it was made of falling stars.

Early Britons gave quartz pebbles the name “star stones” and believed them to have healing powers, particularly if they were collected from a stream or running brook.

An ancient Indian legend suggests that pearls were dewdrops that fell from heaven and were caught by shellfish. The Arabs shared this belief, claiming that this event occurred in April, while the Hebrews thought that pearls were the tears shed by Eve when she was expelled from the Garden of Eden.

Purple Crystals

Greek legend has it that the god Bacchus was annoyed with mor­tals and vowed to have the next human he encountered torn apart by his tigers. En route to pray at the temple of Diana, the young girl Amethyst was the next mortal Bacchus met. When the girl screamed to Diana to protect her, the goddess turned her into a pillar of quartz. Overcome by remorse, Bacchus poured a liba­tion of wine over the stone—thus producing the purple color by which amethyst is traditionally known.

Lepidolite is known as the peace stone and is said to provide the owner with a guardian angel. It is thought to have a particu­larly strengthening effect on women.

Red Crystals

Red stones are sometimes considered to possess particularly strong powers. Star rubies—that is, crystals with inclusions form­ing the shape of a star—are particularly venerated in the Orient. The spirits attuned to the star have names that translate as Faith, Hope, and Destiny and are thought to bring good fortune to the owner of the stone.

Blue Crystals

Lapis lazuli was regarded by the Ancient Egyptians and the Sumerians as the Stone of Heaven and sacred to the gods. The hair of the god Ra was said to be composed of the crystal. In Christianity the stone was used to symbolize the purity of the Virgin Mary. It was also believed that when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses they were written on tablets of this blue, gold-flecked stone.

A cardinal’s ring is always a sapphire, as decreed by Pope Innocent III, because “this stone possesses qual­ities essential to its dignified position as the badge of Pontifical Rank and a Seal of Secrets.” Solomon was thought to use the stone as a means of communicating with God. It is probable that many references to sapphire in ancient texts are actually referring to lapis lazuli.

Green Crystals

There are innumerable green crystals, but jade has always been regarded as one of the most precious. In fact, this crystal comes in a wide variety of colors but it usually identified with green. The stone has been used in China since Neolithic times and was believed to be the solidified semen of a dragon. In South America, jade was sacred to the goddess of storms, Chalchihuitlicue, while the Aztecs and Mayans used it for funeral masks.

In ancient cultures, peridot was often mistakenly regarded as an emerald. It has always been used for making amulets and talis­mans and was thought to be effective in turning around difficult situations. Early Christians regarded it as the stone of the Apostle Bartholomew, representing truth and miracles.

Pink Crystals

Rose quartz has always been regarded as a gentle stone, produc­ing tranquility, love, and reconciliation. It is known to have been in use since at least 2500 BC. The Romans and Egyptians used powdered rose quartz in cosmetics in the belief that it could pre­vent wrinkles and produce a flawless complexion.

Rhodochrosite was treasured by the Incas because they believed that it contained the blood of their ancestral rulers. For this reason, it is sometimes known as the Inca rose. It is said to hold the power of Venus and to strengthen the ties of love.

Yellow Crystals

Citrine was at one time the blanket description for all yellow stones. It has also been known as Brazilian topaz, false topaz, and a variety of similar names. Legend has it that this crystal was used on Atlantis as a power­ful healing tool, particularly connected with the sun. In fact, the citrine is often known as the sunstone and is known to reject any form of negativity.

Norsemen and Vikings believed that amber was formed from the tears of the goddess Freya, when Odin left her to travel the world. The Greeks had similar beliefs, but their claim was that amber represented the tears of the Heliades when Zeus has turned their brother Phaeton into a poplar tree. Yet another tearful explanation for this crystal came from India where it is thought to be the fossilized tears of birds. The ancient Romans had other ideas, believing that amber was formed from lynx urine—though Sudine, writing in 240 BC, referred to amber coming from a lynx tree.

Orange Crystals

In Ancient Egypt, the carnelian—known as the “Blood of Isis”— was thought to provide protection during astral travel. This was achieved by staring into the crystal after placing it in front of a lighted candle. Placed on the throat of a mummy, a carnelian amulet engraved with the 156th chapter of the Book of the Dead was said to ensure rebirth into the after-life. The famous “Eye of Horus” carnelian amulet, said to offer protection against the evil eye, is still popular in many parts of the Middle East.

Brown Crystals

Tiger’s eye was used in Ancient Egypt in at least 3000 BC and was sacred to Ra, the sun god. It was also used as eyes in the statues of various Egyptian and Assyrian gods. The Egyptians believed that this crystal enabled the owner to see anything and everything, even through walls and behind closed doors. Roman soldiers carried it into battle to ensure their courage. In Japan, it was thought to guarantee longevity, as the tiger was supposed to live for 1,000 years. The Indian belief was that tiger’s eye created wealth and prevented the wearer from losing money.

Smoky quartz has long been believed to be a protection against bad luck, particularly in the Alpine regions. It can still be found carved into the shape of a cross and hung on bedroom walls to repel evil. This particular form of quartz is said to help the wearer cope with problems and negative situations.

Black Crystals

In South America, both the Aztecs and the Maya regarded obsid­ian as sacred. The Aztec’s sacrificial knife was made from this Mayans often used this crystal to make magic mirrors consecrated to the god Tezcatlipoca. John Dee, the English Elizabethan seer, is reputed to have had a similar mirror. In North-Central California, boys and girls endured an initiation ceremony, which included being stabbed with obsidian knives. The crystals known as Apache Tears are actually obsidian; the name originated with the belief that the earth wept whenever an Apache warrior was killed.

Sardonyx was used in India and Persia to protect against the evil eye, in addition to making the wearer invisible if the stone was carved in a particular style. In Christianity the crystal sym­bolized the Apostles James and Philip, representing their honesty and sincerity. For the Romans, sardonyx was sacred to Mars, the god of war. In the Middle Ages it was worn to protect against grief and to increase confidence. According to St. Hildegard, the devil hated the purity of the sardonyx and would flee from it.

Excerpted by Crystals, Plain & Simple by Cass and Janie Jackson

9781571747570


Cass and Janie Jackson are professional writers and educators. They live in the United Kingdom.

The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten

by Judika Illes

Fantastic tales are frequently referred to as weird tales. Techni­cally, they fall into the literary genre of weird fiction. Academia has now further classified weird fiction as a subgenre of speculative fic­tion, defined as any literary fiction containing elements, characters, plots, or settings deriving from speculative sources, as in the human imagination, as opposed to being based on everyday life or “reality.” Science fiction, horror, and fantasy are all categorized under the speculative fiction umbrella. To me, there is an inherent flaw in this particular system of literary classification. Whose reality sets the stan­dard? Whose everyday life? I suspect that my reality and your reality and Betty Hill’s reality may not all be precisely the same, although clearly we share commonalities. I prefer calling it weird fiction, espe­cially because of the complexity and history of the word “weird.”

Like “fantastic,” “weird” is a word with both modern and archaic connotations. Should you survey a group of random people and ask them to define the word “weird” for you, most will likely suggest that “weird” means strange or odd. This now most common inter­pretation of the word “weird” is fairly modern. It is only since the early 20th century that “weird” has been applied to everyday situ­ations. (“He sounded weird when he spoke to me,” for example, or “What a weird ring tone!”) Previously, the word intimated something supernatural in nature or portentous. In fact, the word “weird” has a long, complex, and weird history!

The word has its roots in Norse mythology among the Norns, a trio of fate goddesses. According to Norse myth, the Norns, three wise women, are the most powerful of all beings: they determine the destiny of everything that lives. The Norns are the repository of all knowledge: past, present, and future. They are three sisters who operate together as a unit.

-> Urd, the eldest sister, is the Norn of the past.

-> Verdandi, the middle sister, is the Norn of the present.

-> Skuld, the youngest sister, is the Norn of what shall be.

The Norns live together in a beautiful hall beside the Well of Urd, essentially the Well of Destiny, which is situated beside Yggdrasil, the world tree—a giant, eternally green ash tree. (Coincidentally, M. R. James’s story “The Ash Tree” explores the influence of past events upon the present and how fate can be changed.) The Well of Urd waters the roots of the world tree; rain that drips from its leaves falls back into the Well of Urd. As the name indicates, the Well of Urd is most closely associated with the Norn of the Past. One could interpret this as indicating how much the actions and events of the past nourish the present and future, determining what sort of fruit will be borne, a theme implicit in so many weird stories.

Our fantastic tales are intended as entertainment; rarely heavy handed, they are instead fun or suspenseful or pleasantly scary— thrillers and chillers. Keep the implications of the Well of Urd in mind, however, and you may recognize a subtle current that runs thematically through these tales.

In Norse cosmology, Yggdrasil is the axis mundi that unites all worlds. The world of living humanity, the world of the dead, and the worlds of the deities and other spiritual entities may all be accessed via the trunk and branches of this world tree. (Norse cosmology recognizes nine such worlds.) In other words, all these realms, even though distinct, are also all interconnected. Anything that happens to one part of the tree, whether accidentally or intentionally, potentially affects another. The Norns are the caretakers of the well and the tree, hence the world.

The Norns are spinning goddesses. They weave the Web of Urd, the matrix of fate. The Old English variant of the word “urd” is wyrd, which eventually evolved into our modern spelling, weird. The Anglo-Saxon variant of the Norns, known as the Weird Sisters, spin the Web of Wyrd. This web is the reminder that the actions of the past and present impact the future and perhaps vice versa.

By the 16th century, the word weird was extinct in the English language, although it survived in Scots. When William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, his Scottish play, he reintroduced the word with his trio of witches, named after the Weird Sisters. (Coincidentally, norn is an Old Norse word meaning “a witch or a practitioner of the magical arts.”) Shakespeare used “weird” as an atmospheric, ambient word. The modern connotation of weird as something uncanny derives from Shakespeare’s era and after.

Let’s take another look at that dictionary to make sure we understand the true and complete concept of weird. Here are some meanings:

  • connected with fate or destiny; able to influence fate
  • of or pertaining to witches or witchcraft; supernatural; unearthly; suggestive of witches, witchcraft, or unearthli­ness; wild; uncanny
  • having supernatural or preternatural power
  • having an unusually strange character or behavior
  • deviating from the normal; bizarre
  • (archaic) of or pertaining to the Fates

Unless they are already metaphysically minded, most random modern people asked to define “weird” would probably think of the fourth and fifth definitions, but what of the authors of classic weird fiction? Which definitions did they have in mind as they wrote? These are other mysteries to ponder rather than answer definitively or, at least, not in this brief space. The subject of the orientation of the fin­est writers of weird fiction—the world views of the masters—has been the subject of bitter, contentious debate for decades and will probably remain so. This is especially true for author H. P. Lovecraft, whose many devotees argue about the nature of his fictional creations. Just how fictional are they, in other words?

Excerpted from the Introduction of The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten

9781578636068


Judika Illes fell in love with the magical arts as a child and has been studying them ever since. She is the author of numerous books about traditional spirituality, witchcraft, and the occult including The Big Book of Practical SpellsThe Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, and Magic When You Need It.

Reading Runes

by Kim Farnell

Before you even begin a reading for another person, you need to put your client at ease and assure him or her that you are reliable and trustworthy. You must inspire confidence by being able to recognize, name, and describe the meanings of runes with­out referring to books. In addition, you must remember that this is the client’s reading and it should address his or her needs. Advice offered by the runes can be frank and may not always be what the client wishes to hear. You should offer your interpretation as diplomatically as you can, but also guard against the tendency to “sugar coat” the message; in this case the meaning becomes lost.

Attitude

Even if you are doing a reading for practice only, you should still take your reading seriously and think carefully about the way you word your information. Some people may claim they don’t believe in the runes, but what you say will still have an effect on them. The best way to present yourself is to imagine how you would feel in the client’s position. It is all too easy to inflict unintended emotional damage, and you won’t want your clients to leave feeling worse than when they arrived!

Rune reading is tiring so it isn’t a good idea to undertake a reading when you are feeling less than your best. People can be demanding, and some will ask you to give them a reading no matter how bad you feel or how late the hour. Few matters are so urgent that they cannot wait a short time. When someone is in distress, it can be very difficult to stand back from them, but it may be necessary for the preservation of your own mental health. What you are aiming to do is to offer information, reassurance, and grounds for hope, but if a client is in desperate straits, unless you are a trained and skilled counselor, there is a limit to what you can do.

Tolerance is essential for any reader. You may have views completely different from your client on any number of matters, but the reading is for them and it is only their views that matter. You also owe your client complete confidentiality. If you want to discuss your reading with another practitioner, you should seek permission from your client and then make sure that his or her identity isn’t revealed.

There is nothing wrong with accepting payment for your work. Interpretation of the runes is a skill requiring study and practice, and just like anyone else providing a service, you are entitled to payment. It is best to set a rate for the job when making the initial appointment.

Preparation

Although any surface can be used for your runes, many peo­ple prefer to have a special cloth, and some like to have separate cloths for each spread, with the spreads labeled on them.

Additionally, many rune casters like to put symbols of the different elements on the table with them. A candle may be used for fire, a bowl of water for water, a feather for air, and a crystal or stone for earth. These symbols can be purely decorative or used in your reading by passing the runes over each in turn before laying them out. Earth is usually placed to the north, air to the east, fire to the south, and water to the west.

Before you begin a reading you should wash you hands. Not only will this help to protect your runes but it will also show respect to them. Your washing can be turned into a ritual act of purification. While washing away the dirt on your hands, you can visualize your fears and doubts being washed away.

You may wish to ask your spiritual guide or deity for help with the reading and also ask your guide to offer good advice and to give spiritual healing to your client during the course of the reading.

Casting the Runes

Reading the runes is referred to as “rune casting.” This term applies whether you are throwing the runes, or placing them by hand into a spread. If you are casting (throwing) the runes out rather than laying them out in a spread, you will need to select a rune that embodies the question to stand as the significator of the question. Don’t take the rune out of the bag; leave all the runes in place but jot down the name of the rune or make a mental note of it. If the client’s question refers to a matter of business or money, choose a rune that represents this, or if the questioner wishes to know about a health matter, select an appropriate rune. If the significator rune shows up in the reading, things are unlikely to change.

A question about love, life, and happiness belongs to Freya’s Aett so the significator rune should be chosen from that Aett. If the question concerns intellect, understanding, and spiritual growth, it belongs to Hagal’s Aett. If the question is about daily life, work, house moves, family problems, and so forth, it belongs to Tyr’s Aett.

It is natural to want to read each rune in isolation but if you do so you are likely to miss out on a whole level of information. The runes in a spread interact with each other. Sometimes two runes have very similar meanings, and this emphasizes the importance of the message.

Some runes act as “power” runes, dominating those around them and modifying the tone of surrounding runes. Those that relate to gods or start one of the Aettir demand such attention. These are Fehu, Ansuz, Thurisaz, Hagalaz, Tiwaz, and Mannaz. The presence of one or more of these runes in a spread shows that the gods are taking a particular interest in the situation. Wunjo can moderate the tone of surrounding runes, and while it cannot change the meaning of any runes nearby, it may reduce any prob­lems indicated by other runes.

 

Excerpted from Runes, Plain & Simple by Kim Farnell

9781571747495


Kim Farnell has been a professional astrologer since 1990 and has taught astrology and lectured extensively in the UK and overseas. She was previously the Vice Chair of the Astrological Association of Great Britain and has been the editor of its newsletter, Transit, in print and online. She has also written sun sign columns for a number of magazines and websites and has published articles in numerous astrological periodicals all over the world. Kim has an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and is the author of several books.