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.

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.

Tarot as a Spiritual Tool

by Monte Farber & Amy Zerner

Divination systems, also known as “oracles,” based on tarot, astrology, love, prosperity, rune stones, serenity, alchemy, The Goddess, voodoo, Native American spirituality, and almost every other subject that you can buy a book about, continue to be one of the strongest selling items in bookstores. It is easy to see why; people have questions and they want answers, especially in this frightening and uncertain time, and a well-designed oracle is designed to help people find answers to their questions.

The Tarot can be used for the purpose of divination by using the images on the cards and their meanings to trigger insights from your Higher Self, the part of us that provides guidance by supplying us with those ‘irrational’ hunches, intuitions and flashes of inspiration that can make everyday life sometimes seem so extraordinary.

By shuffling and selecting one or more cards from the deck as you calmly and sincerely ask for guidance about your situation, you cause your Higher Self to guide you to select the proper card. Your state of mind at that moment implies a future course of events in regards to the situation you are asking about. Shuffling the cards of The Tarot at the same moment you are concentrating on your question causes your question and the cards you select in answer to your question to be linked together by the power of your intention and concentration. They are connected in a meaningful way because they are happening at the same time.

This may or may not be the Age of Aquarius or The New Age, but it is certainly The Now Age; everything has to be done now. Cell phones, computers, texting, and the Internet have destroyed the cushion of time that used to enable us to thoughtfully consider our situations. Here in The Now Age, information overload overwhelms. How can we find and stay on the path to a life of quality and meaning in The Now Age? How can there be time to pray when there’s hardly time to play?

Like prayer, a well-designed divination system reminds us of our seamless connection to All-There-Is. As an added bonus, using an oracle with sincerity and regularity ads a needed element of ritual to our lives. Approach all your readings with a sense of ceremony, sincerity and humility and all will be revealed.

Our Instant Tarot system has been designed to help you properly access the tarot’s ancient truths and put them to immediate use. It is our sincere desire that our book, the first and only one of its kind in the tarot’s long history, will help you to better understand your own inner voice and its ability to direct you.

The user-friendly layout of Instant Tarot allows individuals to also ask any question using a one-card, three-card or full eleven card “Celtic Cross” spread to get revealing, inspiring answers to your burning questions about life. It’s great to do with small groups of friends and especially by yourself where, undisturbed, you will often see subtle and formerly hidden meanings emerge from the text.

The tarot helps you to be more mindful by helping you tune into a deeper, inner level of awareness.  It is a way to journey into yourself and discover your spiritual center.  The 78 cards portray all the cycles of human experience – it is a “book” of knowledge.  Using the tarot, a focusing mechanism, also helps in the development of your psychic abilities and empowers you to make the best choices in your life.


Monte Farber and Amy Zerner are the authors of 45 popular spiritual books and oracles, with more than 2,000,000 books—including Karma Cards, The Psychic Circle, Quantum Affirmations, Sun Sign Secrets, and The Enchanted Tarot—in print around the world and in 14 languages. They are bloggers and conscious-content contributors to several websites and blogs. Visit them at www.enchantedworld.com.

The Astral Body, the Chakras & The Magical Arts

by John L. Steadman

The relationship between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body is often misunderstood by novice magickal practitioners. What is meant by the term “astral” body, indeed, is subject to differing interpretations; occultists tend to associate the astral body with the etheric, which they envision as a plane of invisible, subtle matter that serves, in turn, as a pattern or prototype for the physical word, and they use such terms as the Etheric Double, or the Body of Light interchangeably with the Astral Body; all of this tends to create obfuscation rather than clarity. Likewise, occultists, seeking to explain exactly what the chakras are, offer definitions that end up confusing the novice; they speak of the chakras (rightly) as linked to actual physical nerve plexi and glands, and yet, they assert that these chakras are “potent energy sources” in themselves, and thus, beyond the physical.  Again, obfuscation rather than clarity is the result.

In attempting to explain the connection between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body, then, I think that it is important initially to recognize and to accept two basic premises.  First, the human mind is not “in” the brain, nor is it “in” the body; instead, the reverse is true; the brain and the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, thus, exists equally independent from the rarified activity known as cognition as well as the basic, often distasteful rag and bone shop of horrors that characterizes human emotions and instinctive human activity.  Second, the sole, genuine power of the mind is the Imagination.  As the root word “image” suggests, the Imagination makes images.  Even more importantly, it creates images.  Most of these images are anchored in the familiar word that we are born into and are imprisoned in by our perceptions.  But a fraction of these images are separate from the physical world, and these latter images exist, like the mind itself, behind or apart from the physical world.  The mind, as it imagines, then, is very much like the God of Abraham, spoken of in the first book of the Old Testament, a free, creative spirit that moves upon the face of a great void and then simply does what it is in its nature to do, to create.

Given these two premises, it is possible to examine the elements of the individual human being.  Following the eastern esoteric tradition, which begins its analysis from the lower, material levels to the spiritual, we will move from the less subtle to the subtler. The most basic element of the human being is the physical body and this is – well – the physical body.  It gives the impression of being real, so much so, in fact, that most non-occultists think that it is real.  But this body isn’t physical at the subatomic level; as Quantum Physics suggests, it is, if anything, nothing more than a probabilistic pattern of particles in a constant state of flux held together by our pre-conditioning and perception.  After a time, perception proves to be too weak to keep the body together and it dissipates.   The reason for this can be found in the first premise articulated above: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, therefore, exists outside the physical. It may be, for convenience, linked to perception, which is the mind’s most inconsequential power. But there is not any real link.   Accordingly, as the body declines, the powers of perception decline as well, and ultimately, the mind ends up unable (or unwilling) to prevent the dissipation and the body dies.

The second element of the individual human being are the chakras. The chakras are associated with the nerve plexi and the glandular centers of the human being.  There are seven of them: the crown of the head (sahasrara-padma); the brow (ajna), throat (visuddha), heart (anahata), solar plexus (manipura), sacrum or navel (svadhishana), and spine (muladhara).  It is not accurate to directly attribute the chakras to these physical centers of the body; they are best understood as invisible, unmeasurable, energy- sources, which, in turn, can be channeled at the nerve points.  The chakras, thus, are arguably etheric meridians, as some occultists will have it.   And yet, the charkas are still indissolvably linked to these physical areas of the body.  In fact, they really cannot function without the physical links in place.  The chakras cannot even be understood or comprehended separate from the physical links.  Thus, as the body ages and grows weaker, and as the hold of the mind on the body weakens as well via the declining powers of perception, the chakras grow weaker and their energies decline.  Again, it is worth remembering: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  Therefore, we observe the same situation expressed before with regard to the body & the brain; the mind stands back, inviolate, as the brain and the body slowly dissipate; and the chakras, correspondingly, dissipate as well.  And when the body eventually dies, the chakras die along with it, their energies dispersed as readily as the life force of any merely physical thing.

The third element of the individual human being, the astral body, is radically different than the physical body and the chakras.   There are those occultists who refer to the astral body as the “second” body, and they like to assert that the astral body is the invisible double of the physical body and that it, likewise, serves as a kind of pattern upon which the physical body is built.  These occultists, in short, equate the astral body with the etheric. Many of these occultists, in fact, even go as far as to claim the etheric body is actually a probability distribution that ultimately determines the shape and disposition of the human body.  In making such an argument, these occultists are literally imposing a neo-platonic paradigm on Quantum theory, which is, of course, unjustifiable.   J. H. Brennan, occultist and author, describes very accurately the difference between the astral body and the etheric and, in the process, highlights the confusion that often ensues when the astral body is mistakenly identified as etheric.

Your etheric body is your invisible double.   It interpenetrates your physical body and some schools of thought believe with the physicists it is essentially a pattern of force on which your physical body is built.  It is closer to matter than to mind…it seems to function as a link between your physical body and your mind… [But] your astral body is a step beyond the etheric.  And this step takes you into the realms of the psychic proper.  The astral body is composed of mind-stuff: or more accurately, imagination stuff. [i]

The imagination, as I have suggested previously, is the mind’s primary, creative power.  Furthermore, I think that it is safe to assert that the astral body, as a product of the imagination, is the mind’s most essential creation.  It is important to note, however, is that the creation, in this case, shares the same quality as the creator; that is, the astral body, like the mind itself, stands apart from the body & the brain.  The astral body can be perceived, as can the physical body and the chakras.  But when the body & the brain decay, and when perception declines and weakens, neither the mind nor the astral body are affected.  For, indeed, the mind and the astral body are not “in” the body or the brain; they are separate.  They are inviolate, not subject to dissipation, decay and death.

When it comes to the practice of the magickal arts, particularly the “high” magickal arts, the astral body is of utmost importance.   Among occultists, there is a distinction between “high” and “low” magick.  Low magick involves the use of magick for physical, psychological, or emotional purposes.  A good example of low magick would be cleansing the chakras; this procedure tends to promote the physical well-being of an individual.  Another example of a low magickal operation would be casting a spell to attract a lover; the purpose here is twofold: part physical gratification, part emotional satisfaction.  Low magickal goals are best handed by a simple generation of magickal force.  As described in the terms of chakra mythology, magickal force results when the kundalini at the base of the muladhara chakra is stimulated via the use of magickal techniques; the energy then rises throughout the body, stimulating the other chakras as well as it moves up the body and then ultimately emerges in the physical world.  This process does not involve the astral body at all, unless the magickal practitioner sees a need to bring the astral body into the mix.  In contrast, the practice of high magick – i.e. evocation, invocation & conjuration- is best accomplished by the astral body.  A magickal practitioner performs high magick for two purposes: knowledge and/or power.  The rites themselves invariably involve the full use of the elements of magickal practice.  The magickal practitioner makes use of symbolic objects- the customary wand, cup, sword, and pentacle.  The practitioner, also, starts out her working in a stylized setting, whether real-time, akashic or virtual.  Then, at some point, the magickal practitioner finds herself performing the rite in the astral body.  Here, the imagination has reached an apotheosis.  The experience becomes, in effect, pure mind and pure perception.

[i] Brennan, J. H. Magick for Beginners: The Power to Change Your World. St Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, Inc., 1998, 68.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

Peace Begins with Me

by Karen Casey

I remember as though it were yesterday the first time I heard “The Peace Song.” It was at the close of a Sunday service at the Unity Church in Golden Valley, MN. I was just a few months sober and had gone to Unity at the suggestion of one of my new friends in AA. At the close of the service all the congregants stood and held hands. And then the singing began.

I was mesmerized. As the tears streamed down my face, I stood transfixed by the simple beauty of the words, the beauty of the voices that surrounded me and the quiet beauty of the truth of the message those words carried. I knew at that moment that my life was truly changing. I just didn’t have any idea of the extent of that change.

Fast forward 41 years. I am still sober, of course and still growing, still discovering transformation through the many encounters I have been privileged to experience since that Sunday so long ago. Over these many decades of sobriety and spiritual growth through recovery, I have come to cherish a certain few principles which I will share with you that have allowed me to walk more securely along the many pathways that brought me here, to this moment in time, with you.

There were obstacles along the way of course. There always are. They are the opportunities we have been gifted with to stretch us and push us to becoming the companions our many fellow travelers have needed to encounter so that they, too, could become who they were meant to be. I truly embrace the idea that we will always meet those individuals we need to encounter, not just for our own edification and growth, but their’s too. This is not an “accidental course” we are on. Indeed not. I am here as are you because of the divinity of the journey we have agreed to share.

To reiterate, choosing to live my life these many years being governed by a few very simple principles has given me the quiet well-being that I usually experience. However, those moments of quiet peace that slip out of my grasp are the result of my inattentiveness to here, now. But the introduction to a third pathway to peace has enhanced my awareness of “this moment.”

How very grateful I am that A Course in Miracles, my third pathway, blessed my life nearly thirty years ago. I had no idea I was searching for its particular message; I only knew that I needed something more. AA and Al-Anon were, and still are, the
cornerstones of my spiritual growth; cornerstones that I will never wander away from. But I continued to yearn for a closer sense of “the presence” of the Spirit that I had been assured accompanied me everywhere.

It was while reading the words so beautifully conveyed to Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, that I heard the messages that God, through the Voice of Jesus, was intending for me to hear. And I was ready for them. I have remained ready for them. Not unlike 12 Step Programs, we aren’t really ever done with hearing and rehearing the messages that are meant for us in the many gatherings that invite us in, the many books that cry for rereading, the many moments of quiet reflection on all that we have come to know.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

The message I herald is simple. And it’s not uncommon. It has been heard from the lips of Mother Teresa. In the writings of the Dalai Lama. Wayne Dyer too. AND MANY OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WE SIT AMONG AT MEETINGS, DAY IN AND DAY OUT. It’s about being a messenger of peace, an expression of love, serving as a witness to the hearts and minds of all those men and women and children who have NOT WANDERED OUR WAY BY ACCIDENT.

It’s also about accepting that we are powerless over the lives of others but never powerless over how we acknowledge those others who pass us by. And it’s about forgiveness. Of all others and ourselves, particularly for our many judgments. As I read in the course so many years ago, “the ego speaks first; it speaks loudest, and it is always wrong.” It’s that very dominant voice in our minds that pushes us to be all that the Holy Spirit tries to steer us from being. With the ego in charge, we will never know peace.

The simple principles that continue calling to me also include these:
1. Detaching from the drama of others’ lives offers us peace of mind.
2. When others begin to bother you, change your focus.
3. Don’t let anyone else define who you are.
4. It’s a fact: we can not control any one else.
5. Letting go is an act that blesses everyone, everywhere.
6. Separation from others is an illusion.
7. We are joined in the Oneness of Spirit.
8. No experience is lacking in purpose. Seek to understand it.
9. Every encounter with another person is Holy.
10. Chance plays no part in God’s plan.

These are not the only principles that guide me, of course. There are dozens more. But I know after these many years on this spiritual path that any one of these principles, well honed, has the power to change the life we are living in the moment, and forever too. And any of these principles practiced any time by any one of us can impact the Universe that is the home of all of us. Seem farfetched? Think again. Every action, every thought emanates a vibration that moves beyond it. We do have the power to send forth whatever vibration we desire.

Why not make it a peaceful one?


Karen Casey is a writer and workshop facilitator for 12-step recovery. Her first book, Each Day a New Beginning, has sold more than 3 million copies. She has published 28 books since then including Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, which was a finalist for the MS Society Books for a Better Life Awards. She has traveled throughout North America and Europe carrying her message of hope for others on the road to recovery.