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.

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Healthy Living

by Marlene Houghton, PhD

As society has advanced and wonder drugs have taken over from folk medicines and self-sufficiency, we are discovering that there is a down side. We have found we cannot drug people to health. There are many side effects from drugs that are sometimes worse than the original problem and we have become dependent on the opinion of experts. This has resulted in huge waiting lists at the doctors and a society whose reliance on the expertise of others has removed self-knowledge and self-reliance. There are however many common problems that, although not serious, make life miserable and do not respond well to conventional medicine and this is where herbal medicine can help.

The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known to man for centuries. This does not mean we turn our back on the advances of modern medicine for serious problems but that we look to the empowerment model where the individual is in control of their health and takes active steps to prevent illness rather than looking for an instant cure with a drug.  Herbs contain a blend of chemicals that work more slowly and gently helping to perform many healing functions in the body. They can be used as preventatives before an illness sets in. Used wisely and appropriately, many ailments can benefit from the use of the right herbs nipping more serious problems in the bud and stopping a chronic disease from setting in. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I teach people health and wellness principles so that they can take their health into their own hands. This is so that a visit to a medical doctor becomes necessary only for a serious problem. I am not saying that every health issue can be avoided but herbal preparations kept in the home would be a very useful addition to your First Aid Box. Existing problems that modern medicine has not been able to tackle effectively may also respond.

Encouraging a holistic approach to health using herbs for every day ills that work with the body’s healing systems can improve all-around health helping a range of common complaints. The value that these powerful traditional herbal remedies have is you do not need to become unwell before you use them. Herbal medicines can be used regularly improving many aspects of your well being and helping you enjoy good health.

We have a personal responsibility to keep ourselves well and the best way to prevent illness is to become knowledgeable in the use of herbs so that simple complaints can be tackled promptly. Making use of medicinal plants and herbs helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing force. There are herbal antibiotics, herbs that help digestion, colds, indigestion, irritable bowel, Candida and many other ailments that conventional medicine cannot deal with very effectively. There are herbs that can ease stress which can be damaging to the body’s equilibrium and herbal medicines that  sooth irritated skin. Herbs work with the body helping us get well if we are sick and helping the body defend itself against disease. Nature has a provided us with a range of healing herbs that have withstood the test of time and are a godsend for many common complaints. For home treatments and used at the onset of an illness their powerful healing actions will begin to work. Make use of these wonderful herbs that Nature has provided. They will work with your own innate healing system improving all-round health.


Marlene Houghton, PhD, is a nutritional counselor, educator, author, and lecturer on natural therapies and the historical use of herbs who teaches people how to stay well. She lives in London.

Our May Titles Are Here!

Happy reading!


Last Things

Marissa Moss

“Loving, moving, and articulate, Last Things is packed with emotional truth. It’s a clear-eyed testimony to the way death arrives, sometimes inch by inch, inspiring the courage and strength and generosity that are the best things we bring to this life.”—Jennifer Hayden, Eisner-nominated author of Underwire and The Story of My Tits

“A gripping portrayal of how devastating ALS can be, but also a powerful example of resilience and hope.” —Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, neurologist, ALS clinic, UCSF

“If anyone still thinks the graphic format can’t be used to tell deep, grown-up, powerful stories, Last Things ought to change their mind. It’s about all the big questions: How we live, how we raise our children, how we survive seemingly unbearable loss. Moss’s authenticity, raw honesty and vulnerability will help anyone who’s struggling with loss and ‘lasts’ – ultimately, that’s all of us.” —Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best

“Before reading Marissa Moss’ Last Things I was unaware of how profoundly moved I could be by a graphic novel. With her gentle touch and brave honest voice we experience how completely one’s life and expectations be changed with a single devastating diagnosis. I absolutely loved Last Things!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

“An important book that needs to be in the world. It’s a hard read, but sometimes surviving and resilience is what makes people stronger. Ultimately that’s what Last Things celebrates, not dying, but strength, the strength our families give us.” —Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland CA

“Powerful and beautiful – this book would be a great addition to the graphic novel canon.” —Ian Lendler, author of The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents MacBeth

“I was swept into the story, swept along.” —Joan Lester, author of Mama’s Child

“This is a very brave and beautifully drawn account. Anyone coping with the loss of a spouse is going to benefit – and any reader can relate to the family dynamics, the stress of caregiving, and the crisis of a terminal disease.” —Eleanor Vincent, author of Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story

“In this deeply affecting graphic memoir, Moss lays out the struggles of trying to live as her husband is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her simple drawings reveal the pain and anguish her characters don’t know how to express in words, making the format a perfect choice for the story. Those facing similar situations will feel relief at finding their struggles and confusion laid clearly on a page. Meanwhile, the moral complexities of caring for a husband who is no longer emotionally engaged while parenting three confused children invites readers to examine their own choices. A sad, haunting memoir of struggle and confusion that will have readers in tears.” —Marika McCoola, author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant (Candlewick Press); Indie Bookseller, Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)

Using words and pictures together to sharp effect Last Things is the true story of how one family copes with the devastating effects of ALS.  After returning home from a year abroad, Moss’s husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed quickly and Moss was soon consumed with caring for Harvey, while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her young children. This is not a story about the redemptive power of terminal illness, it is a story of resilience. It’s a story of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow strong despite it.

(Conari Press)


Raising Cooperative Kids

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

Raising Cooperative Kids provides clear, commonsense strategies for accomplishing exactly what the title calls for. The behaviors that parents want to see in their children are, for the most part, universal. Although the practices in the book can be started at a very young age, the tools included are useful for parenting toddlers through teens. There is also advice on topics such as approaching social media with your child, linking home and school, working together while divorced, and so forth. Raising Cooperative Kids would make a useful addition to any public library parenting collection.” — Joyce McIntosh, Booklist

“Having observed thousands of parents and their children over the course of almost 50 years, the authors conclude that successful families share a spirit of cooperation that generates harmonious teamwork In sum, the authors tell parents how to identify their strengths and weaknesses and effectively teach and lead their kids. With lively family stories, useful dialogue, and checklists, this book is also indicative of the trend toward rediscovering generations-old, traditional parenting techniques.” – Publishers Weekly

“An excellent book which brings the best of longstanding, proven, and highly effective parenting practices to the modern age. This book is a must for every parent and every professional that works with children.” —Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D, author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child

“This is a wonderful book with clear, easy-to-apply, and workable techniques based on both clinical experience and research. From defining and setting goals to the critical importance of family play, Raising Cooperative Kids provides a concise and practical blueprint for parents who want to enjoy their kids.” —Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., author 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

“This book is a special gift to accomplish one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs we will face in our lifetime: raising children. Marion and Jerry share their years of experience studying human behavior and give simple, yet powerful, tools to help parents. You will see yourself in some of the chapters, sometimes doing the right thing, sometimes doing the wrong thing. Enjoy the gift, have fun practicing and take comfort that you’re doing the best you can.”— Jim Wotring, Senior Deputy Director, Department of Behavioral Health, Washington, DC

“If you are going to rely on one book to secure a better future for your children, this is the book to use.” —Thomas J. Dishion, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University

“An excellent guide for parents who want to raise happy, well-adjusted children! Based on years of clinical and research experience, this user-friendly book emphasizes the importance of practicing skills and is filled with strategies and examples. I highly recommend Raising Cooperative Kids to parents, students-in-training, and therapists.”—Rex Forehand, PhD, author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

“A practical, common sense book that includes all the ingredients for a cooperative and happy family.” —Carolyn Webster Stratton, PhD,Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, and Founder of “The Incredible Years®”

Not since Dr. Spock has there been such a comprehensive book on parenting. Developed over forty years of practice and tested in clinical studies, Patterson and Forgatch’s parenting techniques tap deep-rooted human instincts, making them universal and easy to use no matter where you live or how a family is structured—these techniques enable parents to teach their children new behaviors and reduce family conflicts. The authors also remind us of the importance of play—enjoying time and activities together is the cornerstone of a happy family.

(Conari Press)


Rewrite Your Life

Jessica Lourey

“My favorite kind of self-help book: irreverent, personal, and superbly useful.” —Jen Mann, New York Times bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat

“A lively exploration of writing’s therapeutic value and an encouraging invitation to apply it to your life.” —Kendra Levin, author of The Hero is You

“On occasion a gem of a book comes along. One that sticks with us and helps us to remember, we can rewrite our life. That our journey is filled with plot twists we never expected and that we can gain insights and perspective by exploring those unexpected events, or ‘story food’ through writing. Rewrite Your Life is just such a book. You will walk away with an understanding of how to heal through writing fiction and have the tools you need to make a difference in your own life, and everyone your life touches.” —Lyssa Danehy deHart, MSW, LICSW, PCC and author of StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life

According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. Every author calls on, crystallizes and shades their life experiences to craft fiction. The most conflict-ridden moments of our lives – the tragedies, humiliations, and terrors – shape the best stories. But how do we select and then write our most significant story? Creative writing professor, sociologist, and popular fiction author Jessica Lourey guides us through the redemptive process of writing a healing novel which recycles and transforms our most precious resource—our own emotions and experiences.

(Conari Press)


Instant Tarot

Monte Farber and Amy Zerner

“Each card is interpreted according to the position in which it appears . . .no other book we know of offers this degree of specificity.” —Publishers Weekly

“We found the information unnervingly on target.” —US Magazine

Bestselling authors Farber and Zerner unveil the mysteries of the tarot for beginners and experts alike with nothing to memorize.  They provide concise interpretations of every card in every position of the classic Celtic Cross tarot spread.  This book is like getting a reading from an expert advisor in the privacy of one’s home.  This unique method works with virtually any tarot deck; interprets every card, in every position; and provides sample questions you can easily personalize.

(Weiser Books)


I Ching, Plain & Simple

Kim Farnell

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a mix of Taoist and Confucianist philosophies that has evolved over many centuries and may be the oldest book in existence. It’s main philosophy is that nothing is static and our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances. It can be an extremely complex system filled with poetry and philosophy, but Farnell has rendered it here as contemporary, straightforward, and as user-friendly as possible.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Wicca, Plain & Simple

Leanna Greenway, Foreword by Judika Illes

Greenaway takes a contemporary approach to Wicca and shows how you can use it as a healing and positive force.  She makes Wiccan traditions meaningful and accessible to us today by providing a basic understanding of the key elements of Wiccan practice, including: lunar magic, initiation, herbs and gardens, pendulum power, and animal magic.  Also included are 25 spells for beginning practitioners ranging from love spells to fertility spells and more.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)

Undoing the Root of All Terrorism

by D. Patrick Miller

The world is often terrifying.

A toddler drops her toy underneath a table and screams in terror at its disappearance. A six-year-old faces going to school for the first time, seized with fear by having to leave his mother at the door and enter an unknown universe of strange kids and even stranger teachers. All this before we encounter the far more fearsome challenges of adolescence — including sexuality, heartbreaks, and deep confusion about identity and purpose.

If we manage to enter adulthood with any degree of confidence, the really big terrors await us. Not just the individual challenges of making our own way in the world, but the societal and political frights. At any given time, another culture, religion or nation is out to get our culture, religion or nation, and will use any violent means they can: bombings, hostage-taking, public massacres, or deadly drones.

While we’re all prone to blame others for our fears, the temptation to disguise the source of our terror is especially powerful at the political level. After all, those whom we identify as “terrorists” really do kill people, at which point it seems necessary to hunt down those terrorists and administer “justice” — which ultimately means killing them. But that doesn’t make us terrorists, of course, because we are just innocent, peace-loving people who are rightfully defending ourselves.

Over time, balances of power may shift and the particular names or identities of “terrorists” may change, but the endless cycle of attack, vengeance, and renewed attack never alters. That’s because hardly anyone seems to pay attention to the fundamental source of all the terrors we feel. As the contemporary spiritual teaching known as A Course in Miracles puts it:

“There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.”

This is the existential terror that befalls us from the moment we are expelled from the warmth and safety of our mother’s womb, and that dogs us to some degree in every waking or dreaming moment that follows. It is the nameless anxiety that keeps us awake at night, and the nervous compulsion that makes us seek wealth or comfort, or the reassurances of intimacy, or self-destructive addictions.  This is, in fact, the “human condition.”

This is why I believe that forgiveness has to be the basis of all our efforts to prevent terrorism. We need to admit that the world is a scary place, and that we are plagued by an “identity crisis” of the most fundamental sort.

If we do not see, feel, and take responsibility for the existential foundation of all our terrors, we will never find our way to undoing it.

But there’s another reason to recognize the fearful dilemma of not knowing who we are in a world seemingly beyond our control. As the Course suggests: “Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.”

Our normal self-awareness is what psychology calls the “ego.” It is basically an uneasy fiction that we keep telling ourselves is true, built from a selectively remembered past and all the shaky strategies we have devised for simply keeping it together from moment to moment. That the ego often fails us  is evidenced by the high incidence of addiction, depression, and anxiety in the general population — all forms of what might be called terrorism against ourselves. Those who choose to turn their terrors outward are simply coping less well than those who only suffer inwardly.

There is another way of being that can calm our terrors on a daily basis. When we acknowledge that our self-created identity is a fearful fiction, then our true identity can emerge from a deeper level. That reality is Love Itself, which can tell us What we are.

What this means on a practical basis is that when we know ourselves at a deeper level, we are enabled to act more wisely and compassionately in every kind of circumstance. Instead of automatically responding to threats with self-defense, we can instinctively respond with actions that will reduce everyone’s terror. Instead of judging others as less-than or more-dangerous-than ourselves, we recognize that everyone struggles with the same basic terrors — and there is a better way to deal with them than what we’re used to.

It may seem humiliating at first to admit that we really don’t know who or what we are, or what we’re doing here. But when we forgive this human condition, we can actually open ourselves up to enough love and wisdom to undo all terrors.


D. Patrick Miller is an author and literary agent living in Northern California. You can contact him at www.fearlessbooks.com.

Our April Titles Are Here

Happy reading!


Find Your Soul’s Purpose

Janet Conner

“Here’s the secret to Janet Conner’s wonderful new book Find Your Soul’s Purpose: your soul’s purpose is you at this very moment. The sacred path she offers you doesn’t lead to your soul’s purpose; rather each step is your soul’s purpose. She isn’t teaching something you don’t know, but pointing out the simple truths you have forgotten how to see. Don’t think—look!” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent

“Discerning our life mission is a central task for conscious spiritual seekers of any faith or tradition. Find Your Soul’s Purpose offers thoughtful reflections and meaningful exercises to help you do just that. It’s a delightful book, filled with gentle wisdom and playful practices that will help anyone discover their own innate genius.” —Carl McColman, author of Christian Mystics and Answering the Contemplative Call

“Come and take a deep dive with Janet’s magic whale into the depths of your inner brilliance to weave together the tapestry of your soul’s purpose. As you circle through the spiral with Janet’s exceptional guidance, you will be flooded with memories and invaluable re-discoveries of your creative destiny, so that you can now fully step into your soul’s path joyfully and with certainty. Janet is indeed one of the most innovative spiritual teachers of our time.” —Gail McMeekin, executive creative career coach and author of 6 books including The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The Power of Positive Choices

With Conner as our guide, we embark on a mystical journey to see far beneath career or calling to remember who we really are—divine beings—and to embrace the divine gifts and purpose we carried into this life.  Your soul’s divine purpose is not a goal. And it’s not one thing—it is a whole package of things including gifts, talents, teachers, stories, and woes. Readers will come away from this journey with hands and hearts overflowing with love for themselves and the lives they’ve chosen.

(Conari Press)


Psychics, Healers, & Mediums

Jenniffer Weigel

“Jenniffer Weigel has done a masterful job of examining the paranormal. If you ever wanted to develop your own sixth sense about what’s ‘real,’ this is your guidebook.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

“Important stuff in this book. I’m so grateful I was asked to endorse it. Which means I may just get my grubby paws on it before everyone else. But, either way, it promises to be mind-blowing and the way I see it, we all need our minds blown.”  —Pam Grout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of E-Squared and 17 other books

“Being a lifelong spiritual seeker and journalist lends credibility to Jenniffer’s pursuit of Truth, and this book reflects that intention.  As with any profession, there will be those who operate from integrity, and those who do not. Jenniffer clearly sifts through that mix, and offers an engaging, inspiring and promising read!  It will leave one with their own sense of authentic faith that there are in fact many gifted healers on this planet, and psychic phenomena is real.”Rebecca Rosen, author of Awaken the Spirit Within and Spirited

“Jenniffer’s research into the lives of the intuitively gifted is both fascinating and often hilarious. A must read for the spiritually curious.” Judith Orloff, MD, author of Second Sight

“Jenniffer Weigel takes her readers on a rollicking adventure into the paranormal and its practitioners. A wise, funny and incisive book written by a first class interviewer.” Paul Selig, author of I Am the Word

“Jenniffer writes straight to my heart!  I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced in the knowing that no matter how things look on the outside, everything is going to be alright. This book delivers undeniable proof that our loved ones can communicate from the other side.”—Concetta Bertoldi, author of So Dead People Watch You Shower?

Throughout time, people have been fascinated by those claiming extraordinary psychic abilities, a fascination that has reached a fever pitch in recent years. It’s safe to say many of these folks are either extraordinary frauds or extremely deluded.  But could some of them be legit?  Emmy Award-winning journalist, Jen Weigel makes it her duty to find out. She pulls the curtain back on Thomas John, Judith Orloff, Concetta Bertoldi, Caroline Myss, Echo Bodine, Rebecca Rosen, Paul Selig, and Michael Bodine—the results are startling and profound.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


The Everything Answer Book

Amit Goswami, PhD

“Amit Goswami is one of those rare jewels in the pantheon of quantum physics who brings a deep understanding of reality through a synthesis of science and spirituality. He has contributed immensely to my own understanding of the nature of existence. I am deeply indebted to him.” —Deepak Chopra, author of You Are the Universe

Amit Goswami’s basic premise is that quantum physics is not only the future of science, but is also the key to understanding consciousness, life, death, God, psychology, and the meaning of life.  Quantum physics is an antidote to the moral sterility and mechanistic approach of scientific materialism and is the best and clearest approach to understanding our universe.  Here in conversation with friends and colleagues, Dr. Goswami shows that quantum physics is indeed the theory of everything.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


A Little Book of Mystical Secrets

Maryam Mafi

At long last, a book that focuses on the teachings of Rumi’s teacher and inspiration, Shams of Tabriz.  Included is a biographical sketch of the great Sufi teacher and mystic and a new translation of 500 of his core teachings that bring into fresh focus the meaning and mysteries of life and love.  There are many books on Rumi and translations of his work, yet many are unaware of how Rumi became a mystic—Shams is the agent of propulsive mystical energy that transformed Rumi the reticent into Rumi the ecstatic poet.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Quotes That Will Change Your Life

Russ Kick

The wisest, most experienced, and most thoughtful people in history have left us these little thought-bombs, and this book collects them and neatly arranges them into topics everyone wonders about.  Surprising, jolting, discomforting, and comforting insights urge us to live a full, unbridled life, question authority and reality, relate to fellow humans, create, risk, love, live with uncertainty, and stay sane in an insane world.  These rousing insights and challenging thoughts appeal to everyone.

(Conari Press)


Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings

Varla Ventura

If you believe fairies follow you about on gossamer wings, you’re in for quite a shock—the kingdom of the fairy is one of vengeance, thievery, trickery, and wild creatures.  Included here are tales and myths from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia plus classic stories by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Clara Stroebe, Joseph Jacobs, and others on goblins, trolls, gnomes, pookas, banshees, and more—all guaranteed to keep readers wickedly entertained.

(Weiser Books)


Herbs Plain & Simple

Marlene Houghton

Herbal medicine is useful for a range of common complaints, and gentle and effective herbs can offer benefit where conventional medicine sometimes fails.  Houghton helps readers attain a high level of wellbeing through the use of traditional herbalism – only needing to consult a conventional doctor when you have a problem that only a medically qualified professional can handle.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


 

Midlife Is Not a Crisis

Virginia Bell

“This marvelous book is a poetic and educational journey about juicy aging, and how to prepare, prosper and thrive in the second half of life, and it also beautifully applies to all the stages of living and growing.” –SARK co-author and artist of Succulent Wild Love, PlanetSARK.com

“What a clear, practical, and totally fascinating guide for how to thrive in all the phases of your life! With her brilliant mastery of astrology, Virginia Bell gives you the map to navigate your entire life and to become your fully authentic self. Keep this book on your bedside table!” —Jean Haner, author of Your Hidden Symmetry: How Your Birth Date Reveals the Plan for Your Life

“With her ageless wisdom, Virginia Bell has written a book for the ages. Using astrology’s key cycles, she shows us that life has a plot, and that its unfolding will give you new-found opportunities for growth. No matter what stage of life you are in, however, her book, Midlife Is Not a Crisis, is for the young-at-heart, for it will inspire you to embrace the changes and challenges you face with courage and a sense of adventure.” —Shirley Soffer, author of The Astrology Sourcebook: Your Guide to Understanding

Virginia Bell combines astrology, inspiration, and wisdom about aging to empower people to live more fully in the second half of life.  Based on the generational life cycles we all share at certain ages—Saturn Return at 29 all the way to Uranus Return at 84—these cycles are the great crossroads of life when strung together offer a road map to life’s most challenging and rewarding passages.  Every decade has trials, lessons, and loses and our freedom lies in how we respond.  This is a practical guidebook for our later years that shows us how to make the most of our journey to becoming whole.

(Weiser Books)

 

When Forgiveness Means Saying “Enough!”

by D. Patrick Miller

Over the years that I’ve been teaching and writing about forgiveness, the most common misperception I’ve heard about this spiritual discipline is that it means taking a weak or non-assertive stance toward the world.

People fear that if they forgive someone who has hurt them, or let go of resentment about a hurtful experience in their past, that they will open themselves up to being hurt again.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Properly understood and practiced, forgiveness is the key to increased clarity, power and creativity.

That’s because forgiveness is really about learning how to make your own mind work more effectively. It may begin with releasing a grievance against someone, but in doing so you also begin liberating your mind from patterns of self-punishment. And nothing dulls the mind more than habitual self-attack.

Many people who struggle with depression or even just a “normal” dissatisfaction with life are mostly unhappy with themselves — perhaps for reasons they don’t even recognize — and are hooked on finding targets in the world to take on the blame. It’s a common strategy that never works. Forgiveness means confronting one’s own malaise, resentment, and self-induced misery and saying “Enough!”

One common but often unrecognized cause of chronic unhappiness is living a life in which useful learning has slowed to a stop. And learning is slowed less by lack of intelligence than by a reluctance to let go of bankrupt ideas and exhausted ways of seeing. That is why some problems never seem to go away even when we can sense that solutions are possible, yet somehow just beyond our grasp.

When you feel cursed by fate, look to your own stubbornness; when you seem blocked by others’ stupidity or meanness, question your own perception and the way you communicate. When nothing seems to work, consider whether you have correctly identified the fundamental problem behind your struggles. The object of your blame will always prove to be less of an obstacle than your decision to blame.

When you’re always ready to blame, you will tend to be fearful. You expect to get hurt so you do, and every time you assign blame you also hand over some more of your power. Forgiveness replaces the need to anticipate fearfully with the capacity to accept gracefully and improvise brilliantly. It does not argue with fate, but recognizes the opportunities within it. If necessity is the mother of invention, forgiveness is the midwife of genius.

A forgiving state of mind cannot easily be annoyed, and does not waste time arguing with the unexpected.

This doesn’t mean that the forgiven life is simple or untroubled, and forgiveness certainly does not prevent misfortunes. With practice, however, forgiveness does reduce the severity and frequency of the misfortunes that we tend to arrange for ourselves.

Thus, you can forgive not with the idea that you are doing a favor for someone who hurt you, but that you are being merciful to yourself. To carry chronic anger against anyone or any circumstance is to poison your own heart, injecting more toxin every time you replay in your mind the injury done to you.

If you decline to repeat someone’s offense inwardly, your outward anger will dissipate. Then you can more effectively tell anyone who hurt you how things must change between you. But you must first learn to say “Enough!” to yourself.


D. Patrick Miller is an author and literary agent living in Northern California. You can contact him at www.fearlessbooks.com.

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.