Friday, December 31, 2010

Finishing Up The Calendar Year

I was watching the snow fall the other day and thinking what a beautiful way to finish up the calendar year.
Just watching the quiet...before the snow changes to rain or the kids come out and tromp it all down attempting to make snowmen (which is nice in a whole other way).
In the practice of qigong, this is referred to as retreating into the energy of the North. Quiet, a rest time when we hibernate our thoughts and ideas. Turning our mental and energetic kettle on low, letting the flavors settle and rest together before developing into the new and bright energy of the Spring (East).
This is one of my favorite times of the year. Take advantage of it for what is is, not what you would like it to be. Remain in the moment, let yourself settle in and gently rework your plans and ideas. Allow yourself some quiet time, give your body permission to rest and take a breath before you charge forward into your next adventure.
Have a good new year.
From all of us at the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace, we wish you well! 
~ diane fergurson

"Colorado Winter Flower Photo:  Rose Sparkle" is by Colorado photographer Julie Magers Soulen and available in her Etsy Shop.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Solstice: A Time for Light, Release and Transformation

There is a striking thread that runs through many of the winter holidays, whether celebrated in Jewish, Christian, pagan, or other traditions – that of light, the return of light, and an embrace of light, both within and without. The Winter Solstice is a major holiday for pagans, but can be enjoyed by anyone without stepping on the toes of other faiths. It is the shortest day of the year, the day when the sun shines the least – in ancient times it was literally called “sun standing still day.” After the solstice the days begin to get longer, our time under the sun increasing little by little.

Even if we don’t see a reason to celebrate this as a religious or spiritual event we can see how it might have significance psychologically. For a good example of our reliance on light, I need only look back a couple of weeks to when a big windstorm knocked out power for thousands of people in my area – including me and my family. Reading by candlelight had a certain homey appeal, but there was an awkwardness to brushing teeth or simply walking up the steep narrow stairs in the old farmhouse, by candle. Schedules and routines change – bedtimes tend to be earlier, the dark greeted differently when we have no control over it. If we can be so affected by a diminishment of light, imagine the ancients, who truly set their lives by the light of the sun.

Perhaps of greater meaning to us now is the symbolism of light, especially in a season of growing darkness. I believe many of us are in great need of this renewing return of light – enough events have been taking place in our culture that have thrown some of us into the dark. The loss of a job and one’s income, family members in the military or simply news of war, ugly politics and the threat of individual rights narrowing, personal anxieties and fears… Concurrent with days growing ever shorter (not to mention an increase in cold temps, keeping us indoors even more), our moods may be suffering. Through holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas, and the pagan Yule, we have the invitation to accept and celebrate this return of light, and on the solstice we see the literal return of that light.

Also occurring on the solstice this year, will be a full lunar eclipse. In itself this is a relatively rare event, and one that astronomers are taking note of. Astrologers are also taking note of it, because the belief is that eclipses and solstices affect change… taking place as they will together, this combined event is expected to bring even bigger changes, on social as well as individual levels.
Major shifts are possible (some would say likely), and the general advice is to approach the day of this solstice with an openness to good things and joy, and from a place of acceptance and calm. If transformation is going to take place, embrace it and make it what you would like it to be – or at least to the extent that you can.

I am still a little on the fence about what I believe with regard to astrology. I tend to think who we are and become is not so governed by where the planets were when we were born, but I find myself making simple assumptions based on astrology more often than I’d like and have recognized some uncanny truths when doing deeper reading into it. I do find it exciting to think that a full moon eclipse on a winter solstice might usher in big change, new direction, and inner transformation, while also helping us release old fears or habits; hopefully all good of course! Experts are saying to check your natal charts for planets that fall between 27 and 1 degree in any sign, for those areas will be affected. I plan on going home tonight and pulling out my chart, to see just which houses might start experiencing some influence on Tuesday. I am just slightly nervous, knowing I have quite a few that fall in those degrees. I will also probably emphasize a practice of mindfulness on Tuesday, and perhaps do some simple meditation on opening to more love, joy, and yes, light.

~ nellie levine

photo, "Through Frosted Glass" is by Jude McConkey.  It's available in her Etsy Shop.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Enabling the Disabled in India

We'd like to thank Indira Govindan for sharing this touching blog post with us.

Beading and Stringing at the Workshop
During my trip to India in March 2010, I did a workshop on jewelry making to a group of physically challenged girls at the Andhra Mahila Sabha. These girls are victims of childhood polio, one of the last groups of children, before polio was officially eradicated in India a decade ago. 

These young women are not only physically challenged but also economically disadvantaged. Organizations such as the Andhra Women provide them with vocational training in book binding, sewing, computer software, which is their path to economic independence. Occasionally, someone like me will come along and teach them something that is fun. Which woman can say no to jewelry?

The workshop was sponsored by Sukriti Social Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by my sister, Sowmya Simhan, who too was stricken with polio at the age of two. She is highly educated with a career in accounting, and her foundation provides a wide range of services and programs to physically disabled men and women and, collaborates with other organizations that provide similar services.

Since I knew that these girls would not be able to buy the materials for jewelry, I took with me all of the materials from my personal stash. Sowmya felt that these girls could use some help in understanding the use of colors and design principles.  So, I made a color wheel for them. I also took several issues of Bead Style magazine with me.

I did the workshop for two evenings after their day class was over. About fifteen girls, ranging from age 12 to 18, participated. The girls were charming and were quick learners. I taught them to make the wrapped loop and showed them how to use the color wheel. I gave each one a kit for a pair of earrings and a necklace and they were quite thrilled when they found out that they get to keep what they had made. The chorus of “thank you auntie” at the end was touching. I donated a whole bag of beads, wire, the color wheel and a toolbox to the girls.

It is unlikely that the girls would ever be able to go into jewelry making business. They do not have the means. However, teaching them the techniques and, giving them the materials would enable them to make things to sell at craft shows. This condition applies to any skill they are taught. It is not enough to just teach them a skill. To enable them to use it gainfully, they also have to be provided the tools and the materials. Hence, organizations such as Sukriti, raise funds to buy them computers, sewing machines, school supplies and so on. I try to do my tiny bit. All proceeds from sales from my shop are donated to Sukriti Foundation.

More information about its work can be found at and  Facebook

Sowmya, the founder of Sukriti, is being honored with Ascendas Award for service

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Aromatherapy On The Go

 There are many different forms of aromatherapy on the market these days. Between the use of candles, of oils or tarts in a burner, incense, or diffusers, you have many options to choose from.  But, all of those are meant to be used in your home/apartment/office.  Now, there is a great way to be able to enjoy an instant aromatherapy treatment anywhere you are, anytime that you want/need one.

Aromatherapy necklaces are the perfect way to carry your treatments with you wherever you go.  The pendants on these necklaces are actually bottles.  You just have to fill them with the appropriate oils and you are good to go.  Attached to the screw top of each bottle is a wand.   You can use the wand to apply the oil wherever you need to.  If you don’t want to apply any oil, you can just run the bottle under your nose for a quick treatment.

The preferred method of using these is by using an essential oil mixed with a carrier oil.  The most common carrier oils are cold pressed vegetable oils like olive oil or avocado oil, but some nut oils, like almond oil or sunflower oil, will work as well.  If you are going to apply this to your skin, please make sure it is an oil you are not allergic to! 

Depending on which essential oil you use, you will want to use either a 2:1 or 3:1 dilution (with the carrier oil being the larger portion).  Essential oils are very strong, and should never be applied directly to the skin.  They need to be diffused into a carrier oil.

Now, to choose what sort of necklace to wear, and what kind of oils to use, the first thing you need to decide on is what you want the treatment for.  Gemstones and essential oils both have healing properties.  You will want to choose a stone and an oil that both work towards accomplishing the same basic goal, whether it be clearer thinking, simple relaxation, a boost of confidence, or stress relief.

Here is some examples:

Tourmaline is believed to help achieve calmness, balance, focus and self-assurance.  If this is what you would want in your necklace, then you would need to choose an oil that also worked for promoting those same things.  You could use this with sandalwood oil, since sandalwood is good for relieving anxiety, fatigue, grief, insecurity, stress.  This combination should help you get through a tough work day, a stressful family meeting, even help calm you before an important job interview.

Amber is believed to protect you from negativity and promote attractiveness and energy.    You could pair this with a lavender oil, since lavender is good for relieving anxiety, depression, irritability, panic, or stress.  You could use these two together to pick you up before an important presentation at work, to keep you up and focused during a craft fair, on a first date, meeting the potential in-laws...anytime you just need a shot of confidence.

Now, what if you aren’t currently a practitioner of aromatherapy or find it all just too confusing.  Well, there are other uses for these necklaces.

Perfume - you can simply fill these with your favorite perfume, and carry it around with you at all times.  Face it, your clutch purse is prime real estate.  If you can carry one less thing in there, the better.  Work the necklace into your evening attire, and you can carry your perfume with you that way.  Use the wand to apply the perfume to your wrists, behind your ears, wherever you need a quick touch-up.

Prayer/Wishing - The mouths on many of these bottle are big enough to slip a piece of rolled up paper into.  Is there someone special you want to keep in your thoughts?  Someone who is no longer with us who you always want to remember or memorialize?  A secret wish/desire that no one else knows about?  Well, whatever it is, write it on a small slip of paper and place it in the bottle.  Now, you have that wish/thought/prayer/desire with you at all times, and are carrying it close to your heart. 

Necklace - When all else fails, you don’t really need to carry anything inside the pendant if you don’t want to.  These can be used as simple gemstone necklaces with large, bold silver pendants.  There is nothing wrong with that either.

These necklaces have multiple uses.  One of them is right for you.  You can find the ones pictured here, and many others by visiting my website.

~ Giani

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Have Your Home Smell Great for the Holidays. A Recipe for All Natural Room Spray

There's nothing better than a heavenly scented home, especially as we approach the Holidays. I like to burn tarts and candles, but when company is coming I like to be able to spritz the curtains, furniture (which sometimes smells like Eau de German Shepherd with our pooch), and the guest bath downstairs.

I am going to share the recipe for my Holiday Blend Ambiance Room Lamp & Linen Spray.  It smells so good!

This is also 100% natural. There is a reason major companies fail to mention the ingredients in their home scent sprays--the Air Wick and other varieties come in aerosol containers and contain a host of ingredients that are bad for you and the earth. This one is safe. It is so safe that you can even spritz some on your clothes or skin if it strikes your fancy--although some people do have allergies and sensitivities to the cinnamon, so you'll want to do a patch test first.

This is how I usually scent my home from Thanksgiving through most of the winter.

You will need:
*Distilled Water
*A small handful of whole cloves
*Witch hazel (I prefer the alcohol free witch hazel hydrosol, but for a room spray, the typical witch hazel from the drugstore is acceptable and more economical)
*Vanilla Absolute (you may also put a vanilla bean in the water/clove mixture if you have one on hand)

To make:

The amounts used will depend on how much you will make. Let's base this project on an 8 ounce recipe. You can make 4 small bottles to give as gifts or keep a large bottle around the house.

Combine 5 ounces of distilled water into a small saucepan. Add a handful of whole cloves. Simmer over low to medium heat for at least 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture so the cloves are left out of the liquid. Cool for a bit on the counter.

Now add 3 ounces of witch hazel to the cooled clove water.

Add in 20 drops of the cinnamon essential oil and 10 drops each of nutmeg essential oil, sweet orange essential oil, and vanilla absolute. If you have anise or almond oils, these are also nice substitutions and additions.

Stir slowly and pour into bottles. Shake lightly.

These are best in cobalt or amber glass bottles, but any bottle that is not a clear plastic will work well.

Vanilla absolute is expensive. It smells heavenly, but is pricey. You can put a vanilla bean in the clove mixture and simmer instead.


Karley Ziegler Mott

Editor, Chic & Green™
Owner/Designer, Loubird Handmade™
Founder, The Embrace Your Curves Project™

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mercury Retrograde, For Your Holiday Pleasure

Well, it looks like Mercury Retrograde will be gracing us with it's presence during the Holiday Season this year, December 10-30th 2010.  (November 24 to December 13, 2011.)

What is this astrological transit that always makes me glance over my shoulder and take an extra breath of patience (or just give up) when things aren't going my way? Read on and find out.

March 30 to April 23
August 2 to August 26
November 24 to December 13

March 11 to April 4
July 14 to August7
November 6 to November 26


February 23 to March 17
June 26 to July 20
October 21 to November 10


February 6 to February 28
June 7 to June 30
October 4 to October 25

There are numerous astrological aspects which transit our chart every day, every year. Mercury going retrograde however, is one that has always caused my antenna to rise a little higher and pay a bit closer attention to the situations going on around me.
I grew up with a mother who was a student of astrology. Every time this aspect would approach she would begin her lengthy mantra warning me against signing important documents, beginning anything new, engaging in transactions, and of plans. Although she is in her mid 80's now, I fully expect a letter AND phone call this week reminding me about the transit. It's something she has obviously learned, by experience, to take seriously.
Perusing through my astrology books to prepare for this blog post, I came across a good description of Mercury retrograde by James R. Lewis in his book The Astrology Encyclopedia Here are some excerpts:
“Retrograde refers to the apparent backward motion of a planet in its orbit. Because all planets in the solar system are moving in orbits of different sizes at different rates of speed, there will be periods in the orbit of the Earth when each of the other planets seems to reverse direction for a period of time. The effect can be compared with that of a jet as it passes a slower-moving airplane that is flying in the same direction at a lower altitude: As the pass is made, the slower craft appears – particularly when viewed against the backdrop of the Earth – to be moving in the opposite direction. Similarly, retrograde planets appear to move in reverse direction when viewed against the backdrop of the fixed stars.”
Lewis continues: “Astrologers tend to pay particularly close attention to the retrograde periods of Mercury, ruler of the Mind, communications, travel, and related matters. The period of Mercury’s retrogradation may be considered fortunate for introverted activities like reflection and meditation but it is considered unfortunate for traveling and making important decisions (e.g., signing contracts). Travel is sometimes delayed while Mercury is retrograde, and decisions made during such periods are often reversed after Mercury goes direct.”

~ diane fergurson
About the image... This illustration of Mercury is originally from De Sphaera, an illuminated astrology manuscript from the Italian Renaissance.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah

* Hanukkah 2012 begins Saturday December 8 and ends Sunday December 16.

Tonight begins the celebration of Hanukkah, also known as Festival of Lights, an 8 day Jewish Holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt on the 2nd century BCE.

There are many festive traditions associated with Hanukkah, in addition to daily prayers and blessings. There is also the lighting of a candle each night for 8 nights on the menorah to commemorate the miracle burning of the oil in the Temple menorah which should have lasted for only 1 day, but instead burned for 8.

Blue and white are the traditional colors of Hanukkah along with silver and gold.  There are also traditional games, music and a luscious variety of wonderful food and treats.

Probably one of my favorite foods associated with Hanukkah are potato latkes (crisp potato pancakes) served with sour cream.
A few years ago in the magazine Everyday Food (December 2006), they ran an updated version of this traditional recipe using sweet potatoes.  I love it and thought I'd share it with you below.

To all of you who are celebrating Hanukkah, The Mind Body Spirit Odyssey hopes you have a wonderful Holiday Celebration!

                                              Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 pound sweet potatoes peeled
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 large eggs lightly beaten 
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
3/4 c vegetable oil
sour cream for serving (optional)

Grate sweet potatoes on the large holes of the grater.  Transfer to large bowl and stir in scallions, eggs and flour.  Add 1 tsp coarse salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Using a packed 1/4 cup measure of potato mixture per pancake, shape into 12 mounds.  With hands form each into a firm ball and transfer to a baking sheet.  With palm flatten balls into 3/4 inch thick cakes.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat until hot.  Using metal spatula with a thin blade, carefully transfer 6 cakes to skillet, flatten to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cook until golden brown 4 or 5 minutes per side.  Transfer pancakes to paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with course salt.  Repeat process.
Serve immediately with sour cream if desired.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mind Body Spirit Odyssey 2010 Holiday Gift Picks

We have had a lot of fun putting together this Holiday Gift Guide.  Probably one of the biggest highlights of doing our daily product feature for the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace Facebook Page is getting to see all of the wonderful items available online that have been created to educate, nourish and heal the soul.  Nellie and I are happy to be able to share a selection of our favorites with you this Holiday Season.  Some of these items are traditionally manufactured and sold. Others are handcrafted and available from independent shop owners.  Some items are new, others have been on the market for a while.  In addition, at the end, we have also included a list of links to those people who have contributed so generously to our blog over the past year.
Lots to look at and enjoy!  I'm sure you'll fine something for everyone on your list...and even yourself!

  ~ diane fergurson

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 Nellie's Gift Picks

1. Sophia Elemental Figurative Art Doll
at It's Elemental on Etsy

Sophia, Wisdom, Mother of All... her power and beauty are celebrated in this one of a kind and completely handcrafted art doll by Vermont artist Colleen McLaughlin. A stunning and special gift for Hanukkah, Yule, or Christmas. I'm starting my list with Sophia - she represents our seeking, our highest truths and spiritual gifts, and she (the doll!) also represents something I believe in on a more mundane level - supporting artists and artisans directly, while gifting others with items that are truly unique.

2. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
by Jean-Yves Leloup

When I first read this book, I was stunned. Since I was young I have been fascinated by ancient Christian mysticism and the Gnostic gospels. My spiritual path has taken me far and wide, but I continue to feel drawn to these works and traditions. The Coptic Gospel of Mary Magdalene was discovered fifty years before the Gnostic gospels found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt and is considered a source text. Not only does this text, combined with Leloup's commentary, tell us more about Mary Magdalene and the role of the divine feminine, it (possibly more importantly) provides us a somewhat surprising view and understanding of early Christian thought. I found it akin to Buddhist and Taoist teachings in many ways, its wisdom inspiring and illuminating.

3. Sun and Moon Tarot
by Vanessa Decort
With all the hundreds of tarot decks available, and with all the new ones that were published this year, I have to admit it was easy to choose Sun and Moon for this Gift Guide. The artwork is beautiful, inspiring, and accessible, with an unmistakably positive energy; the symbolism is striking - adeptly inserted into the imagery and based on real scholarship and study; great "little white booklet" that provides insightful instruction and accurate interpretation - helpful to both inexperienced and seasoned enthusiasts; and of course, the high quality of US Games. This deck would be a great gift for anyone interested in tarot or divination, who especially love diversity and cross-cultural spiritual seeking. Tarot decks make a great gift, often being kept and treasured forever. I have the very first deck I was ever given, by my dad's close friend - it no longer has its box, but it is kept safely with my other favorite decks.

4. Fairies by Night, Sling Purse
at Baba Studio

Like everything created by Baba Studio, this little bag is beautiful. It is exquisitely crafted in pure silk, featuring a lovely scene of fairies based on an illustration by Arthur Rackham. These sling bags are the perfect size, especially if you are like me and aren't crazy about carrying purses. I have found them to be large enough to fit a wallet, cell phone, keys, pen, lipstick, notepad, and small camera (now you know all my essentials!) in two lightly padded and zippered pockets. The winter holidays are such a magical time, and Fairies fit the season perfectly. Please visit the shop and take a look around though, these bags are offered in many different designs from Alice in Wonderland to Gothic to Tarot, and there are other styles of bag as well, from small pouches to large bucket, messenger, and laptop bags. Anything from Baba would make a wonderful, magical gift.

5. French Lilac Soap
at SylvieL on Etsy

Every May we are blessed here in Vermont with the gorgeous, irresistible scent of lilacs, in farmhouse gardens and along country roads. There’s nothing like it and it truly symbolizes the end of the colder months of the year and the beginning of spring. Sylvie, through some magic known only to her, captures this beautiful scent in her luxurious, natural, handmade soaps. Wondering if the scent lasts? I can say from experience that the scent lingers subtly through the day, and the bar itself and the freshness of its fragrance, last remarkably well for months. Sylvie's soaps are packaged beautifully for gift-giving.

 6. Turquoise Floral Cuff Bracelet
at Tea House Designs at Cargoh

This bracelet is gorgeous, in bold turquoise with a contrasting black cherry blossom design. I just love this shop... Asian inspired jewelry, handcrafted in smooth, cool polymer. These are unique, beautiful, very wearable pieces. They are also incredibly affordable.

7. Therapeutic Music of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
at Wind Music

My husband and I discovered this beautiful series over the summer, and I'm happy to recommend it, as I believe it encourages optimal health - physical and spiritual, throughout each of the seasons. It is also simply a joy to listen to. From the website, "According to ancient Chinese medical theory, there are two causes for diseases. The first is internal, which is brought about by an imbalance in a person`s psycho mental state. The second is external, which comes as a result from changing atmospheric and climatic conditions. This six volume set of music developed in mainland China is based on these principles of health preservation. Volumes 1 through 4 are designed to counter external causes of illness by strengthening the bodies` natural defenses against particular conditions found in each of the four seasons. Volumes 5 and 6 are designed to counter internal causes of illness by regulating psycho mental activity, and thus bringing the body and mind into a state of equilibrium and harmony."

8. Tibetan Art Wall Calendar
at Snow Lion Publications

These are fabulous calendars, the artwork deep and breath-taking and the quality suitable for framing (and indeed we have framed them in our house). I started shopping at Snow Lion years and years ago, having been a reader of their terrific magazine and catalog (I would spend hours looking through it). So many of us give at least one calendar as a gift every year; this one is also a gift of art and a gift of spirit. There's a wonderful variety of gift ideas on the Snow Lion website - books, ritual items, statues, incense, jewelry, meditation cushions, prayer flags, and more.

9. Tibet Through the Red Box
by Peter Sis
When I first opened this book, which was received as a gift, I didn't know if it was meant for children or adults. It holds allure for both. Its brittle parchment jacket is reminiscent of ancient secret manuscripts; and beneath, it coyly reveals a colorful drawing of the forbidden city of Lhasa, true home of the Dalai Lama. This first impression of the book makes it quite special – as what is inside is neatly hinted at, with invitation to enter. It is most literally an adventure book of Tibet, but as well, it is a fairy tale. Suitable for children ten and up, enjoyed by anyone with a love of Tibetan culture.

10. Old Turtle
by Douglas Wood and Cheng-Khee Chee

Old Turtle was one of my daughter’s favorite books as a young child – and as her mother, it was one of my favorites for her. It is a beautiful and powerful book that is just so easy for a child to understand and appreciate. For children and adults alike, it can teach important truths, about God, diversity, caring for and listening to the Earth, and tolerance. Although the book was first published years ago, the story is timeless. If you haven't yet given this book to a child in your life, it just might be time to do so!

11. The Druid Plant Oracle, Working with the magical flora of the Druid tradition
by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington

The Druid Plant Oracle is a deck and book set by the same authors and artist of the Druid Animal Oracle, one of my favorite oracles that I received as a Christmas gift years ago. In the Druid Plant Oracle, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm explore the significance of thirty-six plants used and honored in the Druid tradition. This is an engaging set, inspiring us to work more closely with the trees, herbs, flowers and fungi that surround us, and to learn from their gentle wisdom. A lovely gift not just for Druids and pagans, but for lovers of nature and green growing things as well.

12. Aches Away Plus Herbal Massage Oil
at Healing Earth Vermont Herbals

Perfect as a stocking stuffer, especially when given with the promise of a massage! When I was experiencing sciatica this year, Healing Earth’s Aches Away massage oil provided gentle soothing. It’s a lovely, effective blend with a subtle, pleasant scent. I was lucky to have this product available locally - I seriously went through at least four bottles, but it’s also available online for all to enjoy. Please visit the Healing Earth shop for more - they offer a nice selection of oils, salves, creams, and balms.

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Diane's Gift Picks 

1.  Liquid Mind III, Balance CD

This CD has the honored status of being the only piece of music that I have ever inquired about after a class.  Perfect for meditation,  qigong, yoga or Tai Chi practice.  Or if you just need to relax.

2.  Llewellyn's 2011 Herbal Almanac

If you are not familiar with Llewellyn's yearly Almanac publications, you really should take a look. Chocked-full of educational information presented in a friendly and enjoyable manner, the Herbal Almanac features articles from a variety of authors on herbal and botanical related subjects.  For those people interested in gardening, herbs, cooking, herbal remedies, essential oils, or aromatherapy...this is a perfect and affordable gift.  I look forward to my copy of The Herbal Almanac every year.

 3.  Abby Horowitz Designs on Etsy

The thing that sets Abby Horowitz apart from other jewelry artisans, aside from her amazing sense of design, is the individual care, thought and attention to the healing properties of the stones that go into making her one-of-a-kind pieces.
Earlier this year I had to attend an event where I knew there would probably be a lot of negative energy thrown around.  I purchased one of Abby's turquoise bracelets to wear (turquoise will absorb negative energy), never took it off...and sailed through the event on a cloud.  When I talked to Abby about it later her reaction was "Glad I could help you with  your Metaphysical needs"!  Me too Abby!

4.  Golden Book of Reconstructed Letters by George Llewellyn

I found this through an obscure reference in an article about Esoteric Astrology.  The original copyright of this book is 1941.   At the time it had been published Reconstructed Letters was given as a free supplement to new subscribers of a magazine called "The Astrological Bulletina".  It is currently available re-published as part of Kessinger Publishing's Rare Reprints.  I find Reconstructed Letters unusual not only because it is so old and re-printed in it's original form, but also because of it's content.  When I finished reading it I felt that all the basic seeds of Spiritual, Religious and Esoteric knowledge had been planted within these pages.  It is most definitely a forerunner to current, modern day "New Age" and Spiritual publications. This book is a must for anyone interested in spirituality, religion and astrology.

5.  Alli Pacha Shamanic Healing Arts
     on Etsy
This was probably one of my best online shop finds this year.  Alli Pacha has had over 1,300 sales in his Etsy shop.  He carries a huge selection crystals, minerals, smudges, pendulums, medicine bags and much, much more.  I ordered some candles along with the smoky citrine, pictured on the left, and was very pleased with my purchase.   Alli Pacha's Shop is also contains a wealth of educational information about the items he carries.  Good resource.

6. Convoluted Universe Book I by Delores Cannon

Oh gee...where do I even start with Delores Cannon?
I discovered her books this year and felt like I had taken a giant leap forward in my Universal perspective of.... well, "everything"!
Convoluted Universe Book I is the first in a series of 3 Volumes, the 4th is on the way.  Don't even bother to even open this book unless you have at least 2 or 3 hours available.  You won't be able to put it down.  (This has happened to everyone I have recommended the book to).  Delores Cannon began her work as a reporter, international investigator and researcher of "lost knowledge"  in the 1970's accidentally through her work as a regressive therapist.  By taking her patients into the somnambulist trance state (the deepest possible trance state), Delores was able to tap into much more then just a simple past life reading.  In this book, Delores explores such mysteries as the knowledge and destruction of Atlantis, Easter Island, Ark of the Covenant, the Pyramids, Loch Ness Monster, Nazca Lines, Parallel Universes and more.
Whether you believe what you read in this book or not... it's without a doubt the most interesting mind candy I've had in years!  Pick up a copy.

7.  PattyMara's Sacred Heart Cafe on Zibbet

It is a combination of several qualities that set PattyMara Gourly apart from other artists.   Her superb command of her craft, attention to detail, material choices, and a exuberant creative spirit that seems to burst out of just about everything she makes.  Whether she's silk painting, creating items to celebrate Day of the Dead or making her fabulous pottery (which is in huge demand),  PattyMara Gourley has the magic touch!  You can read about my adventure with the Buddha Teapot we purchased from her on a blog post we ran earlier this year. Check out PattyMara's shop on Zibbet to find a wide range of beautiful gift items.

8.  Atmara Rebecca Cloe's New World Creations

The Mandala and Fractal imagery by artist Atmara Rebecca Cloe touched me the moment I laid eyes on her work.  If you visit  New World Creations, 
you will find numerous links to her wonderful artwork and designs.  I have been more then pleased with the items I have ordered of her work through  Zazzle.  Her 2011 Calendar, pictured on the right, is just stunning.

 9.  Dream Weaver Tea Shop on Etsy

I was so happy when I found this wonderful Tea Shop on Etsy...and even "happier" when I received my order and tried these tastey teas for myself!  Dream Weaver offers a nice variety of hand blended Black, Green, Chai, herbal Teas and herbs at a great price.  Each package makes around 14 to 16 cups of tea.  They have a money back guarantee, but with over 440 sales on Etsy they must be doing something right.  A great gift or stocking stuffer for the tea drinker on your Holiday list!

10.  Satya Jewelry

I've been a fan of Satya Jewelry for a number of years, and I'm always surprised at the number of people who are not familiar with them.  Spiritual, quality jewelry at an affordable price, this New York based company has their products available online, in their own stores and also in many gift shops  and boutiques throughout the country.  Satya participates in a number of various Charity related activities too.  Their most recently campaign was in conjunction with Haiti Relief featuring Patricia Arquette.  Check them out...  One of my favorites!

11.  Didgeridoo and Tibetan Singing Bowls Deep Meditation CD

This is a deep meditation CD that manages to perfectly balance the energy of the Earth (the Didgeridoo) to the energetic connections of the Heavens (Singing Bowls)...all brought to center/presence with the very subtle, quiet sounding of the gong.  I was so happy to find this CD.  My son plays the Didgeridoo, which I miss hearing...and my dear, Teacher always ended his sessions by playing the Singing Bowls during our final meditation.  Two polar opposite complimentary sounds perfect for meditation.

12. Handcrafted Meditation Benches and Shrines by Ken Cayer on Artfire.

Every once in a while I come across a seller that makes me sit back in awe.  That was my reaction when I saw these extraordinary, handcrafted wooden meditation benches and alters by Ken Cayer, The Yankee Woodsmith.  This is high end woodcraft at it's best.  If you meditate, practice Yoga or qigong or are looking for the perfect gift for someone who does...visit this shop!

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Links to our Blog Contributors

Indira Govindan -writing

From Indira:
Mudras:  Gestures of a Different Kind
Many Faces of Genesha

Karley Ziegler Mott- writing

You may enjoy reading Karleyarticle:
Oils:  Cold Relief
Essential Oils and Skin Care:  Bugs


Giani -writing

Giani's Tarot Review:
Ancestral Path Tarot Deck 
Tarot Review:  The Vampires of the Eternal Night

Christina Dudley- writing

Reviewed by Christina:
Black Elk Speaks
The Return of the Children of the Light: Incan and Mayan Prophecies for a New World

Miriam Moran Shankman - writing

From Miriam:
Slow Down, We Move Too Fast:  A Prelude to the Holiday Seaso

Manny Ln -writing

From Manny:   Cairn Building

Karen Casey Smith - Art and Writing

by Karen:  Wu Chi

 Pattymara Gourley - Art and Writing

From the pen of PattyMara:
Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos)
Namaste:  An Explanation of a Very Old Greeting

Grace- writing

by Grace:
Do You Live Near a Real Witch?  I do...

Laura Milnor Iverson -art

Laura's Artwork is Featured in:
Autumn Blessings and Balance

Jude McConkey -photography

Featuring Jude's Photography:
How Are You Feeling?  Positive and Negative Ions

An Interview with Healer Darren Orr

Emily Balivet -art

Emily's artwork is featured in:
Beltane Blessings

Judit M. Designs -writing

From Judit:  Celebrating June

Julie Magers Soulen - Photography

Julie's Photography is featured in:
My Path, Your Path - Many Roads lead to Oz

An Interview with author Abigail Carter:

The Alchemy of Loss:  A Young Widow's Transformation

An Interview with Jovita Wallace
 The Magic of Color Vibration

An Interview with Joanne Kornelje

Black Star Jewelry

From Black Star Jewelry:
Earth Day

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For Others

The Sukriti Social Foundation
Helping the Disabled in India

2011 Charity Cat Calendar by artist Andy Mathis
2011 Charity Cat Calendar from Artist Andy Mathis
Available on Artfire and Etsy...100% of the proceeds go to pet related Charities

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Be safe and enjoy your Holiday Season ~

Nellie Levine, editor and writing

Some Selections from Nellie's Pen
Among the Bones ~ A Season for Ancestor Reverence
An Introduction to Tarot 
Lughnasadh Blessings

Diane Fergurson, editor, writing and artwork

Some Selections from Diane:
Mercury Goes Retrograde
Do Unto Others...
What Motivates an Artist?

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Artist,Writer, Jewelry Design