Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: Chaldean Numerology


Chaldean Numerology For Beginners
by Heather Alicia Lagan
Llewellyn Publications

I've studied numerology on and off for a number of years as a hobbyist, but it wasn't until I came across Heather Alicia Lagan's new book Chaldean Numerology For Beginners, that I was not only surprised to learn that there was another system of numerology, but that it is actually more accurate.

According to the author, the Chaldean system differs from Western Numerology (the Pythagorean system) in a number of ways.  For example, the Chaldeans were essentially the first to recognize the energetic qualities of numbers and letters.  They connect vibrations to sounds and numbers, and numbers to letters.  As Lagan's explains in her book, the Chaldeans looked beyond the name and birth date to the individual energies and specific vibrations that resonate within them.  The Pythagorean system, on the other hand, is based on sequential patterns rather then sound vibration.

The treatment of the number 9 is another major difference between the two schools.  The Chaldean system does not include 9 in their calculations because it was considered to be a scared/spiritual number.  However it can be found in the name total.  There is also a difference in the treatment given to the present name that a person is using,  calculations are not just figured from the birth name.
According to the book, birth date and month are calculated for your life path number in the Chaldean system - but I noticed, not the birth year.  That's something I would like a further explanation about, since no particular reason was given (that I was able to find).

Chaldean Chart
I could write on and on about all of the interesting things I found out in this book, but I will leave that for you to discover when you read it.  I will say that although my personal numbers were different within the two systems - the Chaldean being much more accurate and specific - I could still find the same core essence (of myself) present within my Pythagorean numbers.  That pretty much confirms the belief that who you really are will resonate and shine through within any type of analysis or divination method.

This is a wonderfully written book.  Very clear and well thought out.  It also gives the reader insights and information on basic spiritual principals and beliefs, which is very important in assisting with the overall understanding of our daily lives and life purpose.

If you study numerology definitely pick this book up and add it to your collection.
Pythagorean Chart
If you're new to numerology - start here.

Chaldean Numerology for Beginners is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and also Llewellyn.


~ diane fergurson








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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear Whole Foods - Do You Really Have To Label It New Age ?

Dear Whole Foods,

This is not 1975 anymore.  It is the year 2012.  The labeling of a product category, particularly in your chain of stores, "New Age" is not only offensive to many of your customers... it is downright outdated and unenlightened.  How about not labeling it at all? Or, if you find you have to name it, at least use the term Alternative Healing or something of that nature.

Oh my dear Whole Foods... I should probably really stop this note with my complaint about your New Age labeling, but I can't.

Over the last few years many of your customers, those of us who have provided the solid spending base to help you grow and get where you are, have found themselves disheartened and disappointed with your every growing proliferation of the healthy "junk food" items which line your store shelves.  If a "healthy" junk food item is talked about on Dr. Oz...a display is up at your store within the week.  The store I was in this morning has enough Kale Chips to feed a small country.
Established companies that have provided quality products and nutrition for many years have found their products completely taken off of your shelves and replace with your lesser quality store brand items and your ever present selection of Fair Trade "Chachkies".  In some of your stores the counters with your meat and sea food products are so large and expansive that a lot of the goods are never sold.  Wasted...nice ~

That said - yes I have to admit though, Whole Foods I am very thankful that I am fortunate to not only live near one of your stores, but two.  And that you are employing people and providing them with health care benefits in an otherwise dismal economy.  But out of the two stores I live by, I still prefer shopping in the small one.  Imagine that.  It's not (quite) as mass market.

I still believe in what you are doing, trying to offer American consumers a healthier life style choice with what they eat - even though you completely caved in recently on the Monsanto GMO fight, which made many of our friends angry enough to sell their stock.

Well, whatever.

Anyway, all that said... If you could just get rid of the label New Age in your stores, that might be a small step back into the right direction.

Diane Fergurson
Editor, Mind Body Spirit Marketplace/Odyssey
Montclair, New Jersey




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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gemstones of the Zodiac - Part 1 - Opals

Welcome to a new series on Mind Body Spirit Odyssey.  Over the next 12 months, I will be taking a look at the healing and wellness properties for gemstones of the zodiac.  There are many different gemstones assigned to the zodiac, depending on whether you wish to go with a modern, traditional, or other approach.  For the purposes of this series, and in keeping with the Mind Body Spirit Odyssey tradition, I am going to go with the Mystical Zodiac Stone approach.

                                                                                        ~ Giani


The first sign of the Zodiac is Aries (March 21 - April 20).  The Mystical Zodiac stone for Aries is Opal.



 There are several schools of thought on the origin of the word “opal”.  Some say it is from the Sanskrit “upala”, which means “jewel”.  Some say it is from the Latin “opalus”.  The Romans referred to it as “cupid paedros” (beautiful child that signifies love).

Opal is actually a silica gel that has hardened.  This makes is unique in that, unlike most gemstones, it is non-crystalline.  Precious opal, the kind you most often think of when you hear “opal”, refracts light because of the way the silica aligned in the stone’s formation.  It dates back as far as 250 B.C., when Emperor Constantine was said to have placed an opal in his crown, believing it to protect his life. He, and various scholars, believe it to help you become “invisible” at times when you do not wish to be seen.

Opal is believed to be a stone of great intuition, foresight and inspiration, making it a favorite of magicians and alchemists through the years.  Opal’s abilities and strengths are closely tied to its color.  As there are many different colors of opal, each has its own unique properties:


Fire Opal


 Can enhance power and awaken inner fire, helping to let go of past issues.  It can also be used in rituals to increase the passion in a relationship, and awaken sexual energy.



Blue Opal


Allows you to see beyond this plane, into the ethereal, and to become one with all that is around you.  Helps realign past life issues that are having an impact on the here and now.  Also a great stone to use for wishing.



Blue-Green Opal


Removes constrictions and allows you to see things fresh, with new eyes.



Green Opal


This is a great stone to detox both the body and the mind.  It removes all the obstacles and filters and lets you see and feel things more clearly.

 

Pink Opal


Aides in centering and alignment.  Assists in the opening up of the Third Eye, allowing you better insight.



Black Opal


A powerful stone sought by Wiccans and magicians.  It traps the negative, and releases light.  As a result, it will amplify your magic, increase your strength, heighten your sexuality and get you on the right path.



Blue Peruvian Opal

Reduces stress and tension, allowing your ideas to flow more freely.  It can also quiet the mind and relax you enough to sleep.  


 Pink Peruvian Opal




This stone will raise your spirits, bring you to a higher place, and help you develop the yin and yang you need to be more balanced when it comes to being able to give and receive.



One Caveat About Opals

Even though all opals are believed to be good luck stones, they also have a dark side.  The stones will resonate with whatever emotions you are holding tightly.  These stones will heal you if you allow them to.  However, if you hold on to the negative emotions, and block the stones from helping you release them, then the stones will channel those thoughts and emotions with the same power they would have used to dispel them.  So, if you wear opals when in a particularly down time, they will hinder, rather than help.  It is best to wear these stones when you are ready to let go of your issues.

Charge Your Opals

Astrologists believe opals to be a stone of the moon.  If you wish to charge your stones, offer them up to the full moon, to help increase their power.  

Cleanse and Purify Your Stones

For information on how to cleanse your stones,you can refer to this article by Diane Fergurson, published on Mind Body Spirit Odyssey:





You can also read Giani's Tarot reviews in the Review section of this blog.
I'm definitely looking forward to reading more upcoming articles in this wonderful new series, and I thank Giani very much for his wonderful continued contributions to Mind Body Spirit Odyssey.
                                                                                   ~ diane



Series Article Part 2 - Sapphire
Series Article 3 - Amethyst
Series Article 4 - Moonstone
Series Article 6 - Agate





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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Dao of Spring- Time to Sprout, Grow and Blossom


Today is the first day of Spring where I live in the Northern Hemisphere (New Jersey, the Garden State) and to tell you the truth, this day usually slips right past me.  I either find myself absorbed in the "moment" of the day, enjoying the warmer and more sunny elements of nature, or our weather is such that it is cold and dreary and we are often in middle of a snow or rain storm. 

According to Daoist belief, the season of Spring lasts for three months.  During this time there is a blossoming and sprouting both within nature and within ourselves, arising from the dormancy of the winter months where our qi has rested and hopefully recouped.  Our daily life slowly changes from more yin (quiet) activities to becoming much more yang (outward) oriented.  Instead of sitting and reading or spending our extra time hunched over the computer, instead we find ourselves biking, walking, running... often digging in our gardens too.

In regards to The Five Elements, springtime is the season for the element wood.  Sturdy - yet strong,  supple and willing to bend, the flexibility and strength  properties of wood not only applies to our physical body but our thoughts, viewpoints, moods and mental clarity as well.

For our physical health and our internal organs, the Daoist believe we need to take extra care of our liver and gall bladder during the spring months.  The liver stores and cleans the toxins out of our blood and it is very important to do a "spring cleaning" of this vital organ so that unwanted impurities do not build up and impinge upon or physical and mental health.  The food that we eat during this time can also move from being cooked to integrating more raw vegetables and salads into our daily diet.

Below is a wonderful description of the sprouting of Spring from Neijing Chapter 2.
Enjoy your Spring!

The three months of spring are called
putting forth and displaying.
Heaven and Earth all sprout.
Ten thousand things become lush.
At night to bed, early to rise.
Briskly walk around the courtyard.
Let your hair down and relax the body in 
order to make that which is of the heart/mind sprout.
Sprout but do not kill.  Give but do not take.
Reward but do not punish.
This is the Spring of compliance of qi.
(and) the cultivation of the Dao of sprouting.
To oppose these principles injures the liver.
(Consequently) Summer will bring cold changes,
 (and) there will be little to offer one's growth.


   ~ diane fergurson


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Friday, March 16, 2012

Mind Body Spirit Artist Series: Julie Magers Soulen

If the name Julie Magers Soulen and her gorgeous Colorado Photography seem familiar to you, it may be because her wonderful nature based photos have served both as an inspiration and as illustration for some of the articles we have published on our blog.  Her captivating sunsets, succulent flowers images, magnificent mountain shots not only help bring us closer to the wonders that nature has to hold, but also allows us a brief glimpse into the divine order of life.  Thank you Julie!
                                                                
                                                                                                            ~ diane fergurson
Colorado Mountain Goat Photo
MBS: Can you tell us a little bit about your background. How you got started in photography?

Julie:  I have always had an interest in "taking pictures."  My first experiences were through the viewfinder of my dad’s Kodak Brownie when I was around eight.  My aunt soon picked up on my interest and bought me a little Kodak Hawkeye Flashfun camera of my own.  Oh, was I proud!  I started my very own family photo albums which I still have.  It remained a hobby until 1999 when I began publishing regularly online at denverpost.com with my husband, Ric Soulen.  His down to earth writing and my nature photography was an ongoing chronicle to our life living off grid in the Colorado Rockies.  It was featured for seven years, in our groundbreaking "blog style" column, A Colorado Journal.

MBS: Wow!  That "is" pretty groundbreaking if you stop and think about it.
Living off of the grid must have provided you with all kinds of interesting photographic
opportunities.  What are some of the shots that you remember the most?

Julie:  My home was perched on the side of a mountain with a view of the eastern horizon.  This gave me a unique opportunity to capture sunrises and foggy mornings.  I loved shooting both of these natural events.  On the high plains of Colorado it is common during certain times of the year for the plains to be blanketed with fog.  Our home was higher than the fog giving us a unique view of an "ocean" of fog below us.  (example below)

Sunrise Sunset Photo
MBS:  When you photograph something, such as a natural fog event like you described, what is it that
you want your photograph to convey to the viewer?  The event itself or is there something more?

Julie:  When I "see" a photo of nature in all her beautiful colors and forms it has the ability to put me in the present moment where time does not exist.  At times it is hard to take the shot because I just want to gape at whatever I'm looking at in that beautiful moment.  But then the urge to share overcomes my stasis.  It is the desire to share that beautiful moment with my viewer that invigorates me.


MBS:  What kind of photographic equipment do you like to use?

Julie:  I shoot with a Nikon D80 for my landscapes and most other shots.  My lens is a Sigma 28-300mm.  I also have a small Canon Powershot pocket camera that I carry around everywhere.  It has become somewhat obsolete because of my mobile phone camera.  They are pretty amazing.   However I believe that it is not the camera, but the photographer's eye that is the most important piece of equipment.

Blue Jay Photo
MBS:  "However I believe that it is not the camera, but the photographer's eye that is the most important piece of equipment."  How so?

Julie:  That is hard to explain in a couple sentences.  An analogy might help to make my point though.  A driver is not going to improve his driving skills by buying a more expensive car.  Or a cook is not going to be a better cook with a fancy set of cookware.  Both need to develop their skills to be better at what they do and the equipment is really just a tool to help them accomplish their goal.  Now I'm not saying that nice tools are not nice, just not mandatory.  I would love to buy the new Nikon D800!  Haha!

MBS:  Is there anyone or anything in particular that has has a big impact or influence on you and
on your work?

Julie:  Living off grid for twelve years has probably impacted my photography the most.  It allowed me to immerse myself in nature.  We lived in a remote mountain home powered by solar energy and surrounded by acres of pine forest.  Living so close to nature's rhythms becomes a way of life.  If it is cloudy I might postpone doing the laundry.   When it is cold and snowy we stayed inside by the woodstove burning wood that we harvested from our forest.  

I have always felt at home with nature, poking around being curious about the natural world.   As a child I was outside more than inside, exploring the leafy deciduous woods of Ohio near my home.  It was much the same living in the Colorado mountains.  There were miles of surrounding pine forest to explore.  I had mountain lion and bear encounters and learned they are not as afraid of us as we like to think.  I learned to read animal tracks that told stories of what happened the night before.   Every day was an adventure of discovery.  Nature has a way of teaching you if you simply pay attention to the details.   I suppose that is why I enjoy landscape and nature photography so much.

Colorado Winter Landscape

MBS:  Do you have a particular season you like to photograph more then others?  If so, what is
it and why?

Julie:  I do not have a favorite season for shooting.  I love all of them!  They all have so much to offer a photographer; minimalist snowscapes, spring flowers, mountain summers, and autumn trees.  The only difference for me is that it is slightly easier during warmer months when you don't have to wear gloves.  If it's really cold in the middle of winter it's a bit harder on me and the equipment.

MBS:  What is a typical work day like for you?

Julie:  My typical work day follows a bit of a routine.  I try to do all of my online work early when I'm fresh.  Some of it can be a bit technical.  So while still in my pajamas with a cup of coffee in hand, I go through my email, do Etsy shop maintenance, answer Facebook comments, and other online tasks.   And there seems to be a lot of them with online selling!  Then I take a late morning break with my dogs and we go for a long walk.  That helps me to clear my mind and shift gears to a more creative mode.   Afternoons are for creative work mostly.  I'll either go out on a shoot or work in the studio on photography.  I pretty much work all day, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, depending on life's demands.

Flower Note Card Set
MBS:  What are you currently working on?

Julie:  I am always working on several different things at once.  It really has to do with what moves me on a particular day.  My work table is currently hosting four nature photos in various states of progress.  I also recently shot some dog photography that I'm planning on posting on my blog in a light hearted story telling mode.  Then there is always my creative "to do list" where I keep ideas I'd like to do.

MBS:  Is your work available other then online?  Do you do shows?

Julie:  Besides my online Etsy shop, my work is also currently being offered at The Fine Art and Frame Company in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I do not currently have any future plans for any shows.

Home on the Range

MBS: What advice do you have to anyone who wishes to (seriously) pursue an 
artistic path?

Julie:  The best advice I can give anyone is to follow your heart.  If you do not have a passion for your artistic path, then do something else.  That passion will focus your direction and buoy you up when stagnation threatens.  We all have so much to offer the world; be it art or science or anything else.  Nothing is ever accomplished if your heart isn't in it. 


Thanks Julie!



You can find out more about Julie and where to purchase her wonderful work at:

http://juliemagerssoulen.etsy.com
http://www.facebook.com/JulieMagersSoulen
http://www.juliemagerssoulen.blogspot.com
http://www.twitter.com/juliemsoulen
http://about.me/JulieMagersSoulen




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  You can read additional interviews from our artist series here.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Duck, Bob And Weave: Mercury Retrograde Is Coming At You Again





In the past I've written articles for our blog, and posted announcements on our Mind Body Spirit Marketplace Facebook Page about upcoming dates for Mercury Retrograde.  Well, the date is upon us once again for this Spring 2012 - March 12 through April 4.  This time it will not only be coinciding with Income Tax time, but also many "end of the year" dates for businesses.  So for those who have not filed your taxes yet, or to those of you involved in a "numbers crunch" for the end of your business year - um, good luck.








Mercury Retrograde 2012

March 11/12 to April 4
July 14 to August 7
November 6 to November 26

2013

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

2014

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

As concisely explained by author James R. Lewis in his book  The Astrology Encyclopedia:

“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.”


I'm going to end this piece by saying that I always find it rather satisfying, but yet amusing when those who "don't believe" in astrology become introduced to Mercury Retrograde and all of a sudden start paying attention to the dates and the activities in their lives.  Then there's always a conversation that begins something like this:   "Hey Diane, when are those dates again"?  


Regardless of what may or may not happen with Mercury Retrograde, keep your thoughts positive and enjoy your Spring.  


~ diane fergurson




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Monday, March 5, 2012

Cleansing Your Healing Stones, Crystals and Gemstones Using Selenite


A few years ago when I was on vacation I stopped in a shop that carried a large selection of healing stones and crystals.  While I was looking around, I overheard a woman talking to the shopkeeper about a pendulum she had been using that no longer seemed to be working correctly.  The shopkeeper asked the woman when was the last time she had cleansed the pendulum; that was most likely the problem.  After the customer left I went up to the shopkeeper and asked her to explain to me what she had been talking about - cleansing the stones?  I wasn't familiar with the importance of clearing and cleansing stones, how to do it, or what to use.  After our discussion the shopkeeper gave me a bag of ground Selenite to try for free.  She told me put it on my dresser and at night to put my jewelry into it so that it can cleanse and re-charge.  I have, and doing a nightly cleansing has really made a difference in how the pieces feel and react.

Depending on their usage, crystals and healing stones can become drained of their energies.  They can also pick up undesirable energies.  For example a stone like turquoise, which is often worn to absorb negative energy, can become saturated like a sponge, holding on to the negative energies that are not wanted.  One of the easiest ways to cleanse or re-charge a stone or crystal is to place it in or on top of a piece of Selenite.  The Selenite will cleanse the stone by drawing out the unwanted energy and re-charge it to it's original state.  In addition to becoming cleansed and re-charged, stones left sitting on Selenite for long periods of time can actually become highly charged.


Since receiving and using my bag/bowl of ground Selenite, I've found the mineral available for sale online in some other forms too.  One is a rock-like formation (shown above), which is actually very attractive.  This piece also easily ends itself to having bracelets and pendants draped over it.


I also ran across a nice slab or sheet of Selenite in a metaphysical shop in town recently.  It's perfect for holding bracelets or even long strings of stones or necklaces.  The shopkeeper in this shop explained to me how the Selenite slab can also be used as a wand to help cleanse or brush off the aura and ground  energy by waving scraping it downward from the crown of the head to the ground.
She also pointed out that in addition to it's cleansing properties, Selenite vibrates at a very high frequency and that it promotes intellectual clarity and competency.

If you don't have access to a piece of Selenite, another way to cleanse your stones is by running them under water.  Some sources say cold water others say warm water.  You may want to do some additional research before you try it, but regardless I would rinse them at least once a month, if not more.

No matter what you decide to do, you really should utilize some method on a regular basis to clean your stones, crystals and gemstones.  Also, whenever you receive a new crystal, stone, or piece of jewelry you should cleanse it before you even consider wearing it or having in your room or on your alter space.  Stones and crystals, their energies, and how they hold and absorb other energies is a fascinating topic to read about.  As with many things I study, my knowledge base continues to grow everyday and I'm always learning something new and interesting.  I hope you are too.

~ diane fergurson



One good online sources for stones, crystals and gemstones:  Alli Pacha Shamanic Healing Arts




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