When I first came to Venice, I met a palm reader on the famous, Ocean Front Walk, whose name was “Mad George.” He was a colorful character, full of stories about his own life, as well as about life in Venice. I very much enjoyed his style of reading palms, as well as what he shared with me about my own hands. So, when I asked him for recommendations on palmistry books, he suggested I read Elizabeth Daniels Squire.
Squire was a journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, and award-winning mystery writer. She published two palmistry books: “The Fortune In Your Hand,” and “Palmistry Made Practical”. It is this latter book that I have chosen to briefly review.
First published in 1976, “Palmistry Made Practical is an overall, good study of many aspects of palmistry. Like many palmistry books, Squire begins by sharing some of palmistry’s rich history such as how the Indian tradition sees the study of hands and feet as the most important part of Anga Vidya; how in 4th century B.C. Greece, hand reading was well-known; and how a variety of famous people, such as Aristotle, had their palms read. According to Squire, the writer, Balzac, thought hand reading was the key to unraveling the intricacies of the human heart!
In this 249 page book, Squire covers everything from shape, to mounts, to lines, to markings, and more. There are little nuggets, too, that I enjoyed. For instance, she states that “In general, the shape of your hand indicates your approach to life while your mounts show the kind of energy you have and how you use it.”
Having read this book twice, I’m with Mad George! “Palmistry Made Practical” is a book for both beginners and intermediate students of palmistry. It is also enjoyable to read! I definitely recommend Squire for your own, metaphysical library.
by Krista Schwimmer
When I was 18 years old, I had my first astrology reading ever. It was a natal chart reading with the now famous, Steven Forrest. The reading cost $35, was over one and a half hours long, and came with a hand drawn chart. To this day, it was one of the best natal readings I have ever had — both for its accuracy and its enjoyment. Although it did not lead me to becoming an astrologer, it inspired me to continue to examine my own natal chart, instinctively doing it when I feel compelled.
Recently, my instincts have drawn me to the asteroids. So, I bought the book, “Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-Emerging Feminine,” by Demetra George & Douglas Bloch. I thought this would be a good place to begin my examination.
I first came across Demetra George in the 90’s, when I picked up her book, “Finding Our Way Through the Dark.” This book explores the concept of the dark goddess, an archetype that I have been following for some time through her emanations as the Morrigan, Lilith, and Hecate. It was in this book by George that I discovered that the phase of the moon that I was born under, the balsamic moon, has a deep influence on my life. Being a woman with 3 planets in the sign of Cancer, this was an important discovery for me.
Now there are some of you out there that may argue that asteroids do not really mean much in an astrology chart. For me, I view the chart as a kind of mandala where I can view the more cosmic lessons of my life in a synchronistic way. If I am drawn to a planet or asteroid, invariably it has meaning for me. This is how I live my life on a daily basis. So, in a sense, it is possible that the asteroids have no relevance for some of you. For me, however, this book arrived at the perfect time, helping me to look more deeply into both weaknesses and strengths in my feminine being.
“Asteroid Goddesses” takes a look largely at four main asteroids: Ceres, Pallas Athene, Vesta, and Juno. For each one, George and Bloch explore the mythology, astrology, psychology, and metaphysical implications. The book also briefly touches on 6 minor asteroid pairs: Psyche/Eros; Lilith/Toro; Sappho/Amor; Pandora/Icarus; Diana/Hildago; and Urania/Chiron. The book includes the ephemerides of all these asteroids for the dates 1930 to 2050.
There are many things that I like about this book. I enjoy how the authors weave the mythology of each goddess with its astrological implications. I enjoy how they use the charts of well-known men and women to illustrate their points. I think the book is well-written, as well as laid out in a manner that allows one to either quickly look something up, or slowly read through the entire text.
I like, too, how George and Bloch tie the asteroids to the other planets. In Chapter 12, for instance, they write that “The asteroids, in occupying primarily the space between Mars and Jupiter, forge a link between the lower and higher octave planets.”
For me, one of the most important contributions of their book is that it shows a more multidimensional view of the feminine. The authors claim that “before the use of the asteroids, the only significators of the feminine in traditional chart interpretation were the Moon and Venus.” The asteroids change that. I agree. Each of the four asteroids represent a principle: Ceres, the principle of unconditional love; Pallas Athene, the principle of creative intelligence; Vesta, the principle of focus and commitment; and Juno, the principle of relatedness.
Placing these asteroids in my own, natal chart, I have already found some new discoveries that resonant with me. Juno, at the height of my chart, in the sign of Sagittarius, correctly indicates that I not only need mental stimulation in my career, but also from my partner. My husband and I started our tarot business even before we were married!
In my own search to understand the feminine, I believe I have found a valuable tool. Thanks to both Demetra George and Douglas Bloch, I look forward to learning more from these asteroid bodies in my quest for self-awareness.
On Tuesday, September 18th, I headed to Venice Beach for a late afternoon walk. I was about to go south, towards Venice pier, when I felt a tug strongly on my body to go north. So, of course, being an intuitive woman, I did. Little did I know that by the end of the day my soul would have reconnected to part of her spiritual ancestry as if in preparation for the heartbreaking knowledge she would bear witness too, by the end of the day. When I reached the breaker rocks, I found an interesting message written in the sand:
I was intrigued by this message, particularly as I had never encountered anything like this on my walks along the beach. I took some photo’s of it; then, I continued north on my walk, towards Santa Monica.
As I was walking, I noticed a group of people on the right, just above the shore line, singing together. There were people of all ages, with a man and a woman leading them. I immediately realized they were doing some kind of a ritual. I thought to myself, “Well, it is a public ritual. I’ll just walk in that direction and casually check it out.”
I soon found myself participating in a “tashlich”, a Jewish ritual observed during Rosh Hashanah. A friendly woman in her 50’s handed me a brochure. In this brochure, I discovered that the Beth Chayim Chadashim was leading this ritual performed by many Jews during Rosh Hashanah. “Tashlich,” it explained, means “casting off”, symbolically performed by throwing pieces of bread or other food into a body of flowing water.
I had arrived just before the casting off of the past year’s sins. Although I am not Jewish, it is a significant part of my family heritage, something I had been pondering more lately. There was plenty of bread to go around, too. I decided to honor this part of my lineage by participating spontaneously, with people I did not even know.
My favorite part of the ritual was when everyone walked to the shoreline and began tossing a variety of breads into the air. Instead of all of the bread falling into the water, much of it became the local seagulls’ dinner. As I threw and watched the gulls, I began to recall the story of Jonathon Livingston Seagull, a delightful tale I read when I was a teenager.
In 1970, Richard Bach published “Jonathon Livingston Seagull.” With fewer that 10,000 words and black and white photographs mostly of seagulls by Russell Munson, this allegory on death and the after life became a bestseller. Hardcover sales broke the record set in 1936 by “Gone With the Wind”. The author, Richard Bach, had a unique background in flying, having served in the United States Navy Reserve; later in the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Fighter Wing, 141st Fighter Squardon as a F-84F pilot; and even as a barnstormer. One can see why Mr. Bach choose a bird as his protagonist — but a seagull?
From the very beginning, though, the reader discovers that Jonathon is not an ordinary seagull. No, he is a bird interested in breaking barriers. Flying becomes not simply a means to an end — as he was taught — but a way of expanding and growing. Jonathon, however, wants to share his knowledge with his flock. The reader soon learns, however, that the rest of the flock not only is NOT interested in breakthroughs — but deems any bird that is an outcast. Part 1 ends with Jonathon in isolation until the moment of his first death when he is met by two “star bright gulls”.
One of the reason this particularly book touched me at the time was because my brother, David, had recently been lost at sea in a kayaking accident off Baja, California. Not being raised in any particular religion, I nevertheless found myself spiritually searching for a meaning for not only his death, but his utter disappearance. Although two other young people lost their lives in this Outward Bound Program, his body was the only one not found.
In Part 2 of “Jonathon Livingston Seagull,” the reader is taken on a journey to the afterlife. Here, Jonathon meets two teachers: Sullivan and Chiang. Chiang is the Elder Gull, teaching Jonathon to move without flying — “To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is.” To do this, says Chiang, “you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” (pg. 56) Through Chiang, Jonathon learns to navigate between worlds.
One of my favorite characters in the story is Maynard Gull, a gull with an injured left wing. Jonathon says to him: “Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. It is the Law of the Great gull, the Law that is.” Maynard replies, “Are you saying I can fly?” “I say you are free,” Jonathon replies. (pp 80 – 81) Through this realization, Maynard discovers he really can fly.
Richard Bach went on to write other delightful, spiritual tales — but Jonathon Livingston Seagull remains my favorite.
I returned home that evening feeling spiritually renewed. But the Universe was not done with me. Browsing my facebook page, I was drawn to link on a friend’s page, largely because of an image that I first thought was a seagull. I soon, however, found out it was an albatross. The link was to a teaser for a documentary called, “Midway Island: Message From the Gyre” by Chris Jordan.
There is nothing that could have prepared me for the powerful, heart-wrenching tale before me. The exquisite footage takes you on a profound journey of love and atrocity for the family of the albatross. That night, I learned that at Midway Atoll, remote islands in the Pacific, tens of thousands of baby albatross are dying a slow, painful death because of plastic pollution. This is because Midaway Atoll is right at the apex of what is known as “the Pacific Garbage Patch.”
Deeply touched, I decided to include Midway’s tale in my article. The film is still in production. Please bear witness to this event by visiting: www.MidwayFilm.com. I know there are many, many important environmental issues to support these days — but I feel this film in the making captures something more than the tragedy — it is full of spirit, truth, and beauty. Do what your heart tells you to support this incredible project.
So, at last, my journey that began with words on the sand, “Still Seeking” came to a momentary close. Once more, I found myself amazed by what was shown and shared with me. Now, I continue to journey, wondering what beauty and grit, what courage and shame, the Goddess will reflect back to me. Whatever it is, I tell myself, I am reminded that there is always a greater reflection behind it — if only, I am willing to see. And, then, with clear sight, to act.
I was born into a family of book lovers. Both of my parents read to us, wonderful tales like “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Hobbit”, “The Secret Garden,” and many more. I loved not only the tales, but the hard back books beautifully illustrated.
As a child, my father moved all of us around a lot, for no tangible reason. This was hard, particularly the time we moved to Ireland and had to give away one of my favorite dogs ever, Clark. One of the stable things in my young life were the books, placed into rough, hand-made book shelves my father would build each time we moved. To this day, I always feel comforted when surrounded by shelves and shelves of books.
So, in honor of the love and comfort books have given me now for over 50 years, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite books from the metaphysical section of my library. These are books I have read, earmarked (now with new book darts that don’t ruin the page!), recommended to others, and plan on keeping until I, too, yellow, crinkle, and dim. I hope to share with you the delight, insight, and other experiences these books have brought to my life. So, come with me! Let me show you the first book I have taken down from my overcrowded bookshelf.
Book 1: The Nature of Personal Reality/by Jane Roberts
The first book I have chosen is “The Nature of Personal Reality,” by Jane Roberts. I actually bought this book over a year ago. I placed it in a prominent spot in my bookshelf mostly because it fit there. I would walk by it daily and tell myself, “Read this soon!” One morning, when a client said I reminded her of the author of this book, I decided the time had come TO actually read it. At this time, too, I had been revisiting my early, teenage, spiritual influences. Jane Roberts was one of those.
Now for those of you who don’t know anything about Jane Roberts, let me briefly introduce you to her. Starting in the early 1960’s, Jane Roberts began “channeling” a personality called Seth after she and her husband, Robert Butts, were working with a Ouija board. What followed was over 20 year of sessions where Jane would go into a light trance and her husband would write down what she, or rather, Seth, said. Each session was meticulously transcribed, with Robert precisely noting the time sessions began, stopped, paused, and ended. The topics transcribed were varied, with many connected to metaphysical thinking. In fact, the “Seth Material” influenced many of the current, popular New Age thinkers.
This particular book, “The Nature of Personal Reality”, contains more than 75 sessions examining how we as individual’s create our personal reality. Seth’s explanation, however, is far more complex than simply thinking something into creation. To understand how we do create reality, Seth touches on a variety of areas: the conscious and unconscious mind; emotion and thought; and time itself.
I found Seth’s view of the unconscious quite interesting. He does not see the unconscious as a deep, dark place that is difficult to access. Instead, it is a place which contains “great portions of your own experience in which you have been taught not to believe,” (pg. 69) and, is easy to access.
Some of my favorite sessions in this book revolve around how Seth views both emotions and thoughts. Belief is the seed of our creation, says Seth. But then, like an artist with a palette, “Your thoughts give the general outline of the reality that you physically experience. Your emotions will fill in the patterns with light. The imagination will forge these together. The sound of your inner thoughts is the medium that you actually use.” (pp. 90 – 1) When he speaks of mind in this way, my buddhist background calls out to me. Is he speaking of the natural luminosity of the mind? He continues on this somewhat buddhist path when he suggest we simply leave our various, “magnificent, trivial, frightening, or glorious thoughts,” alone – they will simply come and go. This parallels part of the shamatha meditation training I was taught.
Being utterly fascinated with the concept of time, I also enjoyed Seth’s idea that all of our reincarnational lives are happening simultaneously at once. If this is true, this would explain how from the present, an individual can effect both past and future time. I like, too, how Seth talks about “probable futures”, a term I often use when doing predictive tarot readings. My husband, Michael, and I both see prediction in terms of probable lines of energy based on present circumstances and decisions. We even like to add (when possible) how probable this may be – say 80%, 50%, or otherwise.
The voice of Seth, as spoken through Jane, is quite quirky, tremendously encouraging, and surprising well-mannered! I particularly like his use of the word “creature hood” , as well as how he often ends a session with “I bid you a fond good night.” As for his encouragement, not only is it sincere, but often eloquently put, in lines such as “You are a multidimensional personality. Make no divisions between the physical and the spiritual in your lifetimes, for the spiritual speaks with a physical voice and the corporeal body is the creation of the spirit.” (pg. 433)
Besides putting forth ideas about the nature of our reality, Seth also suggests some simple exercises to begin shifting our beliefs, and thus, change our reality. He first gives two methods of determining the beliefs that are behind our reality. The most direct one involves simply having a series of talks with yourself and then writing down your beliefs in a variety of areas. In doing so, no doubt you will come across contradictory beliefs: “These represent opposing beliefs that regulate your emotions, your bodily condition and your physical experience. “ Seth then encourages you to keep going, examining the conflicts. From there, you will see invisible beliefs which you have ignored up until now because “they represent areas of strife which you have not been willing to handle thus far.” (pg. 213)
The second method is to look at emotions that arise, accept them without judgment, and see what belief is behind these emotions.
In Seth’s opinion, there is no such thing as good or bad emotions or thoughts, a view that is incongruent with many current New Age views. Take, for example, Seth’s view of aggression. He feels there is a natural aggression that is inherently part of creativity – “the real nature of aggressiveness . . . in its truest sense simply means forceful action. This does not necessarily imply physical force, but instead the power of energy directed into a material action.” (pg. 137) Violence, he claims, comes more from a sense of powerlessness.
Although I agree with much of his ideas, there are some ideas, like the idea that everyone choose how they are going to die, I truly cannot support. Or his provocative ideas about people who live in potential disaster zones. For instance, he says there is a particular kind of person drawn to live in earthquake zones: “Such people are attracted to such spots because of their innate understanding of the astonishing relationship between exterior circumstances and their own private mental and emotional patterns.” Still, he does say some rather nice things about earthquake people – that they have “great energy”, and “intense capacities for creativity and innovation.” (pg. 349)
Nevertheless, I can heartily recommend this unique book. Reading it, I felt stimulated, encouraged, and generally entertained. I found myself later ruminating over some of the passages. Right now, for instance, I am mulling over Seth’s theory that each of us is part of a greater self, a self that simultaneously is having adventures in other places and other times. Is that sudden thought I have about jousting coming from my medieval self in the midst of battle? Who knows! But it sure is fun to consider.