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A Reading for A Real Housewife

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I love the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  It’s like watching 7th grade all over again, only with better clothes, bigger earrings and more cussing. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what they’re all worked up over every week, but I guess that’s the job of reality TV.

It’s Jersey, bitches!

We fans know that this season, Teresa Guidice (“Joo-dice”?  “joo-DEETCH-chay”? She keeps changing the pronunciation – or as she might say, “pronunciamation”) has gone completely off the rails.  The storyline that began with her desire to reconnect with her younger brother and his wife has turned into a pinata of nasty that has spilled all over the viewers: strippers, jealousy, set-ups, lowlife husbands (Juicy Joe — ugh), smartass kids, cookbook insults.  It’s like being at the kids table and watching your drunk uncle try and grope your Mom.

So the reunion show for this past season aired its second part on Sunday (there’s still one more installment.  Sweet Jesus).  The looks on the other castmembers’ faces as Teresa rambled on, indicated that they think she’s about two stops away from CrazyTown.  It’s clear that while she’s enjoying the spotlight, her real, off-camera life is in serious trouble.

Clearly, the meds need to be adjusted.

Out of curiosity, I pulled a few Tarot cards to see what might be coming up for our most deranged Housewife.  The first one was this:

This card means turning your back on your current life and pursuing your heart’s desire.  Now she may talk a good game about how family is tops with her — but considering the bullshit she’s putting them through, it seems that “fame” is really what she wants, at least for now.

The next one up?  This one.

Yeah, it looks pretty nasty.  I call this the “humiliation card” — mainly for the snarky look on the guy’s face.  The others have given up, walked away.  While Mr. Snark thinks he’s won the argument, not so fast –what goes around, comes around.  I think something big is gonna smack Tre in the face.  Hard.  But that smack will provide a much-needed wakeup call.

Finally, this one:

Lovely.  The beginning of new love, rebirth, a refreshed spirit, blessings.  I think Tre will have one of these “come to Jesus” moments that make her see the folly of what she’s been chasing.  Getting to that point may be a little harsh, but sometimes, harsh is necessary.  In the end, she’ll get back to what’s important in her life: her girls, her parents, her cooking.  Somehow, I think Juicy Joe won’t be a part of it — he’s got some seriously negative vibes coming off of him.  I wanted to take a shower after his segment.  And I’d just taken one.

Teresa may have fallen in love with fame, but it cuts both ways:  the spotlight shines a light into the darkest parts of a life, bringing them out of the shadows (where you kinda wish they’d stayed). But perhaps it will be a good thing, forcing her to get really clear about what’s worth having at the end of the day.  The trick is, she has to make the choice to make things better in her life (as do we all).

Despite how flat-out obnoxious and manipulating Teresa has been this season, I’m rooting for this Jersey Girl to get herself together.  Stay tuned to the tabloids to see if I got it right.

What You Can Learn 23 Feet Up

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It was one of those Bucket List things that brought me to Trapeze School in New York City.  I figured it would be fun, not to mention a good cocktail party story (assuming that I didn’t end up in the orthopedic wing of the hospital). But I had no idea I’d experience so many  “a ha!” moments while flying through the air.

After the instructor tells us how to safely ascend the ladder and what to do when finally flying, its my turn.  You climb up a rickety ladder, and there’s no other way down but to jump.  So there I am, standing with toes over the edge of the platform, hands on the bar as another instructor grips the back of my safety harness.  First command from the ground:  “Get ready!”  Second command: ’Hep!” (trapeze-speak for “Jump already!”)  A nervous gulp and then I’m sailing through open space.  And trying not to scream.

It’s an adrenaline rush.  It’s terrifying and exciting.  After landing in the net and clambering back to the ground, my inner 6 year old wants to do it again; my inner tax-paying citizen needs a stiff drink.   The strongest thing they serve is bottled water, so I rally and take several more passes.  By the end of the afternoon, I’ve finally mastered the Knee Hang – and even been caught by another instructor, mid-air.

“I knew I shouldn’t have put the handcream on before I got up here…”

Aside from the incredible memory (and a desire to go out and buy a spangly unitard), I also took away some unexpected spiritual lessons from hanging your ass out in the air, 23 feet up.

LESSON 1:  Don’t try to do it all yourself.  When you’re hanging off the bar, you’re keenly aware of physics in a way you never experienced in school.  Gravity, Force, Momentum [G,F and M] become viscerally real.  You have a physical sensation of them as they swirl around your body.

Trapeze “tricks” are more about timing than anything else: the more I try to wrestle my legs over the bar ahead of the right time, the harder it becomes.  But when I trust in my invisible friends, G,F and M, the process is almost magical.   It’s a reminder that, like with spirit guides and angels, there are plenty of things we can’t see – but they’re there to help us if we just let go a little and allow them.

LESSON 2: Listen. Our instructor was insistent we listen for his cues.  He was almost cranky about it (guess he’d seen his share of Cirque du Soleil wannabes).  He watched our timing and would tell us what to do, and when.  Of course, I jumped the gun more than once and wound up flailing around like a fish on a hook.  Not pretty.  But when I turned off my own ego and actively listened to the Voice, the one who could see the big picture, it all just kind of happened.  Note to self:  listen to own Inner Voice more often to prevent unnecessary flailing.

LESSON 3: There’s always a net.  The staff of Trapeze School told me that a lot of folks try the trapeze to conquer fears or learn about surrender and trust.  Before I successfully got “caught” by my partner, I missed plenty of cues or catches and fell into the net. And I realized that no matter what happens in life, there’s always a net.  It might be in the form of friends, helpful strangers or Providence.  Screwing up isn’t the end of the world, so you may as well go for it.

At this height, you can’t see the look of terror on my face…

So next time you’re standing atop the metaphorical platform, staring out into space, remember that Life is like the trapeze:  even if you miss, you’ll bounce back.  Literally.

Next Bucket List item:  the Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island.

Family Feuds for the Enlightened

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Yesterday, I did a reading for a woman who’s family was less the Cleavers and more The Addams Family.  Actually, now that I think about it, it was more like the Corleones.

“Don’t ever cross the family.” Fredo, I’m lookin’ at you.

Anyway, she was being driven absolutely ’round the bend by all kinds of dysfunction, fighting, back-biting and all that other fun stuff.  Now, I’m all for professional counseling (or in some cases, heavy drinking) to navigate those stormy waters.  But from a metaphysical sense, there’s another reason you’re giving each other the stinkeye across the Thanksgiving table.

You picked them.

Yup, before you hit the Universal Waterslide down into human form, you chose the family you entered into, because of the lessons that were going to be offered up.  If you’re pulling your hair out at that idea, I feel ya.  But think about it:  who knows how to get under your skin, lift you up, beat you down, love you wildly or ignore you to the point of tears, better than your family?  They offer a complete smorgasbord of human experience – and you’re gonna sample everything, even the stuff that tastes icky.  And probably more than once.

I’d like another helping of “You Never Loved Me” with a side of “Your sister is prettier,” please…

I’m not saying this idea makes your family situation any easier — but understanding that there’s a reason behind all that friction offers a new perspective.  Those are all opportunities to work through challenges and achieve some measure of growth.

Let me pull one out of my own family archive: one of my sisters is 12 years older.  Ever since I was born, she has been “the boss.”  Once I was out of diapers, that never sat so well with me. Our arguments were not fun, and it really became a problem after our mother died. We fought over every stupid thing, and it just seemed like neither of us could “hear” what the other said.  I finally decided to sit down and write her an old-school letter, rather than our usual weekly phone call.  It let me express myself without interruption, and hopefully, move the conversation(s) forward rather than into the weeds as it so often happened. That new approach changed our game a little bit, and we were able to sort through some of our issues.

Now “together” time doesn’t turn into this….

The bottom line is, our thorny relationship forced us to find a new way to communicate.  We either had to do that, or write each other off.  The write-off may have been the more appealing option, but the Universe doesn’t play that way.  You’re here to  become a stronger, better human being — even just a little bit –or repeat your lessons all over again.

One of my friends notes that she’s stopped playing into her ex-husband’s negative attitude.  It doesn’t necessarily change that lousy view of the world, but by not doing her usual thing, she stops a lot of arguments before they start — and she feels a lot more peaceful (it doesn’t hurt that she secretly enjoys that flummoxed look on his face when he can’t quite figure out what just happened).

I’m not saying you’ll ever completely make peace with family members; the point is, you try.  You try to get past the things that always set you off; you try to see the ones who do the setting off in a new way.  You try to hold off from the same old knee-jerk reactions and find a way to change the game, even in a small way.  Just by trying, you’re inching up the spiritual ladder.

So the next time you’re butting heads with someone in your family, remember that its an opportunity to learn something valuable.  Take a breath, step back and see if you can figure out what it is. (And if you really want to rub it in, remember that THEIR bad behavior is helping YOU advance spiritually.  I believe the correct phrase is, “Neener, neener, neener!”)

“How ya like me now?”

You’re In Good Hands…with Spirit Guides

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I remember the first time I learned about Spirit Guides — and how cool I thought it was.  Imagine having a whole gang of invisible helpers at your beck and call:  would they do the laundry?  Give me lottery numbers?  Give me the answer’s to the next day’s Physics test? The answer is no, no and HELLL no. Guides have a more specific purpose in our lives.

The subject of spirit guides has filled several books, but here are the basics as I understand them. Before we’re born, we decide what lessons we need to work on when we incarnate:  did we finally learn how to be independent in that last life?  Did we work out our issues with commitment, hard work or money?  Or do we need some remedial help?

Homework — whether its Math or LifeLesson #265 –sucks.

There are lots of individual variations in our life lessons, and our guides are there to help us stick to our plan – because, unfortunately, we don’t remember it when we get here.

Call it Spiritual Amnesia.  The only hint we have are the things that keep smacking us in the face:  the same type of person who keeps showing up in your love life…the same struggles with money or family.  The problems that haunt you are the lessons that will get us to finally (hopefully) tick off that goal that we set way back when we were floating on the proverbial cloud.

We each have at least one guide who sticks with us through all the ups and downs of this life.  They sort of function as a spiritual GPS, helping us come back to our purpose.

Does their GPS tell them that they’ve just driven 40 miles with their left turn signal on?

But since this path is ours and ours alone, we have to ask him or her to get us sorted out on the journey.  Their help won’t be obvious — it may come in the form of a helpful person showing up, an article, an e-mail.  It’s your job to pay attention and act on the help that’s sent.

Besides our main guide who is with us “from womb to tomb” as the Jets said in West Side Story, there are guides who come and go during our life.  Doctor Guides help during health issues, Joy Guides come when we need to inject some lightness…there are literally guides for everything (I could’ve used a Plumber Guide when I replaced my faucet….).

Yes, I would’ve endured this sight to keep my kitchen from flooding.

Guides have been human at some point, so they know the drill.  Some may have lived relatively recently. Then there are others who existed millenia ago and have since spent most of their time evolving on the spirit plane (which explains why one of my  guides shows himself looking like some kind of medieval hippie: white robe, sandals, the works.  The only thing missing is the psychedelic bus and the contact high).

I’ve been asked if a deceased loved one can be a guide; the answer is no — and yes.  They don’t function as guides in the classic sense, because they’ve been with us — or connected to us — here on Earth.  BUT those who’ve crossed over are certainly willing to help.  In this, they have two advantages:  1) they know us, what we’re dealing with and our particular human weaknesses and 2) now that they’re on the other side, their perspective is wiiiiiide open.  So when you’ve hit a rough patch, by all means reach out to them.

That’s “MS. Harry” to you….

As with Spirit Guides, the same rules apply with someone on the other side: you have to ask them for their help.  Even if they were huge butt-inskis in life, they’re encouraged to keep their noses out of your life unless you ask them to weigh in.

When it comes to guides, loved ones, angels, whatever, the main thing is to remember that YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE.    All of these entities are here specifically to help us in growing and evolving.  And when they do, they get points, too.  It’s like that saying that goes something like, if you really want to learn something, teach it.  They learn from us, we learn from them…and hopefully, our personal evolution helps someone else.

I’ll do another blog shortly describing how you can meet your own guide, but in the meantime, just ask for what you need and know that your spirit helpers hear you.  Prick up your ears and see what they send your way!

Back-To-School….and Fearless

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My great-niece, Ella Ruby, starts 2nd grade today.  She is totally chuffed, excited about her new teacher, backpack and classroom.  She doesn’t care that she knows nothing about 2nd grade math– she just plans to tackle it and get as many gold stars as she can grab.

Ah, for the days of spitballs and forgetting your locker combination….

There’s something wonderful about a 7 year old’s complete lack of fear.  For the most part, everything new is an adventure.  Their little egos are practically non-existent, so they don’t even think about how it will look if they fail.  They just want to try the New Thing.

This is where the 8 of Pentacles comes in.  While I don’t play favorites with the Tarot cards, I admit that I love when this one comes up.  The message is an encouraging one — it means that whatever you’re faced with, even if you know zilch about it, you’re gonna totally dominate.  The card is nicknamed “the talent card,” revealing hidden abilities.

Most of the time when it appears in a spread, my client has a hard time believing that they’ll be able to pull off whatever that hidden ability may be (“I don’t know ‘nuthin’ ’bout Excel spreadsheets…”).  I remind them of one of my favorite quotes from Teddy Roosevelt: “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

Can’t argue with a guy sporting such a fierce ‘stache…

A few months back, I got a call at 4:30 PM inviting me to do some copywriting for a start-up tech firm.  There was a conference call less than an hour later — and in that time, I had to Google the firm, download Skype and learn how to use it, and give myself a crash-course in tweeting. I was able to fake my way through the call, and landed a nice gig.

Second-graders like my niece embrace learning — it’s what they do.  Somewhere after graduating, we grownups decided our days of learning were pretty much over.  New things freak us out, make us feel uncertain.  But taking the challenge posed by the 8 of Pentacles is always a good exercise in reaching a little further towards our full potential.  Whether we succeed or fail at it, we still get a gold star for trying.

THE OUIJA HEEBIE-JEEBIES

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I still remember the first time I ever used a Ouija board:  I was in fifth grade, having a sleepover with my friends.  After a long, giggly debate, we decided the dead person we most wanted to contact was….Betsy Ross.  Go figure. (I voted for Bobby Sherman, but he wasn’t dead– a minor technicality).

“Easy come….easy goooo…..”

Anyway, we shut the bedroom door, lit a candle, gathered ‘round the board….and promptly had the crap scared out of us when my mother (listening on the other side of the door) gave a spooky “Woooooooo.”  Cue the sound of high-pitched squealing 10 year olds.

Ouija boards have a reputation, which hasn’t been helped by a long line of stories starting with “I heard about this guy who….” or movies where they burst into flames. But I personally don’t believe they are the default gateway to the demonic, and here’s why.

The board is a way of communicating with the spirit world.  Like any work with spirit, certain precautions are necessary.  Whenever I do a reading, meditation, etc, I make a habit of surrounding myself with the white light of love and protection.  I declare that only positive and helpful entities be allowed into this circle.  To me, this is my “Beware of Dog” sign to any spirit that might want to make mischief .

The same kind of precautions apply when working with a Ouija board.  You only want “good spirits” to come through.   And here’s one more thing I learned from a very experienced medium:  have a bouncer.  She works with a board all the time, but generally gets the information from one spirit guide alone.  When she wants to communicate with a different spirit, that guide steps aside – but keeps an eye out in case things start to go off the rails. He has the power to tell that troublesome entity to hit the road.

“I don’t care WHO you are….you’re not on the list….”

Several years ago, I had a Wiccan friend of mine make a Ouija board for me.  See how beautiful it is?

Image

She put a lot of positive energy into it – and added one special touch on the back:  the engraved message, “with harm to none.”  When I work with this wonderful board, I have one of my guides serve as my doorman.  I also make sure to start every session with positive intentions and the circle of protective light.

Having said this, however, I don’t recommend working with a board casually.Like chainsaws, explosives or PowerPoint,  you need to know what you’re doing.  It’s just good sense.

Kids and chainsaws….never a good mix.

As for all those tales of spooky Ouija boards?  Wait…it’s spelling out something….”Forget….about….it….”!

Drag Queens and The Devil

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I’m obsessed with drag queens.  I love them.  RuPaul’s Drag Race is my not-so-guilty pleasure, and To Wong Foo is one of my favorite movies.

From To Wong Foo: Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze embracing their drag selves — and workin it!

Now what could a middle-aged Methodist from a small town who personally prefers Land’s End over Louboutins find in this world of sequins, wigs and general diva-liciousness?  I think it boils down to the flat-out fearlessness of these guys.

Seriously. How can you NOT love someone this fabulous?

Drag Race has showcased some of the backstories on their contestants. Not only have they each had to deal with the challenges of being a gay man, they add another layer by choosing to dress up as women.  Sadly, that’s alienated some of them from their families, gotten them beaten up and frequently made their daily life less than fun.

But  has it stopped them?  Hellllll-to the-no.  These guys embrace their wildly creative visions and put ’em out there in the world with a hip snap and “How ya like me now?” fierceness.  They are role models for overcoming Fear — or at least, not letting it hold them back from being who they want to be.

And this is where The Devil comes in (and no, not in the fundagelical homophobic sense).  Whenever this card comes up in someone’s reading, I remind them that the scary dude pictured is not actually Satan — it’s what he represents, which is fear.  Take a closer look:

He’s huge and scary.  The people beneath him are wearing chains, attached to heavy stones.  They are too terrified to move and think the stones wouldn’t budge anyway.  But wait– check out those chains again.   They’re loose and could easily be taken off.  It’s just that the folks are too freaked out by the Devil’s “ooga booga” hollering above them that they don’t know it.

To me, those stones represent the things that make us feel “stuck” in a bad place.  It frequently comes up with folks dealing with drug, alcohol, gambling, toxic relationships or other unhealthy things, but it also applies to any issue that makes you feel powerless.  The notion of change can be so overwhelming that it’s easier to stay stuck.  That’s the Devil, in your head,  telling you that you’ll fail, its too risky, you’re not good enough, yadda yadda yadda.

One thing I’ve learned is that the IDEA of your worst fear is actually worse than if it actually happens.  I once worried about losing a particular relationship; the thought of him ending it was too painful to even think about.  But when it happened, I had a revelation — I was still alive, it didn’t destroy me after all.  I was still my same bad-assed self –even with mascara running down my face (which a drag queen would never let happen).

So next time you’re facing That Thing That Always Trips You Up, remember the lesson of the drag queens:  put on your sparkly heels, lift off those tacky chains, tell Mr. Satan to kiss your fabulous ass and start walking towards something better.

Chad Michaels — love!

“My kitty sees dead people!”

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I work as a psychic/medium – but don’t limit myself to two-legged clients.  I’m frequently asked to talk to pets, including those who’ve passed over.  And their take on that experience is pretty interesting.

Not quite the Spirit Pet I'm talking about....

Animals understand – on a very fundamental level — that death is merely a change from one form of energy to another.  I believe its because they’re closer to nature; they recognize the rhythms of life, and don’t attach so much baggage to them.

They also know that, while death may keep them from playing fetch, it doesn’t really separate them from their human friends. They still pop in to curl up on their favorite spot on the sofa, or patrol the house, making sure everyone is safe and sound.

"3 a.m. and all is well...."

A spirit pet will often help a living animal adjust to a new home.  In my volunteer rescue work, we placed a cat with a family who had just lost their sweet Pearl a few months before.  I strongly sensed  — and so did the new kitty – Pearl’s spirit.  But I also got that she was helping him figure out his new surroundings  and settle in.

Animal spirits frequently  “direct” their owners to their next pet. They know best what that person needs, so they’ll arrange for a certain stray to cross their path….or to spot an ad for a dog in need of a new home.  Its kind of like being a four-legged matchmaker!

"Hmmm....a Boxer mix dating a Yorkie? Not gonna work..."

Intellectually, most of us understand that we’ll be reunited with our furry loved ones at some point, but it’s a tougher sell to our hearts.  Right before you go to sleep, ask your spirit pet to make its presence known.  You may dream of them, or think you feel them jumping on the bed, or brushing up against you (they are).   Keep your radar up and you’ll start to sense them more often – because that powerful bond between us never dies.