There was a time in seventeenth century Holland when the tulip was a hot commodity. The most sought-after tulips suffered from a virus that broke the colors into streaks. Eventually, a whole speculative trade came into existence in which people who bought the bulbs never saw and never possessed them. Traders sold bulbs from catalog drawings like those presented here. Tulip fever reached its height in the winter of 1636 when a single bulb traded as many as ten times in a day. One bulb might sell for as much as a grand house in Amsterdam. Then abruptly in February, there came a day when traders just stayed home. The bubble had burst. Fortunes had been made and lost. Today tulips are a common garden flower seen in spring everywhere. But once they were treasure!
My new book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds, has half of the story take place during this fascinating time. https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX
When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to Upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.
When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia has to contend with what she may have inadvertently brought home with her.
Michelle Frost has written an amazing book detailing her journey as a reluctant psychic. Elephant Songs is the autobiography of her life story from Africa to Scotland and from childhood brushes with spirits to a more mature spirituality. The book is engaging, honest, and very intriguing. Today she joins me to talk about the book and her experiences.
Why did you decide to write an
autobiography? How did it come about?
My mother was the first person to suggest that I write a book. She felt
I should share my experiences, but every time I tried to write I’d start
thinking about strangers actually reading my life and… I’d freeze up.
Everything I wrote was stiff, deadly dull and
boring. This book is very much owed to my internet friend, Richard Eldredge.
He’s a rare thing – an open-minded sceptic. He’d constantly ask questions and
I’d email back. By the time I’d finished answering all his questions I had 42
emails about my life and my abilities. They became the foundation of my book.
42 is the answer to “Life, the Universe and everything”, according to
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas
Adams. How could I resist that cosmic joke?
you thinking growing up in Africa influenced your on-going spiritual life?
Definitely. Africa is steeped in mysticism and its people are far more aware of magic and the unknown. Things that would be laughed at in the West are still seen as perfectly normal in Africa. I grew up with first hand experiences of witchdoctor curses and cures as well as the legends of magical places and legendary beasts. Anything feels possible in Africa.
How important was it to your
spiritual development to keep a dream journal?
I’d say that
it helped my self-trust mostly. When I first started a dream journal my
intention was to prove why my dreams came true. I was expecting to find a
rational explanation, but instead all I proved was that I really was dreaming
of things before they happened. Having that proof helped me come to terms with
the fact I had psychic abilities. I’m a rational person at heart and simply
trusting my intuition does not come easy for me. Having my journal to return to
has enabled me to look back over decades and see patterns as well as reasons
that I was completely clueless about at the time.
How did your hospital stay of 2005
affect your abilities?
It was the first of two events that
changed my abilities. I woke up from surgery to find I could “see”
and “hear” at a level I’d never had as an adult. I’d been able to see
spirits as a very young child, but that faded quickly as I grew up. The surgery
seemed to trigger some change. A friend of mine suggested that the anaesthetic
and morphine acted on my brain in a similar manner to the hallucinogenic plants
South American Shamans use.
By “see” and “hear” I
mean a state of awareness that is more clear and real than imagination, but not
literal seeing or hearing.
You had a spirit-guide who revealed
himself over a long period. This experience was far from what is commonly
reported. Can you tell us a little about that? What advise do you have for
others whose experiences don’t match the textbook case?
“spirit-guide” (we both know the label isn’t a perfect fit, but to
say more would be a book spoiler) revealed himself after the second major event
to change my abilities. I was writing my second book, Wisdoms of the Light
(sequel to First Light), in 2013. Writing that book changed me. It was an
intense experience and I wasn’t alone in feeling that. A psychic friend of mine
offered to be an extra proof reader. When he finished reading through the first
draft, he sent me a message his spirit-guide dictated for me:
You have grown exponentially of late and it is because of the
book, because of the creative process employed with the book and the unusual
way in which you created characters from self, from “ALL”, from
else-where’s lifetimes, to both create a fascinating narrative and also a
healing, consciousness raising/expanding experience for you.
It was about a week after I finished that first draft that I HEARD
my spirit-guide speak for the first time. HEARD because he was loud, clear and
very real. A life-changing moment I will never forget.
I can’t comment much on “what is commonly reported” since I haven’t
read any books about other people’s experiences with spirit-guides. My advice
to others would be to trust themselves and their “gut feeling” over
anything they read or are taught/told. We are all unique and nothing works for
everyone. If something feels wrong – trust that it is wrong for you and move
on. Same with what feels right. I’d have saved myself a lot of stress and grief
if I’d relied on my gut and intuition more than my intellect.
Your spirit-guide repeatedly tells
you to “think from the heart, not the head.” What does he mean by this?
can start by saying what he doesn’t mean, this isn’t about connecting to your
Let’s start with some basics. We tend to use the heart as a symbol
of love and emotion, just as we use the brain to symbolise logic and
intellectual deduction. I’d say that modern humans have become exceptionally
“head bound”. We revere the brain and all things related to it: book
learning, diplomas in knowing stuff, facts and figures. And as a result, we
often see emotions as being unstable and more of a weakness than a strength.
My spirit-guide explained that there has to be balance between the
two for any human to be completely healthy and productive, but this
“thinking from the heart” is something more than that. When he says
this, he points or presses his hand on a spot a few inches below my throat; a
place roughly half way between heart and brain. He says this area is where we
hold the energy he describes as “the higher heart energy”. It’s the
place from where we connect to “All” – our higher self, God and/or
the Cosmos. Here is where we experience those feelings we call intuition or
genius; those moments when we simply KNOW something instantly without any need
to mull it over in our brains or run it through our emotional heart.
He constantly nags me about this higher heart thinking. I’m still struggling with this. I’ll have the moment of instantly knowing (higher heart intuition), but then my brain starts asking questions and my emotions run off in all directions like a flock of hysterical sheep.
Were you ever concerned that writing
a book as deeply personal as this, might open you to ridicule? Has there been
any negative pushback? What about support from surprising places?
worried mostly about accidentally hurting or offending anyone, since this is a
book about my life where I do talk about my experiences and people I know,
friends and family. Ridicule doesn’t worry me as much. I was teased for being
skinny and sickly as a kid, laughed at for being overweight as a suddenly
healthy teen and ridiculed for all sorts of things (politics, religion,
nationality, gender, etc.) as an adult. I’m fairly immune at this stage. My
main concern was to keep it truthful without causing harm to others.
So far, I’ve not had any negative pushback. As for support in surprising places… I’ve had a few people contact me to say thank you for writing the book. They’ve all been people who can relate as they’ve had similar experiences. That’s been awesome.
In a time when it appears more and more of
us are “waking up,” how important is it that stories like yours find their way
into the world?
This is why I agreed to publish in the first place, because people like my mom and friends said, “this is needed.” I know dozens of people who have psychic abilities or have had esoteric/spiritual experiences and been too afraid to admit that fact for most of their lives. That, to me, is a tragic waste of human potential.
My son asked whether I thought Christmas was a religious or secular holiday. I knew where my atheist son was going with this. I cut him off saying I thought it could be anything you wanted it to be. And I do stand by that. I fully recognize that many celebrate Christmas as the birth of a savior. Most of them quietly worship in their churches, but others are a bit more vocal like a neighbor who posted a sign about putting the Christ back in Christmas (the sign courtesy of the Knights of Columbus). I grew up with the more secular version of Christmas focused on goodwill and gift-giving.
One of the big differences between being in Belgium and being back in the US, is that the US really does get into its holidays, religious or secular. If you didn’t have a calendar to point out the holidays in Brussels, you would never know there was a holiday since there were no overt external signs of any. But here, I walk the dog around the neighborhood every day and I see the Christmas decorations. More decorations on my street than in the entire city of Brussels. I love it! Individuals dedicate time, effort, and money to do this. And I love it! Trivial? Waste of time? Effort? Money? Maybe…
The last few days I’ve been paying attention to the kind of decorations that predominate. How do my neighbors view this holiday- religious or secular? Do the decorations tell a story? I probably pass sixty or more houses on my daily circuit and only three have overt religious items (2 nativities and 1 cross). The rest are predominantly lights, garlands, wreaths, reindeer, snowmen, and assorted popular blow-up characters. And Disney characters and flying pigs aside (yes, someone has one and there is a dragon too!), I do wonder if all this decorating has much to do with the Christmas story at all.
Perhaps, it’s all about the time of year. A time when nature hides, dies back, goes dormant. When we as humans are denied visual stimulation through color and form. In the starkness and stillness that is winter, we are called inside to quiet. And that call can be frightening, unsettling. And yet, it calls from the unconscious. To counter this we become busy and decorate the things around us as comfort to get us through the dark, cold winter. We bring trees and stars inside. The macrocosm calling to the microcosm, stop hiding, be still, wake.
There are many misconceptions about astrology. This book attempts a survey of its effects on Western Civilization. It’s a big job! This is a history book and astrology has been around a very long time. Most of us think astrology can be summed up by those little paragraphs written about your sun sign that commonly occur in magazines and papers. Some who have delved deeper know astrology is a science- one that predated and in part, gave birth to modern science. How is it that this thread is all but missing from history books? It is said that history is written by the victors and from that perspective (I suppose), astrology did not win. Bobrick’s book is not a book about whether astrology is a valid science. Rather, this is a book about how ideas and people’s understanding of them played a role in history.
Bobrick opens the book with a very compelling case about how Columbus would never have set sail on a voyage of discovery except for having been inspired by an astrological idea that had come from the Persians through the Arabs and finally to the West by way of a French Cardinal and astrologer, Pierre d’Ailly. Known as the great conjunction theory, where Jupiter and Saturn unite, it was thought to herald great changes. The once- in- 960- year astrological event so excited Columbus, he decided it heralded the end of the world and everyone on the planet would need to be converted. He adopted the name Christophorus, “the Christbearer” and sought the financial aid of Spain. Columbus’ copy of the astrologer’s work who so influenced him, including his personal notes, can be seen in Seville. Ideas are no small matter!
Man has always been intrigued by the skies. The origins of astrology go back to Mesopotamia, the Chaldean East, including areas of Babylonia and Assyria. From there, it spread to Egypt and Greece. Astrology was known in Greece at least as early as 1184 BC. Plato was tutored by a Chaldean astrologer. Astrology eventually incorporated Pythagorean concepts. But it wasn’t until Hellenistic Egypt that astrology came into its own and combined with Greek mathematical astronomy. By 150 BC, the earliest handbook on astrology was written. These ideas spread throughout Greece and on to India.
Babylonian astrology tablet, (photo: Poulpy)
Astrological disc, Egypt (Ptolemaic 332-31 BCE)
During the Roman Empire, all classes of people were influenced by the practice of astrology. Astrologers were consulted at the highest levels and several Emperors were skilled astrologers (including Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian). The fundamental work on astrology (Tetrabiblos) in the classical world was done by Claudius Ptolemy who drew on ancient sources.
Zodiac, (6th cent.) synagogue, Beth Alpha, Israel
From Tetrabiblos (9th cent. Byzantine manuscript), zodiac & months
As the Roman Empire declined and the West fell into darkness, astrology flourished in the East and the lands held by the Byzantines. By the 9th century, Islamic, Jewish, Greek. Persian, and Hindu scholars gathered in the intellectual capital of Baghdad. This was Islam’s Golden Age when cooperation, innovation, and learning flourished! The Arabs translated Greek texts and got to work on pioneering science. Arab scholars pursued astronomy, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, introduced a system of numerals, created a decimal system, refined the lunar calendar, and built observatories. What came into existence then was what is today called “Arabic astrology”- a fusion of Greek thought and Arabic science. From this tradition, the formidable astrologer al-Biruni’s text, The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (1029), had a strong mathematical basis and he firmly believed no one could call himself an astrologer without a thorough understanding of all the sciences. Such was the nature of the profession.
Astrolabe, Islamic (1067AD), (photo: Luiz Garcia)
All of this is a fascinating way of viewing history through the perspective of the emergence of science. From this lens, astrology is the science that underpinned what we think of as modern science. This was the need to watch the skies, to take measurements, to create the mathematics and instruments for observations, and then to make it relevant. Of course, astrology is also the oldest of the occult (meaning “hidden”) arts. And so much more than those little paragraphs in magazines that pass as horoscopes.
In part 2, we’ll look at how the Church and European Courts have viewed the practice of astrology. (Have you ever seen an astrological clock or a stained-glass window with the full zodiac?)
Below is a link to this year’s conference on kundalini. Kundalini (the rise of serpent energy) has been linked to spiritual awakening and is seen as a natural progression of human development. It is personal, cosmic, and evolutionary. Anyone “on the path” should have some understanding of this phenomenon. Once, it was believed only those in ashrams and monasteries had these experiences, but now more and more people are reporting spontaneous kundalini occurrences. The speakers provide lots of insights, personal experiences, and resources. Especially interesting (to me) was the talk on current research into measuring subtle energy and developing those devices that may change medical treatments. This should be of interest to anyone practicing energy medicine/healing. Currently 1000 energy healers have undergone a variety of testing of their abilities which (eventually) will lead to certification standards. Dig in! Share your thoughts.