Alan Leo-YouTube

(This was recorded several months ago and posted recently for anyone who has an interest.)

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation on the life of Alan Leo, “the father of modern astrology.” Discover how this Victorian theosophist revitalized the occult science of astrology introducing the concepts of reincarnation and karma. Learn how sun sign astrology became part of his legacy and how it continues to influence our culture.

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LAST CALL-Feb 10th event

ALAN LEO- FATHER OF MODERN ASTROLOGY

Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm MT (via Zoom), free

My husband and I will be presenting an online program during February’s meeting of the Denver Theosophical Society.

ALAN LEO- Astrologer & Theosophist

Join us for an examination of the life of Alan Leo, “the father of modern astrology.” Discover how this Victorian theosophist revitalized the occult science of astrology introducing the concepts of reincarnation and karma. Learn how sun sign astrology became part of his legacy and how it continues to influence our culture.

Email me: himalayaspencerellis@yahoo.com for the access link for entry into the Zoom meeting.     

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JOIN ME!

ALAN LEO- FATHER OF MODERN ASTROLOGY

Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 7:00-8:30 pm MT (via Zoom), free

My husband and I will be presenting an online program during February’s meeting of the Denver Theosophical Society.

ALAN LEO- Astrologer & Theosophist

Join us for an examination of the life of Alan Leo, “the father of modern astrology.” Discover how this Victorian theosophist revitalized the occult science of astrology introducing the concepts of reincarnation and karma. Learn how sun sign astrology became part of his legacy and how it continues to influence our culture.

Email me: himalayaspencerellis@yahoo.com for the access link for entry into the Zoom meeting.     

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GRATITUDE REMINDERS

YEAR IN REVIEW

Memories of 2020

No one needs to be reminded that 2020 was a tough year. But along with all the difficulties, there were moments of victory, completion, pleasure, and wonder. Recalling those instances was the purpose of breaking open the gratitude jar. Throughout the year, highlights, big and small, are recorded on colorful papers and placed in a container. Sometime around the calendar new year, my husband and I review those slips of paper. What good things did the year bring? Some examples-

Events BIG: We welcomed a new granddaughter into the world! I finished writing a new book entitled, Tallulah. A major construction project in the house was completed. Bought a new car.      

Events SMALL: Sighted a new bird (Towhee). Learned all our neighbor’s names & grew closer as Covid drew nearer. International phone calls to friends. Built swing set for granddaughter. Babysitting grandbabies. Dinners with son and daughter-in-law. Orchids bloom. Raccoon with babies. Eight-foot snake on a trail walk.   

We are unlikely to forget the big events that shape our lives, but the little things are often overshadowed. The gratitude jar always surprises us reminding us of the small contributions the routine of daily life, with all its struggles, contribute to our experience of life and our contentment in the world. If you’ve never kept a gratitude jar, I encourage you to try this practice for 2021. It’s worth the small investment in time and may change your perspective helping you to refocus as each new year arrives.

Happy 2021!

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The 1st Time Reindeer Flew

Aside from the religious imagery that surrounds us at Christmas, Santa Claus makes a regular appearance. The red-clad fellow travels through the sky on a sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering gifts to all the good boys and girls. Most of our American Santa depictions are drawn from two sources, Clement Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (1823) and Cocoa Cola advertisements. Most of us recognize that part of the tale but what if there’s a bit more to ponder?

The connections are not all together solid, but they are tantalizing. So let’s indulge in a season of indulgences. Stories usually have long histories and when you start uncovering a trail, often one thing leads to another. Keep that jolly elf in mind.

photo: M. Maggs

Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, a pretty, red and white flecked hallucinogenic mushroom (Amanita muscaria) grows under trees. In these cold places, including Siberia, Shamans and reindeer have long consumed the mushrooms. Could it be that the origins of flying reindeer have their roots in drug-induced hallucinations? Donald Pfister, a fungi biologist at Harvard believes it’s possible. And what about Santa donning the red suit with white trim—possibly linked to the coloring of the mushroom? Even the appearance of the cute fungi on Christmas ornaments now raises an eyebrow.

A faraway culture filled with healers and spirits, long dark nights, and vast open skies. Stories must have been told and retold around the warmth of fire. What survived? Did some remnant find its way to tickle the imagination of Clement Moore? Who knows? But now when you see a Christmas ornament inspired from the northern climes and a little red mushroom with white dots is tucked there too, see if you don’t just smile. Because wonder goes a long way to connect us to Christmas and to the past.   

Read more here:

https://www.livescience.com/25731-magic-mushrooms-santa-claus.html

https://www.npr.org/2010/12/24/132260025/did-shrooms-send-santa-and-his-reindeer-flying

Click below to find my books.

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

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A RESONATE THANKSGIVING

Photo: Dietmar Rabich

There’s something about this Thanksgiving that resonates deeply with the past. Back to the time of the first feast— And I’m not talking about images of a perfect family gathered around a spectacular roasted turkey, Norman Rockwell-like. After all, isn’t that how most Americans view the holiday? Quick, frenzied trips, across-country if necessary, to reacquaint with family, stuff ourselves, and hit the road home again. Year after year. It’s tradition. No, this year—it’s about…suffering.

Suffering is what binds us to the pilgrims who arrived EXACTLY 400 years ago. On Dec. 21, 1620, a landing party reached the site where the colony of Plymouth would be built. That first winter was tough and grim. Arriving so late in the year, only seven residences and four common houses (of the 19 planned structures) were built. Half of the 102 pilgrims perished in the first year, most in the first few months. Celebration of what we call the “First Thanksgiving” happened in October 1621 after almost a year of long, hard work. Only 53 pilgrims were left to attend the event. Those who remained probably took stock of the sacrifice and endurance it took to establish their small colony.

Thanksgiving 2020 is tied to the first part of the pilgrims’ experience here. One of hardship, loss, and grief. Already 260,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. By the time, we take our seats at the dining table, we’ll have to acknowledge that we’ve lost almost as many fellow citizens to the pandemic that has raged for ten months as died in combat during WWII (1941-1945). * (And they called them The Greatest Generation.) How does anyone wrap their mind around the kind of loss we’re experiencing now? Grief will join us this Thanksgiving even if we haven’t (yet) been touched by the pandemic. It lurks just under the surface. A certain uneasiness about the future. Where will we be next month? Who will be sick then? Who will be gone?

Some part of us knows we haven’t built our shelters or come through the long, dark winter. Like the pilgrims, we are just as vulnerable as they were stepping into a new world fraught with danger. The future will require people of character, strength, and vision. Capable of great sacrifice and great faith. May we find them and may they be us.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war).

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THE FASHIONABLE GHOST

This is the time of year of ghosts, spooks, specters. Americans love a good ghost story, don’t we? I’ve always thought so. This week, I found a few statistics that surprised me. A Harris Poll (2013) found 43% of us believe in ghosts and 20% (according to the Pew Research Center) report an encounter with a ghost or presence. All I can say is really? That all? Actually, I suppose the number is quite high given the prevailing material paradigm.

When writing my ghost tale, I stuck to the notion of the white, insubstantial energy form portrayed in many traditional stories. Annika in Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds appeared this way but also took solid shape when Lydia time traveled back to the 17th century. My portrayal of a ghost had both wispy and life-like appearances. Not unlike stories that have come down to us from ghost lore. While many spirits have appeared in flimsy diaphanous, white apparel—some haven’t. Some have donned colorful clothing they’d be comfortable wearing in daily life. Specters fitted out in armor, monk’s robes, or silken gowns are common enough. Some of these appear solid and fully fleshed out. Real, in fact. There are reports of people shaking hands or trying to, with some of these ghosts. Naked ghosts are rarely reported, cultural propriety prevails even for those stuck between worlds.

As we approach Halloween and the veil thins, it’s good to keep an open mind. I’ve had a few experiences that leave me highly suspicious of our understanding of reality. One of those instances is highlighted in the dedication of Timeless Tulips, the others I’ll save for another occasion.

I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

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 must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

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A CHILL IN AMSTERDAM

The fascinating history of the rise and fall in the speculative tulip market during the seventeenth century provided the backdrop for my book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. The tale developed through daughter Annika’s eyes who grew up in a typical Dutch merchant class family. Annika lived during the Dutch Golden Age, a time of wealth, power, and opportunity. Even hundreds of years later, she would recognize Amsterdam’s canals, grand houses, and the Western Church. And perhaps, she might smile at the stories of others like herself who haunt the city.     

THE SPINHUIS (Spinning House)-Today this site is a fashionable hotel but back in 1597, convicted women were held here and forced to sew clothes. In one famous tale, a priest fell in love with a young girl jailed in the facility and when he was denied access to her, he committed suicide. The ghost of the priest is said to haunt one of the hotel rooms and hotel staff refuse to enter the room.

BLACK MATTHEW– In Amsterdam, there is a tale dating back to the thirteenth century of a sinister character called Black Matthew. This rogue and magician apparently made a pact with the devil. Ever since, he has haunted the streets threating locals and tourists alike. Beware being out alone on the streets at night. No area in the entire city is outside his evil reach!

SPOOKSTEEG (Ghost Alley)- This story involves the notorious ghost of Helene who murdered her sister to marry a sailor who had favored her sister. On her deathbed, Helene confessed to the husband who cursed her for the act. Helene’s ghost has been seen in dark corners of this part of the city, moaning and screaming.     

Should you like to explore more ghostly tales, I invite you to escape into the seventeenth century to visit Annika and see how she meets a modern-day American teenager named Lydia. Let the haunting begin! (Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds)

I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

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 must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

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HALLOWEEN- The Dark Rises

It’s the time of year when we allow the dark to approach. Halloween offers the opportunity to explore everything scary and otherwise forbidden. A necessary purge. I grew up in Upstate New York where in fall, the trees are turned into a mosaic of autumn colors and the air is ripe with the decay of leaves. Fires and furnaces keep out the chill. But not all of it. I’m my father’s fourth child. Born after his first wife shot herself in front of their three, small children. That shiver runs still.

The region of my birth is steeped in ghostly tales of early Dutch settlers, Revolutionary soldiers, and murders most foul. Washington Irving made his home just down the road and gifted us the Headless Horseman and the Catskill Witch. New York is home to many ghosts and many haunted places. A quick Google search will provide you with many articles of places to visit to make your Halloween spooky fun.

Washington Irving

Here are two places connected with my haunts (pun intended!!). The first is near where I grew up. The second dates to my college days.

Leeds, NY: Salisbury Manor- Known for its colonial architecture, this 1730s farmhouse was the scene of a brutal murder back in 1755. William Salisbury killed a servant girl by dragging her behind a horse when she attempted to flee his abusive treatment. Convicted of murder, Salisbury escaped justice by bribing the judge to suspend sentence until he turned 99. Anna’s ghost has been seen outside the manor. So has a large phantom horse. Screams and the thunder of hooves echo down the lane.  

Salisbury Manor (Photo: Robert Drake)

Loudonville, NY: Loudon Cottage- Clara Harris’ dress was stained by the blood of President Abraham Lincoln that terrible night in Ford’s Theatre. The grisly dress was stored in a closet in this cottage. One day, Clara saw Lincoln’s ghost in a rocking chair staring at the closet door. In 1883, Clara was murdered by her own husband, Henry Rathbone, who had tried to stop John Wilkes Booth after shooting Lincoln. There is an account by one historian of an instance when in 1900, President Lincoln in ghost form arrived to counsel Governor Gardiner of Massachusetts at the cottage. (The Town of Colonie: A Pictorial History, by Jean Olton)

Clara Harris

Don’t forget to check out my own ghost tale centered on the New York’s Dutch heritage. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

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 must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

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THE GHOST STORY

IN LITERATURE

This time of year as the days grow short and the air crisp, Halloween lurks just around the corner, my thoughts turn to those creepy tales told before the fire. Ghosts figure in many of them and the traditional ghost story has a long history. Every culture produced oral and/or written stories of ghosts.

Among the earliest written examples, Homer’s Odyssey depicts a journey into the underworld where the hero finds ghosts of the dead. A haunted house was portrayed by Plautus, the Roman playwright in his work entitled, Mostellaria. The ghost bound in chains was perhaps first described by Pliny the Younger in another haunted place tale. The Roman writer, Seneca was also fond of using ghosts in his tragedies. These classical examples would start to set the stage for the development of ghost stories in our own culture and day.

In celebration of the deep roots of this tradition, I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

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 must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost.

E-book: sale $2.99 https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

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