Category Archives: Books

OLD SOUL’S GUIDEBOOK

By Ainslie MacLeod

In this popular book, psychic Ainslie MacLeod outlines a system of soul evolution that fascinates and provides fodder for deeper exploration. In his system, the soul progresses through ten levels or ages on earth. The first stage of existence is lived out in simplicity, isolation, and naivety. We are brand new souls trying to understand the very basics of incarnation. A soul will spend 5000 to 6000 years in each stage reincarnating as necessary until progressing to the next level.

Briefly, here are the levels and their characteristics:

Level 1: isolation, simplicity, naivety                                                                                                         

Level 2: fundamentalism, nationalism, discrimination

Level 3: church, conformity, conservatism

Level 4: morality, aspiration, hypocrisy

Level 5: ambition, materialism, exploration

Level 6: social justice, uncertainty, introspection

Level 7: complexity, creativity, innovation

Level 8: activism, liberalism, sophistication

Level 9: spirituality, self-improvement, healing

Level 10: altruism, inertia, compassion (you will need to read the book for the explanation of inertia here, but is does make sense)

Anyone reading this, no doubt has decided which level they think they are currently have achieved. Our soul’s perspective on life goes through massive shifts about halfway through the process. The way MacLeod uses the term “old souls” is clarified in the book to be associated with qualities representing more peaceful, more empathetic individuals who are more accepting of differences and more open to questioning belief systems. The author goes as far to say that political beliefs are an indicator of someone’s level. (To me that means, I could easily draw a line to define the US red/ blue political split above.)

Exploring MacLeod’s system further, we find that each soul expresses through a personality that was created on the astral plane before incarnation. There are ten soul types. Reading through these, you can choose what resonates with you as a primary. You may also be drawn to a secondary. Some people have several which overlap and influence. You can sign up to take the soul type quiz on the author’s site here: https://ainsliemacleod.com/soul-type-quiz/

Soul Types: (and percentages of the population)

  1. Helper (6 %)
  2. Caregiver (10%)
  3. Educator (9%)
  4. Thinker (16%)
  5. Creator (12%)
  6. Performer (10%)
  7. Hunter (6%)
  8. Leader (12%)
  9. Spiritualist (19%)
  10. Transformer (less than 1%)

Although most of us have no conscious memory of past lives, our past lives form the basis of our daily existence in all kinds of ways. We gravitate toward the familiar. Talents and skills spill over. So do limiting beliefs, phobias, and fears. Unexplained physical ailments from past lives often carry over. Even events in our current life can trigger traumas of the past. A good portion of MacLeod’s book covers this terrain. The cases he presents are intriguing.

Some of the material will sound familiar to those who have read many sources on past lives. There is something to be gained from trying the mediation exercises at the end of the chapters to see what can be gleaned for the individual. This is a book that makes you wonder about your past and what you might be bringing forward. Why you like certain things and not others. Why certain cultures call to you. Why you like such and such music or art. Patterns that you repeat. Why you have an ache or pain, or what about that scar… It will also make you think about that friend or family member who can’t heal or break out of a cycle. It’s about plunging deeper into the unseen and life. Many libraries have the book, go find it. MacLeod has been interviewed by Oprah. The book is great fodder for conversation if you can find a person willingly to dive deep with you. I hope you do!    

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HAPPY HAUNTINGS!

October is a good time for a good scare.

When Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, weird incidents plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, unexplained shadows move through the kitchen. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She ignores the phenomena, blaming everything on jet lag and her migraines. Then Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch and the bizarre happenings continue. Soon Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her, an unhappy ghost from the past.

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

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

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

YA Author Ellis Nelson knows how to thread a carefully spun tale with some little known, wildly interesting, historical facts and wonderful family dynamics. She paints memorable portraits of the different countries and eras – including the scents, fragrances, smells and stenches that so clearly define those ancient times in Holland . . . right into the New World!”

5 Star Amazon:

“TIMELESS TULIPS is both fascinating and informative on many levels. Ostensibly, it is a work of Young Adult historical & visionary fiction, and while I know the YA audience will love it, it’s also a satisfying adult read. …Read this engaging tale of visionary insight, historical perspective, and just plain entertainment. It will not disappoint.”

5 Star Amazon:

“Nelson brings the setting, characters, and events to life with a deft hand. Lydia’s timeline is equally unique. Her relationship with her fashion-conscious mother added a nice layer of credibility. Lydia has to be both sleuth and ghost buster before the story ends.”

5 Star Amazon:

“Timeless Tulips is the third novel I have immersed myself in by gifted author, Ellis Nelson. As with her other books, this story is exciting, suspenseful, and definitely unique. The plot twists in unexpected ways and is filled with shadowy circumstances. A wonderful read!!”

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Charles Dickens & Evolutionary Astrology

CHALLENGE!

Recently I’ve been playing with a function on a software program that allows you to put in certain astrological parameters and find a famous person who matches your chart. Fun stuff!! My best match was a writer I know well and while I was surprised at how well the details matched, I wasn’t shocked at all. It made me smile in that small knowing way. Anyway, the first person who guesses my best match (no more than 5 guesses per person, please), will win a print copy of Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. Sorry, US mailing addresses only, unless you want an E-copy of the book. Contest ends Sep. 15. Challenge on! Comment below. My secret match will be revealed then if no one guesses correctly. BTW- Charles Dickens and I are NOT a match.

Let’s turn to Charles Dickens, whose chart I chose to briefly examine because everyone knows something about him and his work. Who didn’t read at least one of his novels in school? Writing during the height of the Victorian era, Dickens created some of the best-known fictional characters of all time and experienced a level of popularity seldom seen with a writer. His work continues to be read and produced today. Some of his widely recognized works are: A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Bleak House. Dickens was also a social critic who pushed for children’s rights, educational improvements, and social reforms.     

Evolutionary astrology begins with the premise that we all have lived many lifetimes and we evolve spiritually through the many lessons we encounter along the way. To understand the themes associated with anyone’s past lives, we must look to the south node in the birth chart. Dickens’ south node is in Pisces (4th House). Let’s begin there because it reveals much about what his soul has been through.

With the south node in Pisces, Dickens would have had an understanding that our true nature lies beyond the transitory existence of the physical body and the day-to-day reality. The world may have been experienced as dreamlike or a projection into the matrix. This was probably a key source of inspiration in his writing. Oftentimes, someone with this nodal pattern suffers from a loss of self because Pisces is associated with the boundless where the line between self and other doesn’t exist. Dickens may have had lives in monastic settings engaging in deep spiritual practices including meditations, rituals, fasting, and other aesthetic pursuits. This by itself can cause a loss of connection to the real world. Everyday life may seem strange and harsh. Some examples of the lower expression of the Pisces energy might be someone who falls into addiction or someone who allows others to determine their life path for them. These people don’t live fully in the three-dimensional reality as successful individuals. The higher manifestation of this energy allows an exploration of inner realms and transcendent states which fuels heightened levels of creativity, imagination, and psychic ability (in some cases). Certainly, with Dickens his creativity and sheer volume of work indicates he was using the Piscean energy well.

An interesting biographical detail that can be tied to Dickens’ past life in Pisces, was his membership in The Ghost Club. This paranormal investigation and research organization, founded in London in 1862 devoted itself to studying ghosts, hauntings, and psychic phenomena. Considered to be the oldest paranormal research organization in the world (although not always continuous), predates the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) by two decades. Dickens’ fictional work featured ghosts in A Christmas Carol and The Signal Man, and probably in other works as well.  

Charles Dickens south node was found in the fourth house of home and family. Here family must be viewed in a broad context of kinship groups extending to family, clan, or tribe. His past life suggests a pattern where the family defined much of his existence. Family business, expectations, norms, reputations, all limited his life in some way. Some of those restrictions may have been severe. The residual effect on Dickens would have made him very loyal to those he perceived as “family.” This loyalty may or may not have been deserved. It is a remnant from the past where radical commitment and identification to the clan was required. It is possible that feelings of familiarity with people in his current life were rooted in the past. The legacy of the south node in the fourth house suggested that he was likely to have deep but complicated relationships with his family of origin.  

Dickens struggled through a tough childhood. Although up to the age of eleven, biographer John Forster describes his life as idyllic, things changed when his father went to debtor’s prison. Charles left school and worked in a boot-blacking factory under miserable conditions. In his creative life, he drew heavily on his experiences of hardship, poverty, and social inequity. Very few details were known of his early life until a biography he had collaborated on was released after his death. Dickens was ashamed of his early life and did his best to hide it. Nevertheless, his loyalty to the family was shown through the provisions of his will. He provided well for all his family members, a wife from whom he had separated, several friends, and all the servants he employed.

Much more analysis could be done on his chart. Interesting to note the strong square to the nodal axis with Neptune indicating the need to release limiting beliefs, religious views, or philosophies. While Dickens was considered Christian, he seemed to despise organized religion. This is certainly an area for more exploration.

This is just a brief glimpse into evolutionary astrology. If you are intrigued about what your own chart might reveal, contact me below. Clients continue to report surprising correlations and stories about how evolutionary astrology reports have helped them. Be aware my fall schedule is filling fast. This is going to be one INTERESTING ride into the new year. Several key astrological aspects are being triggered bringing in fast change.  

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Beyond Done With the Crying-

More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children- Sheri McGregor, MA

About a decade ago, I became the unwilling member of a group of parents who society has forced into silence and continues to judge and blame. Truth be told, I would have made many of the judgments that were projected on to me. I am the parent of an estranged adult child. Ignorance and silence perpetuate untruths concerning estrangement. Along with this, there has developed an entire philosophy of cancel culture and a business sector within psychology that supports blaming parents. Don’t get me wrong—I realize divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse all can lead to estrangement. But these are NOT fueling the phenomena we’re dealing with. Sheri McGregor’s book is about how “good parents who work diligently and do their best sometimes end up without the sweet fruits of their labor.” Her statistics indicate that as many as one in four families will experience an estrangement at some point. Gone are the days of reasonable parenting producing anything like reasonable outcomes, IMHO. Early in my own search for understanding, I looked for books and found ridiculous nonsense that blamed, shamed, and put the onus on parents for reconciliation. What a breath of fresh air to find McGregor’s book which empowers parents!

In 2016, McGregor released her first book, Done With the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children. I skipped that one preferring to go on to the second because the focus of Beyond Crying is about moving the family that’s left behind forward. After years of processing my own feelings and coming to the same place as the author about her own situation, I was more concerned about how siblings handle estrangement and how to prepare for end-of-life choices. In addition, Beyond Crying, offered expanded material on mental health, boundaries, and truths about reconciliation.

The overall emphasis of this book is to help parents recover a strong and healthy sense of self to move forward with purpose. The adult child may never reappear or reappear only to break again. Even reconciliation that is functional will never be what it once was. You can’t go home. Hard truth. McGregor shares many stories from interviewing over 50,000 parents who have walked this path. They are enlightening.    

And I know that if you read this far, you’re wondering—why. Why did my estrangement happen? Like many of the parents in the book, I don’t know why. I never will.   

Sheri McGregor’s Website for parents: https://www.rejectedparents.net/     

Added: 7/22 To get a feel for how adult children are counseled in current psychology to drop parents from their lives simply google “no contact with parents.” Be prepared for some terrible stuff.

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CHIRON and the HEALING JOURNEY

By Melanie Reinhart

This is the primary resource on Chiron in the astrology world recognized for its scholarship. I read it back in 2020—such a momentous year for so many things and to be reading a book on wounding and healing seems to have had its larger portents.

Let’s dive into Chiron—an actual object in the sky located between Saturn and Uranus, in what’s been termed the Kuiper Belt, and not discovered until 1977. Since that time, Chiron has been slowly nudging us consciously forward arriving with the emergence of depth psychology and coaxing us to begin working with wounding patterns and pain.  

Chiron’s myth helps us orient to the terrain. Chiron taking the form of half man, half horse was rejected by his mother as a monster. She abandoned him. This was Chiron’s first wound. Taken to Apollo, Chiron becomes a wise prophet, teacher, musician, and physician. Chiron’s association as the “wounded healer” happened later and there are several versions of the tale. One involves an afternoon when Hercules visited Pholus who opened a bottle of wine which caused a centaur stampede. In the mayhem, Chiron was accidentally injured by an arrow that Hercules released. It hits Chiron in leg in the animal part of the body signifying the vulnerability of the physical body. Although Chiron bears no responsibility for the injury, he suffers a wound that he cannot heal. And being a demigod, Chiron cannot die either—he suffers.  

Everyone has a personal Chiron in their birth chart. Wounding and healing are unique for everyone. Transits to Chiron can awaken us to initiate healing or reorient to the journey of awakening. These times can bring about a search for what is immortal in each of us. The footprints of the healing journey are found by examining the Chiron configuration (all the astrological factors connected to Chiron) in a chart. The author outlines the specifics for this technical process in Chapter 4. A deep dive into the astrology of Chiron’s placement, the aspects it forms, and transits of Chiron fill the bulk of this volume.

The final chapter of the book concerns a brief look at some of the archetypal Chiron themes that seem to be playing out in the collective. With Chiron being linked to Pluto (Lord of the Underworld), there are many dark recesses that could be explored here. The author highlights issues concerning the health industry, alternative medicine, belief in false prophets, racism, drug abuse, terrorism, and ecology (healing the earth). Those themes may also play out in individual horoscopes as indicated with biographies in this section.

This is a comprehensive book best explored by those with a good understanding of their own chart who want to explore the deeper meaning of wound and healing in their own lives.

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THE HOUSE OF VELVET AND GLASS

By Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe weaves fictional magic involving tales of ancestral bloodlines, curses, ghosts, and witch trials. All of this spun amid solid historical fact. In this book, Boston at the turn of the last century, anchors the story of Sibyl Allston, a woman who is resigned to her role as family caretaker after she loses her mother and younger sister on the Titanic.    

Once a society debutante, Sibyl’s circle now includes a medium with whom she hopes to reconnect with her dead family members. When her younger brother is dismissed from Harvard for reasons he won’t disclose, Sibyl seeks out a former romantic acquaintance for help. Professor Benton Jones, who is recently widowed comes to her aid. Sibyl gets caught up in the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown as she falls increasingly under the spell of the medium she has come to trust. Can Benton help her to solve what’s going on now and in the family’s past?     

The book is character-driven and slow in places. The period descriptions and blending of the paranormal with an investigation keeps things interesting overall. The author uses multiple points of view to frame the story. Sibyl has her tale but so does her father Lan, her mother Helen, her sister Eulah, and her brother Harlan. Ultimately, this is a story about Sibyl finding her truth after much searching. A good book to be enjoyed for its characterization, setting, and the thoughts it provokes on fate versus free will. And just for fun, the author provides directions on how to do your own scrying!

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THE PREMONITION:

A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

This is the BEST real-life thriller I’ve read since Hot Zone, and it provides the basis for the hell year we all lived through in 2020.

Michael Lewis conducted the background research to explain why the US was horribly prepared to face the unfolding of a pandemic. In this book, we meet the behind-the-scenes heroes, who early on attempted to provide insight and guidance, and … were thwarted.

Read about Laura Glass, a 13-year-old in New Mexico, whose interest in disease spread for a science fair project becomes the nation’s starting point in understanding how to model Covid increases. Of course, this couldn’t happen except in a nation focused on external terrorist groups. Lewis also exposes the reader to the systemic failures of the public health system by taking us inside the lived experience of a Lilith-like character (Dr. Charity Dean) who buts heads time and again with the CDC, even before Covid. As a public health officer, she knew how her contemporaries would react as 5000 or so separate entities, at a time when a single strategy would be necessary to contain spread. Learn the history concerning the Swine Flu and why the CDC would never step up again and take the lead in a time of crisis. As an agency, the CDC emerges singularly unfit to fight anything. It is an academic study agency wholly unsuited to lead anyone anywhere.

Behind the scenes, like in a great movie, a team of maverick scientists gather online to share data and ideas. Many are highly placed, occupying careers in agencies throughout the government, risking their careers meeting covertly. Led by Carter Mecher of the VA, the team overturned previously held beliefs about the 1918 Pandemic showing that social distancing and mask wearing could make a difference. Mecher had also been  instrumental in developing a national response plan under a previous administration. For a time, the team has an influence especially when Charity Dean gets the ear of CA. Gov. Newsom in the early days of the pandemic but soon politics force her out. If this had been a Hollywood movie, the heroes would have prevailed after the fight, but this was reality and 2020 was some kind of alternate reality at that. The book ends in the spring of 2020. Bungling government institutions fail to step up, focusing on avoiding blame, and preserving the status quo. Hundreds of thousands die, the nation is divided, we fail to contain the pandemic. Big questions remain. Have we learned anything? Will we take the steps to address pervasive governmental shortcomings, or will we be the laughingstock of the world in the next pandemic, too?

Hundreds of books will be written in the years to come to trying to capture the Covid experience. This is an eye-opening one setting the stage for what unfolds. If you were constantly puzzled by the lack of governmental leadership on all levels, this book is a good starting point into gleaning an understanding.

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Halloween Time:

Looking for a ghost story? Give this a try!

The face of the Dutch girl glared back at her with dark eyes and a mouth twisted in a cruel grimace. From the hall came a sinister laugh.

After a family trip to Amsterdam, 14-year-old Lydia finds herself closer to the past than she could have imagined. During her stay, a bizarre series of events that seem to defy all logic is set in motion. When Lydia’s life is threatened, she is forced to solve a centuries’ old mystery and uncover the truth about Annika, the angry ghost of a little Dutch girl, her story, and how their past and present connect them. Lydia finds herself closer to the past than she has ever been. But what can Lydia possibly do to help someone who died over 400 years ago?

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The Mystical Minute:

The premier episode of The Mystical Minute. Join Ellis for brief videos on all things mystical or spiritual. The first up is a look at what we know about NDEs (near death experiences) from the book After by Bruce Greyson.

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AFTER

By Bruce Greyson

Greyson is a psychiatrist who has been studying near death experiences (NDEs) for decades. He brings his research and a plethora of stories together in this book as he walks the reader through his process of discovery. The stories are fascinating (especially the ones where someone learns about someone’s death during an NDE only to return to life and find out that person has died). If you are familiar with NDEs, he will plow well-known ground for much of the book. You must remember that Greyson took up his work when scientists didn’t even agree on what the term NDE even meant. How far we’ve come!

The book suffers (for me) because he refused to date any of his material apparently thinking that it would make the cases sound old and trivial, but it makes it difficult to get a sense of the whole timeline. There is also a grating repeat of his insistence of his scientific perspective throughout. I get it! You’re an MD and want to be accepted by peers. (You told me that! Move on.) It’s hard not to draw a sharp contrast to the mettle of an Ian Stevenson and the constant lack of confidence Greyson reveals. Enough of my personal pet peeves though. Does the book hold value? Of course, it does.

Greyson tackles some difficult and little covered areas. Most NDE stories are positive with positive outcomes. But there are people who have negative NDEs. There are also the lesser-known downsides to NDEs. These effects and stories are covered in the chapter aptly named, Hard Landings. Grayson would also like to shift the focus of the NDE discussion away from what happens after we die to how NDEs can help people live better, more fulfilling lives. Research suggests just learning about NDEs can help people make meaningful changes in how they live. All good points.

I think this is the kind of book where the take-away message is really going to depend on who YOU are. Are you questioning the reality of NDEs? Then the linear approach of Greyson’s scientific method will appeal and do much to answer your questions. Are you already convinced of the legitimacy of the NDEs? Then, maybe, the stories and the way people are forever changed by these events will speak to you. For me, it’s always been more about what NDEs say about our understanding of reality that makes the phenomena not only intriguing- but important. Lessons from NDE research supports the idea that consciousness does not spring from the brain, but rather that the brain acts as a receiver that filters information. Science has a lot of work to do to figure out how the mind and the brain function to explain all the intricacies experienced in NDEs. These understandings will have far reaching consequences on the whole way we structure our paradigm.

Some points to ponder:

*5% (approx..) of the population has experienced an NDE. (They are COMMON!) 1in 20 Americans have had one- means you probably know someone who has.   

*NDEs happen to all genders, ages, religions, ethnic groups.

*Most experiencers are convinced some part of us continues after death.

*Studies of the brain, reveal that memories of NDEs look like memories of real events (NOT like how the brain remembers fantasies or imagined events).   

* NDEs REDUCE the fear of death (overwhelmingly!!) regardless, if the NDE was positive or negative. It also reduces the fear of living allowing more risk taking and enjoyment of life.

*Experiencers who see those who have died when no one knew they had died, may suggest a form of continued consciousness after death. THE BIG QUESTION!!!

*NDEs point out flaws in the current brain-based model of consciousness.

Added Sep 3, 2021

UPDATE: Research published in 2017 on NDEs.

https://www.iands.org/news/news/front-page-news/1060-aware-study-initial-results-are-published.html

“The AWARE study (AWAreness during REsuscitation) is a multi-hospital clinical study of the brain and consciousness during cardiac arrest, including testing the validity of perceptions during the out-of-body part of near-death experiences (NDEs). Dr. Sam Parnia is the principal investigator. The initial results, from the first four years of the study, were published last December in the medical journal Resuscitation (PDF). 

Of the 2,060 cardiac arrests during the study, 140 patients survived and could be interviewed for the study. Of these, 101 patients had detailed interviews, which identified 9 patients who had an NDE. Of the 9 NDErs, two had detailed memories with awareness of the physical environment. One NDEr’s experience was verified as accurate;…”

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