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.
Tag Archives: spiritual
AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP
Two worlds collide in this haunting tale. 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.
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! As an avid reader, I enjoyed the love for details, the historic research, and the way the author stuck – with unwavering rhythm – to her theme. . . ”
“… author, Ellis Nelson, accomplishes so much more. She ties the old world (Amsterdam) and the new world (New Amsterdam/New York) into one intriguing thread. Then she weaves that thread into a present day story of a young visionary, Lydia, who stumbles upon the unfinished business of her invisible counterpart, Annika, from the 17th century. The stories of both girls are complete, one illuminating the other. Through these points-of-view we experience the everyday angst of adolescence in both natural and supernatural ways. Mystical insights, historical realities, and future possibilities gild this lily of a story (or I should say, this prizewinning tulip) into a work of art.”
“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!!”
“Speculating on tulips was a twist. Nelson brings the setting, characters, and events to life with a deft hand.”
“… loved the Amsterdam, Dutch heritage aspect, since I’m of Dutch ancestry. Wonderful ghost story!”
Playing with Signs, Symbols, & Synchronicity in Everyday Life by Robert Moss
This is a book of practical kairomancy— the author’s word for the practice of navigating by synchronicity. I had a little giggle reflecting on the fact that I grew up in a place called “Cairo” and the topic of Jung’s meaningful coincidences has fascinated me for years. Greek in origin, Kairos is all about openings and this book is all about getting the reader to seize these precious opportunities to expand life experience. Kairos moments can seem weird and wacky, but they hint at a connectedness or a “hidden-hand” playfully nudging—calling us to engage. How do we begin this process?
The book outlines twelve basic principles underlying the mindset required to maximize your experience while practicing kairomancy. The most important elements of the practice are summed up in the OATH:
O= Open to new experience
A= Available to set aside plans and the confines of boxes.
T= Thankful for everything that happens on the journey
H= Honor special moments by taking action
YOU as Kairomancer: Let’s Play!
The book contains descriptions of seventeen games. Below are three that caught my eye.
SIDEWALK TAROT: This game can be played in several ways. Probably the easiest version, and the one I’ve tried, requires you to pose a question. The author suggests the form of the question be “I would like guidance on …” Any issue large or small is fine. Ask your question, set your time period, and believe you will be answered. (As an example, I’ve asked my question, chosen my time period to be my walk around the block with my dog, and usually I’ll impose the first three unusual things I notice in the neighborhood to be my “answers.”) I’ve done this several times and it can be a very profound practice requiring you sit with the answers and ponder deep connections. Give it a try.
LISTEN FOR YOUR DAILY KLEDON: A kledon refers to the first sound heard after a silent period. This game requires being alert to bits of conversation, singing, animal or bird calls. How do these tidbits answer questions you’ve been thinking about? What themes are they alerting you to? What’s the first thing you heard when you woke today?
DIVINATION BY THE BOOK: (also called “bibliomancy”) Choose a book (one that has special meaning for you, maybe a spiritual book, a journal, etc.) or you can just reach for whatever is handy on the shelf. Ask your question (or remain open for whatever the book brings). Randomly, open the book. Close your eyes and let your fingers wander over the page. When you’re ready, open your eyes, and read the passage. How does this relate to your question? To your life?
If you’re ready to play, the universe is ready to meet you half- way. This is a book filled with weird, wonderful tales of unexpected coincidence. There are countless ways to dance with the trickster energy of synchronicity. This is a great starting point. Let me know how you get on.
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Such a beautiful song made even more relevant by powerful Saturn returns (around age 30 and again around 60) . A time of change. A time of dreams.
I’ve always hated my birthday. December 21 falls too close to Christmas for it ever to have been celebrated like a normal birthday. As a child I can remember (and remember vividly) the one and only birthday party where I had neighbor kids over. The rest of the time, birthdays were small family events squeezed in among the hubbub of Christmas. Not fun and not special. That coupled with the yearly reminder from my mother that I was born on the darkest day of the year did much to cement my feelings of apathy about my solar return. For a few years, I moved the event to January hoping for a better outcome. But there was no escaping it.
2017 turned out to be quite an eye-opening experience living abroad, and in an attempt to take advantage of some once in a life-time opportunities, I thought maybe this year marking my birthday with the rising sun of solstice at Stonehenge would make a memorable birthday. It was!
The tour bus left London in complete darkness at 4:20 AM and we made our way to the plains of Salisbury where we picked up some light rain. We were given the option of walking 50 minutes to the site or waiting for a shuttle bus. Luckily, the English Heritage organization that controls access to Stonehenge has done this for years and there were plenty of shuttle buses, so we boarded the bus and rode. We were dropped off, in the misty blackness at the edge of a parking lot with hundreds of others. All along the way, my husband and I were looking for the famous stones to orient ourselves but even standing with the crowd, we had no idea in which direction we’d eventually be led.
Finally, someone from English Heritage ventured by with a flashlight to tell us that they were waiting for some light before they’d open the field for us to go up to the site. When someone asked her where, she gestured to the left behind a wire fence where again we saw nothing. The crowd was animated. In the distance and to the left, drums beat, and a lone bagpipe played. More shuttle buses came and left, and we waited.
Not long after, the stones were lit on the hill above us and the pasture fence dropped. Stonehenge emerged from the black night on the first morning of winter. Druid drums beat a rhythm as the crowd and I were led through the marshy pasture and up to the historic site. I felt very emotional going up the hill and had to focus on my breathing to circulate the energy. Whether this was a reaction to ley lines, the crowd’s festive spirit, or my own internal work I don’t know, but it was powerful and deep (and Scorpionic?). There was a sense of rightness in this crowd moving up to take back this site.
By the time I reached the stones, several hundred people were already massed in and around the site. Stonehenge is a relatively small area. The center was held by Druids and pagans who had begun their ceremonies. Eager to join in, my husband and I moved in as close as we could. Our initial position was just outside the center ring. Gradually things began to lighten. We honored the four directions and offered prayers of peace being led by, I believe, a Druid priest. We chanted, sang songs, and summoned the ancestors. It was a festive, lively, and inclusive ceremony. The official sunrise came without notice as the clouds never permitted the sun to shine. Once the ritual part of the gathering had concluded, a group of pagan singers dressed in red streamed into the center of the stones and led the crowd in more songs. After a while, it felt like time to leave and my husband and I walked around the circle. I had a chance to touch some of the stones and walk the grounds of the site.
One of the most important reasons to visit Stonehenge at one of the solstices is that people are allowed in among the stones and on the grounds. During the rest of the year, tourists are allowed only to walk a paved path behind a barrier around the site. Those restrictions have been in place for some years now to protect the site. Only on limited rare occasions can visitors access and touch the stones (although technically you’re not supposed to, but everyone does).
Stonehenge is positioned on the top of a gentle hill with a panoramic view of surrounding fields. It’s isolated and unexpected, retaining its mystery. I settled on a fallen stone with some others. Revelers in the distance kept up the party atmosphere as I dropped into a healing mediation with the aid of the beat of a steady drum. It was easy to ground and go deep. I emerged sometime later, cold and stiff. It was time to leave.
The visit had been characterized by three different phases. First, there had been the emotional climb to the site. The stones themselves and the experience of greeting the solstice was joyous and a shared one. The final phase was solitary, deep, and healing. No bolts of lightening but more a gladness that I’d been there. That this birthday was memorable and special.
I was surprised that I had not felt more in the way of energy at the site, but then I had done some shielding ahead of our arrival. An unexpected thing happened the next day in London though. While we were waiting to get the underground, I suddenly started running energy that intensified in my palms. This lasted for some time and I think was connected to the previous day’s work. So, I’m keeping an open mind and we’ll see where this goes. Maybe a blog in the future.
Author Maighread MacKay talks about her novel, Stone Cottage.
I just finished Maighread MacKay’s fabulous novel, Stone Cottage. I believe it falls in the category of Visionary Fiction. It is a classic ghost story, but so much more. Tragedy rocks Rebecca Wainwright’s world. Searching for a private sanctuary she finds a stone cottage that draws her back to another time. The novel explores how we construct our reality, wounding and potential healing, and how our life connections transcend time and place. I’m happy Maighread agreed to discuss her work.
I’m interested in your writing process for Stone Cottage. Did you construct the modern story with Rebecca first or did you first create Annie’s (the ghost) story?
I am a “pantser” more than a “plotter”, so I had the main characters in my mind and worked on them simultaneously. The first draft of the story was done in three sections: Rebecca’s Story, Annie’s Story and Together. When I showed it to my editor, she felt that the story really started in the third section and advised that I restructure the novel starting with where Rebecca finds Stone Cottage and meets Annie and then integrating the back story. Whew. Major rewrite, but it did work better.
What sort of research did you do for the novel? I suspect your own spirituality and/or experience came into play for the parts of the book that examine life after death. Can you share some background on this?
The research was quite extensive. Since Annie’s story is set in Whitby (Canada) and the surrounding area in the mid 1800’s, I visited our local Pioneer Village which is set in the time period. I was able to see the housing setup, clothing and utensils used at the time. The Director was kind enough to let me spend time viewing their records and correspondence from the time period. I also visited the Archives of the main library and reviewed letters, newspaper articles, family records and other important documents of the area. I also searched online for important information such as when the railroad was extended from Toronto to Whitby, and what road was used to transport goods from Port Perry to the harbor. It was fascinating. For the spiritual side, yes, a lot of the experiences of my life’s search came into play, such as the clearing of the land or house for negative energy. I also spoke with a Medium, who sees and smells ghosts and I had a past life regression session specifically for the book so that I would get the tone for that scene correctly.
Do you feel there’s a growing demand for books (like yours) that bring up questions about the nature of reality and move it more into the mainstream?
Yes. All life is energy and while at this time on our planet there is a great deal of negative energy, there is also an abundance of positive energy and new discoveries. Research in the areas of quantum physics, parallel universes, the changes in water when spoken to in a harsh or loving manner, how we are literally all connected – these and more are opening people’s eyes to the wondrous lives we live and new and exciting ways to view our existence on this planet. Even schools recognizing the benefits of meditation and incorporating it into the curriculum is moving spirituality into the mainstream. This would never have happened in my childhood. It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
What would you like readers to take away from experiencing Stone Cottage?
Whether or not they agree or disagree with the principles in the story, I hope they like it. I do hope, though, that it will make the readers think, “Huh, never thought of life like that.” What I have written is not a definitive look at what life is all about, but rather, a concept that might or could happen. I hope it will help readers to reassess their paradigm of life and death, and look at other possibilities that could be at play. In my own experience, a lot of what I was taught was handed down from generation to generation and I just accepted it as truth. Perhaps it is truth for another, and that’s perfectly fine, but I needed to explore my life’s purpose from different angles to find out what my own truth was and what sat right with me. The whole concept of God, existence, birth, life, death and beyond is so much bigger and more than we’ve been taught and exploring new ideas about them is fascinating to me.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a mystery with the working title of “Murder at Mother’s”. It is from the point of view of the deceased’s ghost (you can tell I like ghost stories.). Again, I am at the research stage and have several chapters done, but there is still quite away to go. It will have a spiritual component, but again I want the readers to enjoy the story and have that satisfying feeling you get at the end of a good read. I am an avid reader as well as a writer and enjoy nothing more than a good book.
Thanks, Maighread for visiting with us today! For more information about her work, please visit her website and social media platforms.
Open new doorways and celebrate by reading!!! And don’t forget to enter my book contest by commenting on the post below.
After Jupiter Gardens Press went belly up, I struggled with whether or not to do the self-publishing thing. Turns out, it was easier than I expected. I am excited to announce the launch of my first self-published book! I worked with the fabulous Anna Spies at EerilyFair to create a cover I truly love. Thanks, Anna! Now it’s time to share the love. I will be giving away 4 signed paperback copies of Into the Land of Snows using a random drawing (US residents only, since I have to mail them). The contest will run from today until noon Aug. 11 (next Thursday). Enter by leaving me a comment about something fun you did this summer.
About the book: Visionary Fiction
Sixteen year old Blake travels to Base Camp on Mt. Everest to spend time with his physician father. When a deadly avalanche occurs, Dad is forced to rethink things and sends Blake away. Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey that will challenge everything he believes. In the magical Himalayas, he will be forever changed by what he experiences.
Available on Amazon: https://goo.gl/6HUnDX
ebook ($4.99): https://goo.gl/mbHZsr
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
“Well-written with engaging and believable characters, this story has it all: adventure, mystery, magic, and wisdom.” Naomi C. Rose
“Into the Land of Snows is a eminently readable YA novel that moves quickly and adeptly through many mystical twists and turns. A very fast and enjoyable read! I recommend it highly to YA audiences, but to adults as well.” Rea Nolan
“Into the Land of Snows takes the reader into a world so different, so beautifully challenging in its vision of life that the reader is drawn-in completely. So strong is the vision presented in this book it may even change the being within you.” Karin DeMer
A Woman’s Space: The Power of the Female Body by Kimberly Harding, PhD
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Harding, PhD, a while ago. Then she joined us to talk about her art and poetry. Now she’s back to discuss a new project. Kim has used her talents to explore the power of the female body in her new book. In a beautifully illustrated, gentle book, Kim guides the reader on a journey of discovery examining our perceptions and beliefs about our bodies.
I know as a teacher of anatomy at the college level, you have pointed out that language used to describe the female body often involves a sense of lack. Can you give us some examples? Was this realization the starting point of your thinking about creating this book for women?
You are correct. I think one of the reasons I wrote the book is that I am so disturbed by the mixed messages women receive in regards to their body. As I write in the book, we want the miracle of childbirth, but not the “messy” uterine lining each month that makes this possible. Or, we do not mind seeing breasts displayed in advertisements, but some are bothered by breast feeding in public areas. What do all of these messages mean for a woman and her sense of self and her sense of power in the world? For in my mind, a woman’s body is a source of innate power and if she is disconnected from her body, she is disconnected from her power in life.
My thoughts on this are definitely tied to my career as an anatomy and physiology college professor. A book by Emily Martin showed me that even textbooks are not immune to the mixed messages given about women’s bodies. Martin did a study comparing the terminology used in the standard reproduction chapter common to most college anatomy and physiology texts. Terms used in the section on male reproduction included “sheer magnitude, amazing, abundant” (as I have said elsewhere, you almost want to build a monument to it ), while terminology associated with female reproduction included “degeneration, lack, leaking, deteriorate”.
Students see the textbook as the “gold standard” of information, so the use of this terminology is particularly disturbing.
Why is a women’s body seen as threatening or untrustworthy? Is this a cultural perception we can change and if so, how?
I think it is the power contained within a woman that causes some to perceive women as threatening. I realize women, normally, have a smaller physical stature, but this does not in any way detract from the innate power in women to create, produce, destroy, manifest, and maintain the world. Women not only manifest the world, but we sustain it as well.
As for being “untrustworthy”, I feel for centuries, women and their bodies have been viewed with a sense of distrust. Often, this likely resulted from women’s projected place in society and culture as the “Other”- something foreign and unknowable. For ages, women were not even included in clinical medical trials as their menstrual cycle apparently made them “too confusing” to serve as subjects.
I think the change of this perception does not happen on the cultural level first, but rather within each and every woman. Within our power, we, as women, have the ability to heal ourselves. When we heal ourselves, we have the ability to heal the world.
In my mind, I believe if you heal a woman, you heal the world. When a woman heals herself, she heals the generations to come.
In this age of information, do women have adequate knowledge of their physical bodies?
I think this depends on the woman. Those of us who are blessed enough to have access to items such as books, the internet, and supportive medical care, likely have adequate knowledge of our physical bodies. Many women in the world do not have these resources.
I will also say, though, and this is the point of my book, knowledge of the physical body is not enough. We must learn about and embrace the power contained within the body’s tissues. It is one thing to speak to a young woman about the mechanics of her menstrual cycle. How much more powerful does it become, though, when we speak about what the menstrual lining represents- “the potential of the world”? What would it do for a young woman to understand she literally forms the potential of the world within her being every month?
That is the type of message I feel is lacking.
How does a modern woman reclaim her body and her power?
It is the work of each woman to do so. Women can not kid themselves about this important work. There is no other way for a woman to come in to her true power except through understanding the power of her own Being. Certainly, we can assist one another on this journey and we should do so, individually and collectively.
At the end of the day, though, it comes down to each woman confronting what she has been told about her self and what she believes in her self. When one woman raises her self up, she sets the path for all others.
Is there a need for rituals or rites of passage to help women claim their power? I’m wondering about the roles of maiden, mother, crone (borrowing from pagan tradition).
Oh certainly! Rituals and rites of passage can provide a physicality to the internal psychical changes a woman undergoes. These can serve as a source of grounding and a reference point that enable a woman, alone, or within the collective to mark her awakening.
How do the images and text of your book work together to help women explore and reclaim their bodies?
For me, and this is difficult to say from an unbiased perspective as the artist, the images complete the text. I find myself, when I read the book, that the words are engaging, but then I will look at the image and the message is understood on a completely different level.
I purposely put images and text on each page, as for myself, the image, more so than the words, is the trigger to return to the idea. I see the image and immediately associate it with the concept.
I really hope others resonate in a similar manner.
Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and work concerning this important topic! For more about Kim’s work, please visit her website and check out her books on Amazon.
Amazon link: https://goo.gl/TVmsaI
Watch Kim’s fascinating lecture on Female Embodiment- A Woman’s Place (22 min) https://goo.gl/nPLMC2
With Jupiter Gardens closing its doors, I’ve decided to re-release INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS. I’ve had an amazing time working with Anna Spies of EerilyFair (https://www.facebook.com/eerilyfairdesign/). She is a talented and imaginative cover designer and here’s a peek at the new cover design. Freakin’ awesome job!
As part of the process, I got to view photos of teenage male models and choose one for Blake. Somehow I accidentally sent some of those images to my son via Facebook. That provoked a few awkward questions!!