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.
“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.
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!!
“After all, it is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born once.” Voltaire
I’m not sure how I found this book. It was mentioned in some reading I was doing and luckily although it was first published in 1987, I was able to get a copy. This is a reincarnation story with a big twist. The New York Times once referred to Omm Sety as “one of the Western World’s most intriguing and convincing modern case histories of reincarnation.” And it is.
Dorothy Louise Eady (1904-1981) at age three fell down a flight of stairs at home and was pronounced dead by a doctor. The doctor left to make arrangements for the body and upon returning had quite a shock finding Dorothy sitting up, awake in bed. Over the next few years, the child started talking about wanting to go home. She was kicked out of Sunday school for comparing Christianity to an ancient religion and fared no better in regular school. Eventually, a priest visited and told her parents to keep her away from Catholic services. It was on a trip to the British Museum’s Egyptian rooms that things fell into place for Dorothy. There she saw a photograph and exclaimed, “There is my home!” She seemed to recognize the temple of Seti I. After that, she made frequent trips to visit the Egyptian collection eventually meeting E.A. Wallis. He taught her to read hieroglyphs.
From an early age Dorothy Eady was consumed by the desire to learn all things Egyptian. At 15, she described a nighttime visit by Seti I (in mummy form). She had vivid dreams of ancient Egypt and saw herself as a young girl. Troubled by her behavior and sleep disturbances, her parents placed her in sanatoriums but no real answers were forthcoming. As a teen, Dorothy began collecting Egyptian antiquities and, while performing with a theatre group, she played Isis in a production of the story of Isis and Osiris. In her twenties she went to work for a magazine that advanced Egyptian public relations and support for an independent Egypt.
In 1933, Dorothy married an Egyptian teacher and moved to Cairo. She reported that she felt that she was finally at home. It was here that she began to entertain the presence known as King Sety I. He came as a physical being that Dorothy could touch. Her mother who visited at one point also saw the form of the king, but mistook him initially for Dorothy’s husband. After the birth of her son, Sety, Dorothy’s behavior grew more concerning. She would get out of bed in a semi-trance state and sit at a desk and write fragmentary hieroglyphic messages.
Seti I Temple, Abydos
Over the year that followed, Dorothy transcribed the story of her previous life in Egypt. The being who related the story was known as “Hor-Ra”. The work ran about seventy pages written in hieroglyphics. In the Egyptian lifetime, Dorothy was known as Bentreshyt. She came from humble beginnings and was placed in the care of the temple at Kom el-Sultan. As a teenager, she took the vows to become a temple virgin. Eventually, she met Sety I and they began an affair. Bentreshyt was pregnant by the time the temple authorities became aware of the situation. In order to save Sety I from the shame of the affair, Bentreshyt committed suicide. Upon learning her fate, Sety I was inconsolable.
By 1935, Dorothy’s marriage had crumbled and she relocated to a town near the Giza pyramids taking a job as a secretary and draughtswoman for an archeologist. She also dedicated herself to writing articles and books about Egypt. Her work here made her a valuable asset and she later moved on to work with Ahmed Fakhry at Dashur. While there, she was known to make offerings to the gods of ancient Egypt and spend nights in the Great pyramid. Dorothy’s work there ended in 1956 when Fakhry’s project ended. She was offered a well- paid job in the Cairo Records Office or a low paying position in Abydos. After consulting Sety I, she moved to the small town of Arabet Abydos and lived amongst the Egyptian people at a subsistence level. Dorothy now became known as “Omm Sety” (mother of Sety) as was the custom of villagers to refer to women by the name of their oldest child.
Abydos site. Photo: Merlin-UK
Omm Sety’s current incarnation was now living where Bentreshyt had lived during the Sety I reign. Her visitations with the king continued here and much more is disclosed. Two tests of Omm Sety’s reincarnation story happened here. In the first, she was asked to locate a particular wall painting at the Temple of Sety in the dark. She accomplished this during a time period when no publication had yet to divulge where the particular painting was in the complex. The other test concerned the location of a garden at the temple. Omm Sety had insisted from childhood that there was a garden at the temple and it was while she was living in Abydos that a garden matching her description was excavated. Omm Sety lived out the rest of her life pursuing her Egyptological studies, integrating into the local community, and practicing her ancient religion. She garnered the respect of the Egyptologists she worked with for her knowledge and integrity.
The Search for Omm Sety is a fascinating read about a woman who lived her life passionately believing she had once lived as an Egyptian priestess. There is much more to the intimate story of her and Sety’s relationship in this life for those wishing to pursue it. It’s a curious tale more powerful than many fictional stories about reincarnation.
Reincarnation: Past Lives & the Akashic Record by Lois J. Wetzel
I downloaded this book recently following a lead from Dana Taylor (www.supernalliving.com). It is the second book by Lois J. Wetzel concerning case studies of past life readings she’s done. This book clarifies some of the issues raised in the first book and goes on to share healing aspects that clients have experienced as a result of the readings. Wetzel also says that she has had readers report being healed just by reading the book.
Wetzel begins the book with the belief that we are immortal, spiritual beings reincarnating to learn lessons for the soul’s evolution. Eventually we become Master Souls and move on to other levels of development in the spirit world.
In order to help clients deal with issues or problems, she describes a process where she reads an individual’s Akashic records. This is a different process than doing a past life regression. Using a photograph of the client, Wetzel connects to the person and, while in trance, views past lives. The client does not have to be present or be hypnotized.
The book does not attempt to prove reincarnation (from a Buddhist perspective, the more correct term is rebirth. Only advanced masters reincarnate. The rest of us stumble back and take rebirth.). However, there is mention of some of the scientific work investigating reincarnation including that of Ian Stevenson, Jim Tucker, and Brian Weiss.
Readers will probably be as surprised as Wetzel was that she has seen past lives as dolphins and faeries. She also talks about overlapping and parallel lives which may be difficult for some. In addition, she’s viewed lifetimes prior to recorded history and glimpsed civilizations we apparently have no record of.
The case study section of the book provides a transcript of a reading followed by comments from the client. There’s no doubt that the readings often resonate with the client and many things are confirmed. The power of the work lies in its ability to provide healing and consolation for the individuals seeking it.
Reincarnation: Past Lives & the Akashic Record is an engaging read and will leave readers wondering about their own lives and the ones they’ve lived previously. What is a hold-over from the past? What kind of healing can be had here and now? All good questions.
Author Paul Hill kindly hosted me on his blog. Follow the link. I spill the beans on my military background, why I write for kids, and share some curious personal paranormal happenings. Comments welcomed! I’m always here (or there) to chat.
She’s only fifteen. She shouldn’t have to play anesthesia games at all, never mind this often, but whatever. She tries not to waste time feeling sorry for herself. She already knows life isn’t fair. Get over it. If you’re going to survive, you have to turn it into a game you have a chance of winning, a game that makes up for lost time. A game that teaches you how to be awake even when you’re not.
This book has already garnered many positive reviews on Amazon which highlight the author’s skill with characterization, pacing, and the way tense moments are flavored with gentle humor. And I totally agree. Rea Nolan Martin has successfully woven a story around four women facing crisis. We are drawn in and caught up in their lives. Most of us will have faced some part of this story either in our own lives or in the lives of a loved one.
What I want to highlight is that this is a masterful work in the emerging genre of visionary fiction. And here the author shows her talent best. She asks us to dig deep and think about healing. How much do we rely on medical professionals? How much power do we have over our own healing? On the healing of others? The writing here is so compelling that I know Rea Nolan Martin has experienced these questions and wrestled with them in her own life. She is drawing from what she “knows”. Anyone who reads about where science is leading us will also feel a resonance to the ideas of the zero point field. Others will gravitate to the language of interconnectedness. Either way, we have to reexamine our place on earth and in the cosmos.
Few authors can take on these themes and make them accessible. This author can. Grab this one!
THE WINNERS ARE: Congratulations Dawnrigger and Linda Martin! I will be contacting you both to get your email details. Thanks to everyone who participated.
It’s almost spring and international teams will soon meet to begin the 2016 climbing season at Everest. Most of us will never be challenged by a mountain, but we can live vicariously safe at home, book in hand. For all you armchair adventurers, it’s contest time. Two free e-books of INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS will be awarded on Thursday, March 17th. Leave a comment about mountains below to enter. Contest closes 12:00 PM (MTN) on March 17th.
A troubled, 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 off the mountain. Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey which will challenge everything he believes. In the magical Himalayas, he will be forever changed by what he experiences.
The Biology of Consciousness- Case Studies in Kundalini- JJ Semple
This book has been on my reading list for a while. Although I’ve read books in the Eastern tradition on energy and Kundalini, I’ve never picked up a practical guide, so to speak. My background on the subject frames the rise of Kundalini energy in esoteric or spiritual terms. JJ Semple wants to get away from the notion of the spiritual and talk in terms of biology and evolution.
For him, a Kundalini awakening is essentially a biological process where consciousness expresses as an evolutionary force whose purpose is to refine and upgrade itself in a single lifetime. But it’s more than that because Semple believes the raising of consciousness can cause significant evolutionary leaps that can be passed on to subsequent generations.
Some esoteric traditions teach there is only one way to raise the serpent coiled at the base of the spine. Others outline a favored approach. This is where Semple’s book can be helpful. He outlines some of the many ways Kundalini can be triggered either intentionally or accidentally (that’s right- you can be minding your own business one minute and then yikes – what the ??). In fact, many people have had just that experience! They didn’t go looking for it, they don’t have an interest in anything spiritual, and yet it happens. Remember, Semple’s theory doesn’t require spirituality. He is talking about fundamental biology. If you are human, the life force waits ready for its opportunity.
Some of the case studies presented involve the raising of Kundalini as a result of meditation, Shaktipat (where energy is transferred from one individual to another), emotional crisis, sexual encounter, or eye gazing. Semple himself has experienced his own biological awakening and has chosen cases illustrating some of the differences and some of the similarities of what people go through. There are no advanced spiritual masters here; these are everyday people going through a life changing process. The book is immediately easy to relate to. Along the way, the reader gets a sense of how the rise of the Kundalini can be lived with and accommodated.
The book spends some time on the God versus no God arguments within society. Although Semple is an atheist, he thinks the argument gets us nowhere. He would like us to view Kundalini in terms of an energy continuum. Religion gets in the way of having this biological process seriously studied by scientists. Real work needs to be done. Real people are awakening all the time and there is a need to be able to guide them through the process.
Semple’s book is an easy read even if you know nothing about Kundalini. I hope it begins to open a dialogue among a wider audience. Highly recommended!
A cautionary note: Many spiritual traditions regard the raising of Kundalini as a dangerous endeavor. It is not viewed as being for everyone. Many have levels of initiation and recognize master teachers.
I’ve been watching Maga’s astrology videos on Youtube for months now. What I like most about her presentation is the focus on spiritual growth and evolution. As my birthday approached, I decided to take the plunge and have her do my natal chart. I’ve been playing around with my chart for a few years so some of what Maga outlined was very familiar, but what was really helpful was that she looked at it from a perspective of soul mission and growth. Turns out, that’s the thing I most needed to hear as we head into 2016. I immediately reached out to Maga to see if she’d be interested in appearing on the blog. She’s here today to share her knowledge and perspective on astrology and healing. Before I launch into some questions I want to share a little about Maga’s background.
Maga is a professional healer, intuitive, astrologer, and artist. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, is a Usui Reiki master, a licensed massage therapist, and is a certified Kundalini yoga instructor. She has been teaching since the late 1990s after going through her own transformative spiritual experience.
Mama Maga has answered the interview questions in the following audio file. Please click to listen to this fascinating interview.
1. What was your life like prior to 1995 when you experienced what you call “the Plutonian Passage”?
2. Was it then that you were called into the world in a new way or were you always interested in the spiritual side of life and healing?
3. As I’ve started learning some of the basics of astrology, I’m struck by how large and technical the art and science is. Can you share how you first became interested in astrology and how you proceeded to acquire your understanding?
4. When I was listening to your natal reading of my chart, I wondered how having some of these things pointed out early in my life might have made a difference. How can astrology be a practical tool in people’s lives? For a beginner, how should someone get started?
5. How can astrology be used for those with a spiritual inclination? How can it aid to our evolution and growth?
6. I’ve been watching “The Daily News” on your YouTube channel and I know you’re offering a special program starting in mid-January. Please describe what the 5 Month Membership is and who you think would most benefit from it?
7. As we look at 2016, what astrological aspect(s) should we most be aware of?
Thank you, Maga, for spending some time with us. Maga offers a wide range of astrology and healing services (at affordable rates, I might add). Please check out her YouTube channel and websites for more information.