I was 18 when I first read about Terry Pratchett’s witches. Wise women, often kind and sometimes cross, who guided their communities with a soft, but stern hand. I knew these women, I was surrounded by some of them. Spirits in human form who never did “magic”, but knew about herbs, plants, healing and food. How to make a handful of nothing and the herbs from the yard into a nourishing meal that an 80’s boy couldn’t turn up his nose at. One of those witches (never call her that to her face) was Phyllis and she lived next door.
Phyllis was retired from the phone company. She scoured antique markets and auctions, she cooked, gardened, and turned her yard into a shady haven where roses with apple scented leaves grew, honey scented yellow flowers peaked through the snow, and treasures were hidden round every curve of the path.
It was my final year in college when she predicted her death. She was recovering from a second bout of cellulitis and said quite confidently, “If a third round comes, that will be the end.” When she saw the look on my face she hastily walked it back, but by the following summer she was gone.
I was away when she passed, living in the pavement paradise of Queens, with only a few small patches of dirt to visit in my neighborhood. I didn’t feel her passing, but on my next visit home, her nephew offered me some of her cookbooks and I eagerly accepted the oldest and the strangest he was willing to give. That’s when I felt her, hovering around those well loved books that were stuffed in the closet (much like me at the time), waiting for someone to give them the love they needed.
I had just bought my first house the next time I felt her presence. I was standing behind my new (to me) house, searching for ways to make it feel private and safe when I saw her standing in the shade of a tall, narrow yew. For just a moment, I saw the land transformed with gentle evergreens and shady curves cupping the house; shielding it away from prying neighbors and chaotic energies.
It was this fall I felt her again, for the first time in years. I have been struggling with this new yard. It’s a tidy little suburban yard that needed nothing, but a bit of trimming to be nice and tidy. I hated it and immediately began making a chaotic mess as I third to figure it out (my Father-in-law hated that).
I didn’t know what to do or where to start (I mean, I started a compost pile. I’m not a monster.), but all I had done was plant some annuals and start the veggie garden. This year the scrubby, vining shrubs scattered around the yard grew thick and lush, finally showed me what they are: Phyllis’s beloved Bittersweet. She struggled with this plant and never had more than a bit growing in the hedgerow, but she would cut the colorful berries every fall and decorate and much as she could. I always planned to plant some in her honor, but here there are, growing with a newfound vigor after hiding what they were for our first few years together.
Cupping the orange berries I knew Phyllis had taken an interest in this new patch of land where my herbs grow like never before and shade dapples the grass.
American or False Bittersweet (Not to be confused with bella donna, also called bittersweet) is a twining shrub with flame colored small berries in the late fall. Toxic if ingested to dogs, cats, horses and people, it is rarely used by herbalists anymore, but was once used to treat bowel obstructions, late menstruation and skin blemishes. This is no longer recommended! The berries can cause severe bowl cramping and pain. However, birds love the berries. It dries easily and is beautiful in arrangements and the autumn landscape.
I’m told that when I was in my crib, my dad, who was born bow-legged, used to pull the covers back, look at my legs and thank God that they were straight. I’ve also been told that when I was focused on an activity, such as getting on the floor and playing with the dogs, and unaware of my father, he would stare at me with a look of what’s been described as a blend of love and pride.
As an infant, I bonded with my father more than I did my mother. My first memory is of him. My parents split when I was just three-years old and I remained with my mother. I stopped eating and would get violently ill when I was forced to eat. I missed my daddy. Within a few months I was living with him and was subsequently raised by my father and step-mother.
Dad was always strong, proud and tough. He was a police officer and he worked a lot and wasn’t home as often as he or I would have liked. But he always tried to give me a good life, a better life than he had. He had always wanted a horse so when he could afford it, he got one for each of us and we used to go riding together at least once a week.
Throughout my childhood, there was a local late night horror movie show on Friday nights. When he was not working, my dad and I would spread sleeping bags on the living room floor and spread pillows. I’d grab my favorite teddy bear and we’d snuggle in and stay up late watching monster movies.
When we moved cross-country, Dad insisted we move into an affluent neighborhood because the school there was supposed to be the best. We were far from affluent. While we lived there, Dad couldn’t find work that paid more than minimum wage, so after one year of enjoying that very nice neighborhood, my parents burned through their life savings and we had to move.
My dad and I have always been very close. We’ve laughed a lot and have done as many things together as possible. He taught me how to go crabbing, took me deep sea fishing and taught me how to drive. We often went for jeep rides in the mountains. We had fun. I really like him. He is my friend.
Time has moved on and, while Dad and I are still close, things have changed quite a bit. I’m now in my mid-fifties and married, he’s in his early eighties and a widower. He’s no longer able to stand or walk and gets around in an electric wheelchair. He frequently has trouble sitting up without assistance and cannot get out of bed on his own. Some days are good days, more of them aren’t so good.
Our daily late morning ritual is for John and I to get Dad up. We pull the covers back, sit him up, change his Depends, clean him up, dress him and transfer him to his wheelchair. I have to make his coffee for him and we cook all his meals. Every day we have to change his bed and wash the sheets from his nightly accidents. He’s my dad. I’m honored to be able to do these things for him. I love him.
On good days, despite the obvious physical changes in him, he’s still Dad. While he needs help, despite his embarrassment and frustration, he’s patient and understanding. And funny. He’s just Dad.
On bad days, which are coming with more frequency, he has tremendous difficulty with his motor functions. He’s like a rag doll and can hardly even hold a fork or spoon and eating a simple omelette can take a couple of hours. Worse, he’s in a deep mental fog and can’t think clearly. Sometimes he thinks he’s holding an object or doing something that he’s not doing. He sleeps almost constantly. On those bad days he has no sense of humor. My dad’s not there and I miss him.
Actually, I miss my dad a lot. I miss his often-imposing size and his strength. I miss going to do things with him beyond doctor’s appointments. I miss laughing with him and being silly. I miss my friend. I miss my dad.
But life goes on. Our roles have changed but goodness knows so have we. I’m glad that we’re still together. And we laugh together. He’s still my father.
I have only one father. I love him. I’m proud to be his son.
In this short video on Rose Quartz Donna shares some uses for this energetic stone. Donna Bell is a Reiki Master and Energetic Wellness Practitioner and a regular contributor to Great Conjunction Events. You can find out more about her at https://www.onemindreiki.com
Good morning, everybody. This is Donna and I just wanted to take you on a quick tour of a Rose quartz garden. These beautiful pink stones are natural to the earth. They're very plentiful the world over, even in the United States. Rose quartz is known as being a stone of unconditional love, meaning it teaches you to love yourself and also to love others.
It comes in varying shades and hues of a very soft pink. And that's what a lot of people find very soothing about it is it's gentle color and it's very gentle energy. And these times we could use just a little softness, a little soothing and a little unconditional love. It helps us to remind ourselves that we are divine beings.
We are always loved and we are never alone. This stone, in addition to being very good for unconditional love lessons is also great in times of trauma and crisis. A simple way to work with this is to just pick a stone that you're drawn to and place it in your hand and just sit with it and breathe just for a couple of seconds.
You'll feel the stones energy begin to connect with you. And it will radiate, outward that soothing, loving, and gentle energy. So, if you do not have a Rose quartz, please feel free to watch this video and soak up the joy, the love, the peace, the calm, and the soothing energy.
Have a great day.
Great Conjunction welcomes Donna Bell! Donna is a regular at our Psychic Fairs and is always generous with her knowledge and talents. In this short video on Fluorite Donna shares some uses for this energetic stone. You can Read the full transcript at below.
Donna Bell is a Reiki Master and Energetic Wellness Practitioner. You can find out more about her at https://www.onemindreiki.com
So these are just a few examples of Fluorite. And I have much more of it, but it's just not available right now. I use Fluorite a lot in crystal grid work that I do. And grids are ways to hold energy for an intention so that you are not there holding the intention yourself. And fluorite is a master at this, which is why I have so much of it elsewhere.
So what I'm showing here are examples of, and talked about it and look what it did. This is a fluorite wand.
Here's the fluorite sphere.
Now fluorite is a real workhorse of the crystal and gem family. And we call it nature's ice cube and we use it a great deal in crystal healing work to help bring down the body temperature helps to destress people, even just the soothing color. And this is the green. And that's very soothing on its own.
This is a piece of clear fluorite. All fluorite is very protective and fluorite says, I work to bring you out of chaos. I work with systems and I work to bring about organization and balance. So if you're working on something that deals with, let's say. One of the prime examples for fluorite is you're working to achieve your ideal physicality.
Fluorite is the perfect stone to meditate with it and let it help support you in your goals for your perfect physical shape. Fluorite is also excellent if you are working on any type of projects that require a lot of mental work, as fluorite loves to help your brain to balance, making each side work - each side of your hemispheres of your brain - work in cooperation with each other so that you are stable, balanced, and you are much more clear in your intention, which brings about a more focused energy, which brings about a much smoother project and goal result.
Fluorite is easily made into beads, and shapes so that it can be used in jewelry. And I always encourage people. If you are having a stressful moment to carry a piece of fluorite with you for a few days.
All right. Well, I hope that you enjoy this video and that you learned a little bit more about fluorite.
Talk to you soon. Have a great night. Bye-bye.
I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions lately.
The tradition of making a resolution on New Year’s began over four-thousand years ago. Historically speaking, resolutions were make to the gods. In Rome, they were made to the god Janus, after whom the month of January was named.
Over the centuries people have resolved to lose weight, to exercise more, stop gossiping, to be a better person, become more involved in their community and on and on and on. The types of resolutions are endless. People have been passionate about making their resolutions and standing by them.
But are resolutions really kept? Let’s be honest, here.
While it’s been a long-standing tradition to make a Resolution (with a capital “R”), it’s been an equally long-standing tradition to break one. It’s not that people don’t want to better themselves or try to make healthy changes or even just stand by their decision. It’s a simple matter of stick-to-it-ness and creating new habits.That’s the hard part. It’s creating new habits that’s tough. Soon after beginning to modify one’s life to meet a new resolution, a day comes when acting on that resolution slips the mind and then guilt sets in. Then soon that Resolution has gone the way of the Dodo.
Another New Year’s, another broken Resolution. We feel guilty, anxious and, often, like a failure.
Simply put, a resolution (lower case “r”) is the goal of creating a new habit. We all have a lot of habits, both good and bad. But a new resolution takes time to become a habit. If your resolution is to start drinking a glass of water every morning, it’ll take about 21-days for that to become a habit. If you’re trying something a bit harder it’s going to take longer. If, for example, you resolve to exercise more it could take 66-days before it becomes habitual. 66-days can be a long time and those 66-days will always be the hardest.
There’s another factor that we tend to put on ourselves and that’s the pressure of having made a resolution to begin with. That adds a level of pressure that no one needs and that we can seldom live up to. So it sets us up for failure more than for success. Those thousands of years of resolutions, broken and lived up to are a lot of pressure.
I decided long ago that New Year’s resolutions are bunk. They’re way too much to try to live up to. When I want to make changes in my life, I don’t want thousands of years of pressure on me. I want as much positive energy and support a I can get.
I continually try to improve myself and my life but I won’t make a resolution. I will, however, try to focus on creating a new habit and I’ll allow myself to stumble and make mistakes; that’s only human. I try my best to be patient and hang on for those 66-days till my new habit sets in.
Does it always work? Oh, heck no! But that’s actually part of the beauty of it; the striving and the effort.
So let’s all get together and resolve to not make Resolutions! But if you want to try to create a new habit, I’ll be happy to lend moral support!