Smart Flower; the Amazing Solar Thingy Everyone Wants to Know About

Some time ago I inquired about SmartFlower. Eventually the authorized dealer for West Coast USA contacted me, and answered some of my questions. This article includes the answers I received, and some other information given to me at the time. If, after reading this, you think you have the real estate and the budget for a Smart Flower on the West Coast, please contact me.


As might be expected, SmartFlower is more expensive and more efficient than most residential rooftop solar systems. It's not exponentially more expensive, though. According to the West Coast dealer, if you think 20% to 30% more than the cost of a standard system you'll probably be in the ballpark. SmartFlower is also appropriate for commercial applications.

One thing SmartFlower needs is enough room to hang out and do its thing. SmartFlower is a large installation that moves with the sun, and that takes a fair chunk of exterior real estate. You'll need about 16' x 16' square of clear exterior space per SmartFlower; about the size of a large trampoline.

Like a standard residential rooftop solar system, SmartFlower is usually designed to tie into the "electrical grid" in cooperation with a local Electric Company. However; the system can be powered by a battery pack, and will produce about 15 kw per day per SmartFlower.

Smartflower is a pretty unique product; a packaged unit that isn't attached to a roof. But is it portable? According to the CEO of the West Coast dealership, SmartFlower is much more practical to move from one residence to another than a standard solar rooftop system.

As of April 2017, the SmartFlower dealer for the West Coast says they can get a project going with only $1000 deposit.

Information from the Brochure

The smart, simple & stunning solar system 

The next level of solar energy is the smartflower.  Beneath the elegant design is a remarkably intelligent system fully integrated with smart features that make smartflower up to 40% more efficient than rooftop solar.

The world’s most intelligent solar system

Simple. A fully integrated, all-in-one solar solution without the complex installation of traditional solar.

Independent. Self-cleaning and cooling features keep smartflower running at maximum efficiency.

Efficient. Smart tracking helps smartflower stay at the  optimal angle to the sun for 40% more efficiency.

Elegant. Unique and powerful features packaged in an awardwinning design.

Catch every last ray of sunlight.

The smart tracking system is the core brilliance of the smartflower. Every morning at sunrise, smartflower automatically unfolds itself. The dual-axis system allows smartflower’s modular fan to follow the sun across the sky throughout the day, always maintaining the optimal angle to the sun. This makes smartflower 40% more efficient and capable of producing 4,000-6,200 kWh/ year, depending on your location.

EV Compatible

Thanks to easy integration with external EV charging stations the smartflower can be used to charge electric vehicles. For organizations and companies, EV charging capacity is  your “green business card,” and is perfect for public spaces, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, small businesses, and more. 

Why Am I Writing this Blog Post?

The information in this blog post has been reviewed by, and is shared with the permission of the West Coast SmartFlower dealer, as paraphrased from a telephone conversations held with, and a brochure received via email attachment from the CEO and the Director of Sales and Installation of the West Coast SmartFlower dealer in April and May of 2017.

If, with the permission of a person who contacts me, I refer a client (and/or client project) to the aforementioned authorized SoCal dealer for SmartFlower, I will expect to receive financial compensation from the distributor for a completed project referral.

If I am, in some way, involved in a design project for a client who wants to include SmartFlower as part of the design, I will expect to receive financial compensation from the client who contracts my design services as a mutually agreed-upon consulting fee.

I hope this is obvious, but...I don't expect to get a referral fee and a design fee on the same project. It's kind of an either/or situation. I don't necessarily recommend SmartFlower, because I haven't tried it myself. However, I feel it's a very cool technology, and feel it's definitely worth my time to write this blog post.

Sunset on Middle Earth

I used to write tons of poetry in ancient times...high school. Many of my poems were published in "Colts Tale", the literary annual of Wooster High School in Reno, Nevada, which was a "big deal" to the time!

As the daughter of world-travelling parents, my high school education had begun on North Island, New Zealand, and continued in South Island before returning to USA for the final two years and high school graduation. Needless to say, the cultural influences were wonderful, mind-opening, and just confusing enough to be fascinating to a wide-eyed teenager.

This poem was influenced by the "Lord of the Rings" book trilogy; however, it was not chosen for publication at the time, because it didn't reach the general high school audience of that era. I hope you enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of a young poet:

Sunset on Middle Earth

The moon shone over darkened sea,
Faint moonbeams on the sandy shore.
Merry, Pippin and Sam Gamgee
Were thinking of the times of yore...

Long ago in Lothlorien,
Where Galadriel was silent, seen
In woods of old, in forest glen,
Lothlorien was fresh and green.

The evil then was hid', unfelt,
While Sauron's bloody forces grew.
The ring, which long ago was smelt -
Its power grew, its evil too.

When, on a long and dange'rous quest,
Was thrown into the cracks of doom,
And Frodo, to the shire to rest,
To rest until he met his tomb.

But coming to the shire he saw
That things were different, changed somehow,
And knew that they'd been changed by war,
That things were different then from now.

Lothlorian was dying swift,
The third age had arrived and gone.
So on the sea at last they drift,
To Havens Grey, and now as one.

E. Simpson

Herb of 10,000 Names

As I listen to Klara Adalena’s presentation on Gaia at the Goddess Telesummit 2015, sponsored by Mystery School of the Goddess, I wonder who might share my views regarding the herb known by many names, including “marijuana” and the legal cesspool surrounding its legality or non.
Common Cinquefoil, Public Domain Engraving from The British Herbal, 1756
Public Domain
Engraving from
The British Herbal, 1756

My feeling, after having worked with plants in my own garden, is that not only are plants living creatures, they also have an awareness of their environment. We have heard of plants being “trained” to climb a trellis, and those of us who tend regularly notice how external influences, aside from the basic botanical, affect the health and wellbeing of those plants.

My question: what has been “taught” to the marijuana plant? Has it been taught love, harmony, fidelity? Has it been taught violence, fear, lust?

What, in fact, is marijuana’s upbringing; before it gets to the final consumer and becomes something that is so craved that people get more incited about its legalization than they do about stopping a war? What is so darn frantic about marijuana’s legalization?

Deep my my heart of hearts, I feel that marijuana, the plant, is afraid and abused. It lives its life in secret; in fear of being killed if found, and having its death and destruction publicized in public newspapers. Not only the plant itself is in fear, it is also surrounded by fear and violence. In the foreign countries where it is raised, crossing the borders in peril, and being sold in secret.

It’s hard to imagine any therapeutic benefits would remain, after such an upbringing. Compare a child, raised in such an environment. What is more likely? To become a doctor or a criminal?

Public Engraving of Herbs from  The British Herbal, 1756
from The British Herbal, 1756

So, let’s say marijuana is legalized, which will probably happen during my lifetime.

Does that solve marijuana’s problem, after a century or more of discrimination through a number of generations?

Will marijuana, suddenly, be cured of its fearful past?
I doubt it. It’s a start, but nothing happens overnight.

What, in fact, is the “half life” of domestic violence? Which is, my dears, the life that the marijuana plant has been raised with.

My estimate: two to three times as long as the life experiences it has been raised in, from the moment it became known as “bad” or “unlawful”.

In other words: two or more CENTURIES.

So, legalizing marijuana may be an answer for the future of this planet and acceptance of everything within Gaia’s dominion as mother earth.

But it will take much, much longer for the ills suffered by this plant to be cured.

just sayin’


I've been a licensed California Architect for many years, and quite some time ago I noticed the website building teams were using the term "Architect" for something that had nothing to do with my work. I realized this fact, after applying for work as an "Architect" and receiving tons of offers for work I knew nothing about; computer stuff. After some time of sifting through emails sent from this new 'keyword", I decided maybe I should learn how to build some websites, so I did.

I'm not a programmer, although I've learned a few things here and there. I've experienced kits, tech support, online courses about programming websites (and other things), open source, forums, and all the other wonderful learning tools that are available to anyone who has a computer and access to the web.

After all is said and done, I feel I have less experience and expertise at building websites than I have in designing architecture for buildings. However; I've met a lot of nice people, and appreciate the friendships that can be made in an instant of sharing mutual experiences. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Recently, Google came out with a great way to let those of us, who have been playing at learning online, know if there are issues with websites. After doing a little research, I discovered that my "kit-built" websites are actually more stable than the ones I built with open source tools. Which is one reason I've decided to rebuild one of my Wordpress websites over here at blogger. I'm thinking it's time to get back to work, and that means I have less time to tinker over fixing something at home.

So, here is a list of my websites, as much as I remember anyway. You can find them on a google search, and then make your own mind up whether you want to check them out, or just take my word for it. I don't build websites for a living, like most folks around who have 'em.

E Sylvia dot com 

Originally created in cpanel with Joomla, then rebuilt with Wordpress. The most recent incarnation is probably the website you're browsing now, which is the "safer" blogger platform, with a redirected domain name. hopefully, anyway.

E Sylvia Simpson dot com

Built with GoDaddy website builder kit. Not the most exciting website, maybe, and it's never been offline, never had a problem, maybe never will. hopefully, anyway.

Mama Fortuna dot com

Originally created in cpanel with Joomla, then rebuilt with Wordpress. Google is giving this website a "clean" rating as of the date of this post, so a rebuild is not in my timeline, and maybe never will be. I might be moving this website into managed hosting. hopefully, anyway.

Temple of Fortuna dot com

Sanctuary dot Temple of Fortuna dot com

Originally built with GoDaddy's Website Tonight with Blog kit. GoDaddy discontinued the blog feature, and their tech support suggested I learn cpanel, which I did. The website pages were recreated in Joomla, with the blog on a subdomain in Wordpress. The blog was later put into same wordpress subdomain with domain forwarding.

Google is giving the subdomain a "clean" rating as of the date of this post, which I plan to move into managed hosting; probably as a subdomain with domain forwarding, or I might do a one-page "enter the Sanctuary" sort of page. hopefully, anyway.

Temple of Hecate dot com

Built with GoDaddy website builder kit. This website has been so reliable, I sometimes forget I even own it. It's never been offline, never had a problem, maybe never will. hopefully, anyway.

Temples of Wonderful Ancient Deities

Built with GoDaddy one- and five-page kits. I went through a phase of finding and buying what I though were very cool domain names and building little websites. After awhile, I got tired of this, and only kept a couple of the domain names. The temples got rebuilt over at the Mama Fortuna dot com site as webpages.

The one- and five-page website kits were very reliable, I sometimes forgot I even owned them until the domain names came up for renewal. These little websites were never a problem, I just felt a need to curtail needless expenditures. hopefully, anyway.

Seven Days Seven Dreams e-Course

This eight lesson e-course is an introduction to the seven days of the week: a magical, Goddess-centered approach to discovering pathways to new inspiration and motivation each day.

Work, family and other obligations can sometimes interfere with the natural rhythms and ancient patterns of living that our ancestors recognized, organized, and handed down through the generations.When you lose touch with the spiritual aspects of the seven day week, enthusiasm dissolves into boredom, mundane tasking and repetitive habits.

Rediscover the meaning and unique qualities of each day, and enjoyment of the present moment becomes a possibility. Time-keeping is revitalized as a creativity energy that can even help open the door to visionary goal-setting for a brighter future.

Each lesson will highlight one of the seven days of the week, with emphasis on daily correspondences and how to use them for inspiration. We will also delve into the legacies we have inherited from mythological Goddesses and Gods  and how these archetypes influence us, and practical suggestions for how to make each day of the week vital, unique and part of a larger cycle of continuous renewal.

This 8 lesson online course will allow you to work at your own pace, go back and review the lessons any time, and post comments for discussion with other students taking the e-course.

Due to the informational nature of this course,  there will be no refunds. Due to the present economy, a sliding scale will be offered to make this course available affordable for everyone.

This Course is No Longer Available

Please accept apologies for any inconvenience.     

Seven Days Seven Dreams graphics
adapted from public domain art

Optional Text for this Course
7 Days of Magic: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for the Bewitching Week by Ellen Dugan

Additional Resources
Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan
Sacred Number by Miranda Lundi
The Book of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm Richard Heygate
The Goddess Guide: Exploring the Attributes and Correspondences of the Divine Feminine by Brandi Auset

Seven Days Seven Dreams Course * Lesson One * The Week

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
—Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?”
“How many? Seven in all,” she said,
And wondering looked at me.

Everybody knows that Monday is the beginning of the school or work week, Wednesday is hump day, and Friday is TGIF, or thank the Goddess it’s Friday! In antiquity, however, the seven day week did not exist. Instead, the natural energies of the sun, moon, and the planets, helped people tell time. Heavenly bodies were honored as divine, and represented both male and female genders, depending on the culture.

Moon Earth Sun Fresco by Giorgione 16th Century
Moon Earth Sun Fresco by Giorgione 16th Century

A strong feminine aspect of lunar energies within hearth, home, and an association between the moon, the Goddess energies of the mother, and a safe return home from primitive work were observed in many ancient cultures.

Counterbalanced with a masculine solar deity, representing energy, work, and daylight activities, a lunar Goddess explained in elementary human terms, an archetypal relationship symbolized by a repeating pattern of feminine and masculine energies every 24 hours.

This pattern of masculine and feminine differed, depending on the beliefs of the people within a culture or region. Some mythologies embraced a masculine moon, a feminine sun, and other combinations. 

The twelve month calendar is a relatively new invention. Ancient people noticed that there were two full moons every 59 days, and the first calendars in many cultures measured days and nights in a repeating cycle of three types of moon phases; new, full, and in between.

rare Triple Nut at Dendera, Egypt, recolored for clarity
rare Triple Nut at Dendera, Egypt, recolored for clarity

Echoing the three types of moon phases, a “triple Goddess archetype” appeared in many forms and mythologies throughout the world.

This trio of powerful female forces represents the sacred, divine feminine moon energy watching protectively over all who depended on Her for guidance and nurture.

The lunar months, measured in repeating cycles of moon phases, were often designed to end on the dark, black or new moon, with a crescent moon symbolizing the birth or rebirth of the new month, for a grand total of approximately thirteen annual lunation cycles in a year.

Four distinct moon phases are clearly visible each cycle: the dark or new moon, the waxing moon (becoming lighter), the full moon, and the waning moon (becoming darker). Each lunation, with four different cycles, boils down to slightly more than seven days for each moon phase. The seven-day week continues to organize human lives in a repeating pattern of seven alternations of dark and light, night and day, lunar and solar.

Because the moon represents divine feminine energies, and the week is based on moon phases, accessing lunar Goddess energy can be done at any time, on any day or evening of the week. In addition, there are more divine, Goddess and planetary energies that can be accessed on specific days of the week, and also astrologically, which is beyond the scope of this course.

Selenographic diagram of Moon Phases by Andreas Cellarius, 17th century
Selenographic diagram of Moon Phases by Andreas Cellarius, 17th century

What are Correspondences and Why are they Important?

A correspondence can be any of a number of conceptual, physical or sensory tools that are used in spiritual practice to represent, empower or remind ourselves of a concept, goal or desire. Correspondences can be decorative or basic, obvious or hidden.

Correspondences can provide an effective focal point for ideas, goals and concepts, and also help dramatize and empower a private, personal or group act of spiritual prayer. Correspondences can be grouped together for greater emphasis, or offered separately for the purposes of ease, simplicity or due to space constraints.

Garden flowers in a vase decorated with swans represents the Roman Moon Goddess Juno
This is a simple altar piece I created as a bouquet of garden flowers. The swans on the vase represent the Roman Goddess Juno, one of many moon Goddesses.

Many correspondences come from nature, or can be realized in ordinary household objects that are already imprinted with your personal energies, and then cleansed and/or repurposed with focus and intention.

Although it’s not necessary to buy anything to work with correspondences, there are numerous products available to purchase, like candles, crystals, and incense.

Some may be simple and inexpensive while others are extravagant and costly. If you choose something new, it is wise to choose carefully and watch your budget, because overspending on unnecessary items is very easy to do!

Correspondences can include plants, planets, numbers, names, colors, scents, herbs, flowers, foods, and much more. Each day of the week has a different set of correspondences, and although there is some agreement on what they are, there are also different opinions.

Go with what feels right for you, and don’t worry about getting everything perfect, or using every correspondence. Try to work with at least one correspondence that resonates with you each day of the week, and allow the mystery, magic and vibrations for each day to come to you naturally. 

19th century stone and gold bracelet with cameos of the Olympic gods

If you like, you might want to set up an altar for the seven days of the week. You might create an altar with a nice tablecloth, candles, flowers, or crystals that represent correspondences you choose.

It can be a pretty seven-day altar at home, set up on a day of the week when you’re not usually busy, to last throughout the entire week. Or, the altar could represent a simple goal for the business week, with a subtle correspondence changes for each day. 

If there is an important date coming up, you may wish to notice what day of the week it will be, and create an altar with correspondences for that specific day, to empower your decision-making and help keep a positive outlook.

The Pleiades by Elihu Vedder, 1885
The Pleiades by Elihu Vedder, 1885

Altars can be temporary or permanent, on a dedicated space, like a shelf or the top of a piece of furniture, or part of a regular workspace.

An altar can be a well organized spice rack in the kitchen, a closet arranged by colors, a bouquet of flowers or an awareness of the scents of perfumes you frequently wear.

Keep it simple, when you start. Tending an altar should be a pleasure, a reminder of the divine, and not a chore.

Another way to use correspondences is to treat your sacred self as a living Goddess Temple. Have you ever stared into the closet, late for work, without a clue what to wear? Thought about what to cook for dinner and come up with a blank? Gotten so busy that you forgot what day it is? Learning and using daily correspondences can help make easy work of choosing colors, styles, jewelry, meals, spices, fragrances and much more!

Fresco in Bern, Switzerland showing male and female deities Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus with child Cupid, Mercury
Fresco in Bern, Switzerland showing male and female deities Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus with child Cupid, Mercury

Correspondences for the Week

1 (one) complete cycle of moon phases, four phases measured in seven days each is 4×7=28, 2+8=10 and 1+0=1

2 (two) full moons every 59 days, four phases and seven days is 4+7=11 and 1+1=2

3 (three) moon phase types, triple Goddesses

4 (four) moon phases per cycle

5 (five) 59 days is 5+9=14 and 1+4=5 

7 (seven) days of the week, 3 moon Goddesses and 4 moon phases is 3+4=7, 52 weeks per year is 5+2=7, spiritual sevens include the chakras, the virtues, the Pleiades, the Hathors, seven coils in a traditional labyrinth, and much more

Daily correspondences will be covered in each lesson.

Soundtrack and background music in the video  excerpted from – The Planets by Gustav Holst,  performed by USAF Heritage of America Band, courtesy of, public domain

But let me finish what I have begun
And shirt you now invulnerable in the mail
Of iron kisses, kisses linked like steel.  

Put greaves upon your thighs and knees, and frail
Webbing of steel on your feet. So you shall feel
Ensheathed invulnerable with me, with seven
Great seals upon your outgoings, and woven
Chain of my mystic will wrapped perfectly
Upon you, wrapped in indomitable me.


What images come to mind when you think about the days of the week?

How do lunar and solar energies enhance your perceptions?

How is the idea of correspondences for the days of the week insightful or inspiring to you? 

Have you created an altar? Post a picture if you like!

Guardian Angels

Everyone has Three Guardian Angels

A Spiritual Guardian Angel for beliefs and higher aspirations

An Emotional Guardian Angel for joys and sorrows

A Physical Guardian Angel for health and wealth

Your Guardian Angels may have one, two, or three different names, depending on your birthday and time of birth. Do you know the name(s) of your Three Guardian Angels?

Guardian angel research will be done by a Registered Metaphysician (WMA), based on birth information provided. The name(s) of the Guardian Angels that match the birth info will be emailed to your PayPal email address.

No other information, except the name(s) of the Guardian Angel(s), will be sent. If you desire additional information, please read my blog post Nosce te Ipsum: Know Thyself.

Provide the birthdate, time of birth (including am or pm), and the first name of the person who is receiving the Guardian Angels’ names.

Guardian Angels names are provided for entertainment purposes. Please read full disclaimer above paypal buttons before purchasing.

Purchase through the paypal button at sidebar to the right.

Because there is no way to return an informational product, I do not provide refunds.

Reviews from real clients who received Guardian Angel Name(s)

Beautiful. I loved it!! Very magical!!!    AB

Thank you so much! Awesome!    DJ

Thank you, I feel so blessed to have that now.    RH

I am very pleased! Thank you.    SK

Goddess Brigid for Business Success

About two weeks ago, on the eve and day of the Superbowl, I amazed myself, my manager, and the regional manager with two amazing days of job performance that resulted in my first sale … and making as much per hour as a doctor (or as a successful architect for that matter).

In the past two weeks, we have all pulled together to find out what factors caused that success. Of course, being as the company I’m working with is construction-minded (and not a Wiccan organization) the superbowl looms large in our minds. However; this happens only once a year, so there must have been something else. Something magical that happened.

Looking at my calendar, I am reminded that the eve and day of the superbowl were heading toward a full moon. Good … the waxing and full moon happen over a two-week period of time every month. So, if this is it, we should be able to share in this profitability at least half the time.

Looking again, I noticed something else. The eve and day of the Superbowl was also the eve and day of Imbolc … a Wiccan holiday that celebrates an ancient Irish Goddess of business, artistic and healing energies. (Similar Goddesses in other polytheistic pantheons might include Minerva of ancient Rome and Sarasvati of contemporary Hinduism).

In the introduction to his book, “Creating Affluence, The A to Z Steps to a Richer Life“, Dr. Deepak Chopra (a successful professional who was raised within a polytheistic, Hindu upbringing as a child) states
… the secret to creating affluence … ‘There are two Goddesses that reside in the heart of every human being. Everybody is deeply in love with these supreme beings. But there is a certain secret that you need to know, and I will tell you what it is.’

‘Although you love both Goddesses, you must pay more attention to one of them. She is the Goddess of Knowledge, and her name is Sarasvati. Pursue her, love her, and her give your attention.'

So, my question now is how to honor this Goddess from the ancient Irish pantheon, whose name is Brigid, year-round, for continued business success? Remembering back to that day, my standard Imbolc ceremony is very simple. I light three plain teacandles and place them in three separate green-colored candle holders.

Now I’m wondering if I should find more ways and more times during the year to honor the Goddess Brigid? Should I light those candles more frequently? Or should I search out items in my home that already evoke that Goddess, and use or wear them regularly when I’m scheduled to work?

A traditional blessing, modified slightly for this blog post:

Irish Blessing

Bless the four corners of this house and be the lintel blessed,
and bless the hearth and bless the board, and bless each place of rest.
And bless the door that opens wide to stranger as to kin,
and bless each crystal windowpane that lets the starlight in.
And bless the roof-tree overhead, and every study wall –
woman’s peace, Goddess Brigid’s peace, the peace of love to all.

Here are some links about the Goddess Brigid:

Pagan Roots
The Order of Bards, Druids and Ovates
Goddess Gift

Herbs, Health and Baba Yaga

Sometime after I relocated from Los Angeles to one of my parents’ homes a few years ago, I sought in vain for alternative spiritualities here in the “boonies” of California’s Mojave Desert.

Searching online for “year-and-a-day” style distance learning, I settled for Magicka School in Italy. The original courses were written by a University of London graduate, which was fine with me. Mom married a London U grad years ago, and it all seemed kind of “homey” at the time. Some of the material was new, some duplicated activities I had done in the past. Given the choice of “spamming” my subconscious with repetition, I admit I breezed through some of the lessons.

Because studying Magic and Wicca is really not at the top of my list of priorities, it was several years before I got around to finishing the program. The final class included a ritual & ceremony for self-initiation at a distance as a second degree equivalent high priestess. The whole shebang ended with a certificate documenting completion of two years of study, and a warning not to look at the online course as “McWicca”. I didn’t.

Yet, with that second degree certificate, I began to wonder what was next? After a series of stops and starts for continuing on the path, with a possible third degree down the road, I finally found Brandi Auset’s Goddess Study Group. I had recently purchased her book The Goddess Guide: Exploring the Attributes and Correspondences of the Divine Feminine, and searched for the author online. The book itself is a pretty comprehensive correspondence manual for contemporary Goddess Spirituality and well worth the price.

To my surprise, I discovered that not only did Brandi and I both migrate through very similar regions of So Cal; our birthdays are one day apart from each other in January. Coincidence? Is there something to these Magic and Wicca studies? Or is it the unique mystique of the California desert, and the call of the Mojave ravens. Fortunately, there was one spot left in the group before it closed. I was going to find out!

The group opened with a promise to study 13 separate Goddesses, and a curriculum in progress. The first six of the thirteen Goddesses were each assigned a different lesson, with a promise that more lessons are in the works. For several reasons, it seemed reasonable to take the study slowly.

For one thing, I had become used to the relaxed, desert pace and didn’t feel like rushing either myself or Brandi into a heated frenzy to finish the material for the course before it was ready. Not to mention, a third degree can take up to 10 years, so why worry? The idea is to make the spirituality part of your daily life.

Fortunately, the pace of the Goddess Study Group seems to correspond with taking time and going slowly. The pattern of dark and light are represented in the first two Goddesses, Hecate and Aphrodite. Last autumn and winter, I delved into a long-term, seasonal invocation and became Hecate. Well, actually my mother is Hecate, since she’s a scorpion (astrologically speaking).

Being Hecate for a couple of seasons in the year really gave me a strong understanding of what is valuable to me, and what I would prefer not to delve into. Surprisingly, Hecate’s darkest aspects seem to be a lot of bad press.

Ancient statues depict Hecate as a maiden; Hecate, as I know Her, is about lighting the way, herbal healing, rescuing children, and providing backup to the Olympians in a time of emergency.

Hardly a dark Goddess after all. Yet, if I hadn’t taken the time to really get to know Her, how would I have known? Goddess study, like any other distance learning, is not fast food.
Spring and summer, I had hoped, would be lighter weight academics, with the glamorous Aphrodite.

I was looking forward to being that pretty and delightful Goddess this year. Surprise again … much of Aphrodite’s lore is linked with darkness; wars, revenge, broken hearts. Yet, She is powerful. The powers of Aphrodite are more than skin-deep. Aphrodite is much more of a “heavy” than I was prepared for.

This autumn and winter promised a change. The Greek Goddesses are in the past, and this season is a study of Baba Yaga, from the Russian pantheon; a pantheon I am quite unfamiliar with. My recollection of Baba Yaga was as a child, reading fairy tales. At the time, I didn’t like the stories much and the house on chicken legs scared me more than the witch inside the cottage.

To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the lessons of this season, and hoped to either duck out of it, or perhaps to dive in and discover some enlightenment or divine truth about the witch as a Goddess.

Surprise again. I didn’t find any clear references to “the Yaga” being a Goddess. Neither were there any literary treatises beyond frightening fairy tale mythology, and its various interpretations by authors within the Goddess Spirituality genre. Instead; after closing the door on the intimidating Baba Yaga, a large, heavy door of enlightenment creaked open to shed a little light on “real” Russian mythology and herbalism.

Following a hunch that an autumn/winter Goddess study might have something to do with harvest, and drying herbs for the winter, I consulted with Patricia Monaghan’s posthumously published Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, which had been kindly sent my direction as a review copy.

Amazingly, the Russian pantheon is included. Similarly to many mythological cycles, there were an abundance of Russian deities overseeing agriculture and the harvest. Here is a brief list of Slavic Goddesses who were associated with the magic of healing, plants, earth and rain for crops, herbs and herbalism:

Embrace of Topielec and Dziwożony,  public domain painting by Jacek Malczewski
Embrace of Topielec and Dziwożony,  public domain painting by Jacek Malczewski

Berehinia awakened the seeds of spring
Bogoroditsa represented the moist earth of spring
Dziwozony knew secrets of nature and herbal medicine

Night on the Eve of Ivan Kupala, public domain painting by Henryk Siemiradzki

Kostrubonko personified new life from earth in spring
Kupala ruled magical herbs, particularly purple loosestrife
Lada, a sea Goddess, was the mother of a masculine spring deity

Public domain drawing of embroidery from the Russian North (XIX century). Interpreted by some researchers as an image of the Goddess-Mother Makosh

Mokosh‘s breast-shaped stones represented spring flowers and rain
Paraskeva was a Christian saint, invoked similarly to Mokosh
Poldunica guarded crops mercilessly

Rusalki, public domain (USA) painting by Konstantin Makovsky

Pszeniczna Matka was a grain Goddess
Rusalki were water spirits of the spring rain
Ved’ma knew the properties of plants

Vesna, public domain stamp folk art
Vesna, public domain stamp folk art

Vesna ended the winter by making love with her husband in spring
Vila knew the secrets of healing and herbcraft
Mati Syra Zemyna was moist Mother Earth

Sculpture "Mother Earth" (copy) at the Central Cemetery in Szczecin, public domain image

Although Baba Yaga was included in Ms. Monaghan’s research, I began to wonder if the witch was a “cover” protecting the real knowledge of the season. As usual, intuition informed accurately; once again, herbs and herbal healing would be the path during the cold season.

Oddly, I could only find one book on the topic in the English language. A Russian Herbal: Traditional Remedies for Health and Healing by Igor Vilevich Zevin, published way back in 1997. I wasn’t too hopeful, but the price was reasonable. Not expecting much, I bought a previously owned copy.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that University of New Mexico had partnered with Coursera to offer its first online “mooc” on the topic of Curanderismo: Traditional Medicine. Possibly as a supplement this offering of a folk healing tradition of the Southwestern United States, Latin America and Mexico, University of California in San Francisco offered Collaboration and Communication in Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice around the same time, as continuing education for licensed physicians, as a free public offering. Because I rely on natural health remedies, I decided to take both courses back-to-back.
After getting past some mild hazing from doctors in peer reviews, I pulled my grade up to acceptable and finished the collaboration course. A glitch in the curanderismo grading system resulted in many of the students being sent an email of non-completion. My dog, who I had been treating with herbal worming techniques, experienced a temporary setback during the interim. I began to wonder if this happens to medical students; is this a rite of passage I was going through?

Soon, the Russian herbal arrived. As I imagined, it included a list of herbs, herb recipes, folk healing methods and a sprinkling of pantheon-specific mythology surrounding some of the botanicals. Pretty much like Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, or the Curanderismo text by professor Cheo Torres, Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition. Nice cross-reference, and a few new herbs and recipes; otherwise very similar to herbals we all know and love.

Yet, like the studies of Hecate and Aphrodite, Baba Yaga’s introduction to Russian mythology and herbalism comes with a powerful surprise; something unusual of which most western medical traditions are not yet aware. Mainstream Russian doctors are required to learn herbalism in medical school.

Many of the folk herbal traditions have been studied and verified by Russian clinical testing, and many of the pharmaceuticals are derived from herbal traditions. Imagine, going to a family doctor and having a choice whether to be prescribed pharmaceuticals or herbs.

Here, indeed, is the wisdom of the season, and a gift of knowledge from an obscure book written in the 90’s … perhaps the only one of its kind publicly available. A mystery, hiding shyly behind the mask of Baba Yaga; the birth of mainstream medical acceptance of herbalism reveals Herself. This, the Goddess of the cold season, is the Goddess of the harvest, of herbs and of health throughout the year.

My search for alternative spiritualities, snuggled up cosily here in the “boonies” of California’s Mojave Desert, has evolved into a new respect for international studies, and a hope for the “mainstreaming” of proven alternative and traditional healing methods.

Blessed Be!

Find My Dog!

Find * Found Cute Puppy Dog Solstice "Grrr"
Solstice, nickname "Grrr"

Find   *   Found

Cute Puppy Dog  

Find * Found Cute Puppy Dog Solstice "Grrr"Find * Found Cute Puppy Dog Solstice "Grrr"Find * Found Cute Puppy Dog Solstice "Grrr"

When you find this little dog, please contact me.
You can also call my associate Maria the Curandera in Los Angeles,
or just drop by and say you know where is my dog.
Maria is the nice Curandera near the Weinerschnitzel Restaurant.
(North Fig north of 4600)

You can even send an email to, I am there sometimes.

Soltice "Grrr's" Little Mommy
Soltice "Grrr's" Little Mommy
He is a good dog,
I rescued his mother in 2007,
she lived a long, happy, safe, life until she was a very old lady.

His brother is safe and he is okay,
our home moved to San Bernardino County
all our dogs are welcome in our SBC home:)

brothers "Wolf" and "Grrr"
brothers "Wolf" and "Grrr"

We also have a new dog since 2016, she is from the shelter.
Her name is Angelicka, and we love her,
so we know how it is if you have someone's dog.
If you have my dog, and you love him a lot, just let us visit,
we will make a decision together, what is best for everyone.

Shelter Dog "Angelicka"
Shelter Dog "Angelicka"

  On Tuesday, November 6, 2007
this little dog was in my yard across the street from Sycamore Grove Park
4600 Block North Figueroa, Los Angeles city, 90065.
Please use the internet contact information on this website
because I relocated to a new address and phone number since 2009.

Miniature longhair dachshund (fluffy weener dog)
Light reddish-blond fur with black tips
Weight around 10 pounds
Very cute but shy around kids
Was wearing a collar and id tag with phone number and address.
Responded to his nickname “Grrr”

AKC name is listed as ” Fairwinds Solstice MSR FN “
Birthdate June 24, 2003
(June 24 was the festival day of the Goddess Fors Fortuna
from the ancient Roman calendar)

Navigating the Labyrinth of Holiday Treats by Eating Like Psychic

It’s that time of the year again, when sleigh bells ring, Santa is showing up where you least expect it, and while we’re dodging that obese role model, brightly-colored, sugary-fatty treats scream HOW CAN YOU SHOW YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT IF YOU DON’T EAT A LITTLE?

So, we indulge a little, and suddenly that goodie-two shoes friend shows up wafting a salad before our noses like a sneaky little spy bringing great tidings of coal by the truckload. What’s a calorie-conscious holiday celebrator to do?

Here’s a little secret: There is nothing new this year. We’ve tasted everything already in winter seasons past. No matter how beautifully decorated, that little morsel is just not the same as when we were kids and new tastes were as much of an adventure as fighting with our siblings over who got to lick the cake bowl.

In an adult search for holiday festivity in foods, one morsel may lead to another, and yet another, in that elusive quest to rediscover the mysteries of the season in a time where there is absolutely nothing mysterious anymore. The treats may be cuter and more creative than ever this year, and chocolate still tastes like chocolate, caramel like caramel and coconut like coconut. The mystery is gone forever; never to return.

Are we fated to just watch while others, the less insightful, indulge as we valiantly wave our own salads around and bemoan our savvy yet jaded experience while repeating that tired old mantra “being cute and festive is more fun than eating something cute and festive”? Isn’t there a way we can have our cake, treats, and holiday smells … and eat cute too?

Maybe it’s time to go back to that childhood innocence and do as Grammy-nominated, Parent’s Choice-award-winning recording artist Jay Mankita suggests, to “eat like a rainbow“.

Eating a rainbow of colors as found in fruits and vegetables, meaning red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-purple, may seem a daunting task to keep ahead of during the holidays. How to get all those in? Do we need all the colors every day and, if so, what’s going to keep us from grabbing a packet of peanut M&Ms when the holiday going gets tough?

My answer: plan to prepare foods that come from colors in the rainbow, and navigate the labyrinth of holiday treats by eating like a psychic.

What do I mean by this? Well, every good psychic worth her salt knows that every day of the week is associated with a different color. If we focus on having at least one meal per day which focuses on the color of the day, then by the end of the week, we’ve indeed eaten like a rainbow.

And, because each day is a different color, this technique not only keeps our mind occupied with a new and healthier eating game during the holidays, it also has the possible benefit of increasing our awareness of metaphysics.

So, what are these psychic daily colors, and what types of fruits or vegetables might we include or feature in our daily psychic meal?

Monday, the day of the moon, is white. Think cauliflower, mushrooms, white onions, nuts that are white or light colored, and fruits with white flesh, like apples, pears and bananas.

Tuesday, the day of Mars, is red. Think tomatoes, tomato sauce, strawberries, cranberries and cherries.

Wednesday, the day of Mercury, is orange. Think carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oranges, and persimmons.

Thursday, the day of Jupiter, is blue, indigo and purple. Think purple cabbage, purple onions, eggplant, purple grapes and blueberries.

Friday, the day of Venus, is green. Think of all those leafy greens that have been covered by more flamboyant fruits and veggies all week, and let them show their stuff! Think brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, salad and cooking greens, lime, green grapes, green figs, and fuji apples.

Saturday, the day of Saturn, is dark brown and black. Think dark leafy greens, ground pepper, nuts, nut butters, figs, raisins and dates.

Sunday, the day of the Sun, is yellow. Think yellow squash, yellow onions, lemons, bananas, golden apples and pears.

Let’s try to shop at a farmer’s market for what’s in season or, if we go to the supermarket, concentrate on the produce aisles first. If  all the colors aren’t available in fresh produce, realize that ice and snow have been part of the winter season since time immemorial; ’tis the season of frozen fruits and veggies. Yes, even the ones that aren’t in season right now.

Shop and hunt around for at least one fruit and one vegetable for each of the daily colors every week, and remember this is not only about health, antioxidants and flavenoids. It’s also a game!

If we’re not careful, we may just find ourselves smiling and whistling little holiday tunes while we’re blissfully perusing nutritional botanicals and releasing our awareness of the baked goods of the season. Instead of cringing at the thought of salad and worrying about bothersome old Kris Kringle, we’ll be navigating the maze of holiday fare with a happy tummy, and eating like experienced psychics.

How to Craft Song Lyrics

TakeLessons has purchased the right to use an edited version of this post in their blog.

So you’ve learned to play a musical instrument and you’ve created some original sounds. Maybe you’d like to write songs with great words, and you’re stumped. You’re not alone. Before one of the most famous song writers of the 20th century came up with lyrics, one of his beautiful love songs was stuck with the abysmal rhyme “Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs”.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Don’t worry if everything doesn’t come together quickly, or even if some inane phrase is stuck in your head. See what you have to begin with. Is it a few chords? Perhaps a melody line? Or is there a nice rhythm you’d like to build upon? Maybe you have a story to tell, about love or dancing or something you just want to sing about.

Take a good listen to what you like the most about your starting point, and what needs a little help? Notice those parts where words and music come together easily, even if it’s only a short phrase and melody. Jot it down on a piece of paper so you will remember later, and keep a pen and paper where you can reach it quickly at night. Often the perfect rhyme is in your subconscious dreams, so don’t be surprised if you wake up with the answer.

What if you have music and no ideas at all for words? Many successful songs are the result of two-person collaborations, where one person writes the music, and the other crafts the lyrics. Consider taking on a partner for this task, particularly if you know someone who’s good at writing poetry.

How about if you don’t have the music for a song yet, and you’re looking for poetry or other songs for inspiration to get things started? Unless the song lyrics or poem are in the public domain, it’s a good idea to get permission from the writer, even if you don’t plan to “go public” with your song.

On the other hand, public domain poetry is a marvelous and largely untapped resource, usually with no permission required, to use for lyrics. I like Public Domain Poems, where I found this great potential song lyric from the poem Love’s Philosophy by Percy Shelley:

The fountains mingle with the rivers, and the rivers with the oceans.
The winds of heaven mix forever with a sweet emotion.

Decide what you want the style and speed of your song to be, and also the message you wish to deliver. Is yours a love song to be sung slowly atop beautiful harmonies? Or is it a fast-paced dance song, with punchy chords, a deft bass riff , and strong percussion? Is your preference a simple country ballad combined with a surprising or humorous observation of life? Or, maybe, is it that you secretly enjoy hip hop, crazy rhymes and persuasive rhythmic motifs?

Whichever style and message you choose, create a diagram for your song. A typical diagram is A-B-A-B. This type of song has two parts:

The A part, or the story line is known as the verse. The words of the verse change each time the A-B pattern is repeated, usually as a rhyme that tells a story. The story continues and progresses throughout the song.

The B part, or the message, is known as the chorus. The words of the chorus are usually easy to remember and stay the same with each A-B repetition. A “hook” is a combination of words and melody that gets stuck in your mind. In some songs a chorus rhymes, and in other songs the message simply repeats a strong non-rhyming statement like “I Love You”, or a call to action like “Celebrate” or “Dance”. Deciding whether or not to rhyme is called “poetic license”.

In addition to parts A and B, some songs are more complicated; with a C part, or bridge, tossed in the song’s midst for interest.

Now that you have a few parts of your song working well, and you have a diagram to map out the road, it’s time to start writing the rest of the lyrics.

Love songs and country ballads can generally have simpler rhymes and more complicated story lines or flowery descriptions. In contrast, dance songs and hip hop often have complicated rhymes with a simple message. Whether you want to tell a story or show off poetic prowess, a rhyming dictionary is very helpful. I like Rhyme Zone.

Great songs are not always about interesting story lines or amazing rhymes. Sometimes the rhythm of the words, a simple message and melody, along with some very basic original poetry can create a winning combination.

As for that unknown love song about breakfast food, according to Beatlese Books, the final lyrics were magically transformed from mundane to memorable by these everyday words: “yesterday, faraway, here to stay, yesterday”.

The Tarot of Music

This summer, I had begun teaching piano lessons in my neighborhood. The community where I live has plenty of opportunities for kids to swim, go to the park, and play in the lake, but few options to get involved in the arts or entertainment.

Surprisingly, not a single piano teacher has been included in regional directories or websites, despite that piano teaching is a fairly common way to bring in some extra cash in many communities, all over the world.

Oddly enough, as my attention shifted from international intuitive consulting to local piano lessons, my chat and phone requests for tarot consultations began to drop off. If transitioning to piano teaching represented a huge increase in finances, I could understand the karma.

However; neither profession has been adequate to pay the bills, and my goals were to increase both options for work; not to shift from one meager living to a similarly meager living in a different field.

Fortunately I have extensive training in music, from many years ago, and my credentials include a college degree in music as well as a lineage in the piano which extends back to my great-grandfather! I have been aware of a connection between music and the tarot, as I learned the cards as an extension of the manual dexterity exercises that I mastered as a pianist.

As I researched the connection, I became aware that western music transitioned from simple Gregorian chant to advanced harmony around the same time that the first Trionfi decks added a major arcana to four-suit card games, during the Italian Renaissance.

However, as I searched for correspondences between music and tarot, there was little available save for a reference to writings by 20th century occultist Paul Foster Case, who apparently assigned musical tones to the Major Arcana.

Since there are a maximum of 12 musical tones (or 17 to 21 individual notes if we include, for example, both G flat and F sharp as separate notes, and exotic or theoretical notes such as E sharp) the number of standard major arcana exceeds the number of individual notes.

Paul Case chose to assign the same note to several different cards, for example High Priestess, Hanged Man, and Temperance are all assigned to G# whereas the only card assigned to A# is the Wheel of Fortune.

Although I’m sure there is logic and reason behind Paul Foster Case’s correspondences between the major arcana of he tarot and musical tones, like many occult major arcana interpretations, I’ll just accept his offerings without undue concern and not attempt to explain it to clients whose interests are often more about how the card interpretations may relate to ” real life ” questions and concerns.

However this may be, my feeling as a person of musical background is that the individual tones may have been very profound in ancient times when they were first established, and very likely from a standpoint of physics, sound waves and the harmonic vibrations of various elements.

For most of the public who listen to music, however, the power of the medium is really much more basic. We remember the song that was playing when we fell in love, but not necessarily the key signature. We remember whether we were listening to guitar or drums, and the words to a song.
This, for me, is a powerful correspondence which has not been served by musical tones and major arcana.

I began to wonder if, since there was not an existing workable system of musical correspondences, perhaps I should come up with one myself? And, in a frenzied evening of inspiration, this is exactly what I did.

What I am finding, as I post the various cards and correspondences, is that people are interested music and tarot correspondences, based on the first few examples that I posted:

The fool

symbolizes youth, folly and the adventure that life brings to the young. He is the rebirth of life and his traditional instrument is the funereal bagpipe, to which he is attached like a baby to an umbilical cord which connects to the placenta of his knapsack.
His contemporary instrument is the saxophone, the sensual relationship of his parents, from whence he was conceived. The instrument is not of his own, nor does he understand how to play it. It’s the only a dim memory from the last cycle which precede his birth or rebirth.

The magician

symbolizes transition beyond youthful folly. He is the development of skills, personality and abilities. His tools, laid out on the table before him, are simple. His strength is within himself and his personal development, and not in the workings of complicated machinery.
Unlike the fool, he is knowledgeable in magic and capable in the rhythms of his craft. His instruments are hand-held percussion; traditional finger cymbals, tambourine and hand drums. His contemporary instruments include castanets, maracas and the wood block.

The priestess
is the first of four archetypal human figures. She symbolizes feminine connection to the divine and soaring flights to upper realms of heaven. She is the girl priestess, the virgin, the temple prostitute, the Sibylline crone and her sounds reach up to the highest pitches.

Her instrument is the violin of the string quartet and her voice, like the three other archetypes, speaks through an instrument which closely resembles the human body and with a voice which emanates through the vibration of strings, much like human vocal chords.

* * * * *

The remainder of the correspondences is currently only in schematic notes in a private notebook at this time, although I may publish them as I write. ”

Can you Believe? Wealth from a Goddess!

Last week, as I continued with Lisa Michaels’ Prosperous Priestess Initiation, and integrating it into my consulting practice, I began coming to greater awareness of prosperity, magnetizing wealth, and the laws of attraction. Lisa is super talented at explaining the elements, and how they are important to prosperity.

Lisa likes to go into great detail about the elements and how to work with them to increase your wealth. I've read and listened to some of Lisa's material. In my opinion, it's a little simplistic and repetitive; however, that is how some people like to learn, and she seems consistent in her approach. I am an affiliate for her programs, so if you're thinking about doing this anyway, I will make some money if you go through a Lisa Michaels banner ad on this website.                 

While Lisa really works into the elemental and astrological dance of prosperity, the rest of this article really isn’t about Lisa and her program. It’s about enlightnment I’ve received during the initiation process that I want to share with you.

To be honest, I have also followed a number of similar pathways which opened the door to enlightenment into issues that are of great importance to women. Many of these issues are represented by Goddesses who offer a timeless window into our past and present as women.

Many of these Goddesses are only available to us as books, sculpture, artwork and ancient architecture. However, there are other Goddess traditions that are living and part of our contemporary world. In the Goddess community, regardless of whether we open prayers with the Hindu deity Ganesha, we often receive the Goddess Lakshmi as representing wealth.

However, in respect to the idea that She is a Hindu Goddess, and Hinduism is perhaps the only living polytheistic Goddess religion surviving since ancient times as a traditional religion, are we more at liberty or less advised to interpret honoring traditional Hindu Goddesses as we please, as New Age era Goddess followers, either of Wiccan, NeoPagan, Goddess Spirituality or other traditions which emerged in the second half of the twentieth century?

Do we, in fact, have a treasure trove of knowledge we can and should tap into with a greater understanding and acceptance of traditional Hinduism when we invoke and/or evoke the Hindu deities within a NeoPagan ceremony? Of course, there is an understanding that the western version of Hindu concepts is quite distinct from traditional Hinduism, is there in fact a benefit to inviting a more traditional viewpoint into our ceremonies?

This idea comes up, after many years of following in the path of honoring Lakshmi in NeoPagan circles as the Goddess of wealth. And, of course, She does represent wealth. However, from information recently coming my direction She may specifically represent the wealth of men, and women who are married to men.

In traditional Hinduism, it does not appear that the worship of Lakshmi is particularly sought by single women who have left home and are responsible for their own bank accounts … despite not being in a traditional marriage in which the man wins all the domestic bread and butter.

I am certainly not saying that honoring Laksmi does not work for NeoPagan women. I have seen this honoring work very, very well … and today I am realizing that those women who are reaping the benefits are often presently married, or divorced from a married situation. I will be quite frank about this … honoring Laksmi has not worked very well for me as a single woman.

I will not go into great detail on this; however, I will say that this particular path I’ve been on tends to reward the men I am in business with more often than it rewards my either my personal or business bank accounts or even corporate bank accounts I am associated with.

I have seen single male coworkers in competition with me in sales and marketing ( who pay nothing of my bills, btw ), my married neighbors keeping their homes, married/divorced office managers keeping their jobs while the single female professionals like me are out the door for the slightest thing, and left to scramble for a living.

I could go on and on. For ages, it seems, I’ve been trying my darndest, and watching all that energy just going into someone else’s pockets. Could it be … that honoring Lakshmi just doesn’t work as well for single women? (single, in Lakshmian terms, defined as women who have never married nor carried the title ” Mrs. ” at any time in their lives. Marriage virgins

Recently, in several off and online networking situations, the Goddess Lakshmi may have actually decided enough was enough, and for whatever reason, several spiritual female mentors and I have gone separate ways. Although I do not feel to discriminate, these mentors were all either married or divorced; women who had the experience of being ” Mrs. “.

The most recent separation followed right on the tails of reading yet another book on Goddess prosperity which suggested that Lakshmi would be the Goddess of wealth. Could Lakshmi, Herself, have come into these relationships to sever the ties?

I’ve spent the past week in a ritual for Lakshmi, and the enlightenment I received this morning, while putting away candles, Goddess images and so forth … was to look to the Goddess Sarasvati; perhaps as a Goddess of wealth for single women who are studious or artistic, as are many single women who are drawn to the Goddess Spiritualities.

According to many articles online, Sarasvati does not represent wealth, per se; as a Goddess She represents studies, talents and arts. From perspective of wealth earned through business transactions,  which may attract clients who are willing to do business with a single woman; particularly a woman who is intelligent, educated and/or talented in some way.

Apparently, from a traditional Hindu standpoint, Laksmi may only represent wealth to the men, to the married and, perhaps, even divorced women. To a woman who has never married perhaps Sarasvati, and not Lakshmi, would be the traditional single woman’s Goddess from a Hindu perspective. And, because Hinduism continues in a long tradition as a thriving polytheistic religion, is it appropriate to absorb some of those traditions? You know, if it works better for us?

Would it be considered appropriate and effective for single NeoPagan Goddess women to substitute the Goddess Sarasvati for the Goddess Laskmi in wealth prayers, to underscore our unique needs to pay bills in the absence of a male household provider?

Okay, that is my enlightenment for the day, and although this blog post does not necessarily represent the views of Lisa Michaels, the writing of it was inspire by Lisa's  Prosperous Priestess Initiation.     

A Sacred Ritual Bath

Recently, a follower of ancient Roman traditions in the UK contacted me regarding an altar to Fortuna which originally presided over the bath for an old fort in his region of England.

My initial response was to emphasize that an altar located within such a strongly masculine function would most likely be presided over by a priest and not a priestess. Which also brought in the issue that women were not always chosen to serve the Goddess temples in ancient times, although I do connect with many, many women who represent the divine feminine in contemporary NeoPagan practice; a very strong force in personal, spiritual belief.

The second response was the concept that this Fortuna was “of the bath” (perhaps as “Balnearis” or “Salutaris”, regardless of whether the inscription actually included these aspects of the bath or health-bringing  activities). In ancient times, the bath was a place of bonding and exercise.

In contemporary times, when we go to the public swimming pool or gymnasium, we join with other humans in a similar way. However; the ability to bond with others, and also with the deity of Fortuna, is no longer part of the public sector. This points to another strong contrast between the past and NeoPagan expression.

In today’s society, we make choices regarding our beliefs and interests. Do we work out in the gymnasium and swim in the public pool as a secular activity? Do we make an offering to the Goddess before or after the swim in respect for past traditions?

Or, alternatively, do we choose nature walks and private exercise so that we may more closely bond with the Goddess, as She exists in our own homes and personal beliefs? How open are we with our personal beliefs, in a society which may be predominantly of non-Pagan religious persuasions?

Public bonding is a very “Roman” tradition. However; studying and understanding the past is very NeoPagan and, although I am quite new to the belief system of the “Religio Romana”, perhaps understanding the past is also a strong part of this resurgence of classical Pagan reconstructionism, as a beautiful and amazing new branch of the continuously growing tree known as “NeoPaganism”.

How may we duplicate some of the rites of the ancient Roman baths in the privacy of our own homes, to bond with the past, and with the Goddess? Do we shower and  simply focus on the aspect of cleanliness and its health-giving properties? Do we place a statue of the Goddess near our shower or bath?

Do we engage in occasional ritual bathing in respect for the past? Or do we incorporate ritual bathing as part of our daily routine? Which brings us around to the question: how did Roman priests and priestesses live their lives, when they weren’t actively engaged in ritual?

What do we know about bathing in ancient Rome, and how do we recreate that experience?

We know that the baths provided access to everyone, regardless of gender or social class. Because the public baths were very beautiful, we may decorate our private baths as our own sacred places.

Those who are handy with home improvements, and also having the necessary budget, may choose to remodel the bathroom, or refinish the surfaces with sumptuous materials like marble, decorative tile and large mirrors. The more budget-conscious among us may prefer to display an honored house plant, a smaller decorative mirror or picture, or to use a single marble tile in a unique way.

Bathing was a daily ritual that began with warming and cleansing the body with scented oil, a practice which can be easily adapted to contemporary bathing … taking care with slippery surfaces!  Vegetable and olive oil are natural products, and often economically priced when compared to the cost of a similar sized bottle of lotion.

Essential oils, such as Lavender (from the Latin “lavar” to wash) are expensive luxuries, but only a drop or two are needed to scent a very large bottle of oil. Women who are pregnant or nursing may prefer fragrance-free vegetable oil, checking with their personal physicians to be sure.

After a fragrant, steamy bath, attendants would clean the skin by scooping off the oily surface with a metal tool. This part of the ritual is a challenge for those of us without daily access to a personal massage artist, or a spoon large enough to scoop off the oil ourselves.

Alternatives may be personally explored; perhaps concocting a natural, home-made salt or sugar scrub with some of the scented oil. The thick outer layer of oil may be diluted from the skin surface with a light lathering of vegetable-based liquid or bar soap, allowing the layer of clean oil at the skin surface to soak in as a warm, fragrant emmolient.

The final phase of the bathing routine was a swim in the cooler water of the public baths. This is easily included in the daily routine with a rinse in the shower, from a separate pitcher of water in the bath, or perhaps even travelling to a spiritual place for bathing in a lake, river, or the ocean when convenient.

For a very Roman finale of your private ritual, suiting up for a swim in the community swimming pool is becoming an option, as the weather begins to warm and the public pools entice us with open doors.

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