art


Authors Linda LeBlanc and John Knowles and Artist Patty Ray Avalon

Awakening Far Memories Authors Linda Leblanc and John Knowles and Artist Patty Ray Avalon

Since reading The Search for Bridey Murphy as a child I have been fascinated by people’s accounts of their past lives. I actually have had three experiences wherein I had memories of what might be past lives. One experience when I was 14 was so strong, that I was actually transported to a different reality for a long moment. I may write about that in a later post, but now I want to clarify what I mean by a long moment. For what was about a second in our collective reality, I went to a different reality as real as ours, for the space of what might have been five to ten minutes in the different reality time.

The theory that appeals to me most regarding reincarnation involves the concept of “no time”. That is that there are both past, future and current lives happening simultaneously. When one adds to it the concept “We are all One” and the concept of multiple Universes, I think we may be getting somewhat beyond what the Monkey Brain can accurately fathom (but my monkey brain is trying). From here we can go in two directions: a. that our consciousness forms a “string” of lives for the purposes of Soul growth and experiences a multiplicity of roles in order to learn, or b. because we are all One, it is very possible that another consciousness or being can pass through our consciousness allowing us to see or experience a part of that soul’s incarnation on Earth plane. Either way, this is very compelling territory to explore.

Up until several years ago I had been wary of exploring that territory, especially if it meant being hypnotized by someone who had a fixed idea about reincarnation, since my thoughts are still flexible on the matter, which you Dear Reader, may have gleaned from the paragraph above. At that point a lovely woman I know named Patty Ray Avalon became the artist on a deck of cards and book called Awakening Far Memory, the Reincarnation Deck(Authors Leblanc and Knowles). I purchased the set for my collection and after some study began to use the cards with select clients. I did not offer the service of exploring past lives to the general public but only to those established clients who expressed an strong interest in the subject.

There are sixty one cards in the deck divided into five categories: Occupation (14), Culture (17), Environment (9), [Life’s] Theme (11) and Termination [cause of death] (10). When using the cards, I first give a general explanation to the querant about the method I am about to employ. We then move into a short purpose driven meditation together, after which I spread out each card category face down, one category at a time, and ask the client to pick a card from each. When five cards have been chosen the cards are turned over and we look over the selected cards to be sure that (s)he has the bare bones of the lifetime which (s)he is about to explore. It is a minimal discussion because I do not want to make extraneous comments which would affect the outcome of the next step. An example of card choice might be: Builder (occupation), Renaissance (culture), Town (environment), Freedom-Servitude (theme), and Accident (termination). As you can see, not too much discussion is necessary at this point of the reading.

Next I ask the person to lie down and relax to the sounds of a Hemi-Sync selection and gently guide them to a state of deep relaxation. I usually repeat the names of the cards selected and depending on the results of the purpose driven meditation I might ask a few neutral questions. I sit by, pen in hand, ready to record what is divulged about the newly discovered lifetime. When the meditation is over we discuss the experience the seeker has had while (s)he was deeply relaxed and focused. Often individuals who do this exercise report that their view of their present life has changed and sometimes their view of the nature of reality is altered as well. Amazingly more than one person has revealed to me that the lifetime they saw in meditation had also been the subject of recurrent dreams prior to the reading. This deck is a tool for serious research not play.

I have not yet discussed the excellent accompanying book here. One reason for that is because I have an unusual approach to utilizing new oracle and tarot decks. Because I want to get as much inspiration as possible from Source first, I study the cards by themselves. Later I read the book. In this case the book provided a wealth of knowledge from two very erudite esoteric scholars of recorded history as well as the arcane history of our planet.

Moving on to a Friday evening in the very recent past, I was sitting with several convivial colleagues around a warm candlelit dinner table, sipping some tasty Greek red wine at the Fallen Oak Bed and Breakfast, when two individuals I’d never met before (in this incarnation) entered the room and were introduced to the table as Leblanc and Knowles. Unable to control my excitement, I blurted out, “You created the Reincarnation Deck! I use it all the time. I’m so pleased to meet you both.” And thus began a friendship I hope will span lifetimes…

The Sagaponick House by Paul Georges

The veil has been very thin of late.

A little over a week ago I was wondering mightily about whether those no longer on Earth plane could influence the lives of those still here. I was not thinking of those who had not moved on (ghosts), but more about anyone on the other side sending good or bad or indifferent events into one’s life.
I decided to write to Basil Bristow an accomplished channeler, who currently channels a very helpful being named Pretorius asking him my question and received an constructivel answer but one more to do with those souls who are misfortunately stuck between worlds.
Last week a few days later (Tuesday) after sending my request to Basil, I had occasion to talk with two other people about some of my experiences in Bridgehampton and Sagaponick, adjoining communities on the Eastern tip of Long Island. These conversations did not involve the afterlife except in that some of the people I remarked upon are no longer living. When speaking to the second person I related in glowing terms how in my late teens I spent some happy and intriguing August days at the summer home of Paul Georges, a renowned painter, and his wife Lisette and their two daughters, Paulette and Yvette and some other artist friends. There were paintings, drawings, wine, kittens and delicious food to be enjoyed. I spoke of the way Georges encouraged young artists and how the community was welcoming.
The following day I received a call from a young lady who identified herself as Lisette. I did not initially catch her last name. She wanted me to participate in an online video project for MySpace Music that very day, October 11. That was going to be very tricky to accomplish, but I ended up doing a reading on camera for an attractive young singer named Sky.
In making the arrangements I discovered Lisette’s last name was Paulson! I felt as though this was a clear message from the late Paul and Lisette Georges, or one heck of a co-incidence. Later when I met Lisette Paulson in person I was struck by her resemblance to one of the other (then young) artists who spent time with me at the Georges’ home, Stephanie DeManuelle. Added to this was Lisette’s telling me that she enjoys spending quite a bit of time out in the east end of Long Island.

I think that Paul and Lisette Georges sent this event into my life after I spoke appreciatively about their hospitality, thus answering my question. My thanks to them both for opening their home to me then, and my answer now.

Some cards from some of the decks I've mentioned.

As a longtime reader of tarot cards I am the proud owner of many decks of cards: tarot cards, oracle decks (fortune telling cards that are not tarot), playing cards, and card games. This post is about my favorite tarot decks and is confined to the decks I actually own and use for readings. I am a collector, so I have many decks I enjoy looking at but don’t generally use for readings.

I am not a big fan of decks that are not fully illustrated; that is decks in which the numbered cards or pips do not have an actual depicted image of the author’s idea of the meaning of the card. Instead they have four pentacles or seven swords on them, much in the manner that the three of hearts is symbolized in the typical playing deck, though in the case of these tarot decks, usually more ornately. Some of the decks which are not fully illustrated have historical significance, such as the the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, Tarot of Marseilles, or the IJJ Swiss Deck. These are good additions to any collection, but they are not that evocative to me for readings. I have been extremely disappointed in the past when I’ve bought a deck based on attractive packaging or a whim only to find that the Minor Arcana were not fully illustrated.

The two decks that I use most often are the great standby, the Rider-Waite deck, and the Mary Hanson Roberts Deck. The Rider Waite deck originally published in December 1909, is the defining deck of the English language world. It is the deck to which all subsequent decks are compared. It is the brain child of Arthur Edward Waite and was beautifully illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, both of whom were members of the Order of the Golden Dawn.

Several years ago in 1990, Mary Hanson Roberts was the artist that did a recoloring of the Rider-Waite deck which is sold under the name the Universal Waite Tarot. Her own deck, The  Hanson Roberts Tarot has imagery based on Rider-Waite and is not at all frightening to the person being read. Almost all the images are very friendly and will put the querant at ease.

I also really like a newer deck called the World Spirit Tarot by Lauren O’Leary and Jesica Godino . It was put out in 2001 but it is not currently in print. The illustrations are from linoleum block prints and very attractive and evocative.

The Motherpeace Round Tarot by Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel is excellent to have on hand, and now that it is available in a smaller size, it is easier to manipulate the cards. It is a woman’s deck celebrating different cultures and ideas of community.

A couple of months ago I chanced upon a deck called the Guardians of Wisdom by Emy Ledbetter and Todd Hershey which is amazing for the insights it provides. It is literally a tarot deck but I use it for short questions mostly for myself and it has not disappointed. I have not used it for a Celtic Cross reading for fear it would provide too much information to digest all at once. The minor arcana use the suits of regular playing cards but are fully illustrated. Sadly it is out of print at the current moment.

Worth noting is that Motherpeace, Guardians of Wisdom and World Spirit are multicultural, multiracial decks, while the others are primarily Eurocentric.

This is by no means a comprehensive review. There are lots of terrific decks out there. I have lots of other beautiful decks that I really love. A place where I often go to look at tarot decks on the web is the Tarot Garden. The site is filled with information on hundreds of decks including their availability and whether they are fully illustrated or not.

Lisa Hirshfield, Larry "Ratso" Sloman, Anthony Matt, Doug Skinner and the infamous worm painting

On Sunday July 11, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. at the Jalopy Theater, 315 Columbia Street in Brooklyn, Doug Skinner and the Ullage Group organized an afternoon commemorating the life of John A. Keel. The afternoon included readings from some of Keel’s lesser known works read by Mr. Skinner, Lisa Hirshfield, Larry “Ratso” Sloman and Anthony Matt.

I had read with rapt interest Keel’s most famous work, The Mothman Prophesies, some years ago and I’d also seen the movie of the same name loosely based upon the book. When I read the book I remember thinking how some of the more random paranormal events (not related directly to the Mothman story itself and not depicted in the film) mirrored some odd events in my life. I knew that Keel lived in New York City and I was peripherally acquainted with a large number of people who knew or had met Keel. I’d expressed interest to some of them in meeting him, but alas, that was not to be.

The presentation began with Doug Skinner toasting the memory of John A. Keel by drinking a can of Glucerna (a nutritional drink for diabetics). I learned that Keel’s given name was Alva John Kiehle. Lisa Hirshfield then read his first published work from 1945 when he was 15 years old. His wry sense of humor was evident even then.

During his stint in the military in the early 1950s Keel worked for the armed forces network out of Cairo, Egypt. The audience was treated to an audio clip of his presentation from inside the Giza pyramid, followed shortly by a kitschy song named “Jadoo” promoting his book (of the same title) of adventures in the Middle East and Africa. I am a proud owner of the book Jadoo! We saw a remarkable movie he made in New York City in the 1960s called “On Exhibition”. In it Keel played a drunk at the Museum of Modern Art.

Keel wrote sleaze novels under the pseudonym Harry Gibbs. Some excerpts from these were read by Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Keel’s friend, sometimes employer, and editor of High Times Magazine. Soon after we saw the worm painting pictured above painted by 35 earthworms in October 1960 for Merv Griffin’s TV show “Play Your Hunch”, for which Keel was a writer.

Later in the 1960s Keel pitched a film treatment called ” Nudists From Outer Space” read  by Anthony Matt. Finally a video clip from John Keel’s appearance on the David Letterman Show in the 1980s was played. He discussed a variety of paranormal phenomena.

I really enjoyed this look into John A. Keel’s life, although I had expected more time to be devoted to the paranormal. I was pleased to meet some other anomalists after the performance including Geoff who is working on a fascinating movie about UFOs filmed over New York City  called “Believing Is Seeing“.

johnkeel.com = a blog about John A. Keel

Natural Beauty at Peters Valley

The first thing that strikes one when entering the Peters Valley area is the incredible natural beauty of the setting. This place is a true bucolic gem set on the site of the tiny deserted village of Bevans and former farmland in New Jersey’s Sussex County. There are bear and deer and all manner of small furry local creatures wandering about, including a group of small-eared rabbits that seem to be a natural mutation, because there are also regular rabbits living along side them. I roomed in a rehabilitated 19th century farmhouse on the grounds that had many stories to tell.

Peters Valley is a craft education center that was started in 1970. There are numerous courses from which to choose in the areas of fine metalworking, fiber arts, blacksmithing, ceramics, photography, woodworking and two dimensional design.

I chose to enroll in Basic Jewelry with Frederick Marshall. I have enjoyed beading for more than twenty years and more recently have become involved with energy balancing jewelry employing semiprecious crystals, shell, polished stones and wood. I also worked briefly on Manhattan’s 47th Street for a wonderful jeweler who makes the most beautiful gold antique reproductions. This class focused on copper and silver jewelry with touches of bronze and brass. These are considered the non-ferrous metals (not iron or steel).

Rick Marshall and two students making jewelry

Rick Marshall, our able instructor, assisted by genial Kristin, imparted huge quantities of practical and artistic information to our group of 10 students. He is knowledgeable, humorous and earthy, an all-around regular guy and an easy person with whom to converse. He has a serious job to do because silver and coppersmithing requires the use of very high temperatures, acetylene torches, and potentially dangerous equipment. There is so much to know and digest, I could easily see someone taking this course more than once. Indeed there were two repeaters in the class. The workshop was well appointed with workbenches and tools for everyone to use, along with lots of equipment. That brings me to the only potential downside of this course. If you want to continue doing this at home you must set up an acetylene torch and purchase a significant amount of tools, and possibly, machines such as a flex-shaft.

One fascinating technique we learned was cuttlebone casting. You hand-carve the bone of a cuttlefish to make a one of a kind silver or copper casting. Many people will recognize cuttlebone as the white object fastened to birdcages with which the birds sharpen their beaks! In short, we soldered, rolled, filed, tempered and drilled metal for more than eight hours a day and we loved it. I also had the opportunity to see the blacksmithing class in progress under the tutelege of Jim Wyckoff, and that was very impressive.

What I came home with

I came home with seven items, some of which are unfinished. I am in the process of adding crystal beads and chains, so check back at this post later to see a finished product.

Silver, labradorite and hematite.

Silver, labradorite and hematite.

Here is the silver cuttle bone casting I did, worked into a necklace of labradorite and hematite.

This is a large pendant I made from a practice piece of copper into which I had put some interesting folds. I added a silver and copper “head” and later a mostly quartz (several other crystals mixed in) fringe at the bottom and a long necklace of quartz crystal. It is a rough primitive looking piece.

Gaia Mask

Above: Mask of Gaia by Lauren Raine

Do you want to have a creative mini-vacation this Spring? Are you interested in exploring the feminine side of the divine? Have you always imagined yourself as Venus or Nu’ut? Ishtar, Freya, Saraswati, Pele or Selu?

This April you can live out that creative dream at THE KRIPALU CENTER FOR YOGA AND HEALTH in the Berkshires (Massachusetts) by attending Lauren Raine‘s Masks of the Goddess: Maskmaking, Ritual and the Goddess Within. Lauren is a wonderful artist and great spirit, who I’ve known for many years. She is dedicated to the concept of the divine feminine and the Gaia Principle.

You will be able to create your own mask and relate to it through ritual. The experience of making a mask is creative and spiritually nourishing and dates back centuries in a variety of cultures the world over.

The dates are:
April 13 – 16, 2008 (Sunday – Wednesday)

For information By Phone: 800-741-7353