I feel so happy and privileged to know people who write books. In the past few years I’ve lost two author friends, Captain Arthur Haggerty and Serena Wilson. My world lost some of its luster when they passed on. Both of them changed my life for the better. Cap was really my best friend for many years. He wrote primarily about dog training and he helped me to get my late dog, Junior Pie, into show business. One of his books, Dog Tricks, was co-written by Carol Lea Benjamin, who has written a series of dog inspired mysteries that I love to read, and who I am privileged to have met several times in conjunction with Captain Haggerty! Serena Wilson was my first official teacher of Middle Eastern Dance and a dear friend as well. She wrote The Serena Technique of Bellydancing with her husband Alan Wilson, also a friend.

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When I first met Lauren Raine I felt I must have known her in a previous life. So familiar her story and so compatible her personality, she is surely a spiritual sister. She has published a work of great brilliance, Masks of the Goddess. This limited edition art book comprises and chronicles her work of many years. She is featured in several other of my blog pieces on this site.

This past year my friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have written a handsome volume about flavor pairings, The Flavor Bible, that I adore because I seldom cook by recipe. This book tells which food’s flavor goes well with which other food and which spice, allowing me to invent my own recipes with fervor and greater success.  This book is one of many wonderful food books that this illustrious globetrotting couple have written together.

Frank DeMarco is primarily a writer on metaphysical subjects and a founder of Hampton Roads Books and most recently Hologram Books. His 2008 offering, Babe In The Woods, is both metaphysical and very practical. For anyone who has ever thought about taking a seminar at the Monroe Institute, DeMarco has provided a detailed guide couched in a delightful story that is a thinly veiled account of his own first experience at this awesome place. I personally can’t wait to get back there. Frank DeMarco is one of the wonderfully wise and witty characters one might meet if they venture to the Institute and its surrounding community.

I’m Allergic is Missy Harris‘s first childrens’ book and hopefully not the last. It is a charming book for both those kids with allergies and their young friends who don’t understand what the concept means. I believe that the book provides a great service in telling children who don’t suffer with allergies what happens in the experience of those that do.

All the other books mentioned here have been published in 2008. I feel compelled to mention another book, The Lure of The Edge by Brenda Denzler, published in 2001 but which I only found out about in November of 2008. Finding it was a very serendipidous synchonicity. I was browsing a library catalog for intelligently written books about UFOs when I saw Brenda’s very familiar name. Could it be the very same person with whom I’d been corresponding on an internet listseve about other subjects? Indeed it was.  It is written very thoughtfully on an extremely charged subject and it deals with, among other things,  the onus that falls on many professionals who entertain the reality of UFOs and the unwillingness of much of the scientific community to look further into the UFO mystery.

Lauren Raine Speaks in Sacred Circle.

Photo of Lauren Raine by Fahrusha

From April 13 thru April 16th, I was privileged to assist at Lauren Raine’s Masks of the Goddess seminar on the beautiful campus of the Kirpalu. I roomed in a nice facility called Hill House which was about a quarter mile away from the main building. Spring had just barely begun to bloom with the first tender blossoms and here and there, there were tiny patches of snow. The weather was crisp and splendid; the first scents of the awakening Gaia could be detected.

I was frankly very tentative about the idea of a roommate. I was glad to have company but as a light sleeper, I was afraid I’d be disturbed. To my surprise my roommate turned out to be a truly amazing woman named Martha (last name withheld to protect the innocent). She was a tough, strong, yet tender older lady who impressed me more than anyone I’ve met in a long time. Her honesty and wisdom were beyond that of many self-styled spiritual leaders, and here knowledge of nature and survival skills was formidable. We had some very valuable conversations.

The plaster casts that formed the masks

Lauren’s class had seven participants, all female. I guess guys mostly don’t want to make a Goddess mask, go figure. It is their loss. 🙂 The participants had come from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ontario and included several dedicated craftswomen, a yoga teacher/actress, a midwife, a retired ballerina current yogini, a business woman philanthropist and a housewife.

One participant even wrote me a poem:

Often quiet, often silent
Often wanting to be free
Flying high above the trees
Telling what there is to see…
Bringing visions of the goddess
To the circle at our feet
With her face in white of plaster
She was also filled with laughter..
Sometimes rosey, sometimes pink
Sometimes she would stop and think
Shall I paint this mask of mine?
No, not now, another time…
So we all have since then parted
Going this and that way farther
Towards the goddess of our dreams
and moisturize our mask with cream…
Beatriz Rodriguez
Wow! What an honor. Thanks so much. Thanks to Lauren and Kirpalu and all participants that I could be part of this sacred and cultural event.

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

masksLauren Raine is a visionary artist. One of her skills is mask making. Please visit her site before January to see and possibly bid on one of her incredible, one of a kind masks. Lauren Raine is a one quarter Native American who is devoted to the environment and the Spirit of Our Mother Gaia (the Earth). www.rainewalker.com