Affirmation: Change is the Great Adventure of Life. I welcome change. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Blessed Be My Little Witch. To those who came before and those who will come after, know that the Goddess is with you always. Thank you all my dear readers…be blessed. ~GrannyMoon
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Dark Moon – Time to Rest
New Moon – Time to Begin New Projects; Birth; Attraction
Waxing Moon – Time to Grow; Increase
Full Moon – Time to be Fulfilled; Abundance
Waning Moon – Time to Banish; Decrease
Last Sliver of Moon – Time to Die; Letting Go
Dark Moon – Time to Rest Again
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Light A Candle Today!
In many different traditions lighting a candle is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day by the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this gratefulness. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. One single guideline is all you need: Slow down and do it with full attention.
Current Moon Phase: WANING MOON
Time: From Full Moon To Dark Moon (approx.14 days)
Goddess Aspect: Crone
Associated Goddesses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Kali, Morrigan
Magickal Attributes: Banishing, Releasing the old, removing unwanted negative energies, wisdom, psychic ability, scrying, reversing circumstances. Workings on this day are for banishing magick, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity, physical and psychic cleansings.
What’s Happening in March/April!?!
Herb of the Year for 2022: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association
Flower of the Month for March: Daffodil
March is National Women’s History Month
Celtic Tree Calendar ~ March 18th to April 14th – Alder
Goddess Month of Columbina ~ 3/20 – 4/17
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
Moon Moon, Mother Moon
Mon Mar 28 Waning Crescent Aquarius – Calf, ankle, shin, Achilles
Tue Mar 29 Waning Crescent Pisces – Feet, toes, pineal gland
Wed Mar 30 Waning Crescent Pisces – Feet, toes, pineal gland
Thu Mar 31 Waning Crescent Aries – Head, teeth, tongue, arteries
April 1: NEW MOON in Aries
April 11: Parkinson’s Disease World Awareness Day.
May 1st ~ Virginia Psychic Fair, Falls Church, VA. For info go to https://va-psychic-fair-2022.eventbrite.com
When is Easter in 2022?
Here’s the rule for Easter Sunday. It generally falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. The equinox is Sunday. So tonight’s full moon doesn’t set the date of Easter. Instead, the first full moon after the equinox will be April 16. And that’s why Easter is so late this year.
Sunday Classes with GrannyMoon at Sticks and Stones, Fairfax, VA
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ WitchCrafting – April 3
Face to Face Class: 1 PM – 3 PM ~ The Herbal Cauldron – April 10
Face to Face Class: Noon – 2:00 PM ~ The Magick of Crystals – April 24
High Priestess Training with GrannyMoon
The entire course takes 15 months to complete (four levels). Tuition covers lessons, assignments and instructor feedback. In addition, students may download guided meditation exercises and be eligible for Sabbats, Esbats and retreats with the Sisterhood. The entire fee for each level is $120 (payment plan available), sixteen lessons in each level, except the last.
Ceremonial Cords and frame-able Completion Certificates are awarded as members complete each level.
Level I – Initiate of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – White cord
Level II – Adept of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Red cord
Level III – Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch- Black cord
Level IV – High Priestess of the Sisters of the Burning Branch – Green cord
Learn About Herbs with GrannyMoon!
There is so much to learn about herbs! In Herbalism 101, we cover 21 herbs, and you will start your own personal Materia Medica, that we will build throughout the next levels. We will cover the basic aspects of herbs. From culinary to magickal, medicinal to ornamental. As well as the many modalities of herbs!
During this course, in addition to the on-line lessons and hands-on projects that you do at home, I will be sending you articles, and information, as well as questions about your own personal use and research.
I look forward to walking this green journey with you! I love herbs and I hope that you do too or will learn to!
There are 10 lessons in each level and there is no time limit for completion. You may study at your own pace! There are no texts to purchase.
For more info or to join my class, click here!
The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 or $150.00 the entire Healing Arts Course (1-3) which includes a free Reiki certification course when all three are ordered at the same time!
Earth Signs and Omens in Nature Course
Learn to read the mysteries of nature! The course covers signs and omens, communication, seasonal rites, trees and shrubs, flowers, plants and weeds, herbs, plant magick, the Guardians of Nature and much more.
The Goddess School Grimoire
eBook (PDF): $6.25
The Goddess School Grimoire is a collection of recipes, artwork, poetry, prose, prayers, rituals, spells, and practical Goddess wisdom put together by the teachers, students, alumni, and friends of The Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess School. The sisterhood is dedicated to restoring spiritual balance by returning the Divine Feminine to her rightful place and by assisting women in their personal and spiritual development. Since being founded by Head and High Mother Priestess Grandmother Moon in 2000, The Goddess School (GoddessSchool.com) has grown into a large and beautiful global community of women.
Llewellyn’s Spell A Day
MARCH 27, 2022 BY STEPHANIE ROSE BIRD
It’s a wonderful day to strengthen your divination abilities and meditate on abundance at the same time. Today is National Scribble Day!
First, utilize the fire element to aid your work in two ways:
- Light an orange candle for energy and a green candle for abundance.
- Light some rose incense to invoke creativity and the goddess Lakshmi.
Beautiful Lakshmi, of the Hindu pantheon, will shower your day with fruitful relationships, steadfast love, money, and abundance.
First, obtain a piece of plain brown paper (paper bag or kraft paper) of the desired size.
Tape the paper to a sturdy, smooth surface, like your desk or, if working smaller, a clipboard.
Set an intention having to do with abundance.
With any pen or pencil of your liking, begin scribbling. Take some cleansing breaths, relax your body, and scribble some more. Do this until you feel like you’ve expended your energy on your full intent.
Gaze deeply at your scribbling. What does it suggest you do to allow abundance to flow into your life? Extinguish the candles and incense when you’re done.
A Ritual When Waking in the Night
MARCH 26, 2022 BY NATALIE ZAMAN
Anxiety enters the lives of even the happiest people; life is like that. There may be times when anxiety troubles your sleep—an essential element of self-care when dealing with troubling issues. If you find yourself awake in the wee hours, try this breathing meditation and spell to help you slip back into sleep. The number four represents stability, and a firm foundation is the basis of this work.
- Breathe in for four counts.
- Hold for four counts.
- Breathe out for four counts.
- Hum (or chant a single sound)
for four counts.
4 x 4 x 4 x 4
Repeat as many times as needed.
MARCH 25, 2022 BY ELIZABETH BARRETTE
Spring is a season of balance, poised between winter and summer. It’s also a time of opposites and extremes, like a tug-of-war between the two seasons to see who rules for the day. This makes it a good time to work on balance in your life.
Think about the different aspects of balance. There is static balance when things are level and calm. Then there is dynamic balance when things are equally matched but rocking back and forth.
Consider how balance moves through your life. Sometimes it helps you stay calm. Other times it pushes you this way and that.
Make a list of things in your life. Try to match pairs of good and bad influences that counterbalance each other. Where the good things seem weak, think about how to strengthen them. Where there is a gap, imagine how you could fill it. If it’s actually going well, consider positive challenges you could add. Balancing exercises can also help. You might explore something like yoga or tai chi.
MARCH 24, 2022 BY DALLAS JENNIFER COBB
When the winter winds arrived, we drew our necks down, bundled up, and became guarded against the cold. As the winter weather begins to show signs of easing up, let’s do a thawing spell to release and awaken the frozen parts of ourselves. This spell is best done indoors.
Standing in a safe and private space, gaze down at your feet. Say:
I thaw what holds me stuck in place.
Place your hands on your belly. Say:
I thaw the anger I have held so tight.
Place your hands over your heart. Say:
I thaw my passionate, tender feelings.
Press your hands together in front of
you, perhaps rubbing them lightly. Say:
I thaw my creativity and skill.
Holding one hand to your throat and one to your heart, say:
It is safe to thaw out, to speak out,
to feel fully and be real. I thaw myself
and stand here, fully present.
A Grass Spell for the Garden
MARCH 23, 2022 BY JAMES KAMBOS
Ordinary grasses are known for their protective qualities. When charged with magical intent, they’re excellent for protecting the garden. Early in the spring, cut some tall grasses. Just a handful will do. Tie the bunch of grass in the middle with some jute twine or a few more stems of grass. As you stand in your garden, hold the bundle of grass. Charge it with these words:
Green and noble grasses,
Guard this garden as
each season passes.
Guard the seeds I plant
with my own hand.
Protect the vegetables and
the flowers so grand.
Lay the bundle of grass in a corner of your garden. Leave it undisturbed. Let it return to the earth from where it came. Repeat this spell next spring if you wish.
Cleaning Bath Magic
MARCH 22, 2022 BY ASTREA TAYLOR
As the day begins, the moon is waning in the deep water sign of Scorpio. It’s the perfect time to use water magic to cleanse yourself of any negative energy you may have.
This spell uses three handfuls of bath salts, a teaspoon of lavender flowers (or three drops of lavender oil), and a hot bath.
Soak in the bathtub with the salt and the lavender. Imagine that the hot water is drawing out any negative energy from you, like a tea bag releasing tea.
When you’re ready to leave, pull the plug and envision the bad energy staying in the water. As the water drains, say:
Negativity, I leave you behind me.
The cleansing waters have set me free.
As the water swirls down the drain,
May we never meet again.
Towel off, knowing you’ve left it behind you for good. Walk away without looking back.
Showering Off the Day
MARCH 21, 2022 BY RAVEN DIGITALIS
This evening, after the day has come to a close, light a single candle and hop in the shower while holding a hand of sea salt. Before stepping fully into the water, place the salt on your head and imagine it absorbing energies that have accumulated around your mind and aura.
Step slowly into the running water until you’re fully submerged. Speak to the water, thanking it for cleansing your mind, body, and spirit, as well as for nourishing your life and the life of the world.
Dim your vision as the salt washes down, noticing if insights come to your psychic mind. Humbly communicate with the water, asking for its assistance with any particular “releasings” you desire.
Conclude by rinsing off your whole body and meditating somewhere while you dry. Take it easy tonight, knowing you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to go when the morning comes! Be sure to extinguish the candle.
Heartwings Love Notes 1027 Pride and the Downfall
Big for my age when I was growing up, I was clumsy, often tripping over my own feet and dropping things. I attended a school where sports were important. Students good at athletic activities were the popular ones. Field hockey was daunting, although I could and did play goalie. Sadly though, I didn’t enjoy it because I always felt it was my fault if the team lost. I was terrible at running, and hitting balls was equally impossible. I was always the very last person chosen for any team in any sport.
Fast forward to adulthood. I was a busy mother with very full days. I wasn’t sleeping well and had resorted to memorizing long poems to recite mentally in hopes of falling asleep. A friend to whom mentioned this suggested I try yoga and gave me a book with instructions. Though I didn’t have a teacher, I followed the directions and studied the pictures carefully. It was very helpful. Then I found a yoga class. To my delight, I could do the postures easily. I felt enormously proud. At last, I had found something physical I could do.
Over time I grew more proficient and when someone asked me to teach a class, I did. I continued to study and learn, growing in my knowledge and skill. I attended lectures by teachers and was asked to teach for my yoga studio. Altogether my yoga career lasted approximately seven years. Then I injured my neck in a freak accident. This put a halt to my teaching as well as my practice. Still, I felt proud I had been able to be good at something requiring physical expertise.
The point of this story is background to explain that now again I have to deal with physical disability. This time it’s not clumsiness or lack of coordination, but a condition called Parkinson’s Disease. To put it simply, the nerves become less and less able to transmit the messages the brain sends out. With some people this even results in uncontrollable, undirected movement. While there are many different symptoms that result from this lack of communication, at this time, I have mainly to deal with being greatly slowed down and my balance is often precarious. While there are many inconvenient symptoms to deal, with, they are not relevant here.
Now again I must deal with the return of my childhood difficulties. The coordination of which I was so proud has vanished. I may need a wheelchair for walks of any great length. Strength is required and often assistance to get up from furniture and in and out of a car. Now I have a choice. I can curse my fate and bemoan my condition, or I can look upon this new challenge as an adventure in learning and growing. The latter is preferable. I also find that the skills in mindfulness and meditation I learned from my yoga practice can serve me still. Furthermore, as in most cases, the more positive I can be, the better I can function with Parkinson’s Disease.
May you enjoy your challenges and do well with them.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month, and April 11 is the Parkinson’s Disease World Awareness Day.
Gifts from the Universe
If we trust in a universe that has a higher purpose, then family members are in our lives for a good reason.
Families can contain a fascinating grouping of personalities. Despite the potential for so many to have similar traits, there are many different ways to express them. As people marry into families and have children, even more personalities enter the picture. There may be some people that we would not choose to be related to, but that’s what friends are for.
If we trust in a universe that has a higher purpose for everything, then we must believe that family members are in our lives for a good reason. These reasons may be easy to see and appreciate with some, but others may offer us a challenge. With those, we can look for something we can learn or perhaps teach. In the modern world where everyone seeks to be individuals, many move far away from their families in an attempt to escape them. But when we’ve successfully built a world around us that requires no one’s help, our families are the people who are still attached to us. We can still choose whether or not to honor the family ties, and how to treat each other, but the fact remains that we are energetically tied to our families.
Our families help us see where we have come from so that we may more clearly decide where we’d like to go. If we can learn to accept our families for who they are, then we go out into the world armed with the ability to deal with anyone. Some families are better than others at preparing us for the world. What we learn from our families, even if they are simply blank spots on our family trees, becomes the basis of our identities as individuals. Rather than denying our connections, we can choose to accept their presence in our lives. Acceptance does not mean we have to like them; we simply acknowledge that we are connected to them and honor that connection for like it or not, there is a reason. When we can embrace all that they bring into our experience, we may be grateful for all we have learned from them and have to learn, while we experience everything that comes with family fully and completely.
The Druid’s Garden
Druidry for the 21st Century: Setting and Co-Creating Intentions with Nature
Intentions are powerful things. They allow us to shape our force of will and set a path forward. They help us figure out what our own goals are. And I think because of that, we often see them as very personal. This is something that we do for our own purposes. In many western occult traditions, and even in druidry, intentions are often framed as highly internal things: things we set, things we want to manifest, things that help us shape our vision. You’ll see this very frequently in any ritual work–set your intentions for a ritual, a creation, a space, a new piece of land, and so forth. I think a lot of this is influenced by western occultism, which unfortunately puts the practitioner in a place of power and at the center of a working. I also think a lot of this is culturally influenced–westerners are inherently individualistic and self-focused, and this individual focus is both subconscious and conscious. This self-focus is an enormous problem when it comes to building reciprocal relationships with nature. Westerners also have a view of the land that implies ownership–ownership of lands gives full rights to do anything you want with it. Thus, it’s hard to say you are respecting the agency of the land and her spirits when you pretty much go in and do whatever you want to the land at any time.
I wanted to share an alternative approach that I’ve done with our land here, a way of moving me out of the center of my own intentions and instead considering intentions as a mutual and shared thing that I create in relationship with the living earth (for more on reciprocity and nature, see this post). If we open up our intentions and let the spirits of nature be co-creators in shaping intention, it can lead to some amazing results and allow us to cultivate reciprocal relationships with nature.
Reciprocation and Intention
I’ve been arguing that reciprocation should be a core value that we build into nature-based spiritual traditions. It is through reciprocation that we can build a stronger nature-based spiritual tradition, that we can work to repair the wrongs of previous generations (particularly those in relation to lands and indigenous peoples), that we can work to reverse colonialization, and that we can build a better future for all life on earth. It is through reciprocation that we can begin to understand that humans are not above nature but are part of nature. Reciprocation is also built into the Ancient Order of Druids in America (see our vision statement, here), the order where I am currently serving as Grand Archdruid.
I think that reframing intentions as something that can be reciprocal can move us a few steps in the right direction, both through our magical practices and our intentions for the living earth.
Intentions are the spark of an idea; they are an early commitment to moving in a particular direction, and they are often the beginning of a magical, spiritual, and/or physical practice (or something of all three). So now let’s look at two ways we might shift intentions to a more reciprocal relationship.
Preliminaries: Nature Communication
In order to do any of the work I’m suggesting below, you will need ways of communicating with the spirits of nature and the land around you. If you’ve been on a nature-based spiritual path or practice any kind of deep nature awareness, you probably don’t need anything I’m going to say and can skip this. But if you are newer to this or unsure, I wanted to give you some options and resources.
Gut feelings and intuition. A lot of nature communication is based in feeling and understanding the signals that our body tells us. In other words, when you walk into a forest, how do you feel? Do you feel welcome? Do you feel unwelcome and like the forest doesn’t want you there? Those initial gut feelings are a critical part of communicating with nature–particularly in listening.
Divination. Divination tools such as ogham, tarot, pendulum, geomancy, etc. are great ways of communicating with the spirits of nature and are particularly useful for those who are still developing other methods of spirit communication. For setting intentions, I recommend that you use something very simple that has a yes/no function, thus, a pendulum is most appropriate (things like tarot or ogham get more complicated in their interpretation, where a pendulum will be very direct). To use a pendulum in this way, I would suggest creating one with something from nature (a stone from the land around you and a string). Then simply ask it to “show me yes” and “show me no” and now you know how to interpret it.
Spirit communication. More advanced practitioners can develop more direct ways of communicating with spirit through their inner vision: visuals, conversation, sensing energy, etc. This method is what you will want to work up to–being able to converse with a tree, for example, allows things to be quite clear. I have a series on how to cultivate plant spirit communication, so please check out these posts for more information: part I, part II, part III, and part IV.
The only other preliminary thing I suggest you do is to prepare some kind of offering for your work with the spirits of the land. I’ve written more on offerings here, here, and here.
Setting Intentions for a Space or Project
The earth oven project The earth oven project
Let’s say you have land and you want to create a new project on that land. It might be a sacred grove, a druid’s anchor spot, or a sacred garden. Here’s another great opportunity to set intentions collaboratively. As one of the first things you do, reach out to the land
I would suggest that this should not be a one-time practice but rather a practice that is done on a regular basis. The practice is simple: go to the spot and simply say, “I’d like to set shared intentions for [this space, the project, etc].” Then have a conversation, use divination, or any other means to set those intentions. It may take some time as nature often works on a different timeline than we do. But this work will unfold and you’ll see how rich the collaborative intention setting can be.
Intentions in my druid’s anchor spot. In one example, I’ve found that my druid’s anchor spot likes to set new intentions with each season, so I make it a point to do that work at the solstices and equinoxes. Usually, at the Winter Solstice, the intention is simply “rest” but in the other seasons, we set intentions together for the work to come. These intentions can vary pretty widely: last year in the fall, the shared intention was to share a story of the day, and as it grew dark, each of us would tell a story and listen to each other’s story. The year before, the land was very intent on having some of the biodiversity returned, so we worked together on various approaches to bringing in biodiversity (specifically through cleaning up certain areas that had garbage, bringing in new soil, and planting new trees, understory, and woodland medicinal species). I am excited to see what this season’s intentions will be!
Intentions for the earth oven project. In a second example, I’ll share how to set intentions for a project. The Druids Garden homestead is a 5-acre homestead in Western Pennsylvania, run by two druids. We spend a lot of time prior to engaging in any project setting intentions with the land in collaborative ways. On a larger scale, this includes figuring out what parts of the land want to be wild, which want cultivation, and where we can create gardens and more human-tended spaces (in permauclture terms, this is about setting up our zones of use, among other things).
Thus, when I decided to build the earth oven, I sat with the land over a period of months and asked, where can I build this oven? Once both my partner and I had a clear sense of where to build, I began to narrow down the spot to the specific work at hand. I was given permission to create a small path about 15′ into the brush and to create my oven there. I was also shown a clear space for a shrine that would sit on the path to the oven. I explained to the land that this would require me to move/cut some plants and remove the topsoil, and the land told me that I could ask each individual plant what to do (compost, replant, pot up and give away) as well as any stones in the area. So I began that work–it took me a few sessions, but it was very rewarding. Some of the plants wanted to be harvested and made into medicine (blackberry roots). Others were rhizomatic (like mayapple), and wanted to simply be composted. The small cherry tree (also abundant) wanted to be made into pendants and gifts. The wild yams wanted to be replanted and showed me where. Spicebush wanted to be potted up and given to a specific person. The fledgling sassafras made it clear that she was the boundary and that I needed to situate the oven in a way that did not disturb her growth. By the time I had “cleared” the land, every specific plant and tree that was there had the opportunity to state their intentions, and those intentions were honored. After that, I could begin building the earth oven knowing that the land was fully honored and included in the intention of that space, and because of it, we would be able to work deep magic with the oven in the years to come.
Now imagine the difference in this experience if I had just come into the land, started pulling up plants, piling them up, and then clearing the land. The end result–a physical space for an earth oven would have been the same. But my own relationship with the land would have suffered; the land being a victim at my hands. Thus, when I talk about reciprocation, this is exactly what I mean. We include the land, we not only as permission but we ask what we should do, how we should do it. I think that its important to recognize that the land loves us, and wants to help us meet our goals. This reciprocation puts nature in equal partnership with us, and the blessings flow from that relationship.
Setting Intentions for a Magical Working, Ceremony or Ritual
Water element from the Plant Spirit Oracle
Perhaps the most common means through which people set intentions are at the start of magical working, ceremony, or ritual. I would say that co-setting intentions for rituals really depends on what the ritual is for–for yourself, for the living earth, for something else? Whoever is involved should be involved in setting the intentions for the ceremony.
If it is a ritual that is primarily focused on you and on something tied to yourself, I would still suggest connecting with the spirits of nature for their guidance and wisdom. Here’s a simple approach: anytime before you begin the ritual, take a short walk in nature. Find a place to sit (such as your druid’s anchor spot), and describe to the spirits of nature what you are planning on doing. After you share, make an offering and see if they have any guidance.
If the ritual is on behalf of the living earth or tied to the land in any way, you need to take whatever time you need to set intentions in a collaborative way with the living earth. This is not always a simple process and may take quite a bit of time. Begin this with a conversation that is open to the spirits of nature. Rather than saying, “I want to do this ritual,” instead, go to nature and simply say, “What do you need?” “How can I support you?” and see what comes from that conversation. Don’t assume you know what the spirits of the land want and need, but rather, allow the spirits of nature to collaborate with you to co-create the ritual. You can also reach out and say, “I’d like to offer a healing ritual for the land. Do you think that would be a good idea?” The point here is that if you go in telling the land what you are already planning on doing, that’s not very reciprocal. Rather, create space for a conversation and a shared vision to come forth.
You can do this essentially on any level–individual, group, or even with a larger group. Here’s a recent example of a larger group practice that we recently completed. A few years ago, AODA had released our Vision Statement, and it became clear to some of us n leadership that we wanted to do something order-wide that was reciprocal with the land. Individual members already do a lot in our curriculum in terms of tree planting, earth path lifestyle changes, and so forth. But we wanted something that was community-based. And so, a few of us began speaking with the lands around us. What could AODA do, on an order-wide level, that would support the living earth where we lived? What would the land need? Through our own work over the next six months, a very clear picture emerged of what we, as an order could do–a summer solstice land blessing and a winter solstice waterway blessing using AODA’s frameworks (here they are if you are interested!) These rituals were not just created by humans in AODA, but rather, in conjunction with meditations and collaboration with the lands around us. I’m really excited that these rituals will be starting this year in 2022, and you are most welcome to join us in this endeavor!
In these examples, we can again see how setting intentions–magical and mundane–in conjunction with the living earth allows us to reciprocate and collaborate in ways that we cannot do if we only set intentions within ourselves. I hope you found this post useful and inspiring. I would also love to hear from readers about how you may already set intentions in co-created ways with the living earth!
The Psychology of Ghost Hunting
JANUARY 06, 2022 BY BRANDON ALVIS
Death is an inevitable part of life. Reminders of our own mortality surround us everyday. Any time we read a newspaper, turn on the news, or consume media, we are shown heartbreaking stories of a tragic loss of life. As the old saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” At some point throughout our lifetime, we will experience the loss of a loved one, a friend, an acquaintance. With each passing, we are faced with a question: What happens when we die? I was first faced with that question on September 8th, 1995, when my oldest brother Eric passed away from cancer at the age of 24.
Learning About Death
I was only eight years old at the time of my brother’s passing. The concept of death was a lot for a third grader to take in, let alone understand.
It confused me.
Much of my childhood was spent at the cemetery where my brother was laid to rest. The more time I spent surrounded by tombstones, the more I started to comprehend what death was and how we would all meet the same end. As my mother would visit my brother and grieve, I did what any eight-year-old kid would do: explore. I’d walk around the cemetery. I’d read the grave markers, the names, the dates of birth and death. I’d speak with the groundskeepers and ask them questions about their job. What was it like working in the death industry? I watched as they would prepare the ground for upcoming burials, the funerals taking place close to my brother’s gravesite. I would listen to the eulogies and observe how others handled grief. This is macabre, but it helped me begin my own grieving process. As the years passed and I grew older, thinking of our ultimate end became easier for me. In 2002 my grandmother passed away, peacefully in her home at the age of 73. She was ill in the later years of her life. During our final conversation before her passing, I knew her time on earth was coming to an end; and while I fought to cherish the little time she had left, I was prepared to grieve for her once she took her last breath. However tragic death was, I readied myself for this anguish.
I was confident I could properly grieve for my grandmother. Death wouldn’t catch me off guard.
But in 2004, my brother Gary took his life. I couldn’t see it through the rage I felt at that time, but my way of thinking about our final end would change forever.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Nameless City
Paranormal Investigation as Grief Therapy
There are many reasons why people get involved in the search for ghosts and hauntings. Some are looking for an adrenaline rush, some for notoriety. One common reason is the passing of a loved one. In my 17 years of research, I have met hundreds of individuals who are willing to journey into the dark for answers about the afterlife, just as I was after the death of my two brothers. Many paranormal investigators have found a sense of peace in trying to communicate with those that have come before us. After hearing countless stories from those in the field, I realized that the act of paranormal investigation was a form of grief therapy. I only ever made that connection when I read a book titled Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial by Penny Colman, which showed up on my radar for a research project I conducted many years ago. In chapter two of Colman’s book, she cites a study performed by psychologist Maria Nagy in 1948:
“The children, who nicknamed Nagy ‘Auntie Death,’ had discussions with Nagy and drew pictures. In addition the older children followed Nagy’s request to ‘write down everything that comes to your mind about death.’ Nagy studied their responses and concluded that some children go through three stages in understanding death. The youngest children aged three to about five tend to be curious about death and ask matter-of-fact questions about funerals, coffins, and cemeteries. To them, death is a continuation of life but at a lower level: dead people can’t see and hear as well as living people, they aren’t quite as hungry, and they don’t do very much. And they might return.
Younger children appear to think that death is at best not much fun and boring and at the worst lonely and scary. Beginning at about the age of five or six, children tend to realize that death is final and move into what Nagy named Stage 2. Although at this stage, many children realized that death was final, some of them thought that they could escape death if they were clever, careful, or lucky. Christy Ottaviano remembers thinking like that when she was in elementary school. ‘I had to walk past a cemetery to get to school,’ she recalls. ‘I thought that I wouldn’t die if I held my breath the whole way. So I did until I was about nine or ten years old.’ Christy may have stopped because she moved into what Nagy identified as Stage 3 in understanding death. This is when children tend to realize that in addition to being final, death is also inevitable. Everyone dies, even clever, careful, and lucky people. Or people who hold their breath when they walk past a cemetery. ‘Death is destiny,’ wrote one ten-year-old child. Another ten-year-old wrote, ‘Everyone has to die.’ According to Nagy, Stage 3, which starts at about age nine or ten, continues throughout life.” (Colman 29, 30, 31)
Death and the Final Frontier
Reading Maria Nagy’s The Child’s Theories Concerning Death completely transformed my thought process. Having basically grown up in a cemetery and losing someone so close to me at such a young age, I made the jump from Nagy’s proclaimed stage 2 to stage 3 in a more advanced timeframe. Other studies have shown that, “children who experienced a parent’s death, who are dying themselves, or who have witnessed violent, traumatic death will perceive death in an adultlike manner at much earlier ages than children who have not had such experiences.” (“Death—The Development Of A Concept Of Death—Children, Dead, Nagy, and Age – JRank Articles”) These experiences of the human condition led me early on in a lifelong pursuit of finding answers about the possibility of retaining consciousness after the brain dies. Like many others in the study of ghosts and hauntings, I have found comfort in journeying into the dark, and I carry this into every investigation I conduct, into every bit of research I perform, and the hours upon hours of footage I review. And I will continue to do so, until I meet my own ultimate end.
Colman, Penny. 1997. Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial. N.p.: Henry Holt and Company.
“Death—The Development Of A Concept Of Death—Children, Dead, Nagy, and Age—JRank Articles.” n.d. Social Issues Reference. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://social.jrank.org/pages/186/Death-Development-Concept-Death.html#ixzz7E9jWV4N5.
Making Choices from a Place of Balance
It is important to make decisions from a place of balance, by taking a breath and checking in with heart and mind.
Each of the myriad decisions we make every day has the potential to have a deep impact on our lives. Some choices touch us to our very cores, awakening poignant feelings within us. Others seem at first to be simple but prove to be confusingly complex. We make the best decisions when we approach the decision-making process from a balanced emotional and intellectual foundation. When we have achieved equilibrium in our hearts and in our minds, we can clearly see both sides of an issue or alternative. Likewise, we can accept compromise as a natural fact of life. Instead of relying solely on our feelings or our rationality, we utilize both in equal measure, empowering ourselves to come to a life-affirming and balanced conclusion.
Balance within and balance without go hand in hand. When you are called upon to choose between two or more options, whether they are attractive or distasteful, you should understand all you can about the choice ahead of you before moving forward. If you do not come to the decision from a place of balance, you risk making choices that are irrational and overly emotional or are wholly logical and don’t take your feelings into account. In bringing your thoughts and emotions together during the decision-making process, you ensure that you are taking everything possible into account before moving forward. Nothing is left up to chance, and you have ample opportunity to determine which options are in accordance with your values.
Though some major decisions may oblige you to act and react quickly, most will allow you an abundance of time in which to mull over your choices. If you doubt your ability to approach your options in a balanced fashion, take an extended time-out before responding to the decision. This will give you the interlude you need to make certain that your thoughts and feelings are in equilibrium. As you practice achieving balance, you will ultimately reach a state of mind in which you can easily make decisions that honor every aspect of the self.
4 Tonics To Help Boost Your Energy When Feeling Sluggish
Healthy Living | Andrew Weil, M.D.
Feeling run-down and stressed-out? Does it seem you always catch whatever is going around? You may want to consider taking a daily tonic. Also known as adaptogens, these nontoxic, plant-based substances help to bolster your body’s natural defenses and increase its ability to cope with normal daily stress. When taken long term, tonics may help support energy and maintain immunity. Popular tonics include:
Ashwagandha. This traditional herb (Withaniasomnifera) from India is regularly used in ayurvedic medicine, where it is valued as a general tonic and adaptogen. There is evidence to support its use in brain health as well.
Eleuthero. Formerly called Siberian ginseng, eleuthero (Eleutherococcussenticosus) is a distant relative of true ginseng. It can be useful for alleviating exhaustion, fatigue from heavy workloads and overall lack of energy. Look for products that are standardized for their eleutheroside content.
Reishi. This distinctive, woody mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is too bitter to be eaten but can be taken in supplement form. Reishi is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine for increasing resistance and extending life and has been studied for its ability to support normal immune health.
Rhodiola. Also known as arctic root, rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) contains a group of distinctive compounds that are at least partially responsible for the plant’s remarkable properties – including anti-fatigue, anti-stress, antioxidant and immune-supporting effects. It is useful for acute stress, to support optimal mood and for memory health.
You should be able to find all of these herbal products in health food stores, often in combination products for stress or adrenal support. Choose the one that best meets your needs, follow package directions, and give it about six to eight weeks to see how it helps. You can take tonics indefinitely, but some herbalists suggest taking a two-week-long break every three months to help maintain the tonic’s effectiveness. If you have hypertension or diabetes, talk with your physician before adding these herbs to your routine. If they approve, be certain to monitor your blood pressure and sugar levels while taking.
Also know that these preparations work best when combined with the regular engagement with mindfulness practices like breathing exercises, guided meditation and taking news and social media detox breaks. Begin by implementing one or twopractices daily and growing your efforts from there.
Osha: A Supportive, but At-Risk Plant Ally
Osha root (Ligusticum porteri) has been in use as an herbal medicine, incense, food, and for ceremonial purposes for thousands of years. When European colonists arrived in North America, osha was already being widely used by First Nations People in the American Southwest and Mexico to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those involving the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The Zuni people chewed the root in healing rituals and the Tarahumara people used it ritualistically in protection ceremonies. This herbal ally has been generously gifting itself to humans on our continent for millennia, and its renown has spread to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this increasing popularity has shined a light on osha’s one significant problem—virtually all commercial osha is wildharvested because this independent herb doesn’t do well as a cultivated crop. This limitation combined with the ever-increasing demand for osha has many herbalists concerned about the viability and long-term sustainability of this precious botanical. Let’s take a deeper dive into osha.
Botany: What is Osha?
There are twelve ligusticum species, but only Ligusticum porteri is true osha. In the American West, it is considered a keystone plant species because it is a vital source of food and shelter for other species. Osha root—also called Bear Medicine or Bear Root—is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, which also includes carrots, dill, anise, fennel, angelica, hemlock, cow parsley, etc. Osha grows up to three feet tall and has bright green parsley- or carrot-like leaves.
Osha is a perennial native in the high elevations (9,000 feet and above) of the Rocky Mountains and northwestern Mexico, where it is a favorite of both humans and bears. People have long noted that bears in the region seek out osha when they first emerge from hibernation, both eating the plant and chewing it into a mash which they rub into their fur, hence “bear medicine.” In turn, osha depends on the bears and other local wildlife to spread its seeds. Each of the little flowers that make up osha’s umbels becomes a seed that can catch in the fur of a passing animal to be dropped to the soil further along the animal’s journey.
Wildharvesters dig up osha to get the dark, wrinkled roots. However, it is easy to confuse osha with poisonous hemlock, which has similar flat umbels of white flowers, so it is imperative to know the difference. Osha root is generally ingested as a tea, capsule, or extract for immune system support or to offer relief from cold and flu symptoms, digestive issues, and more.
Please consult a certified herbalist and/or your doctor before adding osha to your wellness regimen, and note that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid osha in all forms.
Is Osha Endangered?
Although osha is not yet classified as endangered, United Plant Savers (Ups) has placed it on the “At-Risk” list. It is doing well in some areas of its range and is alarmingly over-harvested in others. In response to this troubling reality, Mountain Rose Herbs supports an important osha research project that is being overseen by UpS in collaboration with botanists at several state universities, state forestry services, and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Over twenty-plus years, the project has funded a number of studies that look at the impact of commercial osha harvesting on the long-term sustainability of this herb. Although it is too early to draw final conclusions, initial results from these studies are heartening and seem to indicate that when harvested responsibly, with sustainability in mind, osha will regenerate and replenish itself.
The studies also revealed important information that may help us support osha better. For instance, recent studies in the high elevations of southern Colorado, where conifers have been devastated by a bark beetle infestation, revealed that this tragic die-off of trees has in turn created a new opportunity for osha in that area and the plant has taken full advantage.
To put this more succinctly, we know osha is a resilient botanical with a knack for surviving. It is the sheer volume of irresponsible harvesting that is at the core of this plant’s current troubles. If we refuse to support harvesting practices that are geared toward profit instead of sustainability, we may be able to take enough pressure off this remarkable plant to allow it to regenerate across its native range.
Take Action to Help Osha
If you are purchasing osha, ask questions. Make sure you know where and how your osha was harvested, and purchase only sustainably harvested roots.
The osha root extract and Osha Ultra Syrup that Mountain Rose Herbs sells use osha that has been sustainably collected in collaboration with the ongoing UpS osha research project mentioned above. Collected in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the seasonal harvests are closely overseen by UpS using the findings from more than two decades of research.
There are a number of cultivated and sustainably harvested herbs that make good substitutes for osha in many formulations. Unless you are able to acquire sustainably harvested osha, consider using one or more of the following:
For respiratory support, substitute elecampane root, lovage root, or angelica root. (Do not use angelica root if you are pregnant or nursing.)*
For immune support, substitute acerola berry powder, elderberry, echinacea root, or ashwagandha root.*
For demulcent support, substitute marshmallow root (slippery elm is a good substitute too, but is also struggling.)*
For throat-soothing support, substitute wild cherry bark.*
STEVEN’S THROAT-SOOTHING PASTILLE RECIPE
This recipe for throat-soothing, lung-supporting pastilles (or lozenges) is the herbal genius of our Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Steven Yeager, who is also a long-time teacher at the Columbine School of Botanical Studies and an AHPA board member. These little pastilles are a godsend when the winter crud catches up to you.
1 gram organic acacia (gum arabic) powder
4 grams organic sugar (Steven uses maple sugar)
3 grams organic elecampane root powder, organic lovage root powder, or organic angelica root powder (as a substitute for osha root powder)
1 gram organic licorice root powder, plus more for coating if desired
Water, or herbal extract (tincture) of your choice (Steven likes to use organic elecampane extract instead of water)
Combine and mix dry powders in a bowl.
Starting with one ounce of water or herbal extract, add one dropperful of liquid at a time to the bowl, and mix into the powders.
Keep adding liquid by dropperfuls until the mixture holds together in a clump, similar to the consistency of cookie dough. Be careful not to add too much liquid.
Form the dough into small (approximately 1/4-inch) pastilles/lozenges/stars/hearts etc. Keep the shapes small as the pastilles will be strong! Remember, these should not be seen as candy or a snack.
Dust with additional licorice root powder if desired.
Allow to dry on a screen or plate for a few days until totally dry.
Store in a glass jar with an air-tight lid in a cool, dark place for longest shelf life.
Hanging Fresh Eucalyptus In Your Shower
by ELLA CERÓN
When it comes to bathroom upgrades, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an impact. There are plenty of ways to refresh the space for less than $100, but by far my favorite upgrade is a $4 investment I make every week at Trader Joe’s. In addition to the snacks and frozen goods I stock up on, I make sure to pick up a new bouquet of fresh eucalyptus to hang in my shower. (If my local TJ’s is out, the corner bodega sells the same sprigs for the slightly-more-expensive $7.)
It’s a popular detail and one you’ve likely seen on social media time and time again for good reason. It’s soothing! It’s pretty! It adds a splash of green to your shower. But what many Instagram snapshots forget to tell you is that there is some upkeep involved with swapping your eucalyptus out for a new bunch… and if you’re simply hanging the fresh branches up in your shower, you’re missing one crucial detail.
Simply put, you need to crush the eucalyptus a bit to help the plant release its fragrant, spa-like oils.
As detailed by The Cut’s Beauty Director Kathleen Hou, the method is simple, and adds less than a minute to your prep time. She recommends using a rolling pin or a wine bottle to damage the leaves a bit — “Do this over a newspaper or cutting board, or else it will get sticky,” she advises — and then hang them as you normally would. Hou uses a rubber band to affix her eucalyptus to her showerhead, while I’ve repurposed a thick grosgrain ribbon that matches my fixtures.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Source some eucalyptus.
You don’t need a lot of it (though I simply hang the entire bunch because I have nowhere else in my apartment to put it). Trader Joe’s typically sells baby blue eucalyptus — I’ve found that branches with larger leaves tend to be more fragrant than smaller branches, but both work.
Step 2: Prep your workspace.
As Hou mentioned, it’s important to work in a way that contains the eucalyptus oil as you crush the leaves. I’ve found that leaving the eucalyptus in its cellophane packaging helps mitigate the mess, as does laying a garbage bag on top of your counter or work space. As for your tool of choice, you can use a rolling pin, a wine bottle, or anything else that might crush your eucalyptus without damaging the surface under it.
Step 3: Crush your eucalyptus.
A few rolls back and forth will do — it doesn’t need to be comprehensive.
Step 4: Hang your eucalpytus.
The trick is to hang it just behind the shower head — the plant will release its oils when it comes into contact with your shower’s hot steam, rather than the water. You can use a piece of string, a rubber band, or a ribbon to affix the bunch to its new post. The bunch should last about a week, depending on the frequency of your household’s shower schedules.
Fungi: A Dr. Weil Favorite | Healthy Living | Andrew Weil, M.D.
Dr. Weil has a well-known passion for mushrooms. He began to hunt them in the wild years ago and still does. Mushrooms’ rich, complex flavors aren’t all they have to offer. Many varieties that used to be considered exotic and hard to find have become increasingly available in the United States. Some are delicious as additions to your diet, but some are strictly medicinal mushrooms available in dried, liquid extract or in capsule form. Many have potent medicinal activities. Learn more!
Here’s a sampling of what some of them can do for you.
Staples of Asian cuisines, shiitakes have a rich, savory taste. Dr. Weil likes them so much he’s trying to grow them near his summer home in British Columbia. Shiitakes contain substances that may help lower cholesterol, boost immune function, combat viruses and reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer.
Mushrooms Of Immortality: Reishi
Woody reishi mushrooms have impressive health benefits but aren’t for eating. You can buy reishi in tea bags, as capsules and as liquid extracts. These medicinal mushrooms can help:
Lower blood pressure
Improve immune function
Protect the liver
Counteract allergy symptoms.
They may even help prevent the spread of cancer cells.
Energy Boosting Mushroom: Cordyceps
Cordyceps are parasitic medicinal mushrooms and grow mainly on insects and even other fungi. Cordyceps can:
Help increase aerobic capacity
May help athletic performance
They also can help overcome muscle weakness and heighten sexual vigor. You can buy cordyceps in tinctures, liquid extracts, capsules, and powders.
Hen of the Woods: Maitake
These mushrooms resemble the tail feathers of a nesting hen. Maitakes taste great and are widely available fresh or dried. Maitakes have anticancer and antiviral effects. They also can help control high blood pressure, high blood sugar control and enhance immune system power.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
These culinary mushrooms also have impressive health benefits. They can improve mild cognitive impairment and promote nerve growth. Lion’s Mane mushrooms also have been shown to reduce anxiety and enhance sleep.
Enoki are mild tasting mushrooms that cook quickly and are perfect in soups and salads. Besides their great taste, enokis have anticancer and immune enhancing effects.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Strictly medicinal mushrooms Turkey Tails have anticancer effects and can increase immune function. You can buy Turkey Tail mushrooms in liquid form or in capsules.
This edible medicinal mushroom is also known as the “almond portobello” for its distinctive flavor. Healthwise, agaricus blazei can enhance immune system effects. It also has anti-tumor and anti-viral activity.
Final Notes On Mushrooms
Dr. Weil always cooks mushrooms and warns against eating them raw because they’re tough to digest and some contain toxins that cooking destroys. Before broiling, grilling or sautéing, Dr. Weil flavors mushrooms with a little teriyaki sauce.
Dr. Weil used mushrooms in the line of skin care products he developed for Origins to combat dry, inflamed or sensitive skin.
Coach Gilberto 4 by Stephen Halpert
Finally, Gilberto had seen enough. Joey had spent most of the day mopping about the condo. He had paid no attention to Boris, who had tried cheer him up with licks, except to push him away. Now he sat alone on the couch, staring off into space.
Gilberto sat down beside him and looked at him intently, but lovingly. “Ok, Joey,” he began. “What’s going on for you?”
Joey’s lips tightened. He sighed and fidgeted on the couch, crossing and uncrossing his legs. Finally, he sighed again and scrubbed his hands through his hair. He opened his mouth. “N-nothing really, Gilberto I guess I’m just in love,” he stammered.
Gilberto tried a smile. “So, what’s wrong with that?” He put his arm around Joey’s shoulders.
“Nothing,” Joey said. He sighed again, clasped his hands, and shook his head. “It’s complicated.”
Gilberto nodded. “I understand that, but it might help if you can just let go and tell me what this is really about.”
Joey nodded, sighed and spread his hands. His words tumbled out: “I guess I’m in–I’m in love with Rosemary.” For the first time in the conversation, he looked relieved.
At first Gilberto’s’ eyes widened. “Your soccer coach?”
Joey nodded. He blushed and the tips of his ears turned red.
Gilberto looked at him quizzically, his head on one side. “Does that create a problem?”
Joey looked at him beseechingly. “But please don’t tell anyone.” His words came out in a rush.
“I wouldn’t “
Joey’s eyes rolled up and he smiled dreamily. “I’ve never seen a girl kick a soccer ball with that kind of intensity. And she can fly down the field.” He turned and looked into Gilberto’s eyes. “She blows my mind and I just want to be with her all the time.”
Gilberto nodded. “But you want more than just kicking around a soccer ball?”
Joey’s face reddened again. “Oh yes, way more. I want to hold her and kiss her and never stop. Like the way you kiss mom.”
Gilberto nodded. “I understand. Does she know?” he asked.
“I expect so. I told her I was falling in love with her.” He frowned slightly, “but she never said anything back.”
Gilberto nodded. “And she’s what, twenty-seven or eight?”
Joey nodded. “I know. But I’ll be eighteen.” He smiled a hopeful smile.
Gilberto shrugged. “Ten years isn’t the end of the world.”
Joey looked at him and frowned again. “It is if you’re Houndstooth faculty. If we got found out she’d get fired and I could be suspended.”
Gilberto looked at him seriously. “Just don’t let that happen then,” he said.
Joey’s eyebrows flew up. “So it’s ok then, my falling in love with her?”
“It’s not just falling in love. It’s how you handle the whole situation. Does she have a partner?”
Joey shrugged and looked off into space. “That never came up.” He sighed. “She’s so cool and athletic. I never knew a really cool, athletic girl before. She can fly when she runs and she can kick a goal almost from the length of the entire field.”
Maria came in with a tray of hot chocolate and cookies. She smiled at Gilberto. “Am I interrupting anything just man to man. You both seem so hushed and conspiratorial. Do I get to hear too? Or is this little confab just between you men?”
Joey blushed, searching for words. “Oh, mom it’s so different talking to you than to Gilberto.”
Maria raised her eyebrows. “What don’t you want me to know? Say it please in a few words.”
Gilberto smiled and sat back. He knew not put in his two cents.
“I’m in love with my soccer coach,” Joey blurted.
“He likes the way she kicks,” Gilberto said.
Maria gave him her ‘oh I see’ look. “How do you plan to proceed?”
Joey looked confused. “I don’t know. I was hoping Gilberto would help me.”
Maria smiled at Gilberto. “After all, you know more about women than you do the back of your hand.”
“Please,” Gilberto said. “I want him to solve this for himself.”
“I just want to know what you’d do Gilberto?” Joey pleaded.
Gilberto sighed. “If I was almost eighteen and fell in love with someone nearly ten years older than me?”
“Yes,” Joey nodded. He peered at Gilberto waiting for holy words from on high.”
Gilberto seemed to hedge. “I would at least want to kiss her.”
“But she’s my soccer coach. I can’t do that.”
Maria nodded. “Right, not a good idea.” She peered at Gilberto. “Any other words of wisdom, Casanova?”
The phone rang. It was Ramon. “Need to talk,” his voice was stressed.
“Come on over,” Gilberto said.
Ten minutes later he strode into the condo. Maria handed him an open bottle of beer. He sat down and swallowed a few gulps. “We’ve got a small problem, Gilberto. Headmaster wants us to field a soccer team and be ready to compete against rival prep schools this Fall. No one here even has a clue how to play, let alone any skills. I’ve seen them on the field. We’ll be destroyed. Our first season would be zero wins. They’re all that bad.”
Gilberto nodded. “I thought so. Intermural and varsity are way different head states.”
Ramon finished his beer. “Headmaster has no idea. He has this delusional dream of seeing silver cups lined up to impress; wants Houndstooth to become a soccer power like the Revolutions or the Patriots in the NFL. He doesn’t get that it takes years to build a winning powerhouse.”
“Especially when grades count the way they do at Houndstooth,” Maria added.
Gilberto sighed. “Cheer up, we’ll go see him Monday and try to teach him the facts of life about soccer.”
“Might be tricky,” Ramon said. “He’s already told everyone at school that we’re miracle workers. Expects us to throw our charisma around and get those kids ready for battle.”
“You’ll have Joey going into his senior year,” Maria said. “That’s one step in the right direction.”
(to be continued)
Pets Can Help People Stay Sharp As They Age, New Study Finds.
BY ALISON CUTLER
Owning a pet might help combat declining brain health in older adults, the study found. Your dog or cat might be better for your health than you realize, a new study found — especially as you get older. The benefits of owning a pet have been touted by researchers for years.
A companion animal has the potential to decrease anxiety and loneliness, improve heart health and combat allergies, studies have shown. A pet might also be able to help older adults stay mentally sharp, according to a preliminary study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 74th Annual Meeting in April.
“Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” said study author Tiffany Braley in a news release. “Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive decline.” “Cognitive decline” includes problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers from the study looked at the brain health of 1,369 older adults with an average age of 65, the news release said. Within the group, 53% of adults owned a pet and 32% had owned their pet for five years or longer. Researchers tested the participants over six years and found that brain health decreased at a faster rate among people who didn’t have pets, according to the news release.
The people who owned pets for longer than five years had the slowest rate of mental decline and had an average brain health score that was 1.2 points higher than non-pet owners. Researchers had a few theories for why this could be. “As stress can negatively affect cognitive function, the potential stress-buffering effects of pet ownership could provide a plausible reason for our findings,” Braley said in a news release.
“A companion animal can also increase physical activity, which could benefit cognitive health.” Limitations in the study included how often the length of pet ownership was assessed and the authors said more research is needed to identify how race, gender and other factors impact the connection between brain health and pets.
Kitty Kat’s Korner
Why Do Cats Stare?
By Susan Logan McCracken
Cats are famous for staring — at you, at the world outside a window, at the wall and sometimes at nothing at all. Indeed, cats are curious observers, and here’s a look into why they stare.
One of cats’ most striking features are their eyes. These ocular attributes amplify their reputation for staring and make them possibly the most photogenic species on the internet and here’s why:
Cats have enormous eyes compared to the size of the rest of their body.
Cats’ eyes blink about twice a minute, while human eyes blink around 15 to 20 times per minute.
A cat’s vision differs from ours. Compared to humans, cats are nearsighted. Average human visual acuity is 20/20. That means when our visual acuity is tested, we must see at 20 feet the same detail that average people see at 20 feet. Feline visual acuity ranges between 20/100 and 20/200. That means that the detail an average human can see from 100 to 200 feet away, a feline can only see clearly from 20 feet away. What looks clear to us at 100 feet away looks blurry to a cat.
What they lack in visual acuity, they make up for with other advantages.
The more numerous rods in their retinas enable them to see in one-sixth the amount of light we need to see.
Cats also have a wider field of vision at 200 degrees, compared to that of humans at 180 degrees. Cats are wired to see movement of the tiniest insect or speck of dust up close. Combined with their superior peripheral vision, cats are more likely to fixate on something we may not notice
Cats have adapted to human habits and use human signals to obtain information. Cats not only notice a person’s gaze, they can actually follow it.
They hear everything
Why do cats stare at a wall or seemingly nothing at all? Actually, much goes on in walls. If walls could talk, they would tell of the myriad plumbing and electrical conduits they conceal, not to mention the insects and other critters that may have found their home in them.
Have you ever noticed how cats know when someone is at the front door before you do? Cats’ sense of hearing is much sharper than ours. The extra muscles and shape of their ears enable them to pinpoint and amplify sounds. Cats hear the slightest sounds of everything going on in our walls and beyond them from leaves rustling and critters scurrying to people walking and talking outside.
Hunting requires patience
Cats are curious and learn by watching their world. In her 2005 study titled “Caregiver Perceptions of What Indoor Cats Do ‘For Fun,’” published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, animal behaviorist Melissa R. Shyan-Norwalt concluded that indoor cats on average spend up to five hours each day looking out of a window.
Outdoor cats exhibit this same amazing patience when they are on the hunt. If you’ve ever watched an outdoor cat hunt, you would marvel at their innate ability to sit quietly and stare at something until the perfect opportunity presents itself and they pounce.
They love you
If you’ve ever tried to make eye contact with an animal at a zoo, you may have noticed that many wild species do not comply. Some animals see eye contact as a threat or a challenge. Many animals interpret someone staring at them as a sign of aggression.
Looking into a human’s eyes is something only a domesticated companion animal would do. So, it’s no wonder that this attribute of the human-animal bond piqued the interest of researchers.
In a review of multiple studies, researchers from the Laboratory of Human-Animal Interaction and Reciprocity at Azabu University in Kanagawa, Japan, concluded that even though cats are solitary hunters and dogs are pack animals, the two species are similar in their bond with humans today. Both dogs and cats have adapted to human habits and use human signals to obtain information. Cats notice a person’s gaze and actually follow it.
“In the future, cats may acquire more dog-like abilities, such as more consistent and expressive gaze,” wrote the researchers in “The Gaze Communications Between Dogs/Cats and Humans: Recent Research Review and Future Directions,” published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2020.
The studies they reviewed showed that “dogs and cats have their own adaptive communications that may have provided the basis for their mutually beneficial coexistence with humans.”
Cats wouldn’t stare at someone they fear or dislike. So, when your cats stare at you, take it as a sign of trust and love.
Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, March 27, 2022
Reality check: Without rationalizing or embroidering the facts, sit down and take a moment to recognize the confusion and angst of the past few weeks because it’s time to move forward. It’s time to do a realistic assessment, and make an action plan. This is the week to formulate strategies and establish goals. Goals are invaluable because they give you a clearer focus on what’s important. They give you more clarity in your decision-making; and they make decision making easier. They give you better control over your future; and they give you a sense of purpose. My goal this week is to get dressed (at least, week days). But something I wonder about. Have people who wear pajamas in public given up on life? Or are they living life to the fullest?
Aries (March 21-April 19)
This week you are goal oriented and articulate. You’re keen to share your ideas and probably boss a few people around. (Hey, somebody’s gotta do it.) You might do some kind of a reassessment about a friend or an acquaintance or someone in the group who is older than you. You might appreciate this person’s advice – or not. That’s your call. You are definitely someone who does not like to be told what to do. You’re an Aries, you’re a warrior, and you need freedom of action! Friday’s New Moon is the perfect time to set goals. It’s the only New Moon in your sign all year, plus it will get energy from your ruler Mars. Don’t miss this opportunity. What do you want to achieve?
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Because you’re in a sensible frame of mind, this is a great week for research and some serious soul-searching. Get ready for Friday’s New Moon, which is the perfect time to make serious goals for your future. You’re grounded and in touch with your reality. (You will suffer no fools.) Your ambition is aroused and you want to streamline your efforts and do exactly what is necessary. Eliminate whatever is superfluous because it drains your energy, and it’s a distraction. Plan on a fun, friendly weekend after the New Moon. This will be the perfect time to chat with friends and catch up on what’s happening. Sunday will be spontaneous and exciting!
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’re enjoying warm conversations with others, especially younger people. However, this is also an excellent week, for you to make goals for the future. You have all week to think about this because Friday’s New Moon is the perfect time to make a commitment to new ways of doing things, which will help you achieve your objectives. You’re serious about travel plans or higher education, legal matters or issues related to your medical well-being. Meanwhile, with Jupiter at the top of your chart, you look fabulous to others! This is a blessing that will help you this year. Since this occurs only once every 12 years – make the most of it!
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
The Sun is still at the top of your chart casting you in a flattering light, which makes everyone, especially bosses, parents, teachers and the police see you through admiring eyes. You look great to them even if you don’t do anything special. This happens once a year and it definitely an advantage for you! Now is the time to ask for the permission or approval that you want. Meanwhile, think about what you want to achieve this year because Friday’s New Moon is an excellent time to make goals. (See All signs above for the advantages of making goals.) This is a good week to clarify debt and matters related to taxes and money back from the government. Ka-ching!
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You need to get outta Dodge. You want a change of pace that is not only stimulating but also replenishing and restorative. (It’s hard out there without your towel.) This week you can make goals or better define the boundaries and expectations of your closest relationships. If you want to initiate some new rules or new ways of doing things, have this discussion on Friday at the time of the New Moon. In addition to thoughts about your closest relationships, you can also make long-range plans for the future this week. (You might want to know that you will be travelling much more in 2023. This will also be a year full of publishing opportunities.)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Because you are ambitious to achieve a lot, this is a busy and demanding week. You will work hard, even to the point of delegating to others. You feel a bit stern this week, which is why you will be less inclined to show kindness and compassion to those who don’t deserve it, in your mind. Tough love. Expect to have a strong focus on shared property, taxes, debt and issues related to the wealth and resources of others, including inheritances. You might feel kindly toward (or even attracted to) an authority figure at work or someone who is older or more experienced. It will please you to make your workspace more efficient and attractive.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
With the Sun opposite your sign now, you are more tired than usual, which means you need more sleep. Keep this in mind. Meanwhile, your focus on your kids continues to be strong. In fact, many of you have increased responsibilities with kids at this time. Others will have a similar focus on sports related activities, the arts, vacations, financial speculation and social outings. You’re making plans that involve strategy, effort and work. (Even a picnic requires sandwiches and a blanket.) Think about how you can improve your closest relationships and partnerships; also, how can improve your relations with your kids? Your possessions are just stuff. People are priceless.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You’re in the frame of mind to get things done. You are motivated and earnest. You know that you have a long-haul ahead of you and you’re prepared to meet it. You’re ready to work efficiently because you have high expectations for yourself. In particular, you want to reorganize things at home. We’re talking major changes – not just sweeping floors. More likely pushing furniture around! This might entail renovations, redecorating projects or major repairs. Naturally, this could trigger angst and tension at home or with family members. When this kind of anger arrives, remember that patience is the antidote to anger. It always is.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
This is a playful, lighthearted time for you! You might be excited about something related to your kids. Or you might be excited about social occasions, the arts or a fun, getaway vacation. Whatever the case, you’re pumped with energy. Meanwhile, you are focused on certain issues that affect your day-to-day life as well as your dealings with neighbours, siblings and relatives. This is an excellent week to study and set goals. It’s a great week to write and explore new ideas. You might teach others or you might be the student. Now is the time to define your expectations for the future and decide how you can begin working towards attaining those goals. Let’s get ‘er done!
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Your focus on home and family, and your private life continues to be strong. Many of you are involved more than usual with a parent. However, financial issues are important right now. They could relate to your earnings and your moneymaking ideas. Or perhaps, they relate to major expenditures. Whatever the case, you are more concerned with your cash flow at this time. Perhaps your goal setting will be more related to how you handle your money and your possessions, so that you feel you’re getting the best use out of what you own. After all, what you own should help you and work for you – and not be a burden. Obviously!
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
There’s a lot going on right now in your life, which is why you have a need to communicate to others and tell it like it is. You want to talk some things through with someone — in part, to get them clarified in your own mind. (It helps to hear your own thoughts verbalized out loud. Sometimes you realize, “I don’t even agree with me!”) You have a strong sense of purpose this week, which will translate into a desire to reestablish things and ground yourself so that you feel more in control. You also want to clarify boundaries in a realistic way. This is because you intend to forge ahead on your own terms instead of getting bogged down by other people’s toxicity. Well done!
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This is a curious time because in one way, you are out there flying your colours, and concerned with finances, earning money, moneymaking ideas and dealing with your possessions. That’s a lot! However, in addition to this, so much is going on behind the scenes. Oh yes, you’re having serious shower conversations with yourself. You’re making plans, testing strategies and deciding who to keep close and who to keep at a distance. It’s all about survival and when it comes to survival you come first. It’s that simple. That’s why parents are instructed to put the oxygen mask on themselves first before they put it on their children in an emergency on a plane. You are your best resource!
Weekly Horoscopes Beginning Sunday, 27 March 2022
If you’re born within a cusp period (16 to 26 of any month); you’re advised to read horoscopes of both signs covered by that period. You’re on the border; you may have influences from houses within those signs.
Outlines are longer versions; consist of every possible detail of everyday and are based on three parts of each sign: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Decan; that is, any of three divisions of 10° within a sign of the zodiac. Even if you know or don’t know your Decan; I recommend, please read all three Decan.
Personal theme: I am!!
Fire & cardinal sign: March 21 — April 19
Your horoscope for this week:
Between the Sun’s move into Aries on the 20th, and the insights triggered by the New Moon in your sign on 1 April, you’re in a cycle of review, change and, better yet, unexpected breakthroughs. The trick? Ignore those who insist you be cautious. Instead, trust your instincts or even take chances. The fact is, whatever the outcome, you’ll learn from every twist and turn.
Discussing philosophical, spiritual and religious matters with people you trust will give you greater insight into your own beliefs and feelings. A transformation is starting to take place within you and this makes you more confident and assertive. You are more aware of how some people have used their charm and power to influence you and you’re no longer willing to go along with agendas other people have set for you. From now on, you’re making your own decisions.
In recent times, it hasn’t been easy to move forward and frustration has been great. That’s likely in the first two days of this week too. Note however, that by the New Moon in your sign on Friday, April 1, all could and should be so very, very different. It’s perhaps worth reminding yourself that Chiron (the planetoid that orbits between Saturn and Uranus), has been passing through your sign for some time now. Yes, it’s true that people write books about Chiron as the ‘wounded healer’, you could also think of it as the ‘company doctor’. Certainly, in a business sense, it seems that’s the role you are set to play though true, you could once again be involved in a power struggle with someone who simply doesn’t understand your vision and is hiding behind rules and regulations. Yet yours is a sign whose life quest is to show courage and bravery. There are times when you have to challenge, and this week, is one of them.
Personal theme: I have!!
Earth & fixed sign: April 20 — May 20
Your horoscope for this week:
Recent events have been as unsettling as they’ve been exciting. While you’re eager to explore the ideas and offers currently being explored, you’re short of facts and others don’t know much more. However, you’re in a cycle of discovery. Knowing that, focus on what you’re learning, not lasting arrangements. Do that, and you’ll actually enjoy taking chances and, better yet, will learn a lot.
There’s a strong need for some time alone. If you get this you will feel relaxed and in control. If outside pressures give you little time to yourself, you will start feeling short tempered and frustrated. Just be careful not to take this out on those who are closest to you. It will be a partner who is likely to suffer the most. You’re planning so far into the future you might lose track of what actually lies ahead of you. Make what’s going on in the present your first priority.
You’re likely right to suspect that there is much going on behind the scenes. You perhaps know exactly what it is that you want to achieve, and have defined your new aims for 2022 even ahead of the solar eclipse in your sign on April 30. Yet you perhaps also know that others are making their own plans and not, as yet, declaring these. Tuning into different frequencies will be challenging. You might also find that your own expertise is questioned and wise to be well armed with your CV or other statement of experience. Certainly, by the new moon on Friday, April 1, you may need to pull the rabbit out of that hat and show that not only are you well-qualified, but that you are exactly the right person to have on a team.
Personal theme: I think!!
Air sign: May 21 — June 20
Your horoscope for this week:
It’s not that you’ve been secretive but, often, you’ve been short facts. The problem? Certain individuals are anxious to get plans going. Proceed, but make it clear you regard this as an opportunity to learn, not as a lasting arrangement. Equally, encourage others to do so as well. By the time your objectives are clear, you’ll also be better informed, and ready to move swiftly.
You’re inclined to jump in where angels fear to treat but this could lead to disappointment. Take some time to think about what your next move should be. You’re on your own if you decide to take a risk that a friend or loved one feels is going too far. No one will follow you if you won’t listen to their cautionary advice. It isn’t that other people are reluctant to try new things. They just prefer less risky pastimes. You may have to lower your sights to keep their support and friendship.
The Gemini life quest, is to infiltrate and pass on information. Like butterflies, you can flit from one flower or plant to another; but yes, there are times when others want to entrap you. That seems very likely in the first few days of this week. You might wish that you could be an escape artist. It’s probable though, that your potential captors will easily be distracted and that by Friday’s New Moon you will be moving on; but yes, this could be an exercise you wish to avoid. Fact is that these are changing times. New business and financial currents are on the way. Being prepared means adopting a long-term view. To this end, and soon after Friday’s New Moon, you would surely benefit from a discussion with a good friend or career adviser as to how best to prepare for the turbulent times those are likely to come after Mars moves into your sign mid-August.
Personal theme: I feel!!
Water & cardinal sign: June 21 — July 22
Your horoscope for this week:
For ages you’ve been aware changes in elements of your way of living, working or your long-term objectives are overdue. However, you’ve been unsure what to put first. This week’s events won’t just solve that problem, once you’re involved, discussions will swiftly turn into action and, often, those efforts into plans. The trick to overcoming concerns? Plunge in. what you learn will answer all your questions.
You’re tired of the way some people seem to look down at you just because you are quiet and don’t push your opinions onto others. Remaining in the background is working against you as it prevents you from taking up opportunities to make more use of your potential. Make an effort to show a flexible face to the world. Showcase your talent to raise your standing in the eyes of others. Let people see what you are made of.
On Friday, April 1st, there is a New Moon at the apex of your solar chart. True, there is a lunation like this every year. What’s special about this one is that is the New Moon preceding the solar eclipse on April 30. Think of this as the overture: necessary to prepare the ground. There is much to prepare. Expect a messy start and yes, to be privy to a power struggle. This could be an uneasy time with an Aries causing you some distress or at least requiring more support than you really have available. Even so, amidst all this, there’s high probability of you advancing your career aims. It won’t be so surprising if you’re asked to join a new team or to head up an area that is ripe for development.
Personal theme: I will!!
Fire & fixed sign: July 23 — August 22
Your horoscope for this week:
You don’t think of yourself as narrow-minded. However, you weren’t just cautious about recent events, you wanted to avoid them entirely. If you can’t say an enthusiastic ‘yes’, to what’s arisen, explore, enough you’ll know more about what they promise. Those insights will tempt you to get involved. That, then, will lead to experiences that make you wonder why you hesitated, for even a moment.
With you being in a hyperactive mood you’re likely to feel frustrated with someone close starts dragging their heels over a certain matter. You wish they would make up their mind more quickly. Even so, stop and think about why they are behaving this way before you voice complaint. It could be that they have lost interest. Discuss important matters now rather than waiting to see what time brings about. For once, take the initiative.
You won’t be the only sign of the zodiac forced to face a major clean-up operation in the first few days of this week. Ahead of an important New Moon on Friday, April 1st, there is much to do. Though that’s true for all signs, what’s slightly different in your case, is that it seems that you’re making space. Throwing things away can be therapeutic. It might also be necessary to separate items and ideas that belong to you as opposed to others. This may be part of a slow growth process. ‘Slow’ only in the sense that you likely know this has been coming for some time and yet haven’t taken full action. Now it seems imperative. Distraction is probable – and most likely will come in the form of a Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces who at least to your mind, is wallowing and not getting on with a task – so leaving you to do more than you wish to do.
Personal theme: I analyse!!
Earth sign: August 23 — September 22
Your horoscope for this week:
The information you’re hearing from others about ongoing changes in certain arrangements isn’t just confusing, you’re worried they’ll lead to chaos. Yet, despite those doubts, you’re intrigued. The secret is to discuss what others have experienced, then do some exploration on your own. What you learn should boost your confidence enough you’ll take things further. It may seem risky now, but you won’t regret it.
How many people know the real you? When you stop and think about it you will probably answer: not many. Yet someone seems to think they know how you will respond in all situations and they are happy to take it upon themselves, without being asked, to make decisions for you. You’re ready now to follow your own inclinations even if these are unlike anything anyone is expecting you to do. Finding a few bargains on your favourite online store will uplift you.
It could be argued though that the world needs Virgos especially! Your ability to tidy up, discriminate, see where the flaws are, direct traffic etc, etc is invaluable – but some times more than others. This week you could be much, much in demand. Fact is that so many people will likely need to undertake inventory analysis or clear away material before they can move on soon after the New Moon next Friday, April 1st. Overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done, they might welcome your approach. At the very least, you could make lists. This is not to say your own life will be running in smooth order! You too might benefit from taking a close appraisal of tasks that are long overdue and which need now to be scheduled. You don’t necessarily need to do them, but in identifying them, you could also attract exactly the right people to come and help resolve those issues. Yes, this is a week when taking a broad perspective should be considered wise if not imperative.
Personal theme: I balance!!
Air & cardinal sign: September 23 — October 22
Your horoscope for this week:
As a clever air sign, you’ve an ability to spot both worthwhile plans and, equally, those that need attention or might be coming to an end. Usually, these matters can be dealt with gradually; but with several changes this week, you’re under pressure. Focus on these, but ensure arrangements are flexible enough that, as circumstances or the priorities of others shift, you can easily rethink plans.
Should someone close dig in their heels about a matter that concerns you both, you will just go ahead with what you want to do without them. If you’re struggling to learn a new skill, don’t give up at the first hurdle. Be patient. Keep trying and eventually it will feel like second nature to you. Are you travelling this week? Guard against gastric upsets and overindulgence. Remember you’re hoping to enjoy your travels and not to suffer.
Ahead of the New Moon in your opposite sign on April 1, there is much for you to do. You won’t be alone in thinking that you have to clear things up, clear things out, and generally put your affairs in order. Fact is that opportunities are headed in your direction: most likely involving a joint enterprise that would be mutually satisfactory. You can’t take on anything new until you’ve cleared up the past and need to plan and schedule how this could be done. The incentive to do this may be offered by an Aries, Leo or Sagittarius who is all-too-familiar with your tendency to procrastinate but sees too that you would be so much happier, and could be better rewarded if all this were done.
Scorpio & Ophiuchus
Personal theme: I desire!!
Water & fixed signs: October 23 — November 21
Your horoscope for this week:
The odds are good you’re still contending with the fallout from recent events as exciting as they were sudden and, often, unsettling. The problem? You sense there’s yet more to come, and are hesitant about arranging plans that would only need to be reorganised. The secret? Regard these as an experiment. Take chances. Not only will you learn from them, they’re likely to work out brilliantly.
A workmate or neighbour who questions your every move is starting to annoy you. You’re tired of them trying to make your business theirs. This could be their way of getting your attention. What you think is criticism could actually be admiration. Someone genuinely likes you but they’re finding it hard to express their feelings. Once you get to know them better you will understand and you will feel less frustrated by their strange behaviour.
Take care in the early part of this week, that you don’t take on too much. The temptation will certainly be there. Mercury joins the Sun in that part of your chart that is all about day-to-day management. Given a genuine anxiety to please, and the fact that others appear as headless chickens, it may be all too tempting to take on more than is actually reasonable. True, it might suit you to get to a situation where others owe you favours. Be aware of what you’re doing however. Note too, that the New Moon on Friday, April 1, is the last before a solar eclipse in your opposite sign. Through April it should be all too apparent that others are altering direction and perhaps yes, could leave you behind. It’s likely important that you make clear the direction you want to take before others steal a march on you.
Personal theme: I see!!
Fire sign: November 22 — December 21
Your horoscope for this week:
Recent tricky situations cornered you into making promises you doubted, even then, that you’d be able to keep. You were right, and must now disentangle yourself from these arrangements. Begin by asking others’ views. To your relief and surprise, they’ll say they regarded these as about boosting everybody’s spirits, not about lasting commitments. That frees you, and others, to begin making plans from a fresh perspective.
Perseverance pays off and gets results. Your hard work and determined effort will all go towards bringing the rewards you desire and deserve. You have all the right ideas to move a work project forward. Despite some heavy outgoings you are keeping on top of everyday bills. With you doing so much be sure to look after your health. There will be simple but common-sense precautions you could take to avoid unnecessary illness.
The various lunar phases act as punctuation marks in any month. Each one is entirely different: configuring with the arrangement of the planets as they move around the Sun. This week, between a last Quarter Moon and the New Moon in another of the Fire signs on Monday, should be thought of as an excellent time for clearing up. This is a time for housekeeping and yes, perhaps even spring cleaning. It’s possible that you will be faced with an enormous mess to clear: tasks that presumably should have been done in the last couple of years and which for various reasons were set aside. Now the momentum to complete these quickly should be strong. You might also be asked (most likely by a Virgo), to identify what should be kept and treasured and what should be given away. Planning this before a major clear out after Venus reaches another of the Mutable signs on April 6 would be wise. With your research and development department likely brimming with fresh ideas, an investment could be identified.
Personal theme: I use!!
Earth & cardinal sign: December 22 — January 19
Your horoscope for this week:
Ordinarily, you’d rather deal with tricky matters frankly, make the necessary changes, then move on; but with the foundation on which certain arrangements are based still in transition, it’s about ensuring arrangements are flexible. Out of character as this is for you, as a cautious and thorough Capricorn, it’s not just the best approach for dealing with the matters in question, it’s the only one.
Domestic activities and home related matters bring out the best in you. If you’ve been thinking about getting started on a home improvement project do so now while you are in the right mood. This is a great time to decorate a drab room or add modern appliances to your kitchen. Your charm is at an all-time high. Are you single? Marital opportunities or some interesting romantic developments may occur. A friendship could accelerate into a special partnership.
In recent years, you’ve no doubt become ever more familiar with the concept of power struggles and how others seek to look after themselves, – but not necessarily others. It would be all too easy at the start of this week to feel that once more you were being manipulated; and yes, you may need to put your foot down. The annual New Moon highlighting the base of your solar chart comes next Friday, April 1. It’s the last New Moon before an important Solar Eclipse in another of the Earth signs on April 30. It’s probable that you will be setting out on the next stage of a journey to refine your expertise and gain acknowledgement for it. It might be wise mid-week to review your CV and in particular, highlight experiences gained in recent months. It may be that more than one person needs to be reminded of exactly what your contribution has been. Though it might initially seem that they’re looking for someone else to fulfil a post that is being designed, it could be that this is made-to-measure. You perhaps need to remind others of all the attributes you bring to the table.
Personal theme: I know!!
Air & fixed sign: January 20 — February 18
Your horoscope for this week:
Usually, you’re the first to discover new ways of handling outdated arrangements or, if necessary, changes that are as sudden as they are far-reaching. Now, however, your instinct is to keep certain cherished arrangements as they are. While your feelings are understandable, and you’d prefer to stick with things as they are, the world is changing and so, too, must these; and, very soon.
You can understand why meetings are important and why people want to get together to discuss a recent incident. You also feel everything that needs to be said has been said. You don’t want to talk about problems anymore. You want to find solutions. Joining a group that might help not hinder your progress can be useful but it will be self-reliance that will ultimately help you resolve current challenges and difficulties. If you’re dreaming of dating a new neighbour, make your move now.
Others want you to direct traffic. The problem is that you may not have identified – completely – the ultimate goal. You could – even unwittingly, create a logjam. The fact that you want to make so many changes – because you know that old ways don’t work – possibly all at once, would surely contribute to a chaotic feel in this period between the Last Quarter Moon and Friday’s New Moon. Be aware that many people will be working on clearing out and clearing up projects. The last thing they need is for you to send more work their way. Of course, it is also possible the what you really need is to focus on the long-term. It might help to imagine yourself as a bird or plane looking down on your life. What really is important, and what should reasonably be jettisoned? Those definitions should be super useful ahead of Friday’s new Moon which should be viewed as a kick starter for bringing together a new team yes, one in which you play significant role.
Personal theme: I believe!!
Water sign: February 19 — March 20
Your horoscope for this week:
The last thing you want to do is upset those you care about. However, that’s part of the problem. You’ve avoided making changes you’ve known would cause problems, and have hoped for the best. Yet, day by day, it’s becoming clear that this isn’t about a single reorganisation but a dramatic rethink of certain longstanding arrangements. Once you actually begin the process, you’ll realise the time has come.
Property matters will go very well. If you’re in the process of renting, buying or selling a home, curb your excitement. Stay calm and aim to handle such affairs in a quietly confident and practical fashion. Are you single and looking for love? You could be trying too hard to find your dream lover. Don’t feel pressured to put on a big display for a new friend. Relax and just be yourself when introduced to new people.
You won’t be the only sign trying to get their house in order prior to the new Moon on April 1. What may be different in your case, is just the amount of assistance you give to others rather than focusing on your own needs. Bear in mind though, that if you are to take the reins of your financial affairs, then you do need to focus. That might not be so easy with the moon passing through your sign over Tuesday and Wednesday. It will likely be all too easy to get distracted. Yet positive aspects on Thursday 31st, suggest that not only might you become the power behind another throne, but that you could gather together the needed support so that one of your objectives is fulfilled. True, this task might not be completed until the beginning of next week. The fact that you now have so many people pulling together and, on your side, though should make a real difference to your mood and ensure that soon after the new Moon, you feel to be back in charge.
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