Monday, March 8, 2010

Magic Mirror on the Wall

Mirrors are very fascinating. They reflect everything they see. Mirror comes from the Latin word mirari, meaning “to wonder at”. A mirror is basically a polished surface that forms images by reflecting light. The majority of people use mirrors to look at themselves, but did you know that mirrors can also be used for scrying? Scrying is a form of clairvoyance and psychic ability to have visions which may consist of persons or places in the past, present or future. Scrying is derived from the English word descry, “meaning to reveal.” This type of clairvoyance was known to be practiced by Nostradamus who was very famous for his prophecies. Also the well known English astrologer and magician, John Dee used this method to see visions of the future. Of course, the most popular method of scrying is crystal gazing. Most everyone is familiar with the Hollywood notion of crystal gazing, i.e., The Wizard of Oz where the witch or wizard sits next to the crystal ball with visions appearing on its surface.

The use of mirrors for scrying began many centuries ago with Egyptian magic. The Egyptian priests used mirrors made of polished metals for divination and protection. As far back as the eighth century, mirror divination was practiced by certain Tibetan Buddhists. Mirror divination is known as “Ta” in Tibetan and means “that which is coming forward very clearly.” There are three levels to Tibetan mirror divination. The first is developing the ability to see shapes and colors in the mirror. The second is the ability to see words and sentences in response to the divination. And last is that the diviner will just know the answer to the questions posed by the querent through direct intuition. There are Tibetan Buddhists who continue to practice this art today and I would recommend visiting Acharya Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche’s website at

I have practiced using mirrors and crystals for scrying many years. It takes a bit of practice and patience before one begins to have any success at this art. I had to practice for many months before I had any real results. Every night I would practice for about thirty minutes gazing either with my crystal or mirror. I used a lead crystal ball which you can purchase at any rock or mineral shop. I also made my own magic mirror which has to be specially prepared. You can use any mirror for a magic mirror. Basically you just paint the face of the mirror with flat black spray paint. For my first mirror, I used an antique very old mirror with a beautiful ornate wooden frame that was given to me by my grandmother. I then painted the frame in white and gold. I took the mirror itself out of the frame and painted that with flat black spray paint. I prefer flat black as glossy black causes glare and reflection from any ambient light. This can be very distracting when you are practicing. Next I charged the mirror with a condenser. This is what gives the mirror its magic. A condenser is either a substance or fluid that is charged with your desire for a certain result. It is similar to a talisman, but uses a combination of herbs or metals. Franz Bardon in his book, Initiation into Hermetics gives a very thorough explanation for making simple and universal condensers. For my first mirror, I just used a simple condenser made from chamomile. The herb is boiled down and then filtered. The remaining menstrum is then charged with your desire, which in my case was to be able to see images clairvoyantly in my mirror. I then wiped the fluid condenser on the mirror, effectively charging it with my wish or desire. That completed the operation and I always kept my mirror covered with silk to insulate it from any other vibrations.

I practiced gazing at my magic mirror every night. I found it helpful to close all the windows and doors so there was very little light in the room. I would then practice gazing into the mirror. After a period of time, I began to see geometric forms in various colors appearing on the surface of the mirror. I would see red triangles or yellow squares, etc, that would appear on the mirror. The images would continually change into other images of shapes and colors. These kinds of visions went on for quite some time until I began to see places and people in the mirror. This was very exciting! Images of different places I had never been and people I had never seen would appear on the mirror. It was very fascinating!

For more information on mirror gazing, please see: Patricia Telesco's book: A Little Book on Magic Mirrors.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Origins of Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day! What a nice day to celebrate that special day with your loved one. But was Valentine’s Day always celebrated as Valentine’s Day? Well no, it wasn’t. In ancient times, the pagans celebrated the time period around February 14th as Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a Roman festival dedicated to the pagan god, Lupercus who was the god of the shepherds. Lupercus was identified with the Roman god, Fauna and the Greek god, Pan. For those of you who are not aware, Pan was a nature god and ruled over the woods and fields. He was pictured as half man, half goat with horns and hoofs. He often played a flute and was known for his sexual prowess.

Now, Lupercalia was originally celebrated as a fertility ritual and it was very interesting. It began with the sacrifice of two goats. After the sacrificial feast, two young appointed Luperci or priests would cut thongs from the skins of the goats, called Februa. They would then dress themselves up with the skins of the goats, imitating the god, Lupercus or Pan. They would run around the city with the thongs in their hands. The women in the village would line up to receive a strike from the thongs to ensure fertility. It was a joyous ritual to promote health and fertility to the village.

Lupercalia was later abolished by the Church and replaced by St. Valentine’s Day. Now according to the Legenda Aurea, St. Valentine was a Christian priest who was being interrogated by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II. Claudius tried to convert St. Valentine to roman paganism and when he would not, he ordered him to be executed. While St. Valentine was in jail, he made friends with the jailer’s daughter who was blind. Before his execution he was known to have performed a miracle by healing her. It was purported that just before he died, St. Valentine wrote a note to the girl, calling her, his beloved and signing the note, from your valentine.

The actual practice of exchanging Valentine’s Day cards later became popular in England during the 1800’s.

I find it fascinating that historically this period has been celebrated as a time of love and fertility, regardless of the ruling authority. It is a time to reach out and tell your friends and beloved that you love them. It is a time to remember to practice Jesus’ commandment to Love thy neighbor and to practice Buddha’s doctrine of compassion for all human beings regardless of nationality, religion, race, gender or creed. We should all strive to live more harmoniously together as one world and one people under God.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ritual to the Heavens

The Petition to the Heavens is celebrated this week on February 4th. For astrologers, it is a tribute to the Air Principle of the Universe which occurs at fifteen degrees of Aquarius. Why is this time period important? Because by celebrating at certain times throughout the year, we can attune ourselves into the natural harmony of the universe. Most people are already familiar with the ceblerations at the ninty degree points of the solar cycle, known as the vernal/autumnal equinox, and the winter/summer solstice. But not many people are familiar with the mid point celebrations. These occur mid way between the solstices and equinoxes. We recently celebrated the winter solstice back in December 21st. Now we have reached the mid point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Here we pay tribute to the Fixed Element of Air, known as the life-brearing Aquarius. We pray to the Spirit of the Heavens to bring us knowledge and wisdom to help us achieve our goals and dreams.

The main ritual to the Spirit of the Heavens is to make a scroll out of paper. On the scroll, write down your prayer to the Spirit of Air, requesting knowledge and wisdom to help guide you in accomplishing your goals. Then roll up the scroll and tie it to a ballon or a kite. Go to your favorite site and fly your kite or release your ballon to the heavens with your prayer. The Tibetan monks do a very similar ritual with their "prayer flaggs." If you visit Tibet, you will see all these brightly colored flaggs flying in the wind. TheTibetan prayer flaggs utilize the same principle by casting their prayers to the Spirit of Air. You can also make your own prayer flagg for this ritual, as it will have the same effect as using a kite or a ballon. Do whatever suits your fancy.

I really enjoy this ritual every year. I have a lot of fun flying my kite to the air or casting my ballon with my sacred scroll to the Spirit of the Heavens. I feel more attune to the Spirit of the Air and appreciate how our every moment on this planet is dependant on the air we breathe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saying Your Sorry is Not a Sign of Weakness

I was watching NCIS the other day, which is one of my favorite TV shows. I like it because it is humorous and entertaining. I think it is one of the top TV series on the network. In one particular show (I am not sure which) Gibbs, who is the fearless leader of the NCIS crime unit, makes the remark to his subordinate saying, “Don’t say you’re sorry, it is a sign of weakness!” I couldn’t believe it. Although I love Gibbs as a character, this statement could not be farther from the actual truth. Saying that you’re sorry, is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength! It takes courage to say that you are sorry to someone for something you did that was wrong. It takes strength to admit that you made a mistake and that you own up to it. It is taking responsibility for your actions. It is letting another person know that you are sorry for your mistake and will try to do better.

Now I know that NCIS is just a TV show (and I think a good one), but many younger and some older viewers look up to the character of Gibbs, and may take to heart what he is saying about being sorry as a sign of weakness. I think it is important to realize that it takes strength to say you are sorry to someone. It is a very hard thing to do! You are admitting that you made a mistake and are not perfect. And that is not a sign of weakness; it is part of being human. We are not perfect. We make mistakes and sometimes hurt other people. Then we need to say we are sorry. I think it is very important to strive to be the best we can be in this world. But we do make mistakes and we should try to learn from them, and move on. Let us practice the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas and The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice occurs when the sun descends to its lowest point in the sky and is the shortest day of the year. “Solstice” literally means to “stand still”. At the winter solstice, the sun moves into the astrological sign of Capricorn. Here marks the beginning of winter. For those of us in the northern climates, the snow begins to fall and cover the countryside. Of course this time period is celebrated throughout the West as Christmas. The majority of Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year. Prior to Christianity, the Pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice. The Pagans held that this time of year was sacred as it was the rebirth of the sun or light force. It is the time when the light or day force begins to grow again. There is an interesting correspondence between the Winter Solstice and the birth of Christ. Paramhansa Yogananda, who was one of the first Yogis to bring Yoga to the West, held that Christ Consciousness was something that was inherent in all people. It is a level of consciousness that everyone has the capacity to realize. Christ Consciousness is that inner light of realization that Jesus brought to fruition within himself. Through yogic practices and spiritual development, we all have the capacity to realize the Christ Consciousness. Jesus is not the only Son of God, we are all Sons of God. Jesus said it himself, “Do ye not know that ye are Gods”.

The Winter Solstice is the darkest time of the year. It is also when the seeds of light and renewal are born. It is the time of year when the sun is resurrected and begins to rise again. For most Yogis this is the real meaning of Christmas. It is the celebration of the birth of the inner light of Self-Realization.

There are many interesting rituals that are done at the Winter Solstice. The majority of them have their roots in the Pagan tradition. Most everyone is familiar with the Christmas tree. I have enjoyed this ritual since childhood and loved the whole act of going out in selecting a proper Christmas tree and decorating it with special care. Now this practice originated from an old Pagan tradition where pine trees were brought into the house to dispel evil spirits and as a celebration of the life force that continues through the depth of winter. The symbolism of the Christmas tree is very interesting. From an astrological perspective, trees are ruled by the planet Saturn. Saturn is also the planetary ruler of Capricorn which is the sign that the sun enters during this time of year. One of the ways to get in touch with the natural energy of this time of year is to bring something into your household related to the energy of Saturn. Trees are ruled by Saturn and bringing a tree into your house helps you tune into the energy of the season. It was also under a Bodhi tree that Buddha experienced enlightenment.

During this current age of the Kali Yuga, I think our culture has lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It has become very materialistic with an emphasis on buying and receiving gifts. I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving and receiving presents, but when it becomes the focal point then the spiritual meaning is lost. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a great story for the real meaning of Christmas. I think everyone I know as seen this movie many times but I watch it every year as a great reminder to what is really important. In a nutshell, Scrooge is portrayed as a stingy, self-centered person who is mired in the depths of materialism. His only concern is for himself and monetary achievement. He is then visited by three spirits of the past, present and future. He undergoes a spiritual awakening and self-realization. He comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas and carries it in his heart everyday. Like Scrooge, I find it very easy to get caught up in materialism and past karma. There are bills to pay, children to support, and jobs to take care of in order to make a living. Things are not easy. But it is important to remember our spiritual center because that is where all nourishment and fulfillment ultimately comes from.

This time of year is celebrated by the Hermetic Yogi as a Wish Festival. Like the Wish Festival celebrated at the Summer Solstice, we again plant seeds or wishes that we hope for fruition as the Sun rises again. Many people celebrate by placing their wishes upon their Christmas tree with the prayer of peace and goodwill for all humankind.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spiritual Awakening and Relationships

Having a spiritual awakening can definitely change a relationship drastically. A good example of this can be seen in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Do you remember what happened to Richard Dreyfuss in that popular movie? Before he had seen UFO’s, he was a relatively normal person, and had a good relationship with his loving wife and family. Then all hell broke loose! One day, Richard saw UFO’s and it completely changed his life. He became completely obsessed with unidentified flying objects. He felt called by some higher power to rendezvous to Devil’s Tower for a close encounter with aliens from another world. His wife and family could not understand what was happening to him. He lost his job and his friends. And his wife finally ended up taking the children and moving away.

That is how a spiritual awakening can change a relationship! Richard Drefuss was being guided by a psychic connection to the aliens that he did not understand, nor did his wife and family. Now of course, this was just a movie, but it shows what a revelation can do to someone. And this affects everyone around them, especially their close relationships! For Richard Dreyfuss, his spiritual revelation was a psychic contact with a higher developed civilization. For someone else, a spiritual awakening could be the development of psychic ability, an out of body experience, a divine experience, a miracle or self-realization. But the result can be a complete change of personality. A person may no longer enjoy the same interests, the same foods, and the same friends. Their life can be turned upside down because of a new awareness. This happens to many people who have had a spiritual awakening. For example, the alcoholic who finds new meaning in life through AA, and is no longer interested in drinking. He or she may no longer hang out with their old friends, who liked to party and get drunk. Or the drug addict that finds a spiritual awakening in meditation. He or she no longer needs drugs to get high. They have found a better way! And their life changes, along with their relationships. They will probably no longer hang out with their drug friends, and will begin to associate with new friends who have similar interests. Similar scenario’s happen with couples in relationships, when one person undergoes a spiritual transformation. A person may no longer see the world the same way, and their partner can have a difficult time understanding all the changes that may be happening to them.

Is there anything that can help a relationship where someone is undergoing such a spiritual awakening? I think there is. Most couples should first try going to a psychologist or family counselor. This would be important to make sure that a person was not having a psychotic episode. It would also help their partner to better understand what they were going through.

The other consideration is to seek the counsel of a mystic, psychic or spiritual counselor. A good psychic might have a better bead on what the person is actually going through. A psychologist would be helpful in clarifying a person’s emotions and thought processes, but a mystic or psychic would be better at determining if a person was having a spiritual awakening or paranormal experience. A psychic would be able to tune into a person’s inner experience and determine the cause of their experience. For example, a psychic could help determine if their experience was caused by unresolved issues from previous lives, communication from spirits on another dimension, aliens from another world or a divine awakening. A psychic or mystic would not only be able to help the person better understand what was happening to them, but also help their partner to accept and understand the experience. Better understanding and acceptance will help the couple adjust to a divine awakening that will ultimately bring them closer in their relationship.

One final thing to be aware of is that when someone has a spiritual awakening within, it will bring about change from without. This may cause a lot of problems with friends, jobs, and relationships. I had a close friend, who after a spiritual awakening, began to take meditation classes, yoga and tai chi. She really changed quite dramatically. But her spouse could not handle it. He liked to drink and party on the weekends. And they had done this together for quite some time. Now she was no longer interested in drinking or all night parties. She wanted time for reflection and meditation. She became aware that there was more to life. Her husband could not understand or accept this. He wanted the same woman that he married; the one that liked to drink and have a good time. She was no longer that person. And he hated her for it. They tried counseling, but he was just hoping that she would change back to her old self. Well, that did not happen. And when it did not, he became abusive. She was forced to leave him. And it was best for both of them. He found someone new that did like to drink and party. She became involved with a spiritual group of friends that encouraged her new direction in life.

It is important to remember that your friends and environment have quite an impact on you psychically. More than most people realize. When you have a spiritual awakening, you are like a new seedling. That seedling needs to be nurtured and cared for to develop. If you allow negative people into your garden, they will trample over your seedlings, and damage your development. So it is good to be around other people who will nourish and support your spiritual development.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mystical Experience of Enlightenment

Do you see the light? Enlightenment is one of those terms that mean a lot of different things to many different people. In the Yogic, Buddhist and Mystical traditions, one of the primary goals in meditation is enlightenment. Enlightenment is notably characterized by the story of the Buddha. Before Buddha was the Buddha, he was known as Siddhartha, which very interestingly means, "One who achieves his aim". The story goes that Siddhartha was a prince having been born into a royal family. He was raised in wealth and luxury. He knew very little about life outside of the palace or about the lives of the common people. When he became older, he wanted to learn more about his kingdom and the people who lived there. He began to travel and learn about the pain and suffering of the many people around his village. He became disillusioned about the life of royalty and began to search for truth. He learned various meditative practices and after many years, experienced enlightenment. Enlightenment is basically the English translation of the Buddhist word, bodhi; which also means to awaken or to know. Buddha means “One who has awakened". To be awakened is to become completely transformed to the ultimate level of reality where there is no dualism, no pleasure or pain, no suffering and no ego. One has become liberated and no longer tied to the wheel of samsara or the cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

The Yogic tradition also embraces the goal of enlightenment. Patanjali, who is considered the Father of Yoga, maintained that the final goal of yoga was liberation from samsara through moksha. Moksha is derived from the Sanskrit root, muc which means to “let loose” or “release” and is the liberation from all illusion, suffering and pain. Moksha is the release from the worldly conception of the self or the ego, and the realization of the true nature of the self (self-realization). It is an experience of bliss and joy that is no longer tied to pleasure and pain, and where normal duality is transcended through union with God/Spirit. Patanjali outlined an eightfold process whereby the Yogi can achieve moksha through purification and meditation. The final steps consist of deep meditation into Samadhi where the individual transcends the limitations of the ego and merges into the Infinite source of all being.

The mystical practices of many different religious traditions talk about enlightenment. Enlightenment is derived from the Latin word, illuminare which means “to make light” or in our case, “to make light within”. Enlightenment is considered a mystical experience whereby one perceives inner truth or divinity. There are many different accounts on the experience of enlightenment. From Christian mysticism, where enlightenment is the experience of direct union with God (Of course, Jesus; St. Paul ,St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Kempis….) to Quaker mysticism where one experiences the inner light of God within the soul, to the Hermetic Tradition where initiates are taught to expand their consciousness to God consciousness, to the mystical revelations of the Sufi Tradition, to the Kabbalistic mysticism of the Jewish religion and to the Taoist mysticism of Lao Tzu.

In my own meditative practices, I have had many experiences of illumination. In deep meditation, I can actually see through my inner eye or vision, a subtle light that illuminates from within. It is like someone has turned on a light bulb inside my head which radiates all around me. (It’s interesting that many Christian saints are depicted with halos around their head indicating the divine light) There have been meditations where I have experienced this light and later opened my eyes thinking; ‘maybe it is the sun shining in through the window’. But it was not the sun or any kind of exterior lighting, but the inner light. I have spoken with many mystics who also have experienced this inner light. I think it is connected with the process of enlightenment, but not the goal of enlightenment. Although I have had many mystical experiences, I have not experienced the bodhi of Buddhism, the moksha of Yoga or the divine union with God in Christian mysticism. I do know that this experience exists from deep within my soul, but I have not experienced it directly. So I think that enlightenment is really a process. Through different meditative, mystical and religious practices, we can come closer and closer to the real goal. And that goal is actually not a goal at all (although a goal while you are going there), but is the realization of All that is or Divinity or what the Hindu’s call, Om Brahma Smi, translated, “I am one with God”.

For a complete listing of Christian mystics, see, also see:,,