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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time of Change II

Recently, I blogged about this time of change. Change is the only constant, yes, but we have entered into an astrology cycle that explains what’s going on, and where we’re headed. It's all about transformation; shifts; explosive, blow-things-apart change.

For me, knowledge is power. So I’ve been trying to keep up with information about this time of transformation.

Pluto – the planet, not the cartoon character – is the primary mover and shaker that is creating the environment for extreme change. What? You heard Pluto was no longer a planet? I’m thinking by the time this cycle ends, around 2022, we’ll all agree that the demotion was a bit ill-advised.

If you keep a journal, look back to the dates of January 25, 2008; November 26, 2008; and September 11, 2009. Review the events in your life, and the world, about three days before and after each of these dates. This will give you a little “heads up” on how this cycle will unfold for you.

Like many people, I used to be an astrology skeptic; but it has helped me so much in my life, that I’m a true believer now. It’s a vast, complex science; for more information on the current cycle, read Goswami Kriyananda’s column at, Jan-Feb 2008 issue and the March-April 2008 issue. He gives much more detail, and in the March-April issue addresses how the cycle will affect each particular sun sign.

A more basic, general overview of the cycle is at:

Why is this cycle so important? Well, for one thing, it’s going to last a long time – about the next 12 years or so. And secondly, Pluto is the planet of transformation; of death, dying and rebirth; of purging, and change; it also rules the collective unconscious, which means this transit will affect everyone on the planet, and even the planet itself.

Capricorn represents structure; power, authority, control. The last time these two forces came together was during the period 1762-1777; students of history may wish to look at the changes that occurred during that period for clues to the coming cycle.

This cycle will require us all to remain flexible, open and ready to embrace change. It will also require us to remove any unnecessary structures, habits, or belief systems from our hearts and minds. Like the trees that grow all around us, we can only grow mighty if we can move with the winds; if we are rigid, closed off, or unable to accept what IS, then we will be broken.

Many of us would like a crystal ball to look ahead and prepare; but the closest thing to it is your natal chart. Nothing will happen to you that is does not resonate with your soul; for some this period will be experienced as negative; others, positive. The transformative qualities of Pluto can be experienced as painful, but like childbirth, sometimes a little pain is necessary to produce the beauty that is Life.
Practical things to do: get your affairs in order; look to what has occurred in your own life during the dates indicated above; reflect on events, and the choices you have made so that you can move forward with wisdom.

As is always wise, have some food on hand; water, too. Capricorn symbolizes the Earth, and there will be issues with food availability and quality. Creating a relationship with local farmers is always wise, but particularly now. A small home garden or even planters would be a good investment.

Work toward improving your immune system; don’t wait for the magic pill, or health care establishment to make you all better. You’re health is your responsibility. Time to improve your diet; release negative habits; and work towards a plan of wellness, instead of taking the band-aid approach.

Get rid of clutter, mental and otherwise. Give away anything you don’t adore or need; lighten up your existence on every level.

Begin TODAY to visualize your life, in perfect harmony with the cycles of the Universe. Release fear, and have faith. Don’t blindly believe me, or anyone else in authority or power. Get the facts, make your choices, discover your own truth.

Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu – May All Beings Be Happy and Free,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do Good; Eat Well

Beautiful, organic tomatoes; sliced and topped with a sprinkle of gently torn (not sliced!) basil; a skiff of sea-salt; fresh-ground pepper. A lovely mix of fresh organic green beans, slivered kalamata olives and feta cheese; firm, small organic zucchini sliced and grilled with extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh garlic, and a squeeze of lemon. Maybe a loaf of crusty bread, and fresh berries for dessert.

Sound like a food magazine fantasy? Not if you are a member of a CSA. That stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” And it is one of the most important connections you can make for the coming cycle.

It works like this: you buy a “share” for the season; that means you give the farmer a certain amount of money, and they will do their best to supply you with a certain amount of food. Some years, there are loads of tomatoes; other years, it’s fabulous for beets. They can offer up estimates, ideas, and concepts; but the blessed Mother Earth gives what she gives; and then there are the deer, the rain storms (or lack thereof) and the insect population to deal with.

Nothing will make you a better cook. You get a bag of whatever is fresh that week. You create what I call “once a year” meals. Combinations that no cookbook or magazine can replicate.

You’ll also realize how old and road-weary much of the food you get from the grocery store is. Seriously; something that composts in two days from the grocery is fresh for a month from your CSA farmer.

The CSA I’ve been working with for years is Seven Springs Farm in Floyd, Virginia. We are completely blessed with a fabulous, intuitive and patient farmer whose name is Polly. Her talents are many, though it is probably her optimism that serves her best. Even if your most ambitious garden involved a single pot and a petunia, you will have some idea of the challenges she faces.

No sun; all sun; cold weather; hot weather; wet weather; dry weather; hail! Deer; groundhogs; and insects (oh my!).

This time of year, the challenge is cash. The garden planning begins now; even as we’re still shoveling the latest snowstorm, and washing salt off our cars, the farmers are ordering their seeds; repairing their fences; preparing the irrigation ponds. Even the most wealthy organic farmer that I know is earning a below poverty wage in this country. The phrase “labor of love” comes to mind.

And if you want a piece of this fabulousness; if you want to help the environment, support hard-working people, and a less-chemical culture. If you want a bag of fresh, organic, local vegetables this Spring, this Summer, and well into the Fall; THIS is the time to plan, and the time to sign up is NOW.

Don’t wait; people are waking up; Seven Springs did not advertise last year, and sold out quickly. New CSA’s are springing up, and more in this case is better.

Ask around at the local cooperative grocery; check Google, ask around. It’s time to plan your Summer menu; oh, and save the world while you’re at it.

For two local (near Roanoke, Virginia) farms, see information below.


Tenley Weaver, Good Food Good People:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I’m a fish-eating vegetarian. Which, I think, actually doesn’t make me a vegetarian.

But I haven’t eaten cows, pigs or chickens for about 19 years. I certainly used to. And I had never considered not eating meat until I moved to Southwestern Virginia.

When I moved from the Big City to this relatively rural area, it felt like heaven. To wake up and hear birds singing; to drive to work and see cows grazing. Gorgeous mountains, wide open green space. This is really one of the more beautiful places on the planet.

I even enjoyed my commute . . . about an hour each way, by car – which felt absolutely luxurious after commuting over an hour each way by train – it was great to be able to choose my own radio station (and sing along), sip my coffee, have a whole seat to plop my coat and purse in; just me and the road and a few other commuters, zipping along to work.

When traveling a big Interstate highway, you see some interesting things. And some of the things you see in this area of the world are chicken trucks. Maybe you’ve seen one? They certainly leave an impression.

Giant, 18-wheel vehicle, stacked with cages upon cages -- as big as a normal 18-wheel cargo container. A chicken crammed inside of each cage, battered by the wind, and the elements; barely room to stand up, certainly not room to turn around; feathers flying everywhere.

You may think a perfectly prepared chicken breast is one of the tastiest things you’ve ever eaten, but if you’ve seen one of these trucks, you might think twice before you lift your fork.

At the same time, I began volunteering at the local animal shelter. It was a no-kill shelter -- they kept the animals until they were adopted instead of putting them “down” – killing them – if no one adopted them. In order to be a no-kill shelter, they were not allowed to accept state funding. They operated on a shoe-string budget.

Volunteering at this shelter completely changed my way of thinking; not because of my interactions with the cats and the dogs, but with the humans.

It was near a big college town; and when there was a holiday break, or school ended, we could be sure that there would be lots of animals brought to the shelter; people “disposing” of kittens and puppies that had the audacity to grow up and become cats and dogs. Pets that would not be accepted by the students’ parents during Christmas break. Animals that didn’t fit in with their Spring break travel plans.

It wasn’t only the college students; there were also plenty of people just bringing in pets that were no longer wanted, needed or able to be cared for.

Some people wouldn’t bother to wait for office hours to drop off animals; people dumped pets like garbage at our door. Boxes of kittens; pregnant animals; mama dogs with pups; you name it. The director would find them sitting on the stoop, running all over the property; or – on really cold mornings -- frozen to death in a box.

Really, could they not wait until the shelter opened?

It all connected together for me; was I also looking at these creatures, these beings, as less than me? Were certain animals disposable in my life, too? What really is the difference between the chicken and the cat? The cow and the dog?

I stopped eating meat very gradually; for a while, I ate it only if served by a friend; it was more important to me not to hurt their feelings than to kill the animal.

But after a while, I got over worrying more about other people’s feelings than my own feelings; it was important to stand up for my opinion, for my belief. And it was also important not to participate in the cruel and inhumane reality that has become the meat industry in this country.

It is important that every time we purchase something – patronize a business, buy a product at a store, order something at a restaurant – we understand that we are saying “This is something I support” – “I believe in this" -- "This is right and honorable, and I want it to continue.”

If we don’t believe that? -- well – then it’s time to make another choice.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

My teeny tiny guruji

The concept of “guru” is somewhat misunderstood by many people.

In a traditional lineage, like the holy Kriya lineage which is my spiritual lineage, each student (disciple) has a Guru (teacher). The Guru and the disciple are bound by more than words and thoughts. The Guru actually creates an astral connection between their souls. You are bound together until the student achieves God realization (enlightenment). The bond can only be released in this fashion, or if the student chooses to break the bond. It’s like a spiritual marriage of sorts. It is not a relationship either party enters into lightly.

But the actual word “guru” means “remover of darkness.” So even if you have a formal Guru (capital G), anyone can really be your guru (little g). The person who waits on you at the grocery store; a person you pass on the street; your friends; your family. Anyone that helps you to remove your darkness; anyone who brings light to something for you.

My children are some of my best teachers.

My son has always had very interesting insights into the Universe. At the age of three he asked me “Mommy, how did we get here . . . to the land?” I explained to him my understanding of how it works; that he decided to come here to work out some karma on the Earth. That he chose me and his Daddy to be his parents. That he entered into me to grow into a person in my body, and was born nine months later.

He was very satisfied with this explanation.

I asked him “So, where did you come from when you came here?” He looked at me and matter-of-factly stated “Heaven.” Ah. Yes.

About a month ago, he was observing one of his sisters; she was crying. Having a big angry-frustrated-miserable-hurt cry. He looked at me. “Mommy,” he said, “Do you think that it is possible to live your whole life without crying. Ever, at all?” I squatted down so we were eye to eye. “I don’t know buddy, what do you think?” “Well, sure!” he replied, “why not? Why couldn’t you go your whole life and just be happy?”

Ah. Yes.

Why couldn’t we go our whole life -- and just be happy?



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book Recommendations

Looking for some quality reading material? I've got some recommendations; books I've read more than once, and refer to frequently. Books I recommend to my students, and wish everyone would read.

First off, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, it may be a mass-market book by now, but it is a compelling story of a person in transition; dealing with radical spiritual and emotional shifts; AND it involves yoga, travel and food. No downside here; totally clicked with me. I suggest reading it once a year – I’ve read it cover to cover four times; loaned out my original copy; bought it again; loaned that one out, too. Get it. Now.

Feng Shui Your Life, by Jayme Barratt. This book may have pretty pictures, but it is not just about re-arranging your furniture, painting your kitchen, or buying a Buddha statute. It is a book that can give you specific objectives and concrete ways to make inner and outer shifts that will improve your life. The pictures are pretty – but most of us aren’t living that Pottery Barn existence. But with the life you have, you can still use this book to help organize, clean up, clear out and straighten out both your inner and outer self. Great book.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Because eating these days is complicated; Mr. Pollan cuts through the confusion; or adds to it, depending on your point of view. But seriously; if you’ve not devoted some time to thinking about what you eat and/or where it came from – it’s time. This book will help you to make wise choices – which is more difficult than you might think.

Moving Toward Balance, Eight Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee, by Rodney Yee with Nina Zolotow. Okay, you’re looking for a yoga book – about poses (asana); something that will show you “how to,” give you sequences; help you to develop a home practice. This is my favorite go-to book. Beautiful, detailed photographs; each pose has three variations, depending on your level of expertise, and uses props when needed; and then, of course, there is the beautiful Rodney Yee. His alignment is perfect, and he’s a gorgeous man. Win, win.

Happy Yoga
, by Steve Ross. Steve Ross is my original guru; I discovered yoga through Steve Ross on the Oxygen network, with his 6:00 am class called “Inhale.” Sitting on the couch, half-asleep, nursing a baby. Looking at beautiful, happy, flexible people. One day I taped the show; got my butt off the couch; and it completely changed my life. His book is easy to read; accessible; and very easy to skip around as you choose what you are interested in, and pass over what doesn’t yet click with your mind. Great book, light read, fun stories; and plenty of things that will make you think.

The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga, Goswami Kriyananda. Complete disclosure here, Kriyanandaji is my spiritual grandfather; just the sound of his voice puts me in my happy place. This is the book to choose when you are ready to look beyond yoga as a physical practice. Yes, asana will change your life. Ready to embrace the entire eight-limb system? Start here. Brilliant chapters on the yamas and niyamas; great information on pranayama and meditation; get past the initial chapters on cleansing techniques (some sound scary!) and you’ll be on your way.

Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon Gannon and David Life. Nobody makes loving God and living a holy, spiritual life seem more hip and current than Jivamukti yoga founders Sharon Gannon and David Life. Great information here for those of you looking for a unique and modern spiritual path.

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Another disclosure here ; Yoganandaji is also my lineage. And I find the complex, formal English that he uses a little tough to wade through – but it is worth it. Follow him as he grows from boy to man to yoga master, living the Kriya yoga tradition. Through success and failure, confusion and certainty, this book is full of inspirational passages, and fascinating glimpses of what it is like to experience the path of the yogi living in the ashram; beautiful tales of life in India; as well as a vision of the beautiful path of the householder. It has earned its place as a classic. Very worthwhile.

The Essential Edgar Cayce, by Mark Thurston, Ph.D. If you at all connect to Jesus Christ, you will be fascinated by the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce. This book gives the basic concepts of the nature of reality, keys to health and healing, and some insights to mystic Christianity as given through the readings of Edgar Cayce. A great launching point into the Cayce material that will help you to discover your interests, and lead you into a deeper understanding.

The Astrology Bible, by Judy Hall. I have a lot of astrology books. And astrology is a deep, multi-layered science. This book is small, easy to read and very complete. Great for beginners, but also offers much to the experienced student of astrology. Concise; attractive; detailed enough, but not overwhelming. Great starting point for your astrology studies.

Sooooo . . . no excuses for sitting in front of the television, or blobbing out on Facebook; this is a fascinating, amazing world; there is so much to learn, so much to experience; and you chose to be here.

Hit the library, the bookstore, or

You’ve got some studying to do.



Friday, February 5, 2010

Time of Change

There is a dramatic period of change coming upon us . . . do you feel it?

I do. And it alternately thrills me and terrifies me. Such is my relationship to change.

We are preparing to enter a new phase of existence. A period of astrology that indicates a vast shift that involves our country, the planet and pretty much everyone and everything on it. It is not something to be afraid of -- but does it sound like mumbo-jumbo to you? It certainly would have to me, not so long ago.

Like many things, when I first heard them, my mind said “what? – no way.”

And then I thought about them; my experiences augmented my understanding; and instead it was “Ah-HA!” Think back; is that true for you?

When I was pretty young – about 21 years old -- I worked as a secretary at a law firm in Boston; a big-time law firm, my desk on the 36th floor overlooking the ocean -- and I worked for two incredible, brilliant women. One of them was an up-and-coming associate, and though I respected her, and liked her, I still didn’t give her thoughts and opinions the weight that I gave my “senior” partner.

One day she mentioned that she had stopped eating meat for the environment. Well, this was a while back – 1988-ish – and I thought that was gibberish. “Well,” she stated -- without any malice or edge to her opinion -- “It takes 2,000 gallons of water for each pound of beef . . . and so I’ve stopped eating red meat.”

Oh, PLEASE! I thought. That’s ridiculous! Makes no sense.

But actually – it does. You’ve got to give water to that animal as it grows; plant, nurture, harvest and process it’s food; deal with it’s excrement; and then – when you kill the animal, there is a lot of water involved in dissecting, processing, packaging, and cleaning up the mess.

Two thousand gallons per pound actually sounds like an understatement.

But at the time, my mind was not open; whatever contradicted my mindset at the time, I immediately placed in my own mental garbage pile. I was not prepared for my concepts, my ideals, to be challenged. My own sense of self was not even completely formed. How could my mind do battle with anything foreign? I just wasn’t equipped.

It was like that with astrology. I mean, really – reading the stars? Watching the planets? Okay – reading the daily horoscope, that was acceptable – but really getting into the movement of the planets, signs, houses? Absurd!

Then I read “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. Which, if you read it, is not at all what you would expect. Yoganandaji is so honest in his failures, so humble in his glories. There is so much great information in this book, and there is an excellent chapter entitled “Outwitting the Stars.” In it Yoganandaji says to his teacher “I don’t believe in astrology.” And Sri Yukteswar’s response is fantastic: “
It is not a question of belief; the scientific attitude one should take on any subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic of its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief.”
He goes on to explain astrology in a way that makes it real; that ties it together with why we exist; where we came from; and where we’re going. It opened my mind to the possibility, and I decided to look a little deeper.

Have you ever admired a glorious full moon? Really beautiful, isn’t it? And it is really just a reflection of the Sun; without the Sun, we would never even see it.

That Moon – one very small celestial body in the vast sky -- has the power to move the oceans on this planet, and create the tides; you yourself are almost 75 percent water – it effects you, too.

Now ponder – it takes a MILLION Earths to reach the equivalent size of the Sun; a MILLION.

That’s . . . a lot.

And our “Sun” is but just one star in a solar system in a galaxy full of other stars, planets and systems. We are on a small tilted planet, spinning through space; we think we know what is up and what is down; what is “right” and what is “left” (or what is “right” or “wrong”). But really, to quote my Guru, “we’re a speck, on a speck, on a speck.”

Astrology gives us that insight into where, when and how. And now – big change is coming.

It is not random, and whether it is positive or negative will depend a lot upon your viewpoint, and your astrology.

Don’t let your cultural programming take over. Investigate; then decide.



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