Liquid Meditation

liquid meditation

One of my favorite ways to relax into meditation is what I call the Liquid Meditation. Strangely, this was an exercise my computer teacher first led my 6th grade class thought. It’s become a powerful tool for me to refocus and relax any tension so I’d like to share it.

meditation

*Find a comfortable sitting position.

*Bring your attention to your breath and quiet your thoughts.

*Visualize your body as a clear, empty container with an opening at the crown of your head. What’s it made of? Plastic? Glass? Crystal?

*Now imagine there’s an endless vat of liquid floating above you. Think about the color of the liquid. It could align with one of your chakras, or your mood. What’s the consistency of the liquid? Is it smooth and slippery like oil? Is it thick like molasses? Is it fizzy like champagne? Lastly, think about the temperature. Is it a warm bath? Hot like lava? Cool like a river?

If it’s a lot to imagine, try one of these starters:
-Warm, molten milk chocolate
-Cold fresh squeezed orange juice
-Hot liquid gold
-Turquoise tropical sea water

*Visualize the liquid pouring slowly through the crown of your head. It first fills each of your toes, relaxing every nerve. Then your feet and heels. Slowly, the liquid fills each of your legs. Feel it envelope your muscles. As it spreads up and out into your hips, imagine them relaxing and opening to accommodate the liquid. (I like to stay in my hips for a bit since I hold a lot of tension there). Feel the liquid fill your belly, relaxing the muscles, relaxing the breath. Imagine your spine straightening, your ribcage opening up a little as it moved into your chest. As it fills your shoulders, it begins to spill over and down your arms, into your fingertips, hands, wrists, then all the way up your arms to the shoulders again. This is also a great place to spend some time, focusing on the weight and temperature of the liquid. Next, the liquid moves up your neck, to your chin and the base of your cranium. Up to your mouth, nose and cheekbones, eyes, ears, forehead. Finally reaching the top of your head and overflowing.

*Focus on your breathing again. You should feel super relaxed and content.

What’s your favorite meditation practice?

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Creating Balance and Navigating Eclipse Season

dazzle
It’s eclipse season. That means cosmic shifts are coming TWICE this month and again in early August. Not to mention a big ole Mercury Retrograde in the middle of it all! According to my charts, I can expect monumental realizations over the next several weeks as well as changes to my world AND my perspectives.

As a routine-and-stability-loving Taurus, changes make me immensely uncomfortable. I just want to graze my little bull face in my cozy bull field of familiar bull grass and lovely bull flowers. My anxiety has been spiking over the last week, as evidenced by ab overindulgence in retail therapy.

To combat this, I’ve been really tuning into my body and listening to what I need. Here are some ways I’m creating my own stability:

Decluttering
A cleaning frenzy overtook me last weekend. I minimized clutter and reorganized things to make the space more open. Cleanliness helps me feel prepared for unexpected circumstances. No matter what I have to deal with, it won’t be the Battle of the Dustbunnies!

Meditating
Meditating really helps unblock my brain. Even more so when holding crystals charged with powerful energies! Rose Quartz has been helpful for grounding me. I’m also a fan of Lepidolite because it contains lithium (a component of anti-anxiety meds) naturally. It’s also a great stone to promote calm and balance, helping you to breathe and think before you react. As one who can be quick to react, carrying this crystal really helps scale me back. In fact, I just ordered this bracelet from Pine Shanty.

lepidolite bracelet


Inviting the elements

I subconsciously brought all four elements into my home in the last couple of weeks. Fire is almost always a given between candles and smudging, but I took a rare bath and loaded up my diffuser with water and rose oil. I completely overhauled the air circulation system in the apartment with a giant new BEAST of an AC unit and a new tower fan to push the coolness around. AND I brought in a plant, which I never do as I tend to kill them.

Resting
Aside from the aforementioned bath, I’ve been sleeping a LOT more than normal. Sleeping in until the last possible moment before I’m going to be late for work. Napping after work. Going to bed early on weekends. Sleeping in past 11am on weekends. Sleep is a vacation for your brain. In a sleep state, your mind can truly wander without distraction and process the loose ends of the day. I always love waking up and referencing Dream Moods for any imagery, colors, objects or themes that stood out in my dreams.

How do you create balance in your life?

San Jose Sidequest: The Winchester Mystery House

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“This house will poison you.” The tour guide warned. Between the toxic red wood and the original lead paint, he meant it literally. The Winchester Mystery House was built by Winchester Rifle Company heiress Sarah Winchester who, as legend puts it, was directed to never stop building by the spirits of people killed by the guns that made her family so wealthy.

It’s a solid ghost story made more interesting by the fact that the layout of the home is so strange and unusual. Cabinets open to reveal solid walls. Stairways end abruptly into ceilings. Doors open into 10 foot drops (or more!). And those are only a few of the oddities within the walls of the sprawling Victorian mansion.

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I believed the legend. I believed it because I lived it for years. In high school and into my Freshman year of college, I was plagued by a reoccurring nightmare where I was running from something chasing me through a bizarre mansion. As I ran through decadent rooms, I’d encounter stairways to nowhere, doors that opened into thin air, windows in the floors, walls that sparkled like embers and floors that shifted. I remember several of the rooms, but the dream always ended in the same place – a blood-soaked room full of candles with a pentacle drawn on the floor and a single light fixture in the center of the ceiling with a dim red light.

At least twice a week I’d wake up crying and sweating, but I had no idea this house in my nightmare was real! Then one night Freshman year of college, I had the TV on as background noise while writing a paper and I heard a creepy voice describing the house from my nightmare. The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. That moment triggered two things: 1) I never had the nightmare again and 2) I knew I had to visit the house someday.

So with my trip to E3 taking me to California, I booked a little side trip to San Jose to finally explore the mansion.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked my Mansion and Explore More tours. Was I Sarah Winchester in a past life? Would I feel weird? Would I get sick? Would I end up possessed? I tempered my expectations by reading Captive of the Labyrinth on the plane so I could better understand the facts of Sarah Winchester’s life.

The night before my visit, I pulled a card in my hotel room while thinking of Sarah Winchester’s life. It was the Six of Wands.

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This card is all about harnessing your talents and embracing success to make yourself known, which is exactly what Sarah Winchester did in building this house. Really, in building her life after the tragic deaths of her baby and husband.

 

On Sunday, I arrived at the site super early. The grounds are free to explore and they have a little cafe and gift shop. I didn’t get any ominous feelings walking through the gardens. Then again, I’d never seen the house from the outside before…

All around the sun-soaked grounds, fruit trees stretched their limbs, heavy with pears and apricots. There were even almond trees shading a quiet patio on the north side of the house. The aroma of flowers was overwhelming, but seemed to delight the hummingbirds darting above my head. I didn’t feel anything ominous or dark (despite the massive headache I ended up with all day). In fact, the energy was buzzing with creativity and curiosity.

I sat down in one of the stone rotundas by the front door and pulled more cards. Again I got the Six of Wands. Clearly, the card is Sarah herself.

Next I pulled a card to ask the spirits what I should expect once I entered the house. They gave me the Moon. It was an invitation to the truth. They wanted to set the rumors straight and remind me that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Finally, the guide called my tour number and my group was ushered into the carriage port to begin. Inside the house, I felt comfortable, confused, but safe and curious. We wandered up steps and through narrow hallways. The guide pointed out a set of stairs that led into the ceiling, just like I dreamed. There was a window built into a floor in one room, which I also recognized. And, of course, the well-known door to nowhere (which is visible from outside as well).

We were several rooms in (there are 160 total) before my surroundings got SUPER familiar. The guide took us into a tight cube of a room with doors on every wall (one of which led to a steep drop if opened). In the center of the room was the light fixture from the end room of my nightmare – the one I’d seen covered in blood and filled with candles. The fixture and covering were almost exactly as I knew them to be, but in my version, the light was red and here it was blue. The guide described this as the seance room where Sarah communed with the spirits on what to build next.

A few rooms later, we were in the room with shifting floors. In my dream, the floor was covered in somewhat spongy, moveable panels. As it turns out, in the actual Winchester Mansion there’s a conservatory where Sarah Winchester kept her plants inside a sunny room. The floor panels ARE movable so staff could take them up to water the plants. AND they’re slightly soft, unlike a normal floor. Excess water from the plants would be absorbed and redirected to plants outside in an ingenious irrigation system.

On my second tour, a guide took a smaller group of us through closed off, damaged or unfinished rooms of the house. It was here I saw the “burning ember walls” from my dream. In one of Sarah Winchester’s bedrooms – dubbed the Crystal Bedroom – the walls glittered as the light hit them. As I moved around, the walls sparkled spectacularly. Crushed mica, our guide said, embedded in the wallpaper. It was absolutely stunning.

Sarah Winchester House Crystal Bedroom Crushed Mica Wallpaper

This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the pattern does look a bit like sparkling flames.

There were other rooms I knew – the ballroom, Sarah’s main bedroom – but those three were the most prominent. It was so bizarre to see the house in real life after seeing it so vividly in my dreams for so long. I still don’t know why I dreamed of this place or if there’s any real connection there, but I’m glad I go to see it and end this crazy story.

Have you ever had a wild case of deja vu?

Oliver Hibert Tarot Interview

A couple weeks ago I interviewed The Golden Thread Tarot. This week, I sat down with another of my newer decks- The Tarot + The Secret Arcana by Oliver Hibert.

Tell me about yourself.
VIII of Swords
I balance the intellectual and emotional to find the best path forward. Every trap has an escape if you look at things from a different angle.

What are your strengths?
Mars
As an Aries, we’ll go horn to horn sometimes. But I’m aggressive and thorough in my search for answers. I’ll paint stories through multiple cards on your one-card pulls.

What are your limits
VII of Pentacles
Sometimes I’m impatient and easily frustrated. I can get bored and go for the “quick win.”

What are you here to teach me?
VII of Swords
Not to run from challenges or darkness or good things or love. But also how to navigate the false motives of others. Trust yourself. Expect others to trust themselves first.

How can we best collaborate?
The Scream
Quiet your own voice and listen. Really listen. Not with your ears. With your intuition.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Ace of Cups
You’ll build stronger intuition and trust your inner power. We’ll also develop you creatively. I’ll inspire new projects, thoughts and mediums.

As feminine and open as the Golden Thread was, that’s how difficult this deck felt to me. Very foreign and puzzling. Neither feminine nor masculine. I had to sit with the cards for a while to figure out what they wanted to tell me. Many of the answer cards felt contradictory to my questions. I suppose that makes sense giving their mind-bending psychedelic artwork. To add extra challenge, I drew TWO cards from the Secret Arcana, which really tells me how unique this deck will be. I’m glad I shuffled them into the deck. Until now I had kept them separated, but that didn’t feel right. They need to be a full story.

Which reminds me… there is one card missing. Hibert released a new card with a 10 part experience. Magic. And I bought the whole thing just to get that card. I feel itchy that this deck is incomplete. Maybe that’s why it was so temperamental. I’ll revisit our interview once the final card arrives.

Do Tarot Cards Get Jealous?

Since 2009, I’ve been working with a deliciously dark, Tim Burton-esque tarot deck known as the Deviant Moon Tarot. I don’t remember how I discovered it or where I got it, but it was the beginning of my tarot practice and study for a series of poems I’m eternally writing. This deck has always connected with me. It’s become an extension of myself to the point that cards will literally leap out of the deck to give me messages. I trust it and I’ve bonded with it, but I wanted more options. [Deviant Moon Tarot Interview]

Some years later, the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn found me. This deck bills itself as a challenge with extra cards (Void cards and 99 cards for each suit, four Fools, etc…) and also presented stunning, colorful, comic book style imagery. I fall in love with it every time I open the box. It’s been the toughest to connect with, but I keep crawling back to it begging for love. [Tarot of the Silicon Dawn Interview]

Back in January I was casually feeling up books at The Strand, as I’m prone to do any time I’m in the vicinity. I was poring over Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems when I felt a sort of warm tugging. I looked up and locked eyes with The Wild Unknown sitting randomly atop some stationery. That’s never happened before. I picked it up on the spot. [The Wild Unknown Tarot Interview]

For Galentine’s Day, I treated myself to a tarot deck based on one of my favorite games- The Binding of Isaac Tarot. It’s not the most functional deck. The suits are non-traditional and it doesn’t come with a booklet to ascribe meaning to the suit of hearts (cups?), keys (wands?), bombs (swords?) and coins (pentacles?) but the art is fantastic and it crosses my love of magic with my video game vice. [Binding of Isaac Tarot Interview]

I gifted myself the decadent Lioness Oracle Tarot for my birthday in April. Drawn in by the beautiful and surreal collages- particularly Nosferatu on the Nine of Swords and David Bowie on The Star- this has become my regular deck recently. It traveled the country with me last year. [Lioness Oracle Tarot Interview]

As a bit of retail therapy, after a summer of working nights and weekends non-stop, I splurged on a deck I’ve been pining for on Instagram for a while- the psychedelically divine Tarot and Secret Arcana by Oliver Hibert. With roots and imagery deeply based in the traditional Rider-Waite tarot, this deck is easy to read and learn through. The saturated colors truly make this deck a favorite. [Oliver Hibert Tarot and Secret Arcana Interview]

Oliver Hibert Psychedelic Tarot

Finally, for Christmas Ryan got me the ornately minimalistic Golden Thread Tarot. These cards are made of a thin plastic with golden overlays so they feel completely different from any other deck I’ve owned. [Golden Thread Tarot Interview]

So now I have seven decks. Seven personalities. Seven moody mistresses who fall in and out of my favor. If I ask the same questions or if my decks have a message for me outside of what I think I want to understand, they’ll get frustrated and serve up the same card until I’m finally enlightened. But when it comes to sharing a shelf, I like to think they all conspire together for my greater good. With all those personalities in a room, they must have some otherworldly debates and discussions. If cards are jumping out of decks at me or I’m getting the same card, unrelated to my questions, over and over, I believe it’s because they’ve all pooled their energy to give me a cosmic kick in the ass.

UPDATE: See all the tarot deck interviews, including a NEW deck, below!

Deviant Moon
The Wild Unknown
Binding of Isaac
The Lioness Oracle Tarot
The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
The Tarot and Secret Arcana by Oliver Hibert
The Golden Thread Tarot
Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot

Love in the Time of the Nuclear Apocalypse

Each year, I support wildlife conservation and self love by naming a cockroach after an ex for Valentine’s Day. It’s cathartic, tax-deductible, and includes chocolate! (Assuming you send your naming certificate to yourself and NOT the aforementioned ex, that is.)

The Bronx Zoo has been doing this donation event for years and I truly love it. They offer a few different donation tiers that come with various treats, but all tiers include a certificate (digital only at the $10 tier) where you can dedicate your cockroach to your ex. For $10 a pop, go nuts and name all your exes!

love-you-forever

Real ex’s name redacted


I like to get creative with my certificates and work them into an annual ritual. Write a little poem. Craft an insect themed analogy for the relationship. Jot a memory that may be sticking with you. Meditate over the certificate, visualizing your love and energy returning you. Envision any hold your past relationships still hold on you as hooks, vines or whatever elemental image works for you and see those strings of attachment breaking apart. Then, burn the certificate to make sure there’s no lingering energy and allow you both to breathe free of each other. Enjoy the chocolates in a cleansing bath!

Make a donation here. They start at just $10 for a digital certificate or $35 for a physical one with chocolates!