Category Archives: Spiritcaat Writings

Symbolism of Lion, Witch & Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Allegory of Christ & the Symbolism Within

What do a talking lion, who is both feared and revered; an evil witch, who casts spells; and a wardrobe, in an otherwise empty room all have in common? An unlikely combination? AslanYes, but they do have something in common: they are all part of a literary allegory written by C.S. Lewis (a born again Christian and literary scholar who wrote many such Christian allegories) and serve as symbols relating to enlightenment and the coming of and rebirth of Christ.

One does not necessarily need to be Christian to recognize the allegory in the story, “The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe;” One need only have the most basic understanding of the story of Christ. In fact, Lewis is very blatant, in one respect, as to his religious intent in the fact that four of the major characters, the children, are called the sons and daughters of Adam & Eve. This sets up foreshadowing for later points in the story in that traditional Christianity views Adam & Eve as the original sinners; therefore, their sons and daughters carried those sins for which Christ eventually died for.

The story’s metaphor of Christ dying for their sins is not quite as linguistically blatant, but certainly clear. The exposition for this begins after Aslan the Lion, the Christ figure, speaks privately with the White Witch, who symbolizes the Devil, or the embodiment of evil, to negotiate the release of Edmund, one of the children who had turned himself over to the White Witch. Edmund symbolizes the sins of man. After this conversation, Aslan becomes very quiet and solemn. What follows is his slow and somber walk up the hill to the Stone Table. This is representative of Jesus’ walk through the streets of town carrying his cross and being followed by his disciples, just as Aslan was escorted by characters Lucy and Susan.

Once arriving at the Stone Table, Aslan, courageous and majestic (the traditional connotations of a lion) is tightly bound with ropes and muzzle, and beaten unmercifully. Aslan has the capability to resist, but doesn’t because of his code of honor and is killed while Lucy and Susan watch. This is the metaphor for Jesus dying for the ‘sins of man.’ The fact that Aslan is killed on the Stone Table is significant because the Stone Table, with it’s carvings of an unknown language, symbolizes the Ten Commandments. Aslan The fact that the White Witch and her followers, representing the Romans, killed Aslan on this table signifies the breaking of those commandments, particularly that of “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” It is also interesting to note here that in this story, as in much of children’s literature, the evil force is represented as a witch. In the days of Jesus, the Romans worshiped pagan Gods. Witches are self-proclaimed Pagans, and even though the Gods that Wiccans follow may be different than those that the Romans followed, it makes a statement on the religious aspect of many of these stories: the statement that in Christian belief, Pagans killed Jesus, therefore, all Pagans are evil. This is a stigma that, to this day, those of the Wiccan faith carry.

This allegory continues with Lucy and Susan crying, as did Jesus’ disciples. They go to a lifeless Aslan and remove the muzzle and the ropes (after being gnawed away at by the mice). This symbolizes the disciples preparing Jesus’ body for burial. In their grief, they turn and watch the sunrise, representative of a New Day (Easter). At that moment they hear a loud sound and turn to see the Stone Table broken and Aslan is gone. This represents the bolder of the tomb being moved and Jesus rising from the dead. Aslan goes on to ‘save’ his disciples by removing them from under the witch’s spell.

The basic theme that this story follows is that of the battle between good and evil. This is shown, not only in the death of Aslan and the ensuing battle, but throughout the story, on other expeditionary levels as well.

The children, who are symbols of Jesus’ disciples, stumble into the world of Narnia, quite by accident, through a wardrobe in the house they are staying in. The house is huge with numerous hallways and empty rooms. This represents the confusion and searching that people experience before “finding God.” In fact, at the beginning of the story, there is a segment alluding to their ensuing, if not sub-conscious, future journey. They hear a noise and all make comments on what it might be.

“It’s and owl,” said Peter. “This is going to be a wonderful place for birds…Did you see those mountains as we came along? And the woods? There might be eagles. There might be stags. There’ll be hawks.” “Badgers,” said Lucy. “Foxes,” said Edmund. “Rabbits,” said Susan. (Lewis, 1950, pg. 3, ¶5.)The significance of these symbols are as follows:

Owls are associated with being wise and they traditionally sit “in the East, the place of illumination.” (Sams, et al., 1988, pg. 121, ¶1.) This relates to the fact that in several areas of the book, once the children met Aslan, they looked to the East. This symbolizes their illumination and enlightenment through their association with Aslan.

Birds represent freedom; the freedom from evil the children strive for and eventually attain.
Mountains represent attainment; attainment of their goals of enlightenment.
Woods are made up of trees. This stands for the tree of knowledge and the protection the children receive.
Eagles represent spirit; the spiritual association and guidance they seek.
Stags represent strength, endurance and stamina; the things that the children need to overcome evil.
Hawks are thought of to be messengers; this represents the message of Christianity.
Badgers represent aggressiveness; the aggressiveness needed to stand up for conviction.
Foxes represent camouflage; in camouflage they take flight from persecution.
Rabbits represent fear; the fear that they will be overtaken by evil.

This may be an appropriate place, also, to mention the significance of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Beavers are builders. The fact that the Beavers take the children under their wings, so to speak, is symbolic of the fact that the children are building character by taking this journey to God and spiritual enlightenment.

The first plot point for the children is the decision to explore the house, which ultimately leads them to the wardrobe. This wardrobe stands for the gateway to their enlightenment, as symbolized by the lamppost upon their arrival in Narnia.

The characters of Lucy and Edmund are more major, hence, more complex than the other two. We know that Lucy is the youngest, so it is fitting that she is the first to enter the wardrobe because younger children are more trusting and believing. And by Edmund lying about his first individual adventure, we find he is dishonest and self-absorbed, seeking only his own immediate gratification. All of the children are dynamic characters; their adventures lead them to maturity and a spiritual awakening. However; Edmund (symbolizing Judas) is the most dynamic of the four in that he is the one who “loses his way” and betrays the others by going to the castle of the White Witch, then finding his way to “salvation,” so to speak.

The other theme that is very evident here, is that of the monomyth. One aspect in which this is evident is in the use of the moon as a symbol. Not only is the moon circular in image, to this day it is widely regarded as cyclical. It is interesting to note that the moon doesn’t make it’s first appearance until some time into the story. Once it does, the frequency of it’s appearance, in reference, is directly related to unfolding events. The more fervent the events, the greater the reference to the moon.

Another indication of the monomyth is the use of the seasons. The fact that it is always winter (without Christmas) in Narnia, then turns to spring when Aslan arrives, symbolizes not only the state of mind of the region and characters, but the rebirth of a new day. In a way, it is also a foreshadowing to the rebirth of Aslan after his death. In fact, the scene in which Kris Kringle arrives, prior to the appearance of Aslan, and bestows gifts upon the children, is symbolic of the three wise men bearing gifts for Jesus at the time of his birth, as well as that things are changing. Additionally, the use of seasons make the comment that before the birth of Jesus, life was dark and dreary because evil ruled the world. It was not until his coming that people became enlightened (springtime) by his example, guidance and teaching. Such is the role of Aslan.

So we can see, although Lewis succeeded in writing a highly successful and fantastic tale for the enjoyment of children, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is much more. It is a highly multi-dimensional tale that weaves Lewis’s own personal convictions into a tale of adventure and insight that can be appreciated by adults as well. Where children may learn these intended messages on a sub-conscious level, adults can look at Aslan, the Christ figure who died for other’s sins; the White Witch, the embodiment of evil that must be overcome; the wardrobe, the gate to a new world; the lamppost, a guide to enlightenment; the animals, representing the qualities needed to overcome adversity and grow with change; and at the cycle of life, represented by the light of the moon and the change of the seasons.

Finally, although all who read this book may not believe in the teachings of Christ, the theme of good vs. evil stands as the mountains people must climb, and the choices they must make.


Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: NY, 1950.

Sams, Jamie, and Carson David. Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Animals Through the Ways of Animals. Santa Fe: New Mexico, 1988.

Adopting a New Kitty


Many people come to me with the question of how to introduce a new cat into the household where there is an existing cat. It’s a time that can determine, from the outset, how your cats will perceive each other and get along for the rest of their lives, so it’s critical that you understand how to do it before you ever bring your new little one into the house.

First of all, many people think they can bring them in and keep them separated for a day, and all will be well. This is NOT the case. 1 day, 2 days, even 3 days is way too short of a time. The last time we did it, I think the vet recommendation was a good two weeks. That’s hard, but you need to do it way longer than a day. For one thing, you need to make sure that the kitten has no hidden communicable diseases that might show up.

You need to give them plenty of time, day after day, and night after night, to sniff each other under the door and get accustomed to each other’s smells and the idea that this is not temporary, but this is someone they’re going to smell every day, every day. This is especially important for the established cat.

Once you’ve given them a few days to do that, start bringing the kitten out by hand, one person holding the kitten on the floor, the other the cat and let them look at each other from a distance. Do this several times throughout the day. After that when you do it, let them get a little closer and closer, still holding them, until you can let them get close enough without hissing to smell each other. (Again, this is more for the cat than the kitten.) (If you live alone, either bring in a friend to help you, or just hold the new cat and let the established cat take his or her time coming up to sniff.)

Once that has been accomplished, start letting the kitten out to run around, for very short periods of time, when you are home and can watch over things. Let the kitten investigate, by this time, hopefully, the cat will look at it with curiosity, rather than jealousy and animosity. Again, do this several times throughout the day, extending the number of times/day every day, and the length of time out as you go. Doing it this way, you are increasing the chances of their getting along. The transition has been gradual and monitored.

Make sure during that time that you spend plenty of time in the bathroom (or a spare bedroom if you have one — that’s even better) with the kitten giving it plenty of love and attention, as well as giving extra attention to the established cat. If there are two of you, don’t both go in to spend time with the kitten together. Each needs to feel loved, not excluded.

Remember that there is no “set time limit” to do this. It will depend on how quickly the cats (or cat) adjust. You don’t want to rush it. You need to use your intuition and be highly conscious of their emotions and reactions and let those guide the time apart or together, rather than having any kind of set time limit. For instance, if you feel in a shorter time that they are doing well and can take more time or more contact, move closer or to the next step. But if the cat is still hissing and such, you need to move more slowly.

I think our last two it was a week and a half before the kitten was out and about a large amount of the time, maybe two weeks by the time he started sleeping with us, maybe a little less. But it’s really important to take as much time as it takes so they have a good relationship.

I remember it being really hard to try to take so long, the kitten really wanted out of the bedroom, but our cats are *great* friends now, so it was worth it.

Introducing cats takes a lot of effort, care and being in tune with how the animals are reacting and feeling. Make sure you plan out, in advance, how you will introduce them and you can foster a long and loving relationship between them. Congrats on your new addition. May you all live together in peace, harmony and happiness for many, many years to come.

Spiritual Lessons of Remodeling


Perhaps this is a little late in the process, but as I sit here in my bedroom, hunkered down with my cats, loud power tools – very loud power tools – buzzing and vibrating right outside of the door .. I thought this would be the appropriate time to start some blog posts on ‘The Spiritual Lessons of Remodeling.”

Okay, I know you must be saying, “There is nothing spiritual about remodeling.” This is especially true if you’ve ever been through one. But if you have been through one, you also know what a challenging experience it is, and if we are not learning our spiritual lessons from the challenges in our lives, where are we learning them?

I only wish that I had some insight before I started this journey, to know what to expect. If there’s one thing I’m understanding today, now that I am seeing the pantry is way bigger than I envisioned, and the counter way smaller, is that we tend to fall into the idea that since we are making the decisions and doing it ‘our way’, it will be perfect. Remodeling tip #1. It will not.

The spiritual lesson here is acceptance. The entirety of your remodel is not going to be perfect, just as the entirety of your life is not perfect. You designed your new kitchen (or bathroom, or living room or whatever) just as you designed your life.

But as we look at our lives we can choose to focus on the points that aren’t perfect, and obsess about how this little thing about our job or our spouse or our social life is not perfect, or we can choose to look at the things that are.

We make mistakes. We make decisions we regret that can’t be changed …. windows and doors can’t be returned once ordered, cabinets can’t be made smaller once the doors are ordered (unless you have a heck of a lot of money and don’t care how many more weeks your refrigerator will be sitting in the living room…), just like we can’t go back to a relationship we left or a house we sold. You can never go back. And even if you did, it would never be the same. The best we can do is visualize how we see the remodel of our lives, and know that not everything is going to be perfect, no matter how hard we try. Some things we catch in time, other things we don’t.

For those things we don’t, we learn lessons. In shamanic terms, if I were to look at my pantry as a symbol, I can look at it as it’s taking up too much space and looks odd. OTOH, if I look at food as a symbol of knowledge, then there is just that much more capacity to store all of the things that I’ve yet to learn in my life, and a place where I can store all of the blessings that I know I have in my life, so that when the noise gets a little too loud,and the walls shake a little too much, I know right where to go to open the pantry and count my blessings.

Remodeling Tip:
— You may have designed it, it doesn’t mean it will be perfect. Don’t expect it to be.
— Accept the things that can no longer be changed. Focus on the things that did turn out right. Look at the beauty in the ‘right’ decisions.

A Time For Reflection

With the death of Osama bin Laden this past week, I thought it a time for reflection on the events that inalterably changed our nation almost a decade ago.

Mr. Caat had a childhood friend perish on that day, a Port Authority Officer by the name of “Bruce Reynolds“, who gave his life trying to save others.

I have been fortunate enough to connect with him and his mother, who is now also in spirit, on a couple of different occasions, while doing mediumship readings.

This poem is for him and all those like him.


I didn’t know him,
But I know his name.
Like the thousands of other names on the list,
He had a story.

He cared, he loved,
He laughed, he cried.
He was the innocent child,
Who grew up to be a man;
A man respected, a man admired,
Who didn’t have to go, but did.

In the smoke and haze,
One by one,
He helped them out of disaster,
Back to safety in the arms of their families,
Then turned around to do it all over again.

His father planted flowers in a garden for him,
He hopes they will bloom by spring.
It would be appropriate for this child,
Turned into a man,
And that man, who turned into a hero.

For us, who never knew him,
But heard the stories of his youth,
Our hearts cry, for this man turned hero,
And all those like him,
Who died in the line of duty,
On one September day…
One very dark September day…

In the year so many are relieved to have passed,
The year that changed the world…
The year that changed our lives…
The year that took so many heros…
Next spring, a flower will bloom.

In Memory of Bruce Reynolds,
Port Authority Police Officer, NY, NJ. —
And all those who also perished on that fateful day.

Lisa Larson © 2002

The Pelican

A Surfer’s Understanding of Animal Communication
By Lawrence Larson, Esq.

I just finished riding a small, waist high wave, that collapsed in front of me. My attention was diverted from the wave, to a pelican about a hundred yards north of me. pelicanThe bird rested in the water about 25 yards directly seaward from the end of a small Northern San Diego County jetty. One of the Pelican’s wings was stretched out from his body, at a 45 degree angle. It was in a deformed position, as if it had been broken or disjointed.

It was early in the morning and the sun was just squinting over the hills, which were awaking and exhaling an autumn chaparral scent. I became entranced by the whole scene. The ocean stood motionless, a dark limpid ink shade with the texture of grey-blue tiffany glass. The sea’s surface was imbued by chimeric shadows which made me altogether unsure of what I was seeing. As I stared, trying to account for the vision, there was a feeling of disconnect, the creamy adorned feathers of the pelican, it’s disfigured stance, contrasted eerily with the darkness of the ocean.

Near me, there was one other surfer in the water. Beyond him, outside of the line-up, was akayaker paddling through the bay, I watched the pelican for another minute in his haunting pose. The realization hit me. A shore fisherman on the jetty had hooked the pelican on the wing and was holding the line taut, extending the bird’s wing. I yelled about three times, each time more insistently for the fisherman to cut the line. Reluctantly, he reached for his sheathed knife and cut the fishing line. The birds wing fell, and laid straight out from its body on the top of the water.

I began to paddle in the direction of the bird. The other surfer, who noted that he was a biologist, warned me about getting too close to the pelican, as they are fierce fighters and their prehistoric beaks have evolved into formidable defensive tools. The kayaker sensing my curiosity, paddled in a swing cadence toward the animal. His swifter water vehicle neared the pelican before I did. As he cautiously approached the distressed bird, the pelican ranted and employed his strong neck and long beak as a weapon to threaten and fend off the interloping kayaker. The outburst sent the kayaker quickly back to the bay. I knew the pelican lashed out because he was terrified. He did not know why he was maimed. The kayaker and myself were the only people near him and it was a small leap in reason for him to think we were the marauders intent on his capture.

As I approached the magnificent creature, I slowly, smoothly and quietly slid off the surface of my surfboard, trying to leave the water and the pelican undisturbed. I slowly dog paddled toward him, talking in a calm voice. In Hawaii, we greet friends, loved ones and strangers with Aloha. As I got within a few feet of this feral being, I looked at him and said “Aloha”. When one is graced with Aloha they are blessed with the divine light or in Hawaiian “Mana”. Mana is the abiding Hawaiian faith in the sacred divinity of man and nature. I came to the point were my face was a foot away from his face and I was looking straight up at this magnificent creature of God. I was treading water in the middle of the ocean, my surfboard a distant object bobbing to the undulations of the ocean. I was in his world, his domain and his imperial posture said as much. Again i said “ Aloha”. With that simple word Aloha, I assured him that I was a fellow traveler of the ocean and the divinity in me saw the divinity in him.

I have never had the patience, skill or manual dexterity to untangle wires, strings and things. Divinely guided this time, things were different. I cradled the wing in my hands and with the transcendent illumination, I decoded the hopelessly tangled fishing wire. It took about ten minutes to free the bird. The beautiful animal never took his gaze off me. He never flinched his wing. After his liberation, he slowly drew his wing into his body and even more intently fixed his eyes on me. Renewed, he slowly turned his body toward the sea, He swam about twenty feet without spreading his wings. He turned, looked at me and whispered “ Aloha my friend”. The Phoenix, renewed and restored; he spread his wings and in a magnificent arch, gracefully took flight into the heavy salt air. As he flew away, I wished him the same Aloha. The pelican was gone. The fleeting episode: a memory.

Pelican landing image: (C)2006-Stephane TOUGARD. Permission is granted for copy and use.

Losing Weight & Being Healthy

17 Ways to Achieve Weight Loss Through Healthy Eating
Lisa Larson

While it may seem a little odd to have a weight loss article on a metaphysical site, really not so. To do the work we do as psychics and animal communicators, we need to be balance in both body and mind. And when we are tired all the time, from carrying around so much weight, or simply not feel good about ourselves because of it, we have to work that much harder to find that balance that is so productive in our work.

Weight loss does not have to be the roller coaster nightmare that people make it out to be. For many people, simply changing the focus from losing weight to becoming healthy, will facilitate the weight just ‘falling off.’

1. Don’t diet. Eat healthy.
This is the first and most important rule. In most cases, if you change your diet with the intent of just becoming healthy, the weight will just fall off.

Vegetarian_diet2. Eat a balanced diet.
Don’t subscribe to the “all this” or “all that” diets. You’re going for health, remember? To be healthy, you need to eat balanced meals with all the elements. Carbs are not the enemy, overeating – carbs or anything else – is.

3. Use a salad plate instead of regular sized plate.
Eating is psychological. If you use a smaller plate, you trick your subconscious, into thinking you have had a full meal.

4. Order your salad with dressing on the side.
Only god knows why people have to serve salad that is swimming in dressing. Order your dressing on the side and put on just enough to make it moist. Usually no more than a tablespoon full or so will do, depending on the size of the salad.

5. Substitute, substitute, substitute.
Probably 80-90% of the things you can think of that you would feel ‘guilty’ about eating when you’re on a diet, you can find a substitute for. Want ice cream? Get frozen yogurt. Like cream in your coffee? Try 2% low-fat milk, or better yet, non-fat or soy milk. Here are a few others:

Eat cheese, but make it 75% low fat cheese.
It’s made by Cabot and and can be found at Trader Joe’s.

Eat chips, but make sure they’re baked.
Again, we get these at Trader Joe’s. Potato chips, corn chips … just make sure to check the labels and get the ones lowest in fat per serving and calories per serving. (Know, however, that baked goods may be high in salt, so if you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist.)

Eat macaroni salad, but make it with non-fat sour cream. Vaclav_Maly_-_Cabbage_Market_060
Practically anything that can be made with mayonnaise, can be made with non-fat sour cream instead. So many terrible, fattening, un-healthy foods are that way because of the mayonnaise or salad dressing they’re made with. Some of the things we make with non-fat sour cream are: macaroni Salad, cole-slaw and waldorf-salad. Or substitute non-fat yogurt or a small amount of healthy olive or walnut oil, depending on what you’re making. Non-fat sour cream or blended cottage cheese is also and option for making creamy salad dressings or dips.

Replace butter with Olive Oil or Earth Balance w/Olive Oil.
If on a special occasion, you really want to use real butter, you can get whipped butter (I like the Land ‘O Lakes) but use it sparingly-only as a spread, not in cooking. You can also substitute applesauce for butter in things like cake and cookie mixes.

Eat french fries, but bake them instead of fry them.
I get Ore-ida Golden Crinkles: 3 grams fat/serving.

Eat onion rings, but look for bakeable ones at the health food store.

Drink Soda, but only natural soda, & ‘spritz’ it!
Mix it half and half with club soda. There are lots of natural sodas at the health food store, without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

To cut down on calories, I buy club soda and make a “ginger ale spritzer,” by mixing Santa Cruz Ginger Ale (or natural soda of your choice) and standard club soda. Half soda to half club soda is a happy medium, although sometimes I just mix in just a splash for taste. Bubbles & taste without guilt.

Replace white refined sugar with unrefined raw sugar.
Do NOT use artificial sugar substitutes such as Equal or Splenda. These artificial substitutes are terrible for you. Sugar is not the boogie-man it’s made out to be. Refined, processed sugar – which has all the nutrients processed out of it – deserves that connotation, but the broad term ‘sugar’ – not necessarily so.

Furthermore, the problem is not always the sugar itself, the problem is with the things that sugar is combined with, like “high-fructose corn syrup” and “partially-hydrogenated oils.” Those are the dirty little secrets the food industry does not want you to know about.

Even if a product is made with raw sugar, those other ingredients make that food a terrible, terrible choice to put in your body. One reason sugar has been so demonized by the food industry, imo, is that there is a huge market for sugar substitutes. They are money makers, and what better way to get people to buy them, than to demonize sugar???

There are some newer more natural substitutes out there right now, and of course, there is always honey, but a lot of these things are really not any different calorie-wise than sugar. A teaspoon of sugar in your coffee is only around 17 calories. When baking, some people substitute honey or molasses, I use raw, unrefined sugar and simply use less than the recipe calls for. That, in addition to substituting applesauce for oil, makes whatever I’m baking far healthier with far less fat and calories.

6. Don’t buy things with more than 5 grams of fat per serving.
Make it a habit of reading every label of every thing you buy. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t splurge once in a great while, but if you develop a lifestyle where you’re eating healthy on a daily basis, a splurge for something special will not be the end of the world. To cut fat per serving:

Stop eating fried food.
There’s nothing remotely healthy about fried foods for you.

Stop eating fast food.
There is nothing remotely healthy about junk foods for you.

Don’t eat donuts – ever.
There is nothing remotely healthy about donuts for you.
Seriously. Google “donuts” and “health”. They taste great, I won’t deny that, but doing drugs feels good to a lot of people, too. It doesn’t mean they should go out and do them. Consider doughnuts the heroin of healthy eating, the heroin of losing weight. There are no substitutes to my knowledge, (I wish there were) but there are plenty of sweet healthy choices to choose from which can make you forget about doughnuts forever. (Okay, not completely forget, but not crave.)

Stop eating red meat and pork.
(If you are so inclined, become a vegetarian.) When I stopped eating red meat and pork, the weight just fell off. These meat products are not only bad for your weight, the fat in them is bad for your cholesterol. Once you start looking, you will be amazed at all of the wonderful meat substitutes that taste great, are high in protein and versatile in recipes.

We regularly have low-fat tacos with ground meat substitute and 75% low-fat cheese from Trader Joe’s. As vegetarians, we hurt for nothing, eating things like substitute soy bacon, (Morningstar Farms), veggie dogs (Yves) and chicken breasts (Quorn.) If you are eating a lot of meat, you will be amazed at the weight loss by taking just this one step.

7. Don’t deprive yourself.
Sounds odd, after the list I just gave you, but with those exceptions, do not deprive a_squirrel_eatingyourself of foods you can substitute or eat in moderation. Can you not live without chocolate? Fine. Have it on occasion, as a treat, but limit yourself to 1 or 2 pieces, don’t eat the whole box. We get semi-sweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s that have no partially-hydrogenated oils. I limit myself to 7 chocolate chips if I have a chocolate craving. That’s 80 calories, and I am satisfied that I have treated myself to chocolate, but I don’t feel I have done something horrible with regard to my weight.

Cookies? We found healthy cookie dough, pre-cut at our local health food store. 80 calories per cookie. We bake them just one or two at a time so they we won’t be tempted to eat too many. Just remember, everything in moderation. The more you deprive yourself, the more it’s like telling someone not to think of the pink elephant. Can’t stop thinkin’ about it. If you continually deprive yourself of all good tasting things, your willpower, eventually, will wane.

Ice cream? This one is easy! Substitute low-fat frozen yogurt. Tastes the same, with a fraction of the cholesterol and calories. But remember, eat one serving and no more. No more taking the carton out of the freezer, standing at the sink with spoon in hand, and devouring the whole thing. Mod-er-a-tion. Moderation. Is there an ice cream flavor you can’t do without? Okay, on a special, special occasion, treat yourself – to ONE serving. Mod-er-a-tion. Moderation.

Pizza? Certainly! One of the most unhealthy things about pizza is the high fat content of the cheese. So order a vegetarian pizza with no cheese! Wait, before you dismiss it, try it. It’s really good. And you might find that after eating it without cheese for a while, you won’t even like pizza with cheese any more. If you really, really can’t fathom that, however, search around. There are pizza parlors that will substitute low-fat, low-cholesterol cheese. So now you can have your pizza and eat it too.

If you can’t have it in the house, then buy it only when there will be enough people there to eat the rest, or give it away to a neighbor the next day. Remember, you’re changing to a healthy lifestyle. Savor how good that tastes!

8. Get to the root of the problem, through therapy.
Figure out why you have a weight problem. Once you figure out and work on the root of the problem, you won’t be subject to the “yo-yo” syndrome of gaining, losing, gaining, losing, gaining, losing. You will just lose, and not gain it back significantly because, psychologically, you will no longer need the weight as … protection … or whatever reason you find you carry it. (Protection is a common one.)

9. Stop eating anything with partially hydrogenated oils.
(Okay, so this really has more to do with health, than losing weight, but we’ve already established that your focus is on eating healthy.) As I mentioned before, make it a habit of reading every label of every thing you buy.

10. Stop eating anything with high-fructose corn syrup.
Junk food companies just love high-fructose corn syrup because it’s an ingredient that metabolizes in your body in such a way as to trick it into not knowing it’s full. Just google “high-fructose corn syrup appetite” and you will be bombarded with a plethora of articles telling you how it’s bad for your weight and why. Make it a habit of reading every label of every thing you buy.

11. Stop eating anything with Canola Oil.
Despite what you’ve heard, canola oil is bad for you. It’s genetically engineered. It’s hard to find things without it, but more and more foods are replacing it with healthier oils. Read your labels.

12. Eat protein for every meal.
Make protein your friend. It helps you stay satiated longer.

13. Never *never* skip breakfast.
Skipping breakfast sets you up to binge later on in the day. Make it something healthy like whole grain, fruit and protein. My new favorite is 1/4 cup raw oatmeal, a small handful of walnuts and raisins, ground flax, a couple of tablespoons of yogurt and soy milk. Breakfast is the meal that sets up your whole day. Don’t set yourself up for failure by skipping it.

14. Have smaller meals & eat healthy snacks several times a day.
Well, if you do one, you’ll probably do the other. In other words, have healthy snacks throughout the day and you probably will not feel the need to gorge yourself at regular mealtimes. Raw veggies are great for snacking, if you can add some protein, like a piece of low-fat string cheese or a small handful of nuts, even better.

15. Don’t eat for 3 hours before you go to bed and drink lots of water.
Oh, you’ve heard this before. Blah, blah, blah. Good advise, but nothing new here. Water keeps you hydrated and not eating before bedtime gives food time to metabolize before you put your body to rest for the night. I know people get sick of hearing these two things, but they should be common knowledge to everyone by now, but these two things are important, so I thought I should list them anyway.

16. Move every day.
Even if it’s only light stretching, just get your body moving. The more you do, the more you will be interested in exercising. You might try some light yoga routines or just simple stretching.

Again, daily exercise should be common knowledge to you. What I’d like to do here is give you tips you might not have thought about in this way before. Exercise is always such a hard hill for people to climb because they get discouraged.

So, I’m not saying, “just go exercise”, I’m saying if you just make a 5 minute effort a day to simply stretch, move, etc., that 5 minutes will turn into 10, 10 will turn into 15, and it will eventually turn into cardiovascular exercise because the better and more limber your body feels, the more you will want to exercise (at least 3-5 times/week) because it feels good and makes you feel healthy. But if that idea is daunting to you, just start with stretching 5 minutes, every day.

17. Meditate every day.
This sounds like an odd thing to have in a list of tips on weight loss, but this goes to the idea that I am encouraging you to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Daily mediation, or even just occasional meditation, balances your mind, body and spirit.

The more you train your subconscious to be peaceful through meditation, the more you will feel good about yourself. The more you feel good about yourself, the less you will eat for the sake of eating. Strive to bring your mind (through therapy), spirit (through meditation) and body (through yoga or stretching) into balance, and you will be amazed at how your weight just falls off of you.

“**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**”
A note about holidays. Holidays do not have to be the dreaded guilt-fest they have always been. Here is a sample of what our Thanksgiving dinner is like:

Tofurky with vegetarian gravy (supplied when we buy the Tofurky) and my homemade cranberry relish. Tastes so much like turkey, I can’t tell the difference, especially with the gravy and cranberry relish. Great in a sandwich the next day, as well! High in protein, low in fat and calories. No fatty skin.

Cranberry relish made with oranges and natural sugar. (I always use less sugar than what the recipe calls for.)

Waldorf salad made with non-fat sour cream and walnuts.

Yam &/or mashed potatoes made with ‘Olive Oil Earth Balance’ instead of butter. I usually use less than what any recipe calls for.

Steamed vegetables of some sort.

Garlic toast made with “Olive Oil Earth Balance”. You can also make this with a light dusting of olive oil and fresh garlic.

Stuffing: Onions and celery sautéed in olive oil. If butter is in the recipe, I substitute the “Olive Oil Earth Balance.”

If we have salad, we use an olive oil and vinegar dressing, or I sometimes make dressing with low-fat sour cream.

Where we splurge is on desert, but even that has healthy alternatives. We have found at various times, pumpkin pie at the health food store which has a wheat crust, no partially-hydrogenated oils, no high-fructose corn syrup and with only 8 or 9 grams of fat per serving. Those are a little harder to find, but I can’t recall ever not being able to find one with somewhere around 12 grams of fat/per serving. And these are healthy pies made with good oils. Read your labels and you can find them.

Of course, if you like to cook, you can always bake your own pie and make it as low and as healthy as you want, using the substitution tips you’ve found here and all over the internet.

We top out pies with whipped cream. This is your standard canned “whipped light cream”. Thanksgiving056_RJeditedWe do not try to find “diet” whipped cream or anything else because most of them have artificial sweeteners or some such unhealthy thing in them. If you are eating healthy as a lifestyle, you can have this treat for Thanksgiving with no guilt. Another option, if you want to be really good, is to top your pie with “vanilla frozen yogurt.”

Remember that this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. If you want to look good, you need to feel good. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

“**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**”

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
1 (12-ounce) package Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar

Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in grinder or food processer. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.
Recipe courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

My tip: when using a food processor, it tends to get too mushy, the more granular, the better. So lightly do the oranges first because they take more time to grind.

“**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**” “**”
Low-Fat Nachos

Spanish rice
1 can non-fat refried beans
1 can green chiles
75% cheddar cheese (Cabot), shredded
Chopped onion
Diced Tomato
Baked Corn Chips

Layer rice and beans on a large oven safe plate. Layer the onions, chiles and tomatoes on top of that. Cover with tortilla chips, then cover with shredded cheese. Finish off with cilantro and salsa to taste, on top.

Put in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted. Serve with non-fat sour cream &/or avocado slices or homemade guacamole.

Makes about 3 servings for my husband, about 10 servings for me. 😉

Negotiating with Terrorists…

… of the cat variety.
(Written some years ago.)
puma2The attack started at 7:15 this morning. The cries started out as short bursts and increasingly became moanful and pitiful. I hadn’t gotten to sleep until 12:30, my husband not until 2:00, but the mitigating factor was that we have a guest in the house, my sister-in-law, from Ireland.

We have a policy not to give in to these terrorist tactics — she has a full bowl of dry food sitting out for whenever she gets hungry. We freshen that food and her water every day. Today it was not acceptable. Nothing but wet food (ie: attention) would do.

She cried. We layed in bed trying to ignore her. (l learned in my master’s program that the most effective way to extinguish negative behavior is to ignore it. But this is no ordinary feline.) She moaned. I closed my eyes. She caterwauled. I put my pillow over my head. She pulled out the big guns.

Jumping up onto the bed, she sat next to my head and put her paw on my lips. I pet her. I cuddled her. I made her purr. This was my first mistake. Negotiations had taken place. She jumped down and began to cry again. Surely my houseguest must be awake by now. My husband certainly was.

“Just ignore her,” he said. “Well,” I said, “On one hand, maybe she’s hungry. On the other hand, she has dry food. On the third hand, maybe she just wants attention. On the forth hand, I’m giving her that every time she comes up on the bed…” “I think you have your answer then,” my husband replied. “I do?” I said. “What’s that?” “Just ignore her.” I sighed.

The pitiful moans continued. She jumped up, she jumped down. She went into the kitchen and cried more. I went out and mixed up her dry food. She would have none of it. I got back into bed. My husband looked up, bleary-eyed, and shook his head. “Well, what am I suppose to do?” I whined. He closed his eyes.

I quieted her down for a while, when she came up again, by lightly tugging at her collar while simultaneously petting her. She wanted to get down and cry, but the struggle wasn’t fierce. I cuddled her. She got up and began crying again. “Should I just go give her her wet food?” I asked. “Whatever.”

“Ok, Puma. There’s your food.” I got back into bed. DH looked at me, shook his head and said, “You know, she’s only going to take hostages tomorrow.” “Whatever,” I said. We closed our eyes and tried to go back to sleep.

Tick, tick, tick. “Meeeeeeoooooowwwwwwww.” “Oh, my God. You’ve got to be kidding!” There Puma sat, in the doorway, giving me a look that shot arrows. DH said, “It’s because you haven’t been around since my sister came.” “That’s got to be it,” I said. “Nothing is satisfying her but my complete and undivided attention.”

We layed there. She layed there …. staring….. glaring….. Tick, tick, tick…… “Wanna get up?” He said. “I guess.”

So SIL is still asleep. DH and I are finished reading the paper, Puma has a full belly and is sitting on my lap. She’s being as quiet as a mouse. I’m certain that more hostages will be taken tomorrow. Really….negotiating with terrorists is not a smart thing to do.

In Memory of The Liberal Lion

The historical magnitude of the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy is almost incomprehensible. Not only is his passing the passing of a life, but it is the passing of a dynasty.

So often, especially of late, we see powerful people with lots of money and the legacy they leave in their lives is one of greed and corruption, leaving a taste of contempt in the mouths of those less fortunate who witness their self-serving ways.

But this dynasty, the Kennedy dynasty, gives us pause with our bittersweet memories of all this family has gone through, moving past their own human frailties and tragedies, to work tirelessly and altruistically to help the poor and downtrodden.

In looking at all Ted Kennedy accomplished in his life, it makes one wonder what might have been had all of the Kennedy’s been able to fulfill their destiny. But depending on one’s belief system, maybe they did.

And maybe Ted Kennedy is today.

For my entire life, there has been no more important issue to me than health care. Clearly, no other issue was as important to Ted Kennedy. For that, he is my hero.

But I think his work is not done. I think, perhaps, maybe he timed this very well and very purposefully. By all accounts, he should have died in early 2008. But he hung on. And in a spiritual way, I think that he waited until this moment to leave his physical body and pass onto the other side. I think that he has just given his life for health care.

Perhaps his high self realized that he could do more in death than he had ever been able to do in the biggest political fights he had in life. A strong proponent of Universal Health Care (now called ‘single-payer’) it is inevitable that congress can go through this fight now without thinking of him. I think he left when he felt it was the most helpful to leave.

Furthermore, I truly believe that he feels, at this point, he can do more to finish his 40 year battle to pass significant health care reform from the other side.

Spirit works in mysterious ways. The spirit of a cause, for the good of all, finds a way to prevail. In life or in death we, the American People, have an ally in Ted Kennedy. We were so blessed to have had it in life, and now we have it in spirit. I have faith that he will not let us down.

Be well on the other side, Mr. Kennedy. Rejoice in your reunions. We thank you for all you’ve done for us but, with your help, we will not let you down in death. So many lives depend on it.

A Tarot Story


Once upon a time there was a dolphin, named Thgis, who roamed the sea. He was a big, strong, powerful dolphin and all of the other fish in the sea depended on him and looked up to him. He enjoyed this status, but sometimes he felt as though there was something missing. dolphin

One night, a very still, dark night in the doldrums, while all of the other fish were sleeping, he looked up and saw the stars shimmering brightly through the surface of the water. “How beautiful,” he thought. “There’s so much more of the world and beyond to discover. I’m always so concerned with thinking about being what I’m supposed to be in my world that I never have the time to experience another.” So he took a deep breath and rolled over on his back to soak in the essence of the stars. As he lay there in quiet contemplation, he began to notice one star stand out. It started to become brighter. In fact, the light that emanated from this star became so bright that he felt as though he were being enveloped by it. Just then, the water began to ripple. “This can’t be,” thought Thgis. “The night is still as a sleeping lamb.” But the circular ripples began to spread creating a show of long beams of light. As Thgis looked closer, a vision appeared; a beautiful vision of a woman. She had long, silken hair, and eyes that sparkled like diamonds. On her back were majestic wings of violet. She was kneeling down with a pitcher of water in each hand, pouring one into the ocean and the other onto land. Mesmerized, Thgis began to swim towards her, but just as he reached the surface of the water, she disappeared. As quickly as the ripples had started, once again it was still. Underwater_worldThis frightened and confused him terribly. He dove quickly back down to hide in the depths of the sea where he felt safe and comfortable. Being careful not to wake the other fish, he found an isolated rock to hide behind…but still, there was some unknown feeling that he couldn’t seem to shake. As he peered out from behind his little cubby hole, there it was — that beam of light! It appeared to be following him; yet, it didn’t seem menacing. “Surely,” he thought, “if it wanted to get to me, it could.” But it just seemed to be near by. Always near enough by, no matter where he swam, that he could go and be enlightened by it if he so chose. It seemed to be calling to him, yet never imposing.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. He swam closer to investigate and much to his surprise, instead of feeling anxiety, the closer he got, the more peaceful he felt. As he entered the ring of light, he felt it enter him. A rush of emotions overcame him as he was lifted by the light. Slowly, his suspension in the water transformed into his being suspended in space above the water. Higher and higher he rose. In the stillness of the night, the stars reflected on the water as if it were glass. The stars seemed to reach the horizon and their reflection met the sky; it were as if it was one. Then the earth kept becoming smaller and smaller until it became just another star.

The light grew stronger and stronger and pulled him in directions he had never felt before. It frightened him, but at the same time fascinated him. All of a sudden, he experienced what felt like an explosion and found himself lying on a beach. beachThe sun was shining bright and warm and it felt good on his body. But he was scared. He had been beached. How could a dolphin survive on dry land? He tried to roll back down to the water, but as he turned, he looked upon some sunflowers and ivy. There, in the midst of a garden, stood a handsome gentleman cloaked in red, wearing a white tunic. “Who are you?” asked Thgis. “I am The Magician,” said the man. “I am here to guide you on your journey to the integration of the passion and purity you desire.” “But, how shall I live?” replied Thgis, “I am a dolphin, I can not live on dry land.” To which The Magician replied, “You are a dolphin only in the earthly bounds of your confinement; however, here, you are not bound by earth and sea. Here, you are in your heart and soul, a higher place of yourself…and you have all of the tools you need to survive and prosper.” And with those words he dissipated into thin air.

Much to the amazement of Thgis, he looked down and had legs with which to walk. He stood. He squished the wet sand through his toes. He looked out upon a world as he had never seen before. The blueness of the sky met the blueness of the ocean at a sharp and clear horizon. Whitecaps danced on the surface of the sea to the harmony of the wind through the palms and the waves upon the shore. Behind him extended a lush, green, tropical valley. Looking at this, Thgis said to himself, “Surely, this place must be heaven.”

Suddenly, like thunder, he heard the gallop of hooves approaching. Racing past him were two royal knights on horseback, riding like the wind. Abruptly, they stopped, turned, and advanced upon Thgis coming to a screeching halt at his feet.

Startled, Thgis could say nothing to these two regal, imposing figures. One was fair, with blue eyes and sand-colored hair. He held in his hand a golden cup encrusted with jewels and filled with white and red roses. The other was dark, with chocolate-brown eyes and an aura the color of fire. In his hand he held a magic wand. Extending the wand in front of Thgis’ eyes, the knight said, “focus.” No other words were spoken, but Thgis knew he was to follow.

The knights led him to a path at the foot of the valley. The Knight of Cups gave him two flowers, one red and one white. The Knight of Wands then gave him a magic wand and said, “focus.” They then rode off.

Thgis looked at the flowers. He tucked them away in his heart as a gift. He then looked at the wand. He knew instinctively that touching this wand was the beginning of his spiritual growth and psychic freedom. He also knew that once he took the magic to be his own, he could never turn back. The magic overcame him. He had begun his journey.

Thgis walked only a short way before he came to a crossroads. There, before him, stood a young man with golden hair, a knapsack on his shoulder and a dog at his feet. path2Thgis asked, “Whatever shall I do? I am lost here, and confused. I don’t know what road to take.” To which the young man replied, “All roads lead to the same mountaintop…if you are willing to take the risk.” “What risk?” asked Thgis. “For all that is gained, some shall be lost, yet there is no loss so great as the lack of, or loss of, true inner knowledge. Our search is our journey here today. Ask your guide within.” “Who are you?” asked Thgis. “Some call me a fool, but only those who deny themselves the true gift of wisdom be one and the same.” Upon those parting words, the young man headed off down a path less traveled, his faithful dog in tow.

Thgis stood bewildered for some time, not knowing which way to turn. So he closed his eyes and listened to his heart. His heart answered with the sound of a babbling brook off in the distance. The path that followed that sound is the path he chose.

As the rush of the water became clearer, he began to see a vision before him. There, perched on the path, between two pillars, one white and one black, sat a dark-haired priestess, draped in flowing blue. In her hand she held a scroll; behind her loomed the lush of papaya and banana trees. At her feet was a bright, crescent glow. Not knowing how to speak in the presence of what he thought might be royalty, he said, “In what manner shall I pass here, M’Lady?”, to which she replied, “You should be so bold, sir, as to ask such a forward question of someone you do not know.” “I meant no disrespect.” he said. “What knowledge is it that you desire?” she asked. Thgis thought for a moment and then responded, “I see the moon at your feet; you hold great secrets of within. I come from deep beneath the waterline. My abilities are evident, this I know, yet, I see not what’s before me because of all that is around me. I search to find that which is within my own depth. I seek to see that which I know in my heart to be true…and that which I know in my heart to be mine.” “To seek is to be attained, my son,” she replied, “sit here about my feet.”

No sooner did Thgis approach the feet of this beautiful, secretive lady, than he found himself in the rush of the waterfall that was her gown. waterfallWaterfall after brook, and waterfall after brook he did swim, down and around sunlit hills and valleys. Guided by his magic wand, he wound around huge oaks and weeping willows. As he passed meadows and fields, he could hear the laughter and singing of muses, and of all living things. He could hear joy backed by the music of lutes.

After a days journey into night, he swam down one last waterfall and into a pond. There, as he emerged from the rippling water, he once again saw the crescent glow of the moon…the same mysterious glow that sat at the feet of the priestess. Only now, the sounds had changed; no longer did he hear the babbling water and the lutes, the sounds now, here in the darkness, were of the distant crack of thunder and the howling of wolves.

Making his way onto land, he was confronted by a two pair of golden eyes peering at him in the darkness. “Oooowww,” someone howled. “Oooowww.” “Don’t let him scare you,” came another voice. The first was a wolf, thick and smoky grey, yet through his massive coat Thgis could see the purest white fur laying on the underside. The other was a dog with a golden coat that shimmered like that of Pele’s hair. “Oooowww,” again, howled the wolf. “Like I said,” said the dog, “he always howls like that at the full moon.” “But the moon is not full,” said Thgis. “No,” responded the dog, “in the hearts of wolves, the moon is always full. I am Heart, Heart the Dog. I am here to show you that what lies within can stay with you…out.” “And I am Shadow,” said the wolf. “Wolf Shadow. I am here to show you that what lies beneath can be let out. The journey ahead is a long one, you must let us guide you.” “Gladly,” said Thgis, for he was not too proud.

So they set out upon their journey through the darkness of night, with only the pale luminance of the moon to light their way. “Listen carefully, dear Thgis, listen to your Heart, Heart the Dog. He knows what makes you happy.” Wolf Shadow continued. “But mind you, dear Thgis Heart, your shadow, Wolf Shadow, is not dark. I know your secrets and howl only to wake the sleeping. Wolf Shadow will protect you if you allow him to play.”

As they journeyed on through the night, the thunder grew louder and more ominous. Suddenly, there was a crack of lightning that lit up the entire sky and in that moment revealed two huge stone towers standing on either side of the path. Thgis cowered at the sight. There was then another bolt, and another and another. LunarcoronaWolf Shadow turned and howled, “Oooowww. There is no blending of the soul, of Shadow and Heart, without passing through the towers of change! You are protected if you follow Heart.” Then Wolf Shadow disappeared.

Frantically, Thgis looked around, but Heart the Dog was nowhere to be seen. Thgis was petrified, he had had enough. He ran for cover in one of the towers. Once inside, though, there was a thunderous clanking and there looming before him was a monstrous, red-eyed, beast-devil. In his hands were leashes made of chains with people and creatures at the end of those chains. “I want to go home!” cried Thgis. “Come!” roared the beast-devil, “I will guide you.” “No!” cried Thgis, “You will chain me up and keep me here forever!” To which the beast-devil replied, “I do not keep my children, they come and go as they please…can you not see that?” And sure enough, as Thgis looked at the collars, as he looked at the chains, he could see that no one was there because they had to be, any one of them could have easily slipped out of the noose around their neck and walked away. “But why are they here?” pleaded Thgis, smiling-devil“Why don’t they leave?” “Because I make a comfortable home for them,” said the beast-devil, “They do not see me as you see me here now…I protect them from their own foolish choices. Come, look what I have prepared for you.” Thgis then turned to see a great ocean with all types of sea creatures, and the sun beaming down. Quite frankly, it looked inviting to him, yet he was skeptical. “Why are you here?” he asked one of the porpoises, to which the porpoise replied, “This is our world and we are comfortable in it. No one makes us stay. Here, we have no decisions to make. We just live our lives unaffected.” “Is that enough?” thought Thgis. “Come join us, friend,” said the porpoise, “you will be comfortable too.” But this time when the porpoise spoke, there was a strange resemblance to the voice of the beast-devil who was, now, nowhere to be seen. Thgis began to be lulled into the enchantment of the scene, but snapping to his senses he cried, “No! I will never be this stagnant!” and he turned and ran as fast as he could.

Through deafening thunder, across the darkened path he ran, dodging lightning bolts and falling debris. Into the other tower he ran for cover, but as he entered, the noise and commotion abruptly stopped! Everything was strangely quiet….except for the sound of a faint creaking. The inside of the tower was dimly lit with candles and lanterns. There were many rooms and hallways. Thgis followed the sound. Looking into room after room, the sound grew louder as he came closer. Finally, he came upon a room whereby there were three women spinning a woolen tapestry on a spinning wheel. One of the women was softly humming a haunting tune.

“Hello,” said Thgis. “Yes sir, how can we help you?” one of the women replied. “I am very far from home,” said Thgis, “and I would very much appreciate it if you could help me get back.” “I’m sorry,” said an old woman, “that is no longer possible.” “What do you mean, no longer possible?” asked Thgis. “Just that,” said the woman, “it is no longer possible.” “ I don’t understand,” said Thgis. He was becoming distraught at the thought. “Come sit awhile,” said the third woman, “you can hold my lambs wool for me.” Thgis sat.spinning-wheel “Did you notice how quiet it got when you arrived?” asked the woman. “Yes.” replied Thgis. She continued. “Almost as quiet as a lamb sleeping…wouldn’t you agree?” she said, asking the others. “Quite.” “Quite,” they replied. Thgis just sat bewildered. “Do you see this spinning wheel, Thgis?” “Yes….yes, how did you know my name?” “Oh, we know all about you; you see, my name is Fate, and this is Faith, and this is Time. The wool you’re holding is the unknown thread of your life. Look here, it is your tapestry we spin.” “I don’t understand,” said Thgis again. “Here, let us show you.” With that, Time, the old woman, layed out an unfinished work of art that Thgis recognized as the events of his life. The sight touched him deeply. Fate went on. “So you see, we can’t stop the wheel once it has begun to spin. It would ruin the work, and there’s so much left to finish. — Do you understand, now, why you can’t turn back?” “I guess so,” said Thgis, “but it doesn’t help my confusion any, I still don’t know where to go from here.” To which Faith replied, “There’s only one direction to go, that is forward. Follow us, we will guide you.” At that, Fate took a candle off the wall and they began to ascend a spiral stone staircase.

Up and up they climbed, led only by the yellow flickering of the flame. Bats screeched and the air grew colder as they rose. Thgis thought back upon his life. In his mind, he looked upon the tapestry that had been spread out before him. So many things had brought him to this place, things that were clearly meant to be, and now, as they reached the window below the rafters at the apex, he looked out upon his future. But he could see nothing; it was dark and unknown. “Why have you brought me here?” Thgis asked Fate. “It is here where you begin or end your journey, my dear Thgis. It is here where you fall or fly. You have seen those who have fallen, they are at the end of a chain, bound by their indecision and fear.” “And those who fly?” asked Thgis. To which Faith responded, “You have seen them also, they are the angels in your life. They are the winged messengers who inspire creative thought.” “But I am a dolphin,” said Thgis, “I have no wings to fly, I shall surely fall to my demise.” “Remember, Thgis, I am Faith. Believe in what I tell you. Yes, you are a dolphin, but are you not walking? Are you not breathing air? The Magician is wise and powerful…as am I. Remember, Thgis, I am Faith. Heed now my words and choose. Choose that which is best for you.” With those words, there was a crack of lightning, like intuition itself. Again, it lit up the sky, only this time, Thgis looked out upon the world and saw the rolling hills and sparkling lights of a peaceful countryside. And Thgis stepped out of the window and off of the ledge…and he flew.

Knight-Death-and-the-Devil Thgis flew until pink clouds of dawn filled the sky, and when day broke, he landed in a barren field at the foot of a mountain. Off in the distance he saw a lone figure approaching; on a white stallion he rode, his armor was of blackest black. The only sound over the deathly silence was the wind whistling on the plain. As the rider approached, Thgis could see the sunken eyes of a life that was no more. The rider quietly passed, not saying a word, and rode off into the distance once again. But; as the rider rode further and further away, things began to grow. All around, the hillsides became lush with fresh green grass. Flowers began to spring up and leaves sprouted on the trees. Birds sang; butterflies and ladybugs abounded. Life was renewed.

“Hello!” said Heart the Dog. “Heart the Dog!” said Thgis, “Where have you been?” “Right here,” was the reply, “I’ve been waiting for you. It’s time for you to follow me to the last leg of your journey.” “I am very tired, Heart the Dog,” said Thgis, “what more do I possibly have to learn?” To which Heart the Dog replied, “You have followed your Shadow, now you must follow your Heart; there will come a time when we will walk the same path.” Heart the Dog then proceeded to show Thgis to a small foot path at the base of the mountain. “It is here your real journey begins,” said Heart the Dog, “you have chosen well.” And with that, Heart the Dog vanished. But Thgis was not scared. He no longer felt alone. He knew that he was being guided.

The road ahead was a rough one. Up rocky, mountainous terrain he climbed, switching back and forth, back and forth, stopping only to catch his breath. But as night fell, Thgis could no longer see the path before him and he began to doubt his choices. He sat down in the darkness, not knowing what to do. It was cold and once again he was homesick. But as he sat, he began to notice the merest flickering of a light. As he turned and looked up the side of the mountain, which was almost straight up by now, he saw that there was something illuminating his way. He began to climb, finding rocks and branches to grab onto, and footholds on which to propel himself upward. The light grew stronger and stronger, and then…he saw him. Hermit_tarot_charles6At the summit of the mountain was an old gentleman holding a lantern high above his head; a lantern filled with the light of the stars. The old man had a long silver beard, wore a grey hooded cloak, and was holding a staff in the other hand. Thgis pulled up one last time, climbed onto the top of the mountain, and stood next to the man. “Welcome, my son, I am The Hermit. Turn. Turn and look out on what you have accomplished.” With that, Thgis turned and in the darkness, the lantern grew lighter and lighter until it enlightened the entire countryside, below and beyond the mountain, with a soft glow while the stars still shown above. Thgis could see the barren fields, and the towers. He saw the ponds and the rivers and the meadows. He saw the throne of the High Priestess and the lush tropical valley and the white sands of the beach. And he saw the ocean, his ocean, his home; but, now he realized with a great clarity that this was all his home. All of his experience and all of his feelings were a part of him that he had just never acknowledged, or allowed himself to see, and now that he saw, he knew that the women in the tower were right, he could never turn back…nor would he want to. He knew something more now and like the Fool said, “There is no loss so great than the lack of, or loss, of true inner knowledge.”

“Happy Birthday, Thgis,” said The Hermit. “The choices you have made are wise,” “Where are the gifts you have been given?” Thgis showed the man his magic wand and then went to pull out the roses he had been given by the Knight of Cups. To his amazement, there were no longer two flowers there, one white and one red, where he had put them safely what seemed, now, so long ago; now there was only one very large, beautiful coral-colored rose. The two had fused and it was now the color of the sky at sunrise. Thgis no longer had to choose between passion and purity because they had blended together in perfect harmony; they were now one and the same. Thgis turned to The Hermit. “Thank you, Hermit, thank you for all of the gifts I have been given.” “Don’t thank us, my son, thank yourself. You are the only one who can choose to grow. You are the only one who can choose to learn. All we have done was light the way. Now it is time to return, but know that this is not the end of your journey; you are enlightened now and with enlightenment comes the true gift of unending knowledge. Use your wings wisely and remember to follow your Heart. You are a brave and courageous soul. Be well and happy.” With that, The Hermit turned and retreated to his cave, but Thgis knew that he was standing at the entrance, there to see him off.

Thgis walked to other side of the mountaintop, and remembering what Faith had told him, he stepped off the side of the cliff…and he flew. Over hills and over valleys he flew until nightfall was once again upon him. Comet-holmes-1892Through space he effortlessly glided until he was surrounded by stars on both top and bottom. The stars again reflected on the surface of the ocean. It was then that Thgis knew he was home…and he dove. WHOOSH! Into the water he splashed, waking not a soul.

Thgis awoke the next morning and looked around as the rays of sunlight rippled through the water. Everything looked the same, yet strangely different. All of the other fish were going along their way, unaware of the world outside their own. But Thgis noticed now how similar many things were on the ocean floor. The mountaintops, the barren plains, the pinnacles that strangely resembled the two towers; and it all began to make sense now. Thgis knew that he could return to his inner/outer world at any time, but he just took his journey on a higher realm. All the fish around him had to make their own journeys in their own ways, and it was their responsibility to begin their own rebirth. The other fish knew there was something different about Thgis; some of them liked it, others did not; but he was no less powerful and no less respected, most of all, because Thgis respected himself. He was now free to be himself and do whatever came naturally to him, no matter how others felt about it. This was the time of his birth, and that made him a very fine fish indeed.

© 1994 Lisa Larson