Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Sandra Piddock

I'm 62, and I'm a freelance writer dividing my time between Algorfa on the Costa Blanca in Spain and Bigbury Bay in Devon. I write about anything that interests and/ or challenges me, but I'm happiest when writing about all things Spanish.

Luna’s life of rhyme!

Luna has been with me for almost two years now, and finally, we’re starting to address the issues she has as a result of being abandoned three times in the 18 months before she came to live with me. She’s been beaten, used in fights and lived as a street dog, and although she’s the most loving dog, she’s also feisty, independent, and needs to learn some manners!

She started to finally settle with me when I brought her back to Spain in September 2020, after almost a year in England due to family matters and Covid. It’s like she suddenly thought, maybe I really HAVE come home now. Things moved further in the right direction when I was lucky enough to find Smart Dog Academy in Daya Vieja. Academy owner Teresa believes in making training fun and using positive reinforcement to build a bond of trust and co-operation between dogs and their guardians. She also runs private sessions for dogs like Luna, who have problems with distraction and trust, and she advised that this would be the best path to take initially.

Luna has clearly never been allowed to just be a puppy, due to her start in life, and she’s making up for it now. She sees everything as a game, and doesn’t think about respect for other people’s space or property. Like I said, she has no manners, and while she might be a female dog, she is nothing like a lady! Add snoring loudly and farts that could easily be adapted for Weapons of Mass Destruction, and you can see why I introduce her like this:

This is Luna, short for Luna-tic!

Several months of hard work and patience is finally paying off, and Luna’s behaviour has improved in ways I could never have dreamed of. However, despite her best intentions, she frequently goes off the rails. Luna being Luna, she doesn’t do things by halves either. She’s like the little girl in the nursery rhyme with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When she’s good, she’s very, very good, but when she’s bad, she’s horrid!

Luna came to me through an appeal of Facebook to take her in until a home could be found for her, and as such, she’s instantly recognisable in the area. Many of my Facebook friends follow her adventures, and one of them, Carolynn Barclay, wrote this lovely poem for her:

Luna

Luna and me, we got thrown together.

As soon as we met, I knew it was forever.

She’d issues galore, that I knew we’d to treat.

But I loved her so much, I wouldn’t be beat.

We headed to classes, training a must,

We struggled, we fought, we had to gain trust.

We’d to challenge the fact, she loved to chase bikes,

Skateboards and cars. Whatever moved! Yikes!

We give her a toy, and it’s destroyed right away.

But that’s no reason to tell her, she can no longer stay.

There’s none of us perfect, we all just need love.

I know that our Luna, was sent from above.

The joy that she gives me, and the love I get back,

More than makes up, for when she goes off the track.

We’ll get there I’m sure, as I never give up.

With the help of my Angels, I’ll have the best pup.

At the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, Carolynn started writing poems every day to pass the time and lift her own spirits, and those of her readers. A year and 600 rhymes later, Carolyn has published her first book, My Life of Rhyme.

Carolynn has a real talent for getting to the heart of the matter and making you smile, think, cry or all three with her verses. When, a few days later, I posted about Luna’s weekend off the rails, she wrote another one. The strain of being a Very Good Girl had clearly got too much for Luna to bear, so first of all she bisected the new hosepipe – which we’d had to buy because she chopped the previous one into three pieces. Then she decided as the weather was getting warmer, we needed open-toed slippers. Finally, she decided a bird who came into the house would be fun to play with, so she picked him up and took him down to the garden with her other toys. Unfortunately, although she was very gentle and never made a mark on the bird – she really did just want to play – it died of fright. It’s little body didn’t have a mark on it, but 25 kilos of Staffie cross charging round the garden was just too much for its heart to take. After giving the poor bird a blessing to speed him into the next life, I reported the weekend’s shenanigans, and quick as a flash, this came back:

Ok Luna, enuff’s enuff.

You’ve taken it all too far.

We’re working on the skateboard issue,

And even the chasing cars.

But, chewing a hose pipe?

Oh, come on. That really is not on.

Youve plenty toys to amuse yourself,

But no. My hose pipes gone.

Don’t get me started, on my footwear.

When the hospipe game was done,

You went and chewed on half a slipper,

Now I’ve only one!

But worst of all, was the poor wee bird,

Although, you only wished to play.

Unfortunately, he didn’t that memo get,

Now he won’t see another day.

R.I.P. poor wee bird.

Lunas energy, suddenly soared.

There’s nothing for it, Sandra, take a breath,

It’s back to the drawing board.

Yes, Luna’s a handful, but she’s also a beautiful, loving soul who has endured so much yet still holds love in her heart for everyone. She’s very much worth the effort to tame her hooligan streak. And when it all gets too much, I have friends like Carolynn to help me see the lighter side. I am truly blessed with my friends – and yes, with Luna too!

Visualisation to open up your Heart Centre

I find a recurring theme in my psychic readings at the moment is self blame. We’re all beating ourselves up for not coping with the ongoing situation around Covid-19. Why should we expect ourselves to master the challenges of being isolated, putting normal life on hold and processing grief, when even the so-called experts don’t have the answers? Well, we shouldn’t, but we do!

The sad thing is, we tend to build an emotional wall around our heart space to keep away the hurt, and all it does is to hurt us even more. The human heart is designed for unconditional love – we are born with wonder in our hearts, and the ability to live in the moment and appreciate everything around us. However, for most of us, this state of wonder doesn’t last. We’re either talked out of it by our parents, or we talk ourselves out of it. Instead of being open, trusting and loving, we go into defence mode, especially in challenging situations like the one we’re experiencing now.

Would it surprise you to learn that the best way to protect yourself is to allow yourself to be more vulnerable? Yes, it sounds mad, but it actually works. The defence mechanisms we construct around ourselves, physically and emotionally, stem from fear, and fear is a low vibrational energy. However, we are divine beings of creation, and we are designed to live naturally in the higher vibration of the soul.

How can we do this in challenging times? One simple yet effective way is to intentionally open your heart centre to love. Here’s a simple visualisation for you to try.

Visualisation to open up your heart centre and give and receive love more readily

Sit with your feet firmly on the floor in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes, and take in a deep breath through the nose. Imagine you are breathing in Archangel Chamuel’s pink ray of love. Hold the breath for a count of three, then exhale for three, releasing any tension in the body. Repeat this three times.

Place both hands over your heart centre, left hand closest to the body, right hand over it. Imagine that, beneath your hands, there is a warm pink glow. See its colour, feel its warmth. Know it is your soul connecting with your heart.

See this glow expand to fill your chest cavity, and then break out from your body and surround you in the glow of love. You may feel your hands moving at this point as your heart centre expands. Don’t resist it – go with what happens. It’s all good, and it’s all what you need, right now, so embrace it and enjoy it.

You can also connect with a loved one as you do this, either on the earth plane or in Spirit. Simply visualise them doing the same thing, and see the glow from your two heart centres meet and merge. Stay with this for as long as you need to or want to.

When you are ready, draw your pink glow of unconditional love back into your own body, and see it leave a glow all around you as it retracts. Think the Ready Brek advert, but in pink, and always there!

Thank Archangel Chamuel for his help in opening up your heart centre, open your eyes and take a drink of water. This helps to ground your energies back into the room after this powerful visualisation.

I use this visualisation during psychic readings when appropriate, and I love how it makes clients feel. They look visibly lighter and glowing, and it can be a profound emotional experience, particularly if they link heart centres with a loved one. It’s a great way to counteract the feelings of loss we are all experiencing while we can’t meet up at will with loved ones, and you will probably find that they feel the glow too, even though they may not realise what it is.

Look out for comments like, ‘I thought of you earlier, and I had the most fantastic feeling of warmth and happiness.’ That means your heart centres connected on a much deeper level than the purely physical. Why not share this visualisation with them? It’s a fabulous gift. Let me know how you get on with this – I’d love to hear your experiences. Love and blessings.

DIY Chakra Balancing Basics Part 2: Clearing visualisation

In Part 1 of this feature, I introduced you to the basics of chakra balancing. It’s here, if you missed it. I intended to add the visualisation, but I decided it would be better to have it separate from the main article, so you don’t have to wade through it every time you want to balance your chakras.

As I mentioned, chakras are invisible energy centres, usually thought of as wheels, since the word itself derives from the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’ or ‘circle.’ In this visualisation, I use the wheel concept to spin, clear and cleanse the chakras. It’s a really simple visualisation that anyone can do, whether they are experienced in energy work or not.

When I conduct chakra balancing sessions, I use crystals, an energy generator and various visualisations. I also bring in Archangels and spirit guides for a profound experience that leaves the client relaxed and feeling lighter and more positive. It’s a fabulous experience, and the good news is, you can recreate it at home

You don’t even need to use crystals, although they do serve to raise the energetic vibrations, focus your intent, and give you an idea of where you should be directing the energy flow during the visualisation. This is how it works.

Visualisation for clearing and aligning the 7 main chakra centres

As with any spiritual practice, it pays to be in a state of relaxation before you begin, so take the time to breathe in through the nose for a count of three, hold for three, then exhale through the mouth for three. Do this 3 – 5 times, then follow these simple instructions.

  1. Check your energy by holding a pendulum above each chakra in turn. If they are blocked, the pendulum will hardly move. If the energy is flowing freely, it will swing around in a circle. The lower, more physical chakras are more likely to be blocked than the higher ones, but you need to align all the chakras for best results.
  2. Place each of the crystals alongside the relevant chakras, according to the guide in Part 1 of this feature. The crystal positions don’t need to be precise, as long as they are in the general vicinity of the chakra centres.
  3. Close your eyes, and visualise the root chakra as a wheel. Imagine it turning clockwise, in a steady spin. When you have achieved the desired effect, do the same with the sacral chakra, but keep the momentum going with the root chakra, so they spin in alignment.
  4. Repeat this process through all the chakras – solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, crown – allowing 30 seconds to a minute for each one. Imagine that you are building a spinning pole, similar to an old-fashioned barber’s pole, all the way up through your torso.
  5. Once all 7 chakra wheels are steadily spinning in alignment, slow down the process by reversing the spin so the wheels are now spinning anti-clockwise.
  6. Wait until your body feels normal again, and the wheels are no longer spinning, then take a drink of water to ground yourself.
  7. Now check the energy in each of the chakra points with the pendulum once more. You should see a marked improvement, and you will feel relaxed and lighter. Repeat this ritual whenever you feel your energies need clearing to flow more readily.

You can use this visualisation for yourself, guide others through it, or even do a simultaneous chakra balancing with your partner or a friend. Lie on the floor or the bed, and set out the crystals between you before beginning the visualisation and leading your companion through it with you. You’ll find the increased energy levels will benefit each of you, and it’s a great way to strengthen your soul connection.

I hope this visualisation will help you connect with your energy on a deeper level than ever before. Let me know how you get on – I’d love to know.

Chakra Balancing visualisation

DIY Chakra Balancing Basics: Part 1

In these challenging times, more and more people are turning to spirituality and self care as a reliable way to stay sane and attempt to make sense of what is happening in the world. We can’t control it, but we can control our own response to events, and how we think about them. Positive thinking is a big help in times like these, because thoughts are energy, and whatever energies we put out, we receive back under the Law of Attraction.

One way to raise your energy with positive thinking is to regularly check and balance your chakras. In case you didn’t know, chakras are invisible centres of energy in the body, and when they are in alignment, your kundalini – life flow – is in balance, and you feel good physically, emotionally and mentally. However, if the chakras are off balance, due to stress, worry or physical causes, your energy is stuck.

While you may not exactly feel like your root chakra, for example, is off balance or even blocked, it will manifest in some way. Physically, you may experience lower body symptoms such as back pain or constipation, you may be fatigued, or eat more than is good for you. Emotionally, you may be quick to anger, fearful and worried about financial matters, because the root chakra is linked to survival.

We’re not going deep into the chakras here, although I do intend to do a series of articles on the topic soon. Energy management is always important for physical and emotional health, but in these challenging times, it’s vital. The more you know about how your energetic body functions, the more control you have over your responses, and the happier you will be. Knowledge is power, after all!

As a psychic, clairvoyant and energy healer, I offer full chakra balancing, cleansing and clearing. It’s a fabulous experience, including visualisations, and working with Archangels, spirit guides and crystals. It’s very therapeutic for both the client and the practitioner, and afterwards, you will feel lighter, happier and stronger.

However, you don’t need me, or anyone else, from this life or the next, to balance your own chakras. As long as you have somewhere quiet and comfortable where you will be undisturbed and you can visualise or at least imagine stuff happening in your body, you can balance your chakras any time you feel it’s necessary.

You don’t need to use crystals, but they do enhance the energies and give you a focal point to work with. And you can even do a simultaneous chakra balancing by lying on the floor or the bed with your partner, family member or like-minded friend and placing the appropriate chakra crystals between you.

It’s also handy to have a pendulum to check the energy in each chakra before and after balancing. This is especially helpful if you are new to energy work and are not yet able to feel the energies for yourself. (Don’t worry – that skill will come. We all have the ability to heal, even if we haven’t yet realised it!)

Crystals for chakra work

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the best crystals to work with for clearing your chakras. You may be drawn to different crystals, and that’s fine. Go with what your intuition tells you.

Root or base chakra: Choose red or black crystals for grounding. Haematite, Red Jasper, Black Tourmaline and Red Aventurine work well.

Sacral chakra: Orange crystals such as Carnelian and Orange Calcite help restore creativity and motivation.

Solar Plexus chakra: Use yellow crystals like Citrine and Yellow Jasper, to help you boost your personal power by setting healthy boundaries.

Heart chakra: This is the bridge between the physical and spiritual body. I like to use green and pink crystals, to help clear the physical and emotional elements of the heart. Choose Moss Agate or Green Aventurine for better circulation and metabolism, and Rose Quartz for self care and unconditional love.

Throat chakra: The communication chakra benefits from blue stones such as Sodalite and Dumortierite. They will help with clear communication and self confidence.

Third Eye chakra: Calming Amethyst or Purple Fluorite will help improve your spiritual connection.

Crown chakra: Clear Quartz, the Master Healer crystal, brings clarity and helps your connection with the Divine and your own Higher Consciousness.

Now you have the information you need to balance your chakras at home, are you ready to try it for yourself? Great! I’ll see you in Part 2 for the visualisation. Love and blessings.

Rose Quartz: The Love Stone

As we approach February 14, St Valentine’s Day, and our thoughts turn to love, we should remember there are many variations on the theme. Those on a spiritual journey realise that there is a love that’s even more important than love for your partner, parents, children and friends, or even your fellow humans. It’s unconditional love, and it includes love for yourself.

Self love isn’t selfish, it’s essential, because if you don’t love and respect yourself, you can’t expect any one else to love and respect you. It’s not about being unbearably arrogant, either. The truth is, the person we are most critical of is usually ourselves, and most of the time, that criticism is unwarranted and unjust. We set impossibly high standards for ourselves, and when we inevitably fall short of them, we beat ourselves up about it, and end up feeling worse than ever.

So, how can we stop this cycle of self-blame? By learning to show the same unconditional love to ourselves as we lavish on our loved ones, that’s how! If it seems like an impossible ask, well, it isn’t – you just need to shift your thinking, and crystals can help you do that, especially rose quartz, also known as the Love Stone.

How rose quartz can help you and heal you

Everything is energy, and rose quartz resonates with a gentle yet powerful healing energy that can soothe anger, help heal a broken heart, help with the grieving process, and open up the heart centre to give and receive love.

Placed in the relationship corner of the home, or on the bedside table, it can attract love to the occupants and visitors, and encourage intimacy and harmony in existing relationships. A rose quartz sphere in the centre of the living area will radiate love to everyone who enters the space, and also transmute negative energies and restore peace and tranquility.

Rose quartz is a beautiful stone to look at, and its soft shades of pink can be either milky opaque or translucent. In its natural state, the crystal has soft, undulating edges rather than the more geometric shapes of other varieties of quartz. It polishes beautifully too, and can be carved into lovely shapes, such as angels or hearts. It makes you smile just to look at it, which gives an instant boost to your mood.

Holding a rose quartz during meditation helps to bring you into a serene, relaxed state, while sleeping with it under your pillow will ensure a peaceful night’s sleep and encourage beautiful dreams. Rose quartz can also help with self esteem, and allow you to know yourself more thoroughly and connect with your emotions.

On a physical level, rose quartz can help lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and also ease the symptoms of vertigo. A dear friend of mine saw a marked improvement after just a few days of carrying a crystal around during the day and sleeping with it under her pillow at night.

Rose Quartz visualisation to send and receive love

When you are missing someone dear to you, hold a rose quartz crystal over your heart, close your eyes and imagine the crystal is igniting a ball of pink energy in your heart centre. See it grow until it extends outside your body. Now imagine that same ball of energy in the heart of your loved one (or loved ones – you can send love to more than one person at a time. If you are missing your grandchildren, for example, include them all in this visualisation).

Now see the two balls of energy connecting, and love flowing between them in both directions. I have conducted this visualisation with clients who are feeling disconnected from loved ones here on Earth and in Spirit. It’s a very powerful and emotional practice, which leaves you feeing happy and serene.

When you are ready, visualise the pink balls of energy separating, and your own body returning to normal. Sit quietly for a few moments, then take a drink of water and thank the Universe and your crystal for helping you give and receive pure, unconditional love.

If you don’t already have a rose quartz crystal in your collection, I hope this brief introduction to its uses and healing properties has encouraged you to acquire one. Why not drop a subtle hint to your significant other? After all, what better gift can you give for Valentine’s Day than the gift of pure, unconditional love! Love and blessings to everyone reading this.

Book Review: Spanish Dogs by Karla Ingleton Darocas

Spanish Dogs

Karla Ingleton Darocas is based in Benitachell on Spain’s Costa Blanca. On her website, spainlifestyle.com, she describes herself as:

An educator with a passion to inspire and facilitate a lust to learn.

Karla has a BA Hons, and is also a photographer, author and Spanish Fine Arts Historian. She’s also a self-confessed dog lover, with two rescue dogs, Venus and Mars. Her latest book, Spanish Dogs: The Story of Dogs in Spanish History, Culture and the Arts, is a testament to Karla’s love of dogs, the arts, and all things connected to her adopted homeland, Spain.

From the first sentence, I was hooked, because I share Karla’s passion for dogs and Spanish culture. I also firmly believe that once you stop learning, you stop living, and there’s a lot of learning packed into the 70 pages of this book.

Don’t let that put you off though – Karla has a wonderful way with words that makes absorbing knowledge a pleasure, and she also has a great sense of humour.

Describing how court painters Velazquez and Goya painted their royal sponsors, she points out that Velazquez was very keen to underplay the facial deformities resulting from the interbreeding of the Habsburg monarchs. Spanish kings loved to be painted in full hunting dress, with their faithful – and generally subservient – hounds by their sides. It subtly emphasised the idea, first verbalised in the Bible, that Man has dominion over the beasts. (Genesis 1: 26, 27)

Karla Ingleton Darocas

Goya, on the other hand, preferred to focus on the real beauty of his subjects, or as Karla puts it:

Velazquez used his admirable inventiveness to hide the protruding lower lip and pronounced chin … Goya didn’t modify the royals … On the contrary, we see the monarch, (Carlos III) with his strange small face, beady eyes, and a great big honker of a nose.

Goya was certainly an artist after Karla’s own heart, using his skills to represent the true narrative and true worth of the subjects of his portraits. In his art, there is no doubt where his allegiances lie. Discussing the hunting portrait of Carlos IV and his hound, Karla notes:

Looking up at his master with adoration and fidelity, this dog is the most regal thing in this painting.

This fabulous book gives some great insights into the origins of the dog breeds in Spain. The ubiquitous Podencos arrived in Spain as a result of conquests and explorations over the centuries. It’s most likely that the Podencos came across from Algeria, while the distinctive Water Dogs came over with the Berbers during the first Muslim conquest of Spain. Today, there are still 49 different Water Dogs in Spain.

Another typically Spanish dog, the Galgo, or Greyhound, is believed to have landed on the Iberian Peninsula with the Celts. There’s plenty of contemporary artwork, in the shape of cave paintings, engravings and pottery, to support these theories, and it’s uncanny to see the resemblance between these ancient canine ancestors and the Spanish dogs we are so familiar with today.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and the Catholic Spanish found another use for dogs, but it’s not one of their proudest moments. The inventors of the Inquisition had a favourite torture method which involved chaining prisoners, then allowing them to be savaged by Mastiffs. Today, these gentle giants are more noted for their loving, faithful nature, which is typical of Man’s Best Friend.

Overall though, this is an upbeat book, and Karla soon lifts the mood by informing the reader of the term that was used for this barbaric practice. It was called – wait for it – dogging! That’s quite a juxtaposition for modern audiences to deal with, since ‘dogging’ has come to mean having sex with strangers in the open air. In fact, in the popular television sitcom Benidorm, the eponymous resort is said to have a designated ‘Dogging Beach!’

Karla wraps up the book with the tale – or should that be tail? – of Pablo Picasso’s beloved Dachsund, Lump. Lump arrived in 1957 with photographer David Douglas Duncan, who was doing a feature on Picasso, and never left the artist’s side until his death in March 1973. Picasso followed Lump across the Rainbow Bridge just 10 days later. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a suitably emotional ending for a book about the creatures that inspire so many emotions in their human guardians.

There are so many interesting anecdotes, culture connections and light moments that describing Spanish Dogs as just a book about dogs is a bit like saying Jose Carreras, one third of the Three Tenors, is ‘just a singer.’ If you love dogs, art and Spain, or any combination of these, you really need to read this. Get your copy here, and settle down for a rattling good read.

Karla Ingleton Darocas with Venus on the beach

Image Credits: Karla Ingleton Darocas

Visualisation for slowing down a racing mind

Visualisation to clear stress
This is how your clock face might look in your mind’s eye during the visualisation

The last few months have been challenging to say the least, so it’s no wonder we sometimes find our minds racing like the proverbial hamster in a wheel on steroids! A few days ago, I was talking to a friend, who wasn’t sleeping well because he had so much spinning around in his head.

As we were chatting, I was given this visualisation. It helped him a lot, and I also found it very effective, so now I’m sharing it with you. When we are overwhelmed, the best favour we can do ourselves is to take everything out of our head for a while and just ‘Be.’ That’s easier said than done, though. If only there was a way to reset, and start again with a clean slate.

This visualisation will help you do just that, because you really have to concentrate. There’s no room for rogue thoughts to steal your joy, and at the end of this, you’ll feel fresh, focused, and ready to carry on. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin …

Visualisation for calming a racing mind

Sit comfortably and quietly with no distractions. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take three or four slow, deep breaths, breathing in pure, clean air, and hold for a count of three.

On the exhale, breathe out any worries you may have, Give it a dark colour – brown, grey, red, whatever colour your stress ‘feels’ like. With each out breath, see the colour lighten, until your exhale is almost clear. Now you are ready to start.

Imagine a big clock face, inside your head. The dial is a bright silvery colour, the minute and hour hands are blue, and all the figures on the clock are purple. Both hands are at 12. The second hand is green, and that’s at 12 too.

You really need to concentrate now! Start counting, in your head, from 1 to 60. Count slowly, like seconds ticking away on a clock. At the same time, see the second hand going backwards, that is, anti-clockwise. When you get to 15, 30 and 45, visualise the second hand resting at numbers 9, 6 and 3. As you get to 60, it’s at 12. If it helps, see one of the other hands going with it. It’s tricky at first, because your brain is counting one way, but you are visualising something going in the other direction.

Now pause for a few moments, keeping your eyes closed and your head still, as it takes a moment or two to settle down after this powerful visualisation. Now you’re ready for the second part.

This time, count to 60 again, but see the second hand going clockwise, or forwards, as you count. This part is easier, but it’s important to do it to reset your energy properly. Again, see the second hand pause at 3, 6, 9 and 12. As you become more used to the visualisation, you can even imagine a ‘ticking’ sound as the second hand moves around the clock face.

Take a couple of deep, relaxing breaths, and thank the Universe for turning back time and resetting your energies. Now open your eyes and take a drink of water.

A note about the colours:

The colours on the clock face are not just random selections – they each have a spiritual and psychological connection to ensure the meditation is effective.

Silver: Silver is a colour of balance and reflection. It helps cleanse negative energies, and is an ideal background colour for our clock face. It’s a calming, soothing colour, and it reflects energy back, good and bad, so as you visualise the clock face, you signal to the Universe your intention of clearing negative energies, thereby attracting more positive energy into your life.

Green: Spiritually, green is the colour of the ray of Archangel Raphael, the Healing Angel. It’s also a colour associated with harmony and balance, in Nature and in spirit. It’s calming and restorative, with a gentle energy. If you are feeling stressed, wear something green, and/or carry a green crystal with you. Green is growth, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Purple: Purple is the colour associated with richness, but it doesn’t always mean wealth; it’s also equated to spiritual enrichment. It’s the colour of the imagination, so having an element of purple in any visualisation will assist the process. Purple is very calming – the crystal amethyst is the one most recommended for dealing with anxiety. If you are wondering why the clock face isn’t in purple, it’s because too much can have the opposite effect, making you feel more anxious and out of balance.

Blue: Is linked to security, confidence and inner peace and tranquility. It’s also the colour of communication and protection. Wear blue to bring about a relaxed, secure state of being – especially when you are in unfamiliar situations.

Practice this visualisation whenever you feel your thoughts racing away from you. It’s also very effective at night, just before you go to sleep, if worry is causing disturbed nights. Please let me know how you get on with this in the comments. Love and blessings.

Visualisations

Ah Sunflower: Proving that we are all part of one magical whole!

It’s the day of the Full Moon – July 5 – and what a glorious start I had to it!. I have a friend in Spain, Russ Pearce, who is an excellent writer and photographer. This morning, he published a photo essay, the subject being a sunflower he had grown from a seed in a pack of breakfast mix.

My first thought was, how wonderful Nature is. Something that could have so easily been discarded is nurtured and turned into something beautiful, then that beauty is shared in the photos, giving pleasure to so many.

My second thought came from a trip down memory lane to my school days, and a poem from Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake. It’s called, Ah, Sunflower, and it was first published in 1794, more than 200 years ago.

Like everything Blake wrote, it’s a lot deeper than the words on the paper suggest, beautiful though they may be. It’s an allegory on life – and death, and a world where there is no more pain, and everything is light and love. Blake was one of the Romantic Poets, who celebrated the beauty of Nature, and understood what we understand today – that everything is connected, and we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves.

The interesting thing is, although sunflowers have been around for at least 5,000 years, and maybe even longer, they only came into Europe, from their native America, in around 1500. They were brought from Arizona and Mexico by the Spanish Conquistadors. In 1716, an English patent was granted for removing oil from sunflower seeds, around the time they began to be cultivated on a wider scale, and by the 1760s, they were mentioned in literature.

So there is an eternal connection between the human race, the Earth, and sunflowers, and today another layer of synchronicity was added, when Russ turned the poem into a beautiful meme for me, using one of his photos. It’s a small, random act of kindness from a friend, and it touched my soul.

We are all part of the Universe, in one way or another. Because the Conquistadors brought the sunflower to Europe, Blake, was inspired by its beauty. Along with the other Romantic Poets of the 18th and 19th centuries, Blake questioned organised religion and its motives, preferring to see Nature as the true power and inspiration from which we should all learn about life, and about ourselves.

This was the Age of Enlightenment, when beliefs that had been held for millenia were questioned, and people began to look for another way to live, and another way to grow in wisdom and consciousness. Now we are on the threshold of another Golden Age, as we shift from the Third to the Fifth Dimension, and once again connect more with Nature as we try to make sense of the world we live in. There is a constant connection, running through time and space, that links us all to each other, and to the Universe.

It was Blake who wrote the words to the powerful anthem, Jerusalem, just in case you think you haven’t heard of him. In his lifetime, and for quite a while after he passed, some people thought he was mad, and maybe he was, but he was also very perceptive. Maybe we all have a spark of madness in us – who can say?

What is clear is that if we can connect with Nature at a soul level, we reaffirm our connection with the Universe, and by doing that, we realise that we are not alone. We may have personal autonomy, but we also have the support of something much more powerful, and with that support, we can do anything we set our minds to. We are part of the miracle of life, and we are each of us living miracles. Remember that when you feel that life seems too much to cope with. Look for the beautiful, and beauty will find you, and remind you that you, too are beautiful.

Image credit: Russ Pearce

What’s the difference between a medium and a psychic?

Psychic or medium?

In one of the spiritual groups on Facebook I belong to, the question was posed for debate: ‘Are you a Psychic or Medium?’ I waited a while before I joined the discussion, to see what others were saying, and how it linked in with my own thinking.

If you look at discussions on the subject, they usually conclude with ‘Everyone is psychic, but not everyone is a medium.’ To some extent, I’d go along with that. We all have some extra sensory ability, but we don’t necessarily choose to acknowledge it or work with it. And a good medium needs to hone their psychic abilities and work with them in order to be able to effectively and reliably connect with Spirit.

A good friend of mine, who is both psychic and a medium self-deprecatingly describes herself like this:

I’m not a medium, I’m an extra large!

All joking aside, I am not too keen to attach labels, one way or another, because labels are limiting. Also, those of us who do work with Spirit and energy aren’s so neatly categorised, because our skills often cross more than one border. More of that later, but for me, one of the best articles I’ve read on the topic is this from James Van Praagh.

As I understand it, and as science tells us, everything is energy. Both psychics and mediums work with energies of different vibrations. The energy of the living vibrates at a lower frequency that the energy of those in the realm of Spirit. So the only way we can hope to communicate with them is to raise our own vibrations to a point where they will lower their energy to a level where we can communicate.

I see myself as a psychic and healer, but people who are more knowledgeable than me tell me I am also a medium. I have also been told this by Spirit, and the angels I work with. So what does that mean? To me, it means I am privileged, and I don’t care what people call me. I just do what I am guided to do by Spirit, and my own intuition, and I do it with love, for the highest good of all.

I have done demonstrations of mediumship, and spirits have obligingly come through. Until they show up, I have no idea who will join the party, but unfailingly, they help those who need it most with their messages. When I do private readings, it can be just about the energy of the person I’m reading for, or I may find I have an accompanying spirit anxious to impart a message to their loved one, or tell me something they need to know.

So, it’s all about the energy. One of those in the discussion mentioned psychics reading auras. I don’t see auras, but I can pick up on energy, even if the person isn’t in the room with me. Just a few days ago, I was talking to a friend who was having problems with one of his arms. I was able to pinpoint the area of the pain and send healing, and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

Phsychic or medium?

So, I am unable to see the aura of someone in the same room, but I can pick up on pain 1,000 miles away. It doesn’t mean I am a good psychic, a bad psychic or not psychic at all. All it means is I pick up on energy in a different way. I’ve sent distant healing and people have been able to tell me the exact time I did it, and I’ve had others tell me there was no need to send it, as they felt better now! So we all identify and work with energy in different ways.

When it comes to mediumship, it works differently again. Some people will come for a reading in the hope of contacting a specific person in spirit, but no medium, however experienced, can guarantee bringing through Aunt Maud, or indeed anyone at all. It takes a lot of energy to come through to our world with messages, so it’s not going to happen to order.

It’s common for departed souls to come back and make sure their loved ones are okay, and you may well sense their presence. But for a spirit to come through to a stranger and communicate a message is a different thing altogether. And a good medium will have spirits queued up to connect, because they trust the medium to get their message through. It’s not simple, and it’s not guaranteed.

The thing to remember is, while we choose to work with Spirit, they also choose whether they will work with us or not – they are not ours to command. Working with Spirit is a privilege not to be taken for granted or exploited, and the truth is, if you need an urgent message from Aunt Maud, she’ll come through when you need her, not when someone tries to summon her. Yes, she could come through as part of a famous medium’s demonstration, but she could equally come through to your neighbour on the corner who doesn’t talk about her gift.

It’s a very grey area, and it was muddied even more for me a few weeks ago. My ex husband passed to Spirit on 23 April. A couple of days before, Glenys and I felt a cold energy in the house. I also felt my mother’s energy, and she told me she had brought my husband to apologise and ask for my forgiveness, and Glenys’s forgiveness, for what had happened in the past. My mother had brought him, because she knew I needed closure, and she also recognised that he couldn’t pass peacefully without making his peace with us.

I had forgiven him some time ago – you cannot work with the light while there is darkness in your heart. We both said we forgave him, and we felt the energy change as he left with my mother.

The next day, the energy was back, and my mother told me he couldn’t be sure we weren’t holding a grudge. So Glenys and I joined in sending him love and healing, and telling him it was okay to go home, he had nothing more to keep him earthbound. Less than 24 hours later, he passed to Spirit peacefully in his sleep, although he had been in a lot of pain and distress for some time.

So, what can we learn from that episode, about whether I am a psychic, a medium or both? Some people say that psychics work with the energy of the living, while mediums work with spirit energy. I worked with both that day – my mother has been in Spirit since 1988, while my husband was still on the Earth plane, held back by unfinished business.

Phsychic or medium?

The one thing that runs through all this – that runs through everything – is love. Because my mother loved me, she brought my husband to me, since I wasn’t able to go to him. If I had, I would have made sure he knew he was forgiven, and saved him a journey!

Despite our separation, he loved me enough to hold on to a life that was painful on all levels until he was sure of my forgiveness. And Glenys had enough love in her heart to give him permission to go home. As for me, I was able to remember the loving times and leave behind recent events so that I could remember him as he deserved to be remembered – a man who loved life and loved me, until illness turned him into something he wasn’t, and there was no alternative but to separate.

Whether you label yourself a psychic, a medium, or something else is up to you. It can be convenient for others, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important. What really matters is how you do your sacred work. If you have love in your heart and humility in your soul, you will shine your light wherever it’s needed. The things that matter most cannot be neatly labelled and compartmentalised. Read more on my blog here.

Book Review: Son of Secrets by N. J. Simmonds

Son of Secrets by N. J. Simmonds

Just over three years ago, I reviewed N. J. Simmonds’s debut novel, The Path Keeper. I ended the review by looking forward to the second novel in the trilogy and, finally, here it is. It’s the second of three parts of The indigo Chronicles trilogy, and it was already written. Just as in The Path Keeper, fate made a mockery of the plans, so it’s taken until now to publish Son of Secrets by N. J. Simmonds.

About the book

In this book, Zac and Ella are three years on from the cataclysmic climax of The Path Keeper, and they are still traumatised. Ella is back in her beloved Spain, running a converted monastery as a hotel. She calls the hotel Torre de los Angeles, (Tower of Angels). The hotel is in Tarifa, on the Costa de La Luz, and it’s the southernmost tip of Europe From there you can take a 35 minute ferry to Tangier, in north-west Morocco, Africa.

The setting is no coincidence – Tarifa is on the cusp of two continents – Europe and Africa – and the characters in Son of Secrets are on either side of the window between two worlds. The veil is lifted on the back story of Zac and Ella too, so we get to understand more of the powerful thread that connects them.

There are a number of interesting new characters, and we become more familiar with those from the first book too. The most impactful one is Luci, a combination of Devil Woman and Earth Mother. She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s brutal, she’s vengeful – and she’s suffering intolerably as she single-mindedly pursues a quest which seems to be in vain, as time and again, she’s just that bit too late.

What ties the trilogy together?

The cruelty of timing is a theme that runs through Son of Secrets, for Zac, for Ella, for Luci, and for Josh – the spoiled rich boy who incurs Zac’s wrath in The Path Keeper. Josh has his own secrets, and as we learn of them, he becomes a much more sympathetic character. Simmonds’s natural wit and her capacity for cutting right to the chase as quickly as possible are illustrated admirably in this short but telling thought sequence from Ella:

All she kept thinking was that Josh da Silva was upstairs, in her hotel. And that he was an idiot. An arrogant, handsome, and really sexy idiot – the worst kind. Was her destiny on the top floor of her hotel, acting like an arrogant dick?

We all have to learn lessons in this life, and Josh certainly learns his. So does the other spoiled rich boy, Sebastian, Ella’s step-brother. Even Luci’s edges are softened, but I am sure – indeed I insist – that we haven’t heard the last of her. It’s a testament to Simmonds’s clever characterisation that she knows just how far to take Luci to both astound the readers and also to draw their empathy for Luci’s situation. Who’s to say what anyone would do in her situation, with her resources?

By the end of Son of Secrets, all the main characters are in different places, physically and spiritually. There is no judgement on Simmonds’s part, just clever observation and uncanny understanding of what makes people tick – whatever and whoever they are!

Whereas in The Path Keeper, the main action centred around London and Spain, Son of Secrets takes us on a journey through time and space. We experience Italy and the Netherlands, where Simmonds is now based, although her soul is forever in Spain. She’s also very spiritual, and you’ll see from the Author’s Note at the end that some of the fiction is informed and enhanced by her own metaphysical experiences. Of her latest creation, Simmonds says:

Why should you read it?

Son of Secrets is more than a story, it’s a tribute to women; the hunted and hurt, the misunderstood and misrepresented. And the ones who love so fiercely they lose themselves along the way. Don’t wait for rescue, because none of us are princesses, we are queens. Act like one.

Son of Secrets is a worthy successor to The Path Keeper. Here, Simmonds has flexed her creative muscles and weaved a multi-layer story. It is fast-paced, original, and satisfying on all levels, whatever your personal beliefs or opinions. I shall end this review in the same way I ended the previous one. I can’t wait to read Book 3, Children of Shadows, which is due for release in 2021.

Image credit: N. J. Simmonds

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