Little Magic

Who Cooks for You?


What exactly is an urban priestess, my brother asked.  I’d been in Mystery School for a week and couldn’t answer the most predictable question.  I’d need to come up with an elevator speech.

A priestess is a conduit between the seen and the unseen worlds, deeply human, divinely inspired.  She is committed to reflecting the highest truth in all her relationships.

Candyland, A Retrospective


We eat to comfort, to numb, to escape, to block, to reward, to punish, or maybe to return to some place of sweetness we once knew, home sweet home.  Geneen Roth, in her book Women Food and God, writes, “Our personality and its defenses, one of which is our emotionally charged relationship to food, are a direct link to our spirituality.  They are the breadcrumbs leading us home.”

Finding Signs from the Universe in a Newfound Cat


After setting some intentions around creative goals in July, I asked the Universe for a sign that I was on the right track, designating the black cat as the symbol that would indicate Universal approval.  This exercise comes straight from The Universe Has Your Back, the book that I groused about in my last column while suffering from a bad back. I’m still not so high on Gabrielle Bernstein’s book, but the exercise has already borne fruit.

Unmarked Hazards


Heading west, I’m reading The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein.  “The universe is our classroom, and when we accept our role as the happy learner, life gets really groovy.”  I want to hurl it against the bulkhead.  Then again, she’s come highly recommended by people I respect, and I like this: “Obstacles are detours in the right direction.”

Whack-a-Mole and The Magical Friend


The ego contracts around problems, said my yoga teacher, quoting a Franciscan monk, while the soul wanders for meaning.   Another yoga teacher put it this way: A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul.

The King of Sorts


Here at the beach, I track the firmest sand at water’s edge each day, keeping an eye out for conch shells.  On the land side, there are meals to plan, groceries to gather.  On the sea side are the gods and goddesses—Venus borne to land in a clamshell, sea monsters, all the archetypes of the collective unconscious that feed the imagination.  The deep sea has always symbolized, among other things, the unconscious mind.  Play here, at water’s edge, but don’t be swept away.

Operating Instructions from the Mother Ship


Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert’s manifesto on creativity, was published years after her runaway bestseller Eat Pray Love.  It’s not just for artistic types.  Consider her definition of what it means to live a creative life: any life where you consistently choose curiosity over fear.

Child Whispering

The writer as a child with her mother and brother.

“Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness:  the emotional discovery of the truth about the unique history of our childhood.” 

So begins Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child, a book that’s been kicking around for the better part of four decades.  Strangely, no fewer than four people have mentioned to me in recent weeks.  Finally, I got a copy.

Sap Moon and the Mother


The March full moon, the last full moon of winter, is known in some parts as the Sap Moon when evidence of life below the frozen surface begins to trickle forth sweetly.  Sugar season.  This year’s Sap Moon coincided with a trip home to Vermont to visit my mother who recently fell and broke four ribs.

Little Magic: Chaos in Wonderland


I’d begun to dream, night dreams, about oil painting. I followed them to a midtown art store. Maybe trying something new would address a mood of stagnation, a creative slump. The day was dreary, rain and a deep chill in the air. I prowled the aisles in my dripping slicker. When the salesperson, asked if I was looking for anything in particular, I said, vaguely, “Just poking around.”