It's so funny how my studies of mystical cultures and philosophical traditions seem to go through stages. And just when I haven't seen or heard -- or even thought about -- a certain magical modality, one will circle back around and draw my complete attention to some piece of advice I'd simply forgotten about!
Such is the case with this month's tip. It comes from the esoteric powwow advice of the mystical sects of the Pennsylvania Dutch. It tells us that thunderstorms booming across the skies in July release a most powerful type of water called, appropriately enough, thunder water. This water is thought to have been a primary element of many Pennsylvania Dutch rituals and ceremonies, as well as a principal agent in efforts to banish disease, remove negativity and bad vibrations, wash away unhappiness, and bring better overall luck and fortune. Therefore, thunder water is also used to conjure success for energies that required lightning-change.
You can capture thunder water yourself this month and use it for these very same purposes! All you need is a clean glass jar; a piece of paper inscribed with the Celtic rune 'TYR' (with the arrow pointing upward!); a little tape; and of course, a summer thunderstorm. Tape your rune drawing to the jar, then place the container outside once the storm rolls in.
Now, here's another handy piece of advice. As you leave the jar uncovered to collect rainwater, you needn't worry if the paper peels off the jar, or if the rune disappears. In fact, certain Pennsylvania Dutch believe the water gains additional power the more illegible the rune becomes! When the storm is over, bring the jar inside, seal it tightly and keep it in the back of your refrigerator. When you are ready to trigger its healing energies, simply hold the jar in both hands and declare that you are calling up the thunder!
And when you do, luck, fortune, health, happiness and prosperity will surely rain down upon you and yours as well!
So you ate only blueberries and salmon for weeks on end and are finally fitting beautifully into that teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini. And you've also gotten your all-natural / non-chemical spray tan and are only going out in the sunshine after 2pm, and even then you're wearing high-powered SPF to keep wrinkles and brown spots at bay. You've even managed to remember to add some olive or sesame oil to your bath to keep your skin smooth and supple during these sizzling days of July. And your pedicure is perfect!
But now, what about the one other part of your body that can also get beat by heat? What about your hair?
The ancient Taoists, like many others (can you hear me, Samson?), believed that beautiful hair is much more than just the fashionable style of the day. They believed that hair should look healthy and smooth, no matter what -- and they were kind enough to share their exercises for getting hair into top condition.
And these don't take nearly the time or effort you probably spend on your bikini body!
First, make sure you use the right kind of product for your type of hair, and be sure to treat your hair gently, whether wet or dry. Then, once you have those two advisos knocked, do the following....
Beautiful Hair, Exercise #1
Rub your hands together until they are warm. As you exhale, tap your fingertips against the top of your forehead at your hairline. Inhale and repeat the tapping. Do this exercise four times in succession.
More Beautiful Hair, Exercise #2
Again, rub your hands together until they are warm. Exhale and tap one fingertip on the middle of the top of your head. Do not tap this spot as you inhale! Repeat this exercise four times in succession.
Most Beautiful Hair, Exercise #3
Rub your hands together until they are warm. Exhale and tap with your fingertips behind your ears where the hairline starts, down closer to the neckbone. Do not tap this spot as you inhale! Repeat this exercise four times in succession.
Now you're a true summer Feng Shui fashionista -- from your head down to your toes!
I grew up in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, where summertime tomatoes grew so juicy, round and ripe that they could practically roll right off the vine and onto your open-air backyard table. My mother had the most wonderful way of preparing these so-called Jersey Tomatoes, slicing them so thinly with a blade so sharp that even the bursting buds of yellow seeds inside were sometimes sawed cleanly in half!
Next, she would fan the slices out on a big white ceramic platter. We'd look upon this culinary wheel of deliciousness longingly, knowing full well that it spoke the same language as July. She'd sprinkle a touch of salt here and a pinch of brown sugar there -- and the tiniest spit of olive oil, too -- and let the whole thing marinate while the rest of us, shucking fresh picked Jersey corn, would sit with piles of old newspapers and corn hair on our laps, salivating.
But it was that same saliva that would come back to bite me in the butt later on, after these annual tomato extravaganzas. Well, it didn't really bite me in the butt as much as it would reflux and burn the bejeezus out of my esophagus. Yet even knowing this, I still leaned in every time and spiked those salty slices, as many as I could fight for, before piling them high on the precarious paper plate sitting wobbly on my little-girl lap. (The grown-ups enjoyed the stability of dining on a flat, fixed wooden backyard table!)
Later on, I would sit up in my bed and hope the heartburn and heat would go away, allowing me to get a good night's sleep. Finally, one summer my maiden aunt on my father's side came to visit, bringing with her an all-natural remedy for summertime survival to help fight the acid burning up my throat.
The same nuts Edgar Cayce said that eating three of every day would keep cancer completely at bay.
Slivered almonds eaten at the first sign of heartburn will cool the whole deal off. A handful of slivered almonds, if chewed very carefully and thoroughly, promises to put a spring back in your summer step, and some sleep back in your nights. And speaking of sleep, my aunt also told me to never sleep on my right side if I had heartburn, because the acid backflow increases in that position.
Of course, since those old days of childhood gone by, I've learned that drinking water slowly at the first sign of heartburn also helps tremendously, as does eating chewable papaya tablets containing an enzyme that ends this agitation almost immediately.
But to this day, whenever I see a large, luscious tomato, I always make sure there are some almonds around as well. Even if all this sounds ... nuts!
I don't know how or even why I know this, but July 28 commemorates the birthday of Beatrix Potter, storyteller of bunny tales galore. I must have run across this fact while researching different energies attached to all the different days of this month ... but still, it's a pretty obscure piece of information, even for me! That is, until I decided to make the connection between Potter's Peter Rabbit and some summery nibbles for us to enjoy in July.
And so Potter wrote about her pointy-eared protagonist as he sat grazing in the garden:
"First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes."
SHRIMP CANAPES WITH RADISH GARNI
Makes 20 canapes
10 slices of white bread, crusts cut off
2 teaspoons of salted butter
1/2 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1 8-ounce package of frozen, shelled, deveined shrimp, cooked and finely chopped
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Fresh arugula for garnish
Fresh radish, thinly sliced, for garnish
Capers for garnish
One hour prior to serving, preheat broiler. Using a two-inch rounded cookie cutter, cut circles from the bread slices. Cut remaining bread into triangles and one-inch pieces. In a processor or blender, blend the crusts/trimmings to make 1/2 cup of fresh crumbs.
In a one-quart saucepan, melt the butter and thyme together. With a pastry brush, brush the melted herb butter onto the bread cutouts and place on a cookie sheet. Broil for two minutes or until toasted and brown.
Mix the shrimp, bread crumbs, cheese, mayonnaise and sea salt together, and spread a bit on each of the toasted cutouts. Broil the canapes at 450 degrees for 8–10 minutes. Garnish with arugula, radish slices and capers.
Happy birthday to Beatrix Potter! And thanks for the fluffy, tall tales!
I know it's summertime, and I know I should be offering something Shui-y about taking luck along on the planes, trains or automobiles carrying you and yours this summer. But, when I thought of that first aforementioned form of transportation, I immediately thought of all the 'hidden' costs involved with flying these days!
I travel fairly frequently for this job of mine, and it seems like every time I turn around, one airline or another is raising fees for the opportunity to look out the airplane window, or simply for carrying one's own luggage onboard. Just recently, one major airline announced a new fee that will wangle an additional $45 bucks out of your pocket just so you can have your personal items close at hand.
Of course, all this thinking about needing more money to travel made this month's tip easy to offer!
It's called the money collage. To make it, you'll need a gold picture frame; a red background or some red matting onto which you can affix nine paper notes; and, any amount of coins divisible by three.
Here's what I always recommend to my private clients: Take a gold frame and measure out some red construction paper that will fit inside it. (Believe me, making your money collage before fitting it into a frame can often lead to more frustration than cash!)
Then, find your old Monopoly game -- the one that's crammed in the back of a closet somewhere -- and take out nine bills of the highest denomination you can find. Affix them in any manner to the red background.
Next, take 27 coins and use super-glue to attach them to the collage. The finished product doesn't need to look particularly artful, but you are welcome to add any additional dimensions you wish. Perhaps draw a tree and have the bills represent leaves and the coins buds? In this case, money may grow on trees after all, eh?
Anyway, once you have framed your collage, hang it somewhere in the wealth area of your main floor or bedroom, and leave it in place for 9 to 27 days. Or, simply leave it there forever. The abundant energies of prosperity will now visit you!
So, now go ahead and pay for that carry-on. This extra cash will carry through! Promise!
When I think of the Fourth of July, I always think of fireworks. And whenever I think of fireworks, I almost automatically think of sending negative energies out of one's space with a big bang -- the Feng Shui way!
See, this philosophy says that the best use of sound is to employ firecrackers effectively to bless any space, while at the same time purifying its vibe. You can also do this with bells or metal bowls, but for our intents and purposes, we're going to light a fire under this Feng Shui adviso that brings cleansing, blessings, big fortune and hot luck!
One such Chinese custom is widely and routinely practiced during the Oriental New Year celebrations. At this time of year, long strings of firecrackers are hung from the highest level of the house and handed down to the ground. The firecrackers are sometimes literally -- but more often, symbolically -- lit from the ground up. During this process, the firecrackers will make loud pops and scatter bits of auspicious red paper around the all-important front entryway. This single act ensures that the coming year will be cleansed of any negativity, while also inviting health, happiness and prosperity to come and stay a while as well.
In the Orient, certain cultures use faux firecrackers to simulate these same cleansing intentions, even hanging several sets or strings (three, six or nine) of them in the fame area of the home in order to activate great heat in that fire element arena.
Want some recognition and reward this Fourth (or fifth or sixth or ... you get it) of July? Go ahead and set off some firecrackers in front of your main door, or hang a string of nine of them in your fame area. If you do, you'll find that your reputation will be ready to blast off!