There's a day during this spooktacular month that will not only give you an overwhelming advantage to make a dearly held dream manifest, but that could conceivably costume you in layers of fortune and luck for the foreseeable future. Of course, I'm referring to Halloween, a day-of-the-dead celebration during which legend and lore claims the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. And this legend promises invisible and universal assistance from other cosmic collaborating forces as well!
And here's all you have to do: At exactly midnight on All-Hallows-Eve, stand naked before any full-length mirror with the light of a single candle providing sole illumination. Although there aren't any carved-in-stone (or even carved-in-pumpkin) specifics involving the color of the candle, I've always heard it should be white, since it not only contains all others in the color spectrum, but is also considered protective since it's the color of divinity, purity and protection. But, any color candle will do the trick.
As you stand naked before this candlelit mirror, silently -- but with expectation and full faith -- make your secret wish. Look directly into your own eyes and believe.
Now, here's the tricky part to making this treat come true: You must now be completely silent and not utter a single sound until the sun comes up the next morning. If you must make a sound, try your best to not speak actual words.
The inherent promise here is that once you have silently said your wish, within three months you'll begin to see it come true -- just in time for the universe to bestow a special gift during this year's extra-special holidays.
Now that's not the least bit scary!
Ghosts and goblins and ... Feng Shui? Well, sure as the Shui I write about all day and night, Halloween is certainly a special day where nothing's as it seems, neither trick nor treat nor fright of night! Spirits are said to wander and roam, while even trying to cause a bit of mischief (if we let them). With all this potential for misbegotten magic hanging heavily in the late autumn air, this is a perfect time to offer protection to all our little chocolate-coveters!
So, here's a little lucky-day fashion Shui that's heavy on the protection, and light on both the pocketbook and the worry load. Some of this might take a bit of pre-planning, so give yourself some extra time -- unless you want to get scared of running out of it.
Have your little fairy, princess or action hero don his or her favorite T-shirt or pajama shirt underneath their costume. This inner layer of safety will keep your little ones feeling much more secure as they face outer demons -- and they'll be far less likely to come looking for Mommy and/or Daddy in the wee hours to check under their bed for the four gajillionth time!
And while we're talking about Halloween costumes, they're notorious for being too scratchy or just plain uncomfortable. But if you pair that aforementioned T-shirt or pajama top with a favorite pair of jeans or matching pajama bottoms, you'll not only help prevent a flood of fears, but as indicated before, you'll also create a subtle, yet true sense of security during the one night of the year when it's needed most. It'll almost be as if they're wearing their favorite blankie or carrying their favorite stuffed animal out into the big, wide and sometimes scary world.
Keeping something familiar and cozy against their skin as they haul their plunder of sugary sacks from place to place is a real treat. Keep in mind as well that the softer the fabric and lighter the color of the clothes underneath the costume, the more balance they offer to offset the symbolic darkness of this holiday.
No more boo-hoos to endure if you keep all these fashion Shui Halloween tips in mind!
I know, I know -- it feels like we were just canning fresh peaches and pouring milk-white cream over fat, luscious summer strawberries. And now, here we are, heading into another holiday season ... again. I get it, really, I do: While you're packing up the bathing suits and getting out the sweaters, you're making sure the first day of school or the new job -- or the rest of your life -- doesn't fully deplete you.
Now, just in case the year's ever-turning wheel is making you a little light-headed, dizzy and fatigued, why not absorb some ancient Taoist advice that will help you get your mojo back?
The Chinese tell-tale sign of tiredness is that it collects on the inside of the elbows, as well as in the back of the knees. Therefore, whenever fatigue flirts with you, you'd be wise to raise each elbow one at a time, then slap the inside of your elbows; alternate your left hand slapping your right elbow, and vice versa, nine consecutive times.
Then, with knees slightly bent, lean over and do the same thing to the back of your knees. Use your right hand to lightly tap the back of your left knee, and vice versa; do this nine times on each knee.
Finally, return to your elbows and slap them both, alternatively again, another nine times. Continue in this sequence until you've made three full passes to your elbows and knees.
All this slapping and tapping should leave you feeling invigorated, restored and rejunvenated!
I couldn't wait for summertime when I was much younger; in fact, I still remember those youthful summers as some of the very best times of my life. But as I grew up, I started to lean towards springtime as my favorite season. Of course, I was ready to get pregnant, so I was in sync with that season's unique turns and tides.
But these days, I seem to come most alive when autumn arrives. Feelings of appreciation, gratitude and joy warm me as a chill begins to sneak into the air.
The autumnal equinox on September 23 marked the commencement of what many traditions call the "second harvest," a time of thanksgiving and comfort. As the nights become longer and darker, this is also a time that lends an opportunity to explore seasonal foods -- foods that offer ways for us to gather strength, that will nurture and nourish us through even darker winter days ahead. This is the time of year that asks us to meditate and bring introspection to our days, a season for going within to evaluate our very selves.
Therefore, it's the perfect season to enjoy foods that grow underground -- like the potato!
POTATO AND PARSLEY SOUP
1/4 stick of salted butter
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup of chopped fresh flat leaf or Italian parsley (if you can't find flat leaf, standard parsley will do just as nicely)
Chopped stems from 1 handful of fresh watercress
4 golden baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
In a large saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter over low-to-medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until soft and tender. Add the parsley and stems from the fresh watercress, then cook until tender. Add the potatoes and just enough of the broth to cover this mix. Season with salt and pepper and cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft but not mushy.
Pour the entire mixture into a blender or food processor, then puree. Return the puree to the pan and boil for a few more minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining butter and whipping cream, then simmer over low heat for five minutes.
Serve hot and garnish with additional sprigs of fresh parsley and/or watercress.
During a time of year when we here in the Northern Hemisphere tend to take long drives to go apple-picking, or simply to see the stunning change of colors on autumn trees, I'd like to share a simple and ancient "traveler's cure" I learned of a long time ago. It purports to bring protection along for the ride -- and really, who wouldn't want that kind of traveling companion hanging around?
First, visit a health food store that sells herbs in bulk, and get a couple of cups of feverfew. Put some of this herb inside a red pouch and place it in the glove compartment of your car.
Now, before heading out on any long journey by car, draw the following protective and empowering bath for yourself. To do so, steep the rest of the feverfew in boiling water to create an infusion; allow it to cool before adding it to the bathwater. When the water's right, get in your tub and soak for at least ten minutes, all while visualizing your beautiful (and easy) trip.
And when you get out of the tub, do your best to air-dry, then go on your merry way!
(Speaking of merry, next month's travel advice will offer ways to take the edge off your holiday journeys! For now, though, enjoy autumn and stay safe!
Halloween is an ancient religious festival that was once considered the Celtic New Year. On this night, Celts would leave food outside, believing the dead were free to roam the human world and wishing to curry favor with them, since this charitable act would bode well for generating fortunes in the coming year. Also on October 31, apples weren't bobbed for, but rather buried in the garden, again in an effort to nourish the souls of those who had died during the previous year. (This might explain why the following day, November 1, is the customary beginning of the cider season throughout Britain!)
Certain Celtic customs and traditions surrounding Halloween involve stoking a fire all night in the fireplace, or simply leaving a candle lit in any window. Some believe how absolutely unlucky it is to leave doors and/or windows open on Halloween (for obvious and spooky reasons), also believing that all the day's journeys should be completed by the time the sun goes down.
This next tidbit of Halloween superstition is one I heard as soon as I could understand my grandma's Irish brogue: She always told us kids that we should never leave any clothes, sheets, towels, etc. hanging outside to dry after dark on Halloween, for doing so, she said, would imbue these items with strange powers and 'exotic' energies. Of course, it's also said that the person who uses these suddenly and strangely powerful items would then be able to bewitch everyone they meet. (I've never had the nerve to try this; I leave the bewitching to Samantha and Tabitha.)
Another Halloween tradition says that if you pull up a shrub after sundown on October 31 and put it away until June 21, and if that shrub is still green at midsummer's eve, you'll have yourself the prophecy of a perfect year ahead!
And speaking of scrying, Halloween night is considered one of the best of the year to throw your cards, so get out your tarot deck and see what's in store for your fabulous future -- it might even be a full-size Snickers bar! Hey, just sayin'!