“Once upon a sacred animal totem class” in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Sept. 23-29, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 23-29, 2015

Once upon a sacred animal totem class

The setting: Angel Light Books in Berkeley one Saturday afternoon. The topic: sacred animal totems. The instructor: Ms. Evelyn Mazza, evelynmaz@yahoo.com. When we speak about animal totems, we also need to speak about the shaman. A shaman is a healer who traverses the spiritual path in an elevated state of consciousness. The shaman can cure people, drive away evil spirits, and generally perform spiritual or “priest-like” functions for the community to which she/he belongs.

Ms. Evelyn comes from a Filipino family whose maternal lineage has the gift of being able to do “readings.” She started having prophetic dreams when she was about 8-10 years old, but she was too busy leading her life that she really didn’t pay these dreams any mind. Later on, already in the USA, she took her Bachelor’s degree and graduate courses in Family Counseling, and the changes in her life led her to the spiritual path. Here is how the Angel Light Metaphysical School website describes her: “Evelyn is an advocate for spiritual development, earth magic, and higher consciousness. As a practicing psychic medium, psychometry reader, healer, angel card reader, she conducts classes every 3rd Saturday of the month at Angel Light Bookstore. She offers mini psychic/past life readings on the 1st Saturday of the month as well as private phone and house readings. Evelyn teaches the Fairy Magic Class, Animal Totem Class, and the Mediumship Course.”

Sacred animal totems, the topic of the class, are part of an approach called Earth-Centered Spirituality. Usually associated with Native American spiritual practices, these animals are our spirit guides, flanking us from the “nine” directions, which are: North, South, East, West, above, below, right, left, and center. Here are a couple of Navajo prayers that the class started with while the room was being smudged with sage:

“I honor the East, Spirit of Swan, power of honesty.
I honor the South, Spirit of Cougar, power of service.
I honor the West, Spirit of Michael, power of courage.
I honor the North, Spirit of Deer, power of compassion.”
(Cowan, T. “Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life,” 1996)

“Beauty behind me, with it I wander
Beauty below me, with it I wander
Beauty above me, with it I wander
Beauty all around me, with it I wander
In old age traveling, with it I wander
I am on the beautiful trail, with it I wander.”
(Holtzin, R.K. “Beauty Lost: Glen Canyon Before Lake Powell,” 2015)

Animal spirit guides are with us in our unique shamanic journey, representing patterns of energy within us, our talents, and potentials. By knowing our power animals, their qualities flow more positively within our energy fields. Ms. Evelyn asked me about the animal I feel an affinity with, so I said “dog,” and she said that loyalty and intelligence is important to me, as well as a sense of playfulness. During the guided meditation, for which I had to relax, take deep breaths, and be still, Ms. Evelyn asked me what I saw.

Bles: I see the color brown.
Evelyn: Brown… that’s very grounding. Do you see any animal wanting to communicate with you?
Bles: I see a “maya” (a sparrow)…
Evelyn: And what is the maya’s message to you?
Bles: It wants me to be lighthearted.
Evelyn: Yes, it wants you to soar. To be free. What else do you see?
Bles: I see a brown bear.

Ms. Evelyn said that the brown bear stands for groundedness, strength against adversity, and being in touch with the cycles of the Earth and of nature. In my mind I was remembering an intriguing novel about bear-worship I once read called “Shardik” by Richard Adams, author of my other favorite novel, “Watership Down” which in turn is about hares. I didn’t know that turtles are also emblematic of groundedness and slowing down one’s pace in life, or that snakes are powerfully connected to the life force and primal energy. When I think of snakes, I am imagining the green snake in the fictional novel “Marie Laveau” by Francine Prose, the book that started me on the road to metaphysics when I read it at 13 years old. All of these thoughts and memories were evoked during the guided meditation and now as I write this afterwards. Being a firm believer that everything is connected and that there are meaningful coincidences, I think that my spirit animals are urging me to re-establish my connection to the Source so that the mundane complexities of life do not overwhelm me or make me afraid. Like Ms. Evelyn advised me, “You just need to prioritize.”

Ms. Evelyn Mazza has raised readings to an art form. She does the following: Aura, Spirit Guide, House, and Past Life Readings. Next up is her “Psychic Development for Beginners” class, a three-Friday class (Sept. 25, Oct. 2, and Oct. 9) to be held from 7-9 PM at Angel Light Books. In this class you will learn basic grounding, shielding, and protection techniques. There will be guided meditations to connect with your spirit guides. You will also begin to develop your clairvoyant (clear-seeing), clairaudient (clear-hearing), clairsentient (clear-feeling), and claircognizant (clear-knowing) skills. You will also exchange readings with each other. If any of these is striking a resonant chord in you, you can email Ms. Evelyn Mazza at evelynmaz@yahoo.com for inquiries about this upcoming Psychic Development for Beginners class.

But for now, because of the class, I know what my sacred animal totems are. I will be the woman who runs with the dog, lumbers with the bear, and soars with the sparrow.

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Please check out my new Facebook page: facebook.com/blessingsandlight.org
blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

“Graduations and healing” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (June 3-9, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona

For the week of June 3-9, 2015

Graduations and healing

Around this time, commencement ceremonies are happening all over the 50 states, signaling what appears to be the end of a period of study for the proud and ecstatic graduates. Around this time, I marched across the stage at Chabot College in Hayward, CA to receive my certificates in a couple of human services fields. Also, I received a certificate of achievement from the Angel Light School of Metaphysics in Berkeley for having completed three “Awareness” classes: on Stones, Crystals, and Chakras (energy sockets of the body according to ancient Asian traditions).

Graduating students have the right to be proud of their achievements. For example, in a community college like Chabot, some of us had to juggle jobs and classes. We have war veterans among us, single parents, seniors, the disabled. The list goes on but what I enjoy most in my college is the incredible diversity within its student body. Furthermore, our professors are topnotch, challenging us academically.

On graduation day, everybody strives to make it as memorable as possible. Graduates cart along with them a mini-community made up of their family and friends who would gladly belt out rebel yells once their graduate’s name is called and the student walks across the stage to receive her diploma from the school official. The resounding shouts are joyously rowdy, eliciting the stares of the people around them. But wait until it’s that family’s graduate’s turn to march onstage. Clapping, catcalls, shout outs, “We love you!” Everybody is so proud to be a part of the commencement ceremony, from mere spectators to active participants, from parents and family to good friends or a partner. It’s a special moment, surely unforgettable, and it could be emotional when some of the speakers may either get you teary-eyed with sentiment or side-stitched with laughter. Have you noticed this: the last graduate to be called is always the most applauded? Sometimes things just work out that way.

For students who are graduating this year, please allow me to share a Facebook post by my Manila Science High School-classmate Ms. Monina Hernandez Gesmundo, one of the founders of the Filipino Nurses Association of New Zealand, Inc. The post was originally from Collective Evolution: “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.”

There you have it in a nutshell. It’s all about love, listening, and service. Whether you are going to a four-year college after your Associate degree, or going for your Associate in Science or Arts after your certificate, or going straight to work after graduation, one factor remains the same: this is only the beginning. We never stop learning. By the way, Merriam-Webster defines “intelligence” as the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations. I like the second portion of the definition because it presumes that for one to be considered intelligent, she must apply some or all of what she already knows to adapt to a novel or challenging problem. What goes on inside her could be a complex cascade of many processes – who knows exactly how the human brain works? – but we do know that our mind is not just limited to our brain. It is in fact a bodymindheartspirit fusion and to deny any or some of these components of our humanity does our evolved selves untold injustice. We are all of ourselves: our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits.

That’s why it’s equally important for me to learn metaphysics aside from the usual academic subjects. I have to nourish the parts of me that somehow just “know” that there is more to life than purely physical phenomena. I could play the skeptic as I once have so that for example, if I prayed to a god and my wish didn’t come true, I could say that these supreme beings didn’t exist anyway so what’s the point. But what if I started really tuning in to my inner child, the one who believes in answered prayers, miracles, and manifested intentions, and what if I then witness prayers coming true, miracles being wrought, and intentions being manifested?

I cannot “force” my beliefs and experiences on you. I’m just here to tell you how it has been for me. Type “indigo children” or “crystal children” in your search engine. These are the new generations of young people in existence now who have heightened psychic abilities and hence very acute senses. They are gentle, intelligent, and are more comfortable with nature than with people. Some of them are said to be very sensitive to discordant sounds in the environment. As children, some of them may speak later than usual, thus being mislabeled autistic. But they may be thinking: Why speak? They can read your mind anyway.

We must be ready to help the next generation of our children. What kind of care and education do they require? Do you see a more natural eco-friendly and synthetic-free Earth for them? This is where metaphysical schools like Angel Light School of Metaphysics in Berkeley, CA are leading the way. If you go to their website: http://www.angellightschool.com, here is what you’ll read on their Home tab: “Angel Light School of Metaphysics offers classes, training, and certifications in the psychic and healing arts. Affiliated with Angel Light Books & Gifts in Berkeley, California, we have been providing classes and products in the metaphysical field since 1989. At Angel Light School of Metaphysics, we have created a harmonious environment that is conducive to aligning body, mind and spirit. Most classes have less than 10 students providing more individualized attention and participation. With a small close-knit group, people have established lasting friendships with others of like-mind and spirit. Students who are serious and apply themselves have developed successful careers as healers, readers, and teachers. Others have enhanced their lives by utilizing tools they have learned from our school such as manifesting, meditation, opening up their psychic abilities, clearing their aura, and practicing a holistic approach to living. Join us as we co-create a life of physical, mental and spiritual well-being and open our lives to our highest potential. To meet some of our instructors and practitioners, check out our Angel Light Metaphysical Fair held every 3rd Sunday of the month from 1-4p.m. at Angel Light Books & Gifts in Berkeley, California. Or, schedule a private session with many of our gifted readers and healers listed on the website. Peruse our wide selection of metaphysical classes. We are currently adding our on-line classes to make it accessible to people around the world.”

In these three classes: Stones, Crystals, and Chakras, I am finally able to synthesize the correlation among quartz crystal, stone colors, the seven colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV)* and chakras. *Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet. A final takeaway that makes so much meaning to me is: “What color stone is beneficial for general healing and wellbeing?” “That color is green, corresponding to the Heart chakra,” according to our teacher, Ms. Valencia Chan, “thus one may use green aventurine, malachite, or jade for this purpose. The green/heart chakra is right in the middle of the seven chakras- three above and three below the heart- so it’s already inherently balanced, making it ideal for healing.” I therefore declare a eureka moment and with all my blessings: Green is the insignia of healing!
*****blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

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Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings (fee required), email me here: blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

“ADVENTURING AGAIN AT ANGEL LIGHT BOOKS” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Nov. 19-25, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Nov. 19-25, 2014
ADVENTURING AGAIN AT ANGEL LIGHT BOOKS

It was the third Sunday of November. Per Angel Light Books and Gifts Store tradition, the third Sunday of the month is when the Angel Light Metaphysical Fair is held. The Angel Light Store, located in Berkeley, is “your one stop store for all your Metaphysical needs,” like their business card states. I would have to agree. The Angellightstore.com business card has a color picture of the Archangel Chamuel (the archangel of peaceful relationships/love), as well as the important data like the address: 3347 MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94703; the phone number: (510) 985-1600; and the email: info@angellightstore.com. I think that when you read further, at one point you will feel the urge to at least check out their online store, or maybe even the Angel Light School of Metaphysics which offers certifications and courses in the psychic and healing arts in-house or online. If you’re curious, please check it out: http://www.angellightschool.com

I already wrote a column about this book store in the May 28-June 3, 2014 issue of the Manila Mail, but here’s an update. Let’s go back to the Angel Light Metaphysical Fair to which I recently went and which regularly happens on the third Sunday of the month. There were a couple of readers present: Ms. Eloise Hill and Ms. Helena Mazzariello, as well as a Reiki Master, Ms. Catherine Walters who gives free Reiki sessions. During these fairs, a 15-minute reading only costs $20 which I think is very reasonable considering that these effective and experienced professionals charge a much higher price during regular individual sessions with them. You can check out all their offerings on their respective websites: Candle Stone Tarot (www.eloisehill.net), http://www.spiritinjoy.com (Ms. Helena Mazzariello), and http://www.guidedchange.com (Ms. Catherine Walters).

This is my first time to go to one of this store’s fairs and I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. There were times during the sessions that I felt I’ve spaced out and missed hearing some important points that these readers wanted to get across to me, but as Ms. Cathy told me later, “It doesn’t matter. What your conscious mind may miss, your subconscious mind retains.”

My first 15-minute session was with Ms. Eloise Hill. She is a writer, psychic (clairaudient/clairvoyant/clairsentient), and tarot reader. She was an acute-care nurse for a number of years before deciding to write and nurture her more intuitive side. She is the author of a couple of the Eileen McGrath Tarot Series of mystery books, “Eight of Pentacles” and “The Queen of the Barley Moon,” now available at Amazon. She also teaches individual classes and courses on Thoth Tarot 101, Divination 101 (rune-casting, tea-leaf reading, and palm reading), Wicca 101, Chakras 101, and Astral Projection. She hosts the Psychic/Tarot Faire at Angel Light every first Saturday of the month. For my reading, I chose for her to do a tarot reading for me. Ms. Eloise uses the Thoth deck so I’m not quite familiar with the imagery since I work with the traditional Rider-Waite deck myself. But hey, I was there with a mindset to learn new things and expand my grasp of the metaphysical, after all. The points I would like to share with you from Ms. Eloise’s sessions are: 1. It looks like the next 3-6 years would be more favorable for me. 2. I must learn not to “over-give,” but to balance giving and receiving. 3. I will be reconnecting with my strengths, and will have the strength to let go of habits or mindsets that do not serve me anymore. (Quitting smoking, anyone? More exercise and less food intake, maybe? Charging for my readings instead of giving them away for free most of the time?)

Next, I had a psychic reading and aura cleansing with Ms. Helena Mazzariello. She is an artist, clairvoyant, healer, and teacher. Among the readings she offers are: clairvoyant, past life, aura/chakra, Ascended Master, pet, house healings, Akashic records, plus female energy tune-ups, substance addiction healings and deprogrammings. She told me that the aura around me is a distinct shade of blue (she didn’t know it was my favorite color) with a bit of red thrown in, which is good for action and assertiveness. She taught me how to ground myself from the very top of my head (crown chakra), down to my feet, and way, way down below the earth where I must let go of these certain brown-colored “depressed” energy that’s not even my own. Upon reflection, I do admit that in the course of my listening with compassion to other people like my tarot clients or my friends, sometimes I tend to feel their pain too much and end up feeling depleted and sad myself. Now Ms. Helena tells me that there is a way to shield ourselves from other people’s energy, to establish some boundaries, and to ground ourselves. She asked me, “Do you meditate?” I answered honestly: no. Ever the optimistic one, she told me of one very simple and effective type of meditation: the shower meditation. Yes, take a shower! The water sluices down from the top of your head and the water, carrying all the negative energy, goes down the drain and deep into the earth. Cleanse your aura, take a showah, right? (Grin.)

Finally, I sampled the free Reiki session offered by Ms. Catherine Walters. Ms. Cathy, aside from being a Reiki Master, is also a clinical hypnotherapist. She began the session by giving me an orientation about what Reiki is, especially what it means: “rei” means universal, and “ki” means energy (also called “chi”). In effect, Reiki is the universal energy all around us, and Ms. Cathy is quick to qualify that she is just the conduit. During the actual session itself, I was seated in a swivel chair with Ms. Cathy standing behind me with her hands on my shoulders, explaining that although the hands can be placed anywhere, she chose the shoulders for their proximity to the heart. She began to speak about energy and healing while her hands were on my shoulders. Later on, I told her honestly that at some point I must have spaced out because although I was hearing her voice, I couldn’t understand what was being said. That prompted her remark about our subconscious catching it anyway if our conscious mind ever missed anything. We discussed gratitude and appreciation (there is a difference, she said) and how to make my crown chakra (masculine) work with my throat and heart chakras (feminine). They must work together, not just one or the other, and she said that I would reach a lot of like-minded people through the written word.

As for the owner of Angel Light, Ms. Valencia Chan, here’s her bio from the Instructors tab of the School website: “Valencia has owned and operated Angel Light Books and Gifts since 1989. An avid metaphysician, she has studied in depth topics including astrology, tarot, crystals, and feng shui. She received her certification in astrology in 1987 from Experience Astrology in San Francisco and for Feng Shui in 1996 from Feng Shui Design in Grass Valley. Being Chinese, feng shui has always been an integral part of her culture. Her knowledge of crystals includes attending workshops from various teachers, studying from an extensive library of books and most of all from her personal experience of selling and giving away thousands of stones over the years. “I’m always amazed at how the perfect stone will find its way to the person who would most benefit from its power.” Valencia teaches How to Read the Rider Waite Tarot Cards, Astrology 101, Feng Shui 101, Crystal Awareness, Stones Awareness, and Chakra Awareness.” There are more classes, fairs, and special events scheduled in the near future. The store’s website is quite updated so please check it out for the details, and the gracious Ms. Valencia is always just a phone call away. I definitely had a great time at the Fair and will come again one of these days! (pilipinasblitz@gmail.com)