"All over the world and throughout history amulets have offered protection against negative forces. The power of amulets is based on the underlying, widespread belief that all things in the natural world have a spirit and a power that links them together. Intricately beautiful or starkly simple, amulets come in an astonishing variety of guises: from stones, shells, and seeds, through animal tails, teeth, and claws, to beads, mirrors, needles, and bells. Used alone or combined in intricate patterns, they are all part of a system of natural and magical forces that can be used to redress evil influences."  ~ Sheila Paine

I bought this fascinating book on amulets and talismans several years ago, but it was only a few months ago that I finally took it off the bookshelf and sat down to read it. Much to my surprise, I realized that I already owned a good many amulets. Such as the first present my husband ever gave me (a tiny silver coin charged with a protection spell,) a rose quartz worry stone, my "lucky" earrings, and a black velvet backpack covered with tiny mirrors.

The realization that amulets were already a part of my life inspired me to try my own hand at making more of them.  And I love it! They're so easy and fun to make. All you need to do is assemble materials that mean something to you and put them together for a specific purpose. If you are a seamstress, you might try your hand at sewing a bag or purse and then decorating it with symbolic embroidery. If you love words, you could make a tiny scroll and place it in a velvet bag. The possibilities are endless.

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting old jewelry, so I decided to take some pieces apart and recombine them to make amulets. All it required was some glue and a few findings from the craft shop. Pictured below is one of my favorites...it features an old watch face, a tiny red toy car one of my friends found on a walk, a dancing bear charm from a vintage shop, garnets from a broken necklace, and a key from a childhood home. The name of this amulet is Lost and Found and it's purpose is to help you reclaim something you have lost, whether it's a person, an item, or some element missing from your life.  I hope you decide to try your own hand at making amulets, and I hope you love it as much as I do!





Homemade magical potpourri is a wonderful way to spice up your love life.  Potpourri is one of the easiest and most effective ways to infuse your bedroom (and every other room in your home, as well) with passionate loving energy.  This energy builds over time and the magic becomes stronger and stronger with each passing day. Here's how you can make your own.

You will need to assemble:

  1. A small ceramic, glass, or wooden bowl. Plastic will not work as well because it disrupts the magical energy.
     2.  Equal parts of any two herbs or flowers from the list below.

     3.  Twice as many rose petals ( either fresh or dry will work just fine)

     4.  One red candle

Put your flowers and/or herbs in a paper bag and shake gently to mix them. Place a double handful of the mixture into your bowl and place it close to your bed.  Put your red candle next to the bowl. Light the candle and repeat the following:

 "I embrace love and passion and welcome them into my life and my home. May the embers of mutual desire burst into flame at the approach of my chosen lover."

Let the candle burn down and immediately dispose of any leftover wax, either by burying it in your yard or wrapping it up and putting it outside in the garbage. That's all there is to it!  You can repeat this as many times as you like, but there is no need to renew the magic until the scent from your potpourri has faded.

Flowers and herbs to attract love:

Frangipani
Ylang-ylang
Acacia
Apple Blossoms
Cardamon
Coriander
Crocus
Damiana
Gardenia
Ginger root
Ginger blossoms
Hyacinth
Magnolia
Vanilla beans
Cinnamon bark
Lavender

Whatever you do, be sure not to add lilies to your mixture, as they work to counteract love spells!!

Bright Blessings,
Robyn 




 


If  someone passed a law mandating that each student of the tarot could own one (and only one) tarot book, this is the book I would choose. I love The Renaissance Tarot because the information it offers is presented in a positive, clear, and easy to understand manner.

Each card is assigned a few key words to help you get a quick grasp of it's essential meaning. When I was preparing to read professionally, I wrote these key words directly on my practice deck as a reminder to myself. That proved to be one of the best learning tools e

In addition to these key words, Ms Lyle provides two interpretations of each card - a shorter version and a remarkably in-depth version. She delves into the relationship of each card in the areas of career, romance, energy, etc., and she does it in such a positive and uplifting manner that it's a joy to read. Nothing is sugar-coated, instead, the information is presented in the most positive way possible without losing sight of the essence of the card.

The author provides a wheel that shows how each card in the major arcana is paired with another, and how they work together. There is a section on each suit that explains the overall energy of the cards in that suit and how they relate to one another. She also explains the numerology of the tarot, offers a system to use for timing. And so much more.

I generally refer to this book several times a week, and in the 17 years that reading the cards has been my full-time work, I've worn out four copies and recently purchased another. I can't recommend it highly enough.



If you're a fan of tarot spreads, and are looking for an interesting twist or perspective, here's one I think you will enjoy.  This is a great spread for when you want to examine your question or situation from several different angles. It's most often used for specific questions, but works great in a general reading, as well.

The basis for the Elemental Spread is the concept that each suit in the minor arcana is associated with a different direction on the compass and that each direction is associated with a certain element. See the list directly below:

  • The suit of Pentacles represents the material aspects of the situation. It  corresponds with the direction North and with the element of Earth.
  • The suit of Swords represents your intellect. It corresponds with the direction East and with the element of Air.
  •  The suit of Wands represents your actions. It corresponds with the direction South and with the element of Fire.
  •  The suit of Cups represents your emotions. It corresponds with the direction West and with the element of Water.
How this spread is used:

The entire deck is shuffled and card  #1 is chosen and laid out on the table in front of you. At this point, there are two ways to go. You can either divide the deck according to suit, or you can continue working with the entire deck.  If you decide to separate the deck, shuffle each suit and choose one card from each pile and lay them out in a square around the card  #1 as in the diagram below:


                                            2                             
                                                                                (Pentacles)




                                                               
                                        5                1                  3
                        (Cups)                                                               (Swords)



                                            4
                                                                                   (Wands)



If you decide not to divide the deck, simply shuffle and lay the cards out from 1 to 5 as shown above.

Either way the cards are read in the following order:

2) The material/financial/practical aspects of the question.


3) Your thoughts regarding the question - how you view the situation intellectually.


4) Suggested actions to be taken to bring about the desired result.


5) The emotional aspects of the situation. How you feel about it. 


1) This is the focus card. It gathers all of the four elements together, integrating them into a whole and bringing clarification and light to the situation. 




                                             




         
                        
                                   


 










Today's mail brought a long anticipated package, "The Magician Longs to See" twin peaks tarot by Ben Mackey. I couldn't wait to get home and open the box!  And I wasn't disappointed. The photo above is the introductory pamphlet and the one below depicts The Magician, The Empress and the Justice cards.






The cards themselves are colorful, just the right size for my hands, and seem very sturdy. I love the way the artist kept to the spirit of the tarot and still incorporated so many elements from the series. My reading style relies as heavily on the actual images as it does on traditional meanings, so I was especially pleased to see that every single card in the Minor Arcana is as fully illustrated as those of the Major Arcana and tells it's own story.





The four suits are represented by the symbols in the photo above.

Cups = Coffee cups

Swords = Fir Trees

Wands = Logs

Pentacles = Poker Chips

When the individual suits are laid out in order from the Ace to the King, they each tell the story a specific sub plot. For instance, all of the Wands have to do with The Log Lady.

I think this deck is brilliant and can't wait to use it here on Keen. Please let me know if you would like a reading using this deck.








My husband and I moved to the seaside a few years ago and I've been pleasantly surprised at the abundance and variety of the wildflowers and herbs to be found everywhere.  So many new plants to learn...what a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge of magical plants and herbs!

Luckily, I brought along my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. This remarkable resource provides guidance and useful information for both experienced and inexperienced magical practitioners. It's divided into three sections:

Part 1 is titled, "The Basics" and includes information on the powers of herbs, magical ways and methods, spells and procedures, and magical intentions.

Part II consists of an entry for each herb, listing the common and scientific name for each plant, as well as folk names. There is a detailed black and white drawing of most of the entries and I find this particularly useful. Also listed is the gender of each plant, any deities with which it is associated, the planets and elements that rule it, the powers of the plant, it's ritual uses and it's magical uses.

Part III is tables and appendices.  I absolutely love the way this last section is organized. You can search by type of spell, planetary influences, masculine or feminine, associated colors, scientific, common or folk name for each plant. There is also an extensive list of supplies and suppliers.

One of my very favorite listings in this encyclopedia is that of the cherry tree. I love cherries and been waiting impatiently for the little tree in our back yard to bloom again when spring comes.  But I didn't know that the cherry tree is feminine or that it's ruled by the planet Venus. It's powers are love and divination.  The author also shares a beautiful and simple love spell from Japan: tie a single strand of your hair to a blossoming cherry tree.




The entry for a plant called Job's Tears (or Tear Grass) is another favorite because it reminds me of happy times growing up in Hawaii where  Job's Tears grows in wild abundance. The powers of this plant include healing, wishes and luck. The polished looking seeds grow with holes through the middle and are easily strung into lovely necklaces and bracelets. Children wear necklaces of the seeds to help with teething pain and adults and children alike wear them to ease sore throats and colds. Three seeds can be carried in your pocket for good luck and seven seeds will make your wishes come true!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves plants and wants to make them part of their magical life.


This is a quick and easy version of the Romany Spread, which can use anywhere from 15 cards to the entire tarot deck.  This version uses 21 cards, which are usually laid out in 7 rows containing three cards each.

This lay-out is believed to have been invented by the Romany Gypsies, and was taught to me by my grandmother, who was part gypsy. Grandma read the cards as if they were an illustrated story book and each card was a page. She relied on the graphics, as well as on the traditional meanings of the cards to tell the story. And I find that this spread works particularly well with that style of reading.

The Romany Spread is most often used to explore both present and future influences, and is very good when it comes to examining potential paths and influences.  It is more complex than the Celtic Cross and I feel it offers a quick in-depth look at any given situation.

The lay-out for this spread is fairly simple. The cards are shuffled and then split into three piles, which are rearranged by the seeker if the reading is in person. If not, the reader shuffles and rearranges the piles and lays the cards out in vertical columns.

1   4   7   10   13   16   19

2   5   8   11   14   17   20

3   6   9   12   15   18   21


Column 1: Cards 1, 2 and 3. This column represents you. It reveals that which is of most concern, and also suggests thoughts, feelings, ideas, grief, spiritual awakening which are beginning to develop within you. Underlying potential and/or influences are usually symbolized by the third card. 

Column 2 : Cards 4, 5, and 6. This column represents the environment in which you live and operate. Close relationships, including family, friends, lovers, co-workers, etc. are the focus of this column. Every once in a while it signifies events that are now happening, or will soon happen, to someone close to you.  In most cases, it signifies the general atmosphere surrounding you at home, in your extended family, in your social circle, or in your workplace.

Column 3: Cards 7, 8 and 9. Column three represents your hopes, fears, dreams and wishes.Card 1 is what you hope for right now, card 2 reveals your fears, and card 3 represents your long term dreams and goals.

Column 4: Cards 10, 11 and 12. This column represents plans in progress, projects in motion, known factors. I may reveal progress, success, delays, or failures.It often applies to work situations, but can be used to examine creative projects, relationship plans, and travel.

Column 5: Cards 13, 14 and 15. This column reveals hidden destiny. This is where the element of surprise often pops up. Unforeseen developments, hidden influences at work in your life - all of this would show up here. This is the column where the workings of fate and destiny can be revealed.

Column 6: Cards 16, 17 and 18. The near future. This column reveals what may happen to you within the next two months or so. I say "may happen", instead of "will happen" because some situations/complications can be avoided if you have advance warning.

Column 7: Cards 19, 20 and 21. Further future. This columns concerns itself with events which may happen within the next 4 to 6 months.  Columns 4, 5 and 6 often tie in with this one, so that together they tell an unfolding story. If, however, this column seems to be mostly unrelated to the rest of the spread, a surprising twist of fate may be in store for the you. 


P.S. My favorite decks for this Spread are the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot and the Tarot of the Trance because their bright colors and rich graphics work well with the idea of reading the cards as if they were a book.




"When the time comes weigh the facts, not yourself." So says the Judgement card in The Housewives Tarot. This is the card that totally won me over on this particular deck, although I also love the Knight of Swords (he looks an awful lot like James Dean to me) and the Devil ( a giant devil's food cake on legs).

This deck not only has a sense of humor, but it's chock full of images that refer to everyday modern life. I think it would be particularly useful if you're wondering what someone else is doing, looking for a lost item, or curious about what type of gift you might be receiving in the near future.

Here's what the author had to say about the Major Arcana of this deck:  "Much like housework,  the tarot represents the cycle of life; she cleans her home only to have her family mess it up, so she must clean it again. Similarly, the cards in the Major Arcana represent various stages of the life cycle: birth, growth, death, and rebirth."

The Housewife's tarot also includes a few secret recipes, such as Divinated Eggs, Prophecy Punch, Psychic Psalad.

Hope you enjoy this deck by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum as much as I do.







 







Isn't this a beautiful deck? It's the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini, and it combines medieval imagery with both the art deco & art nouveau styles of painting.  The style reminds me of the old Oz books when I was a kid. This was the very first working deck I ever bought and I've used them so much that I'm on my third set of these cards.

The imagery Palladini uses is rich in texture and design, and the colors are soft and subtle. The cards are a good size, easy to shuffle, and they're very sturdy. Best of all, the artwork resonates for me - it makes sense to me when I'm reading with this deck. So if you're looking for a peaceful, serenely hued, high quality tarot deck, I highly recommend the Aquarian Tarot.






In my experience, every tarot reader has one or two decks that especially resonate for them and help them to see things they might otherwise miss. I often use the dear old Rider Waite Tarot while giving readings on Keen because most people are familiar with this deck. However, my personal favorite at the moment is the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot. I love this deck because it's colorful (the pics above don't do it justice), quirky and full of surprises.

There are so many unusual elements in this fantasy/circus themed deck that it helps me retrieve details I can't see with my other decks. Maybe this is partially due to the modern flavor of the Phantasmagoric Theater.



For instance, the Four of Swords depicts a man relaxing in his easy chair, which is chained to the wall in front of the tv.




And just look at The Lovers card above. They came into the room through separate doors, reflecting their individual lives, rolled the dice to the number six (a perfect match!) and now they're sharing the same space in perfect, childlike trust. The Lovers  can choose to exit by the doors they used to enter, or go outside together; and either way is okay. The puzzle piece in the corner represents the mystery and spice of the unknown that keeps love fresh.

If you're interested in the tarot, I encourage you to look around, experiment with lots of decks, until you  find the deck that best speaks to you and reflects your personality and reading style. It took me several years to find the one that suited me best, and while I was searching I learned something new and wonderful from each deck I bought and tried out.

Blessings,   

 Robyn

This is my all-time favorite tarot spread, and it's also the one I use most for my professional readings. My sister, Teri, aka Love Angel Tarot, deserves the credit for this because she's the one who taught it to me (and to the rest of our family). Over the years, my sisters and nieces and I have given thousands of readings using this simple layout, and have yet to find one that works better.  This spread is awesome because it's quick, to the point, and it provides a wealth of information to the reader.

The layout is very simple. Working from left to right, lay out 3 cards in a row and place the 4th card aside for later. Now lay 3 more cards out next to the first ones. Finally, place the 4th card above and in the middle of the other 6.  Like this:



  4
1       2     3     5     6     7




Each position in this spread is assigned a different meaning and when read together, they're almost like a book.  Here's what each position means:

1. The near past.

2. The present circumstances.

3. The near future.

4. The focus.
This card brings all the others into focus and can reveal more about the situation than all the others combined.

5. The obstacle - factors that could work against you and/or what you should avoid.

6. The  blessing - Factors that could work in your favor and/or your best course of action.

7. The most likely outcome, provided you take the advice suggested by cards #6 and #7.

The cards are also read according to whether they are upright or reversed. This works especially well for yes/no questions. More upright cards gives a "yes" answer, while more reversed cards gives a "no".











The following list of exercises is taken from one of my all-time favorite books, "Money is My Friend" by Phil Laut.  Self esteem has a huge impact on how we react to the world, as well as how other people react to us. Mr. Laut has this to say about it:

"Whether it is your desire to increase your income, to have better relationships, to master your body, or whatever, the value of increasing your self-esteem cannot be overestimated. Money will not add to your self-esteem, it works the other way around."

Exercises to Increase Your Self-Esteem

1. Buy a personal calendar book and put in it only the things you really want to do.

2. Whenever you have a thought that starts with:
  "I have to...."
  "I ought to..."
  "I need to..."
  "I should..."
  "I'd better..."
change it to
  "I want to..."

3.Give yourself the simple pleasures of life in abundance.
  Take a bath daily.
  Stay in bed all day once a per week.
  Get a massage weekly.

4. Go first class. Make your meal selection in restaurants by choosing what you want to eat without consideration of price. Going first class may take a little practice if lack of money has always been the basis of your financial decisions.

5. Always speak the best of yourself and others and expect others to do the same.

6. Find something you like about everyone that you know and everyone that you meet.

7. Schedule yourself time to think and to write affirmations. This will make it easy to become your own best friend and give up being your own date of last resort."

I've been following the suggestions in this book for several years now and it never ceases to offer new insight and hope for an even better future. The hardest one for me to actually put into practice was #4 - going first class.  It took a bit of doing before I was able to go into a restaurant and order based on how good something sounded, rather than how much it cost. Still working on it, in fact.  But I'm not giving up, and hope you won't either.

I guarantee that approaching this list of exercises with an open mind will give you even more ideas on deepening your self-esteem. Good luck and much prosperity to you!




 

Every once in a while something catches my attention and then it slips away. Luckily, the Universe has a way of putting that same something back on my radar until I finally sit up and pay attention. That happened to me this week. The first something was a nagging feeling that I needed to make myself some serious to do lists. Ordinarily, I would have jumped right on the idea of list making but I was feeling very resistant and shoved the feeling away. Far away!

The second blip on the radar was the photo at the top of this post. It's from mocoloco.com and depicts a public interactive installation in New York City’s SoHo by the artist collective, illegal art. It's a  giant to-do list made up of hundreds of Post-its that "beckons to passersby to jot down their tasks, promises and commitments. This installation is meant to encourage self-reflection and is intentionally dead easy so that participation is painless." Isn't it cool? I thought so - and then I promptly forgot about it.

Much later, I went to the website of my favorite astrologer, Rob Brezsny, and realized I had somehow skipped my horoscope for previous week. And guess what he was talking about? That's right - to do lists! Okay, so now I was paying attention, but I wasn't especially happy about it until I realized that his idea of a to do list was much more interesting, much less mundane, and much more helpful than any list I could have come up with on my own!

Rob suggested that I jot down a master  to do list. A list to end all lists. This master list of lists could include:

1. Five things I might be able to do to make my work more satisfying.

2. Five things I could do to streamline and upgrade my financial life.

3. Five things I could do to make my approach to love and intimacy work better for me.

4. Five things I could do to take better care of my health in more proactive ways.

5. Five little things I've got to do before I even think about starting the next big thing I want to do.

6. Three experiences that waste my time and derail my energy and that I therefore plan to phase out.

7. Three  mediocre things I spend my money on that keep me from spending my money on more important things.

I'm still working on my list and you know what? It's hard, but very enlightening and I can see that this could well be the most rewarding to do list ever. I hope you consider giving this a try, too, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes for me as I work on this new approach to self-improvement.

Blessings,  Robyn

 



Are you ready to attract the right lover? A true and understanding friend? Maybe you're looking for a mentor or teacher? Whatever kind of person you're trying to bring into your life, your true self is the most valuable asset you possess for finding others.  The best way to find the right person, or people, is to advertise who and what you really are! 

In 2003, someone handed me a list of 22 things about myself that he felt I needed to change in order for him to be happy with me. This list included my hair color, my spiritual beliefs, my "crazy" friends,  my likes and dislikes, the things that make me angry, the things that please me, my habits and work ethics, and on and on. Once I recovered from the shock of this list, I realized what a helpful thing he had done for me. Through the eyes of the list maker, I'd been given a very clear look at the things I most like about myself - the things that most define me.

Luckily, I had just started reading a book by a man named Harry Browne, in which he demonstrates exactly how to attract the kind of people we want and need into our lives. This book is called "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World" and I just happened to be reading a chapter called "Finding Others."  Thanks to Harry Browne, a light bulb went on over my head and I realized that the man in question honestly didn't like the real me and was trying to change me in order to hold on to his relationship with the person he had thought I was.

Using the list he had given me, I began to put the principle of truth in advertising into action. I came out of the broom closet, started dressing in a manner that reflects my true nature, and was very honest about the kind of person I really am. And it works!  Some of the people I used to hang with have drifted away, but new people have come into my life, and these are people whose company I enjoy. People who enjoy being around me in return. Including my dear husband.

Here are a few tidbits from Harry Browne's book to help you get started on your own campaign to attract the right people into your life:

  • The best way to find compatible people is to advertise who you really are. Not by running an ad in a newspaper, but by being honest about who you are.
  •  No matter where you go, you never know if someone you're seeking might see you. What a shame it would be if that person passed you by because you didn't reveal the qualities that you and he/she admire most.
  • To reveal those qualities, you have to be willing to seek the disapproval of those you aren't seeking! It takes courage to overcome the embarrassment, self-consciousness, and even ridicule that might result from honest exposure of your nature - at first.  But that shouldn't last long; soon, you'll form associations that are far more rewarding than what you've tolerated in the past.
  • Good advertising isn't flashy or imposing. Simply learn to reveal your qualities as they are appropriate in the situation.
  • Your best prospects will respond when they see in you something they want that hasn't been available before. So advertise what  makes you unique and what is most important to you.

There's no one in the world exactly like you. And when you find the person who wants you for what you are, your position is as secure as you could ever hope for. When you find the lover who's been looking for you, you won't need to restrict competition in any way because no one else will be able to provide what that person needs the most.



If I could bottle one piece of advice and sell it to the world, it would be that you do not know for sure what your partner would do if they "really" loved you. No matter how much you have in common, you and your loved one are separate individuals. You have had different life experiences and you almost certainly process things differently.  It does no one any good to become angry and hurt because someone else has failed to understand an unspoken assumption that if they loved you they would automatically behave in a certain way.

My husband and I are from different cultures. He's English and I'm American. We're from different generations. He's younger and I'm older. Both of us have traveled quite a bit, but not to the same places. I'm the oldest of 7 siblings, he's an only child. All of these factors, and so many more, have helped us become the unique individuals that we are.

One of the things that makes me feel loved is quiet time in the morning. I like to get dressed, feed my cats, and chill with some caffeine for the next half hour or so. I don't want anyone to talk to me, to text me, to call me on the phone.  I don't want a hug or a kiss. I don't want anybody to ask for anything. I just want to be.

My husband is the opposite. He likes a good morning hug and for someone to ask how he is. He gets up, and he's ready to start interacting. A good morning text makes him feel wonderful when we're apart. He wants to share what he dreamed about.  He wants to know if I slept well. These are the things that make him feel loved.

All of this caused a lot of hurt feelings until we talked it out and recognized what made each of us feel loved and appreciated. The solution was an easy one. I almost always get up before he does. He might wake up for a second or two when I get out of bed, but he doesn't say anything. It makes me happy that he loves me enough to do this for me.  When he wakes up, I go give him a hug and ask how he slept. I talk to him while he's getting ready for the day. This makes him feel happy and loved.

Sometimes, the solutions don't come so easily, but the first step is recognizing that the people you love are not you and they are not going to think or feel or behave exactly as you would.


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