Renaissance Woman?

Leonardo da Vinci self portrait

Self portrait by Leonardo da Vinci

When I was a young teen (this was the mid-1960s) I was fascinated with Leonardo da Vinci — he was so creative, talented, intelligent, and knew so much about all that could be known in his time period (1452-1519).  He combined knowledge from multiple disciplines, and created astounding things, thought astounding thoughts.  He is often called The Renaissance Man, and I decided I wanted to be a Renaissance Woman.

This was back when television was changing the way we got our information.  Books, newspapers, and magazines were still important, but the nightly news brought the war in Vietnam directly into our living rooms.  Visual and audio learning became even more pervasive, and much was mentally absorbed directly, with not quite as much mulling over as when we read about it.  Advertising, which first began using psychology to sell things in the early 1900s, loved television, and took full advantage of the chance to affect how people thought about products.  So did politicians — remember what a difference it made in the Kennedy-Nixon debates.  Television brought us more information about more things, from all over the world.

In the mid-1970s I still had the naive hope to be a Renaissance Woman.  Since childhood I’d been an avid reader, and at some point I purposefully read books from a variety of areas in the library — ceramics, ancient history, mathematics, engine designs, gardening, weaving, animal husbandry, forestry, biology, politics, philosophy, sports, geology, and on and on.   Most of it was fascinating, but some of it was a bit of a slog.   I kept on.

At first computers were an amazing way to do computations faster.  Then to compile and share information on an organizational level.  And suddenly to share information on a personal and rapidly expanding international level.   Information comes at us from all over the world, even beyond Earth, faster and faster.  The volume of information alone is too much to really comprehend.

Now I sit at my computer, reading articles, blogs, and people’s thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, frequently checking references because you can no longer trust something isn’t made up.  I read books and watch movies.  There are ideas I try to follow, because they still fascinate me, and I journal to help myself make sense of what I read.  Fortunately much of this information came in handy when I worked as a therapist and advocate — it was easier to make connections with people.  Even being retired, there is not enough time to read, watch, discuss, and learn all the things I want to know.  Sometimes it frustrates me, because I know I can never be a Renaissance Person the way Leonardo da Vinci was.   There is too much to know now.Learning

But I still try, because I love to learn.

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Balance and Self-Focus

Having a balanced life is generally considered a good thing (except by people whose lives are way out of balance).  You want a clean house, but not smelling like bleach.  Work and play.  Everyone shares in the conversation.  Determination and laughter.  The idea of balance has a lot of wiggle-room, but there are some things that aren’t a part of balance, such as using a little bit of meth being okay.

As a baby and small child, humans are very self-focused.  That’s a survival technique shared by most animals.  At first all you know is “Me,” which eventually becomes “Me” Narcissusand “Not me,” and then all the Not-Mes eventually have labels or names.  Parents begin teaching their toddler children about sharing, indoor voices, and hopefully about not being violent.  In a balanced household toddlers begin learning about waiting, as in lunch will be ready in a few minutes but they will get to eat.  If the child goes to pre-school, or when they go to kindergarten, they learn more about balancing what they want with what others want.  At this point it’s still a very self-focused sharing, because if they get along better with their parents, teachers, and other kids, they won’t get in trouble and perhaps people will be nicer to them.   At about 7 or 8 years old they care a lot about what is fair, but mostly they care a lot about what is fair to them.   If their parents have modeled being fair to other people because that is what you do, they may pick up on that.   But a true moral sense reasoned from the abstracts of what is right or wrong doesn’t usually show up until they are about 12 years old, and hopefully continues to develop as long as we live.

The primary task of a teenager is to figure out who they are as a person — what they like, dislike, what matters to them, that sort of thing.  This requires a certain amount of rebellion.  Teens who have been brow-beaten into obedience by parents, teachers, or religious dogma may just accept that “X” is what they are supposed to do, and this will get positive reinforcement from those parents and teachers.  But there is a high probability they will rebel at some point later in their life (even if it is just passive-aggressive behavior), because people are individuals and rarely does one size fit all.

So what does all this have to do with balance and self-focus?  Adults (especially those who work with kids), be aware that kids tend to be self-focused, and this is normal.   If they make faces at themselves when they look in the mirror, this is normal.   Who is it hurting?  If they do it out in public, you might mention that the rest of the world doesn’t need to see that scary/silly/whatever face, so they should save that for when they are home or with friends.    If it’s the end-of-the-world for them because X doesn’t like them,Questions remember they are still relatively new to the whole social scene, and everything that happens around them still seems like it relates to them.   From the time they are little, develop the habit of talking with children; ask questions and listen to their answers.  Take time to answer their questions.  First ask them what they think about a situation, acknowledge what they’ve said, and then ask them if they want to know what you think about the situation.

Allowing a child or teen this time for self-focus means they can figure out who they are and what they want out of life.   It’s not being conceited, or “full of themselves,” it is a necessary step in their growth as a balanced human.  Better to figure this out as they are setting out into the world, when they can take the time to listen to other people and show them respect even if they do not agree with them, than never to discover it at all.   Or perhaps discover it when they are 60 or 70 years old, and the results of their unbalanced life are catching up with them.    A life is more apt to be in balance when we allow ourselves a certain amount of self-focus as well as focusing on the needs of others.    It’s not one or the other — it is both.


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Winter Solstice: a poetic invocation for the Sun in Capricorn

Reblogging a lovely post from Anne Whitaker. Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone!

Astrology: Questions and Answers

Today the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, the zodiacal backdrop to our journey through the dark heart of  winter each year. 

We humans in the Northern Hemisphere, beset by darkness and cold, have from long antiquity needed light and celebration to lift our spirits in the bleak midwinter, no matter how much the grimness of world affairs or the pains of everyday life hold us down: 2016 has been a particularly harrowing year. 

We have, also, long needed ritual to guide our lives through the passage of all kinds of seasons: seasons of the year, seasons of our lives, seasons of joy, seasons of mourning…these rituals give significance, dignity, to the archetypal processes of life and death, then rebirth to new life in one form or another. 

All families across the world have their own variations on seasonal ritual. An annual event in our house is to flick malt whisky symbolically onto our Xmas…

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How Hillary Clinton Won for America by Losing the Election

Danielle Egnew says here what I have been saying since the election (but with a better vocabulary). 😉 Much good will come out of this. But it will take all of us working together.

From Psychic / Medium Danielle Egnew


The electoral college has spoken.

I really, really wanted to be proven wrong — that they would not fall for voting in Mr. Trump.

Yet between the death threats many electors received and the fear of the system, fear won. And the writing was simply on the wall. Because we have greater growth ahead —

— And in comes the time frame of the feminine, the great healing, where unity of the people redefines the next phase of America.

The division of the 20th century old world is dead. Evolution demands unity. It is the only course of action that will be supported, universally.

The power at “the top” has not “saved the bottom” for generations. We see this clearly now.

It is We The People who govern this United States, whose god is not a deity, a religion, or an ideal — but money.

We The People decide where our money…

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Three Energetic Reasons You May Be Having Trouble Getting Over the Election

For months I’ve felt unsettled — sometimes agitated, sometimes depressed. Yet I know I’m needed here at this time as a speck of Light. Could this be what it is about?

From Psychic / Medium Danielle Egnew


This energetic time frame is unlike anything I have had the opportunity to witness. It is a rush of ultimate manifestation, an exercise in Spiritual Physics akin to being tossed into a Navy Seal training scenario.

Most of us who work with the realm of Spiritual Physics can recognize a lesson when it is presented to us. Yet this exercise goes beyond a lesson.

Because this is not a drill.

Most of us are able to shake off a disruption and move on. Yet many are finding this task more and more difficult in our post-election environment.

The following three energetic points shine a light of understanding on complexities of what many are feeling.

1) We are in full-tilt, full-throttle ascension.

Though the 1960’s were a great time of transformation, this nature of a Spiritual Ascension has not been experienced in recent human history, so coping with the inertia of…

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Five Problems with Social Media

30 years ago I dreamed of having friends around the world, and how I would spend a portion of each day writing letters to them.  Now I have those friends, but instead of paper and fountain pen, I sit at a computer and text with them in real time or via email.  Social media has made so many wonderful things possible.  I can find people who think like I do, who inspire and encourage me.  I can keep up with friends and family I’ve known in-person, and those whom I’ve only met on-line.  Social media keeps me in touch with what happens here in town, and across the world.  I’ve learned so much.

But social media has drawbacks, too – there are pros and cons to everything.  Here are five problems I see with social media:

  • So much of human communication depends on body cues – a smile, a lift of the eyebrow, even a blank look. No matter how many emoticons they create, the written word, unless handled skillfully, cannot convey what the person really meant.  Misunderstandings happen.  There is something about being in the presence of the person you are “talking” with that may limit what you say.  Sometimes this is a good thing, when you have an important thing to convey and being in front of the other person keeps you from saying it.  But it is also easier to work yourself into a righteous frenzy and say stupid or even cruel things when the person is not there to immediately react.  Then you hit “send” or “post,” and there is no taking it back.  Taken to the extreme you get flame wars, where it is words and photos that burn and hurt others.
  • Social media is immediate and easy to manipulate. Once if we wanted advice we asked a trusted family member or friend, or maybe a friendly nurse or spiritual advisor.  This involved thought, and someone who had knowledge of your everyday life . . . where you lived, what you ate, how the advice might dovetail with your present.  Now you can get advice from people in all walks of life, and some of them may not have your best interests at heart.  Some are even scam artists.  Do you know that person is who they say they are?  And do you really want to make decisions in the next 10 minutes, or today, or tomorrow, based on their advice?  Or even based on reading about what they have done?
  • While it is wonderful to read about what friends and other people are doing in areas all over the globe, sometimes too much information is more than we can handle. Some ideas are meant to be mulled over and tasted slowly.  When so much information comes at you so quickly, you may miss something important.  Or reach overload and turn away completely.  Some information may be what others think you need to read or hear, to be informed about current issues, maybe even to open your eyes to what is going on so you can stop it.  But for those who feel deeply with the heart, it can be overwhelming.  That recently happened to me on Facebook, so I stayed away from it for two weeks.  I became less anxious and felt better about myself.  Now I screen what appears on my News Feed, and hide or delete information that disturbs me.  This is called taking care of yourself.
  • Once something is posted on social media, it is out there for the rest of the world to see and do what they want with. Photos, comments, and personal information never completely disappears.  It may wind up being used in ways you never meant or even considered.  Newspapers may line the bottom of a bird’s cage and eventually be forgotten, but the electronic word lives on, and may come back and cause you grief when you least expect it.
  • Social media can trivialize things that are important, and make trivial things seem important.  Actor Ani G. just got a 5-carat ring from a rich boyfriend?  Well, that’s nice, but in the grand scheme of things, who cares? (Unless you are a good friend or close relative of Ani G., or thought he was buying the ring for you.) Discussion about tiny things may get just as much screen time as fracking in your home state and how that affects you.  In fact, it will probably get significantly more screen time, because someone wants to distract you from the important issues that help them make money.  This is manipulation on a much larger scale than what was mentioned earlier.  And again, do you know if any of it is true?

I still have my Facebook account and this blog (even if I seldom post anymore).  Social True Kind Necessarymedia has a place in our lives, but remember to question what it does for you.  Question the “facts” you read, the memes that are so clever – remember that anything can be hacked and manipulated.  And before you post or send anything, ask yourself this bit of Facebook wisdom:

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Minoan Tarot, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Minoan-Tarot-300“Unlike their contemporaries in Babylonia or Middle Kingdom Egypt, the Bronze Age people of Crete did not exalt kingship, war, nor death, nor did they conceive a vast distance between Gods and humanity.  Instead these people celebrated the presence of the Goddess, the beauty of the natural world, and their own sexuality and creativity.    This work shows that a lively, peaceful, sacred, and technologically advanced society is no fantasy, but a part of our history.”  (pg 5, Minoan Tarot booklet)

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince has created another stunning tarot deck:  The Minoan Tarot.  The Minoan culture centered on the island of Crete, off the southeast tip of Greece, ranging from 8,000 to 1,100 BCE.  Ellen based her art on the original work of the painters, sculptors, jewelers, and potters of that era.   I don’t know much about the Minoan culture, so I read the booklet that comes with the deck (literally, a small book, printed in color) from cover to cover before I used the cards.  It is fascinating.  You don’t need to have great knowledge about their culture to read with these cards, although it does enrich the reading.  Each card offers a glimpse into a story, and it is easy to translate that into our modern world.

Here is a reading I did, using the Snake, Lion, Dove spreadminoan-sky-3 Ellen included in the booklet.  The Snake represents “power that comes from the deep, from below and within.  Your wisdom.”  I dealt Sky Three.  “Follow your powerful instinct for creation. Let your home keep you grounded, not captured.”  Look at the joy in that card!  Birds soaring, flowers blooming.  Light, fresh air, the scent of flowers, bird song for mirth — Nature at its most encouraging.  It does reflect the things that are most important for me to feel nurtured and grounded, to grow and to best express myself.

minoan-art-10Next is the Lion, “power that comes from the exertion of your energy and will.  Your achievement.”  I dealt Art Ten.  Here we have the Minoan Goddess and her priestesses in sacred dance.   One of the priestesses has achieved transcendence through the joyful movement of dance, and “inspires them to dance with more fervor and grace, that all may achieve transcendence.”   One of the primary goals of my life has been growth as a human being, as a soul, including spiritual growth.   It also includes a desire to help others grow to be themselves at their best.  This card is very encouraging.

Finally, there is the Dove, “power that EPSON MFP imageexalts your spirit toward heaven.  Your guiding light.”  I dealt Earth Master.  “Lead, and let your leadership be respected.”  As a Capricorn, I crave the earth and have a real need to be out on it and in Nature, to feel grounded.   The most spiritual times of my life have been in Nature.  The several planets I have in Libra make me crave balance, fairness.   And while I do not seek leadership, I often find myself in that role, usually because no one else has stepped forward.  The times that make me rejoice are when I’ve been a leader as in Art Ten above.  I seek power with, never power over.

As you may have noticed, Ellen has made a few changes to some of the names of conventional tarot, but they all make sense:  Sea = Water, Art = Wands, and so forth.  The court cards are Worker (physical, practical), Priestess (spiritual direction and action), and Master and Mistress (God and Goddess).   In the major arcana we see the Lily Prince instead of the Fool, Singer instead of Hierophant, Ancestor instead of Death, et cetera.  In each case they make sense and enhance the reading.    The cards measure 5-1/2″x3″, and are flexible enough that I can shuffle them without too much trouble.  (I have small hands.)  The colors are vivid but not glaring, and the images firmly but delicately drawn.  It was published by Arnell’s Art, and she always does an excellent job.

The Minoan Tarot is becoming one of my favorite decks.  It is easy to read with, but even more there is something about the joy and basis in Nature that resonates with me.  To read more about the deck, see more images, and to order, you can go to .

* All quotes from the booklet that comes with Minoan Tarot.

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