Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve, thoughts and my wish to you.

As I look back on 2013 I feel a lot of gratitude for some tremendous support, both personally and professionally and also some great appreciation for some learning amid challenging conditions.

A very big part of my transitions over the last two years has had to do with my mother needing a different level of care. In 2011 we moved her into senior's housing in the West End. This was a big part of what led me to presently be reading predominantly through Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop (since 2012). My mother can pretty much look out her window and see where I am. I also chose to move my residence nearby. It was a nifty coincidence that a client of mine was caretaking the block that I now live in and had said if I was ever looking for a place to let her know.

As I look back too I see that difficult as it was to leave a very familiar and settled association at Blackletter Books in the North End, it was time. Jan the bookstore owner had been talking about closing for a while (he's doing well, we are still in touch). Simultaneously my friend Dominique (the owner of Elemental) had transitioned to this location a year or so before and I would sometimes stop in amidst visits to my mom. It all just sort of decided itself it seems.

I am extremely fortunate to have so much support from family, friends, colleagues and patrons. My work allows me to learn from the experiences of those I read for and to bring my personal experiences into understanding what I receive intuitively and back to the work. A few years ago when I went back into my education and then worked (as a little side job) as a teaching assistant. It gave me a much better understanding of the challenges of adult learners. Working with friends who were dying has helped me to understand those dealing with loss as well as the professionals and care-givers who carry out that work. Now in this stage of working with my mom I find I am all the more attuned to people working with elder needs. There's also been the authors and online resources and supports that I have benefitted from. I continue to devour just about anything written by Pema Chodron and I have made some new friends who work with more structured meditation / mindfulness. It feels invigorating to be learning on so many new levels.

This last year I actually took a little time off, my brother kidnapped me and took me to his cottage twice and I plan on having a healthy balance for 2014. I don't make resolutions but I am seeing directions. I'm at a point where I don't take my health for granted so much and I'm starting back to the gym. It's also nice to be in the West End / Wolesely area. There's so much resource around. I benefitted from acupuncture at Straight To The Point on Sherbrook, found some great new hangouts and have made some wonderful friends and re-connected with others. I find there is a great diversity of spiritual and mindful groups and resources nearby. Working within Elemental there's a treasure trove of information, knowledge and inspiring tools (see the "Pictorial Tour" page link at the top of this page) and in the area it's sweet to be within walking distance to Prairie Sky and The Neighborhood Bookstore and Coffee Shop as well as some great eateries.

Another area of gratitude is in the field of my work itself. I see some wonderful new resources that fellow psychic / intuitive practitioners are offering in the city. The field of intuitive work has come into a greater place of being a resource that, more than ever, is offered professionally and respected, we all have our own niches. I'm proud to be a  part of a diverse community, It's all so good to see. In my own case, I am truly blessed and given all I need.

It's not all easy but one thing my work has taught me is that however challenging our experiences, if we are willing they can be tools for understanding. If we are compassionate we can see where that experience can be useful to others and often (although we might have trouble seeing it momentarily) the universe does meet us halfway.

To you dear reader, I want to say thank you. Your interest and support has been a motivation, allowing me to articulate and share. I wish all of you out there the very very best for a happy, healthy and constructive New Year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Mindfulness

In keeping with the spirit of the season I have decided to donate $5.00 from every reading from today (the 18th) through to and including Saturday the 21st of December to Winnipeg Harvest, a local food bank.

I do have some appointment availability in the next few days but it's been my experience that at this time of year that can change abruptly pending other commitments. Call ahead at (204)504-9575 to ensure a time that is right for you and remember you can call this number to book your reading even when the location I read through is closed. We usually either answer or return your call if you leave a message within reasonable hours.
Here's the Holiday Schedule:

  • Thursday the 19th to Saturday the 21st Trevor reading with part proceeds to Harvest
  • Sunday the 22nd Trevor off but Elemental open for last minute holiday shopping.  
  • Monday the 23 through the 26th Elemental Closed
  • Friday the 27th  to Sunday the 29th Trevor will be reading
  • Monday the 30th through January 1st closed 
  • January 2nd usual schedule resumes.

Wishing everyone joy, warmth, well-being and abundance for a very happy new year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

News from a good friend to Winnipeg's Spiritual/New Age & Holistic Communities!

I'm delighted to share that Anna Olson stopped by recently to catch up and share the news of her new book!
I have long enjoyed Anna's writing; both her poetry as well as her extensive work in community around (among other things) The Aquarian Newspaper - as a co-founder, former editor and continuing contributor. 
Her latest effort is full of hope inspiration, heart and spirit. Here is the information I am happy to pass along:

Exploring the Mysteries of Life and Death by Anna Olson

Past Life Memories * Visions * Near Death Experience * Ghosts * Communication with Deceased Loved Ones * Near Death Awareness (and more)

Here are some of the controversial questions this book approaches:
  • You or a loved one has had a near death experience. How do you cope with it?
  • A loved one saw a vision shortly before death. Do you understand why?
  • Do you believe in reincarnation?
  • Has the spirit of a loved one communicated with you after his or her death?
  •  How are ghosts created, and how can they be helped?
Join Anna Olson as she touches on these and many more subjects in Exploring the Mysteries of Life and Death. She presents possible answers and explanations that may intrigue, amuse or annoy you – or make you question your previous beliefs.

Anna has been interested in metaphysics, the world of the unseen, for close to 30 years. She has learned through personal mystical experience, reading books, and listening to others’ stories.
She also loves to write, having written and edited professionally for over 20 years. Anna’s first book was a chapbook called Writing My Way to Recovery: A Tribute to Jennifer Lindy Olson. Jenny died at 2½ years of age, leaving Anna to recover as best she could – and writing definitely helped. Two of those stories are in Exploring the Mysteries of Life and Death.

(The book is available at Prairie Sky Books, 871 Westminster Ave. or through Anna,  (204)779-4198 or annols@mts.net.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Phrasing questions for a Tarot spread

I'm really enjoying the opportunity to respond to questions. I may not always be free to respond right away but I will where I can.  Here's another great question from the Facebook page;

Lesley wrote: 

 Hi Trevor! I read for myself quite a bit using the Celtic Cross spread. What are your thoughts about asking, or thinking, a specific question while shuffling? Is an actual question necessary? and if so how best to frame the question for optimum results?

Great question! I think formulating a question as well as some preparation before a reading is very important and can make a tremendous difference in the results we get. If you follow my blog at all you know I love to improvise in working with Tarot and although there's a part of that which can involve flying by the seat of your pants, we also need to have some structure if we don't want to just be on a wild goose chase. Forming a question or phrasing an intention or need before a reading is an important part of that. Whether we are getting a reading done, or doing a reading for someone else or for ourselves it's necessary to set some parameters before we begin.

There is a great difference between going for a general reading like what I do professionally and a reading around a specific question. I have an approach where I usually ask the person when they come in to relax and shuffle the cards while reflecting on their life, there's usually more than one question and there's usually other people on their minds but even when there is a major issue I don't ask to know this at that point as it would interfere with my objectivity and intuition. I don't try to guess what a person's questions are, rather I see the reflecting around the shuffle as an opportunity for the person to get settled and receptive. I usually cover the person's concerns in the reading without them needing to ask verbally and then I allow time near the end of the reading for other issues or anything needing clarification to be asked.

Reading around specific questions though is another kind of approach, I can usually refer back to the same spread for answers and I have my own non-linear variation on the Celtic Cross spread that I use for that (that's a whole other article). But going into a reading with a specific question is more often what goes on when we are reading for ourselves, something I still do, both for study and inner work.
Also when I read for friends or people where I would not be as objective and relying more on the cards it is good to have a clearly formulated question in mind. Here are some suggestions to that specific kind of work:

1. Write it down. I've mentioned before the immense value in keeping a Tarot journal. Some people just incorporate their reading into their already existing diaries. Being able to spend a few moments checking into how you are doing before phrasing the question can help us see later elements we may not have immediately thought of as relevant. Don't just write the question, use this as a chance to check in with you.

2. Tailor your layout. Even if you are doing a traditional Celtic Cross layout strictly by the book (now decide which book beforehand - they vary!). I find there is something about determining before hand what the flow of the reading will be. You may decide you want to go with another layout, there's tons out there, just google "Tarot Layouts", and there's plenty of great books - most good "how to" Tarot manuals have at least two or three spreads. Aeclectic Tarot (one of my favorite resources) has tons of info (type in layouts in their search function!) as well as discussion groups etc. around this and many other topics. But decide your layout beforehand. Frankly I find the Celtic Cross a bit stilted for a single query. The main thing is decide and sketch it out beforehand. 

3. Focusing and phrasing. Think of what could symbolize this question. Just as in reading for another person we choose what is traditionally called a "significator" you could also choose what I call a "signifier".  A significator traditionally can be associated with a person's physical appearance, astrological sign or any number of other attributions, it is generally a court card or in some instances where that person might fit with an archetypal role it could be a major arcana card. A signifier however is more situational, this is usually a minor arcana card for a mundane situation (i.e. conflict around work could be the 5 of wands, an emotional decision the 2 or 4 of cups). Or a major arcana card around a life lesson or something more internal. Also Aces make great signifiers, you can use an Ace to be a focal point for a particular area of your life or the part of your consciousness it corresponds with. Here's a neat suggestion too; go through the deck and visually recognize cards (that's right more than one) that could help you phrase your question. For example: Aunt Harriet (the Queen of Wands) is needing a lot of medical assistance (maybe the 4 of swords) and has worries around property and some dependant people (5 of pentacles). We could write those cards down with our question, take them out and look at them while shuffling and then shuffle them back into the deck. It could be that some of these cards actually come up in the reading!

4. I'll throw in this groovy little suggestion too: an alternate approach is to set aside a particular card (only one in this instance) go through the shuffle while looking at it, then when you have gone through the overall procedure (shuffle and cut) set aside the number of cards from the layout (10 for the Celtic cross for instance) and then (as you would traditionally with a significator) you could lay that first card of the spread down on top of that OR (and this is fun) shuffle the significator/signifier into the pile of cards (in this case 10) that are to be used. Where that comes up is where things are in relation to the question  so if the signifier comes up as the third card you still lay a third card on it but it is telling you your question is particularly relevant to position three.  This is meant to be an example of how we can further design or set up structures for insight. Have fun with it, be creative and enjoy! I've formulated a lot of spreads this way.

Hope this helps, thanks again for the question and by all means to everyone out there, post back and let me know of your results!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Instinct & Intuition

In response to a recent question about working with instinct and intuition, here is a little Youtube video. Working with instinct and intuition in doing readings requires not just perception of others but also self honesty - the ability to know what parts of ourselves are present in perception, and being able to park our own baggage to be constructive and open. I love sharing around these topics and value questions and suggestions for further articles and videos. My schedule is busy but with a fair bit of flexibility in the next few weeks. If you are planning on being in the Winnipeg area and would like to book a reading with me give me a call at (204) 504-9575 to set something up. Sorry I am not doing phone or internet readings at this time but there is some interesting growth and evolution in the works, any changes in the structure of my work will always be announced here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Recording readings / saving spreads and symbols

Some people like to record their readings to review later, over time there can be many things that take on a different relevance. Sometimes people relate that a part of a reading may have been puzzling at the moment and then days or weeks later the information really hits home. In some instances too people may want to take notes but that can be quite distracting both for the person being read as well as for the reader. I generally suggest that if you really need to take notes just jot down key words and then after the reading, while it is fresh in your mind, jot down the greater stuff. Of course if you have a friend along for your reading - and I enjoy reading for people together (if you have an open comfortable relationship) you could take notes for each other.

Of course the best solution is to digitally record your reading. For both in person or Skype (online) readings, recording is allowed for personal private use, but requires whatever device or system software you choose to use. If this is your choice, please have this functional and tested before the reading.

Please note that we no longer offer cassette tape recording, in the last while the availability and quality of cassettes and tape recorders has become limited and unreliable. If you wish to bring a cassette recorder that's fine but please have it tested and ready to go before the reading appointment.

Over the last few years, more and more people are using their smartphones or other devices that they bring with them to audio record the reading. Also saving a picture of the layout and / or individual cards is a great way to carry the mindfulness of a reading on the go and most devices have a camera function that will work for that. For Skype readings I send you a picture of the reading layout by email at the beginning of the session. Here's some things to keep in mind:
  • Readings are private, personal and confidential, any recording of readings is permitted for private, personal use only.
  • Please be familiar with how your device works beforehand, if you have an Iphone I can help (to a degree) with that. Most devices are fairly similar so these suggestions should help but I'm not a tech expert and we don't want to detract from your reading time by having to figure out technology.
  • I presently have chargers for IPhones 4 and 5 as well as for Blackberries, and most Android devices but it's best to make sure your device is fully charged beforehand.
  • We recommend you first put your device in "Airplane mode" this means you will not receive messages, text or phone calls during the reading as they are an interruption both to the process as well as recording. This is found in "Settings". You will need to turn Airplane mode off following your reading to reconnect to your services.
  • The recording application "Voice Memo" (in Blackberry it is "Voice Notes") is usually found in the home screen file called "Utilities".
  • We generally start recording after the shuffling and cutting of the cards.
  • Following the reading if you wish to photograph the layout of the cards or a specific card, feel free to use the camera function of your device.
  • *NOTE* The reading will be a fairly large file on your device, if you store a lot of other information such as pictures music etc. please make sure you have sufficient memory to record, also as the file is large you can generally only transfer the file manually (when you hook your device by it's cable up to your computer or other device).
  • Sorry we cannot be responsible for any technical problems around the recording of a reading.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finding your purpose

A little Vlog post here about a topic that comes up a great deal these days in readings. "Finding your purpose"  is not as complicated as some gurus and costly coaches would have you believe. I have found that for many of us it is present in a lot of what we are already doing. There's some work at times in untangling it from our life scripts - which we can learn to identify and change - or it is sometimes buried under our other circumstantial struggles but there's glimpses of it we can begin to see right here and now.
In spending some time away from the city recently, in an area full of nature and history I've been doing some reflecting on this. In most instances our grandparents didn't have this dichotomy, they lived with a true sense of purpose. For many purpose was simply survival and looking after what they could. Nowadays along with purpose we hear another buzz word "entitlement". These things get complicated and we often think we have a very daunting task to "connect with our authentic self" (there's some more buzz words). I believe, as I mention in the video, that if you want to know your purpose it is there on your kindergarten report card. It's what got you a gold star for sharing. It's what your friends appreciate about you and  it's also what gets you in trouble when you put it in the wrong place.
One of the problems with so many of these life coachey things like "The Secret" is that people often turn to these resources because they are finding their lives (and selves) unacceptable and want escape. It's good to want improvement but it has to begin where we are. When you begin with you - warts and insecurities and all -and see those things as a key to compassion for yourself and others, you find a great starting point for creativity, passion and that gets you somewhere starting from the present. Without that willing recognition though, however great the book, teacher or program is, it will sit half read or undone.
There's a lot of great stuff out there that's free or reasonably priced on how to wake up. There's some great practitioners, teachers and mentors that are ethical and that can be very helpful. At the same time from another perspective I HIGHLY recommend checking out the following  article online at Bitch Media  called "Eat Pray Spend" as it talks about the downside of some life change programs that don't really offer a lot of substance. Personally as both  a practitioner and a fellow seeker it's important to question, challenge and take my own medicine. I am blessed to have friends on the path that teach me through sharing and keep me in line.

September Atmosphere

September brings such a lovely change of atmosphere to Winnipeg's West End, from the returning students at the University of Winnipeg to the rich and vibrant community that is always around the neighborhood of my work, family and home. Here's a little video from outside the primary location of my work at Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop, 355 Langside St.
Also note that Elements Restaurant and Bar (similar names) is directly across Langside from us and is open (after being closed over the summer) with a fully licenced patio, perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert or coffee - great for before or after a reading!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Acceptance is a beginning.

I posted the following on the Facebook page yesterday and people seem to like it so I'll share it here as well. I find sometimes things come up again and again in readings and this results in lessons. I am privileged to share and learn from a lot of people's life experiences. Often in our struggles we hear about acceptance being a necessary thing and sometimes we can think we are doing pretty well because we have some sense of acceptance going on with ourselves and others, but before we get too smug, we have to sometimes ask ourselves who we think we are to NOT accept things. In that sense here's some food for thought about acceptance:
  "I've said it before and will say it again, acceptance is greatly overrated and not really a virtue (in itself), especially when you consider the alternative is denial. Appreciation and recognition are the greater things, seeing the innate worth in people or situations especially when they are difficult. Accepting difficult circumstances is important - like knowing when you get rained on...you get wet. Accepting is not about approving or liking what's going on. We have to begin with acceptance but it is only a beginning. "I accept this" is you saying you'll cooperate with reality. Saying "others feel this too" and "what can I learn from this" is where we start finding treasures. That's the start of the real adventure."
- In Tarot it is the suit of Pentacles that relates to ownership, owning up and seeing worth and value in ourselves, others and situations. I've used the Ace of Pentacles to illustrate this piece.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celebrating Summer

It's that wonderful time of year with holidays, vacations, festivals and events. Our province of Manitoba has so much to offer. The Folk Festival coming up this next week and the Fringe Festival following are two of the many events that people like to book time off for, along with the many tourists and visitors from out of town. We all need to get out and dance in the sunshine a little!

With so much happening it is also a time where people like to come in for a reading,  whether as part of a summer tradition or to bring friends from out of town. Its also good to see folks enjoying the restaurants and atmosphere near my new location of work, Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop, as well as some of the other interesting places in the area  such as "This Old house " Antique Mall (right around the corner). There's so much to see and do!

I will be adjusting my schedule to accommodate and walk ins are welcome but I encourage friends to call ahead to ensure a time that is convenient and relaxed at  (204) 504-9575.

Hope to see you soon and wishing everyone a fabulous Festival season!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Varying views of related Tarot decks

 Some random thoughts around the design and structure of some closely related Tarot decks, a little about the different artist's styles. Seeing the different approaches helps us to become familiar with how the symbols relate in different ways. Finding a deck that speaks to you but also works with and translates to different systems.
*This is a more technical post for those who are interested in or are studying Tarot, (when I am doing a reading much of the technical side of things is only briefly mentioned).

Friday, June 21, 2013

The High Priestess

The High Priestess as illustrated
by Pamela Coleman Smith in the
Rider Waite Tarot
The following are some random thoughts on one of the most evocative cards in the Tarot deck. I am not putting forth the overall meaning of the card (it would be far too much to post here), but some of what the symbol inspires. There's some very good resources, books, websites and courses to be found on learning Tarot. It's a lot like learning a language and the language changes over time. Even after more than 30 years I'm still learning, so here's some of my take on this lovely archetype.

When people initially begin working with the Tarot this seems to be one of the cards that we feel a strong intuitive pull towards. Fitting really as it is the very aspect of our consciousness we are in the process of waking up or tuning into. Perhaps it has been calling us for some time and we are just learning to listen. I like the saying "What you are looking for, you are looking with".

When you encounter something that strikes a chord within you or when you are learning something and at the same time feeling like you've known it all along, these are aspects of "Sophia" or a kind of higher  spiritual knowing. This is the inner voice, the part of ourselves that only we can reach but also the inner sacred space through which spirit speaks to and through us. She is usually depicted and seen as a divine virgin, the part of consciousness that is above the ego and similar to another vision of the archetype the virgin Mary, she is the blessed wisdom that comes through Grace. She is also Isis, Persephone and a host of other icons. The black and white pillars beside her represent mildness and severity. In the Qabala these are means by which an adept can ascend or raise their consciousness, simply put through discipline and compassion, but she is herself a pillar by which awareness comes down the temple steps to meet us, she is the pillar of mercy.

The High Priestess from Aleister Crowley's
Thoth Tarot by Lady Frieda Harris
Working with the High Priestess archetype is partly about learning to listen to the inner voice. Her counterpart the Hierophant (or High Priest) is conscience, rules and discipline of morality. The necessary structures of faith and belief. She works as well alongside the Magician who draws associations and names things in the external world, she is the awakening wisdom that both inspires learning and leads us into further questioning. But she is that voice only we can hear, the Hermit card resonates with this as well as he is the translator that carries the message further out into the world, both a guide and an exile. We learn the cards not just in terms of their individual meanings but what they say in interaction with each other. Sometimes surrounding cards may suggest we need to heal or repair an aspect.  Part of my posting about this card is a recognition to clean up the temple of my intuition a little. Clearing distractions to hear and see what Spirit is trying to say.

She is usually depicted holding a Tora or scroll of wisdom and more than one lunar reference appears on the card. Like the moon card itself there is reference to the unconscious, the reflected light of the Sun or the waking mind. Her robe seems to become like a stream and it is, in fact the stream of consciousness. Crowley called her "The weaver of dreams" and we see that in the imagery of his deck. Much of our sense of self is transitory, we are as Edgar Allen Poe said "A dream within a dream".

One of my favorite alternative views of the
Priestess, from David Palladini's Aquarian Tarot
Note that in this case the veil is lifted and the
butterfly rests on the flower, suggesting
that when we are still the answers come 
There are many artist's interpretation of this symbol, to really get a scope of what's out there and the varied imagery check out what comes up when you do a Google image search with "High Priestess Tarot". I generally work most with the Rider Tarot (the first pictured here) but I love different artist's interpretations.

So in a reading this card can represent an important questioning, a mystery that leads us towards answers far beyond our questions. It is a hint of a greater learning going on beyond what we can see. I like to remember the lesson of the Fool that what we know or think we know shouldn't get in the way of what we are learning. To work with the Priestess, we have to lay aside (for the moment) opinion and analysis, to have the pure experience of now and the moment.

For further insight about the High Priestess and other card meanings and attributions a great starting point for every resource you could ever need, as well as reviews of decks, books and a great forum (that I do log into and post to from time to time) is Aeclectic Tarot

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Magic

I have just come back from a very good little vacation. I rarely take time off but following so many changes and  the anniversary of last year's big move I was pleased to accept an invitation from my brother Dan and his wife Donna, to be away in the beautiful Interlake area of Manitoba, where they have a cozy little cottage.  Working as an intuitive reader, it's important to sometimes pause and have periods for reflection and re-aligning.
We did a lot of hiking, saw deer, eagles, pelicans (no bears this time) and other wildlife. Dan and I played cribbage in honor of my Dad (it was his favorite game) and reminisced about the times we had at the lake as children. We went up to Hecla Island, had lunch at the beautiful resort, stopped and bought Vineterta (an Icelandic dessert) and fresh Pickerel and Goldeye from the local fishermen.
It's easy to see the magical pull of this place. It creatively inspires and the elemental forces of nature and spirit are so powerful. It was just what I needed. I'm glad to be home and feel re-charged and content. Here are some further pictures of this magical part of our province, sometimes referred to as "New Iceland":



Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Very Big Thank You!!!

It's amazing that people are still looking for and finding me following the transition last year - where I had to leave a phone number behind. Thank goodness for things like Google, this blog, the Internet, Facebook and also the very kind friends - including Jan at Blackletter, my previous location (now closed), that have been passing along my contact info and followers that continue to spread the word about where I am and how to find me. This is why I will from now on always have a booking line phone number that follows me wherever I go: (204) 504 9575. Thanks to everyone for continuing to spread the word.

Because some people come for readings irregularly there are people who haven't found me since I read in restaurants, over 18 years ago I read at the Eastside Exchange on Lombard behind the Richardson Building and 9 years before that I had started (for four years) at the Chocolate Shop a location that had been the starting place for a great many well known Winnipeg  readers such as Madame Helen "Red" Davis.

It has been delightful in so much of this change and transition to be re-connecting with friends and very loving and loyal patrons as well as making many new friends around the groovy new location at Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop in Winnipeg's lovely and vibrantly evolving West End.

Once again deep gratitude to all out there who have spread the word and given referrals. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it weren't for you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeling Safe

Hi everyone, just checking in with news and some thoughts on life, the long lingering dregs of winter, the hopeful signs of spring and some learning of the times.

I have posted a fair bit over the last few months about transitions in my life and work, particularly the move from my previous location to the great groovy surroundings of Winnipeg's West End. At the same time there's been things in the news lately about some of the challenging issues in the area, as well as things people have been facing in various places - suburban and rural - in Manitoba and throughout the world. From a small town restaurant closing down partly because of homophobic slurs, someones  home being spray painted with hateful graffiti, to random violence that has gone on - all over it seems. With all that, it's easy to buy into a sense of fear and apprehension. I think fear and ignorance is a big part of what motivates these things to happen in the first place. That fear is something I have had to work through at different times in my life and that I get to work with in what others encounter and move through. It's a challenge to meet that with courage and compassion but it's ultimately what we all have to do if we aren't to feel fear or act out ourselves.

I have a pretty diverse client base, I've read in boardrooms, in restaurants, homes in wealthy areas and low end areas. I've read for doctors, lawyers, teachers and artists, gangsters, nurses, therapists, celebrities, media people, political people, people struggling with addiction, practitioners of all sorts and often for other people that are themselves "sensitive" and they are ALL just plain folks when you get right down to it. Everyone knows what it is to feel fear and uncertainty. I always see a reading as an opportunity to learn from the client and as a point where for some, there's an opportunity to change the road they're on. I love my work and this is why I generally am drawn to reading in environments that would be comfortable for anyone, a place where you wont be judged, where you can feel safe and I think that's reflected in my present surroundings.

One of the things I appreciate about Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop (my primary location) is an atmosphere that supports people's spiritual interests on a broad ranging level, where there are tools for inspiration and growth, books, incense, jewellry, crystals and candles all at very reasonable prices and where experience and honoring of different paths are offered in an understanding way. Dominique (the owner) shares her own extensive knowledge and interest freely and there's a loyal sense of community that people feel and give back to around the place. I like to think we are where we are because we are needed where we are, It's also central and affordable in a way that allows me to keep my price range accessible for everyone. I don't want to be in an exclusive area or where people would feel out of place or be condescended to. It's a good fit for me and so far I've had nothing but positive re-enforcing feedback.

Downtown Winnipeg, particularly this little area near Langside and Portage is a very high concentration of that diversity. There's the adjacent University, CBC, Art Galleries, The West End Cultural Center, Seniors housing (where my mom is), restaurants from fine dining to artsy and funky all within steps of one another as well as also some low income housing, people struggling, addiction and urban living issues you will find anywhere. Our particular location is right beside the West End Biz (a community improvement project with street patrols and resources for area clean up and promotion) and directly across from the new University Sciences building as well as Macfeetor's hall, the student residence. Our building and the adjacent parking lot are monitored. There's security all around us, I feel very safe. But that feeling of safety doesn't just come from things like foot patrols, surveillance cameras or  security guards. I haven't always felt it and it certainly doesn't come from a naive avoidance of what is there. It comes from reaching out, being open and present. I wrote something on my Facebook page the other day that came from somewhere in my head:

"As someone who has known what it is to encounter bullying or social pressures, my heart goes out to those that need to know they are not alone, We have to meet ignorance and hate with a compassion that says bullying is not right.
It's never just the actions of the few bullies that wound...it.is the silence of those who stand by and allow it to happen, that do nothing and say nothing because they don't want to be targeted, when that changes and maybe only when that changes, then we wont have bullying, we will just have occasional jerks that we can help to become compassionate and to be freed of their ignorance and insecurity."

And something a dear friend posted resonates with that too:

"If you call out to your fears, they will come to you. if you're strong enough, go for it. the hawk might eat you, but then again, you might tame a hawk."

I have a commitment to helping others the way I have been helped many times over, and because I'm in a place where I can to reach out to others who are feeling uncertain or scared. Whether that's someone feeling they have to hide who they are, or a person struggling to be who they can be, sometimes having to walk away from pretty difficult stuff. I'm happy to meet people on the road of life. I draw a lot of strength myself from their stories. I've learned there's no safety in hiding. There's also little comfort in exclusivity. Whenever I've been willing, the Universe has given me what I need, sometimes through the generosity of those less fortunate in their circumstances than I. That exchange is something I have to give back to. It's why I feel safe when I show up anyway, do what I can, where I am, and help others to feel safe too. I'd rather be part of change and evolution in a world, a city and a neighborhood that is trying to grow and I hope, dear reader you will too.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Readings For Couples

I was asked today about doing readings for couples. I'm asked about this sort of service often and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I feel this is a good opportunity share a little about how I work in this capacity, with some related issues thrown in. Here is my response to the question of "Couples Readings":

Q: Do you do couples readings? I'd love to come in and have myself and my partner read :)

A: Hi, I'm asked this sort of question often so I'm including somethings in my answer beyond what you have asked. I often have couples come in together and you are always welcome to bring along a supportive friend. The session is for the person being read but the reading should pick up on the dynamics of a relationship and I will discuss to a degree the things a partner may have going on insofar as how they relate you, but it's not a "two for one" dynamic. In terms of both people seeking direction and having individual issues, it's best to book two consecutive sessions side by side. Again it's important for those present to be open minded and comfortable with what's going on, it's never a good idea to surprise someone with a reading, I won't impose what I do on someone unwilling or uncomfortable. I should respectfully mention too that other readers work in many different ways and some offer different promotional rates (often when they are beginning to establish their client base). Being fairly well established (after 31 years) I generally only offer promo stuff when I am reading for charity or a worthwhile cause. Most of the readers I know in Winnipeg charge rates far below what you'll find in other cities. I also sometimes reserve the right to wave a fee or make exceptions when the situation warrants. By all means these things can be discussed when you call to book. I look forward to being of service and thanks for your interest!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Monthly Update

"February made me shiver......with every paper I'd deliver, bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step". That's a great line from  Don McLean's iconic song Bye Bye Miss American Pie. Many people know the song, it's sentiment and feeling goes beyond those who know the original reference is to the death of Buddy Holly, the end of the idealistic 50's, the disillusion, protest and new vision of the 60's and a kind of maturation that many like the singer came into reflectively in the 1970's.  We don't have to know these things to get the feel or essence of them through the song and, interpretations aside, something in it resonates with anyone who has experienced disillusion, has nostalgia for a simpler time and looks back with a feeling of our impermanence. Madonna covered the tune more recently and a much younger audience probably has their own associations they can make to it.

It (the song) came to mind today because February in Winnipeg literally DOES make me shiver. It's been unusually cold this winter, sometimes a wind chill of -41 Celsius. It tends to make us all stay in, be reflective and both nostalgic and hopeful for warmer times. This particular winter has been hard for a lot of people, a number of longstanding businesses in Winnipeg have transitioned and closed, the Paddle wheel Restaurant in the soon to be closing Hudson's Bay Store, Kelekis Restaurant in the North End and soon (on February 28th) my previous location at Blackletter Books (see the article previous to this one "Cycles Of Change"), along with a great many other places that many of us have held dear. It's sad to see these things go, but the world is changing right before our eyes.

At the same time, living and working in the West End has been a time of growth for me personally. The close proximity of the University Of Winnipeg means a lot of young people from all over the world as well as the various instructors and people who are resources around that. There's a lot of growth going on, from the new learning and arts related centres to some new small businesses and restaurants. In many ways Sherbrook Street, for instance, reminds me of Osborne in the early 70's when a number of fledgling businesses and restaurants started up. It's good to see next generations of young people creating places that reflect a sense of community as well as some great surviving stand by places that support and mentor on other levels. In line with that mentoring, we also have a lot of Seniors housing nearby. My mother is presently residing in one of these and I'm able to be just steps away from her if she needs me. She is experiencing a lot in terms of age related issues and it's easier to be near, this was a big factor in the changes I had to make. I appreciate her being in a place that's safe, affordable and warm in terms of community.

Getting back to our unusually cold weather, about two weeks ago I
noticed an odd little shelter had been built behind the place that I am reading through (Elemental Book And Curiosity Shop). Someone had put a cardboard box with a blanket in a snowbank with a little door cut out. I later learned it was one of the young musician's that use basement rehearsal space in the building. I was keeping an eye on this for a day or two, curious to see what, if anything, was surviving the cold in this structure. Amid the -41 windchill that had been hovering for a few weeks, I opened the back door and out of the box came a handsome tabby that looked at me, meowed and walked into the store like he owned the place. We nicknamed him Om Alley. Some friends and patrons have donated food and proceeds to his care and thanks to that he is going to a vet to be neutered, have his shots and a tattoo. We hope to find a good home for him, hopefully one where he will get to come back and visit from time to time, he's very sociable and mellow, he has sat in on a reading or two, not intruding just sitting on the chair beside me looking very wise.If you, or someone you know could give a good home to Om Alley, give the shop a call at (204) 779 8900. Here is a link to a little video I made of him:

It's heartening to see the kind of support that's come together around this little fellow and I'm very grateful to all who have helped out. As I've said before, these aren't easy times, but these are also times where we all can reach out and be there for one another. A lot of creative, meaningful and useful things are born out of these conditions.

In Tarot symbolism The Tower is the shake-up of our structures, sometimes upheaval and trauma, but also a breakthrough where our old ideas of belief, immunity and security get severely tested. When we go through these big bumps we can run around looking for new structures, new systems to keep us safe and immune, we can panic like chicken little sharing our hysteria, or we can let go. Letting go doesn't mean giving up, but we count our fingers, count our toes and see that we are whole, that even in uncertainty we are OK.

We also see, when we are willing, that others are and have been moving through this too and this wakes up our compassion. In my own life it was hard to leave familiar ground recently and being close for a loved one who is aging, losing some of their Independence and ability is a challenge and not all sweetness and light. Yet at the same time, what kind of life is there when we don't have concerns, things to care about or be there for? Pretty shallow and empty. In terms of my mom's issues I am blessed to have family that shares concern and it seems like a lot of my friends are working with similar issues. I've found this again and again, when we stop resisting what's going on, when we stop saying "this shouldn't happen to me", we start to see a way through. What's more we develop understanding and the intimacy of not running away, showing up, doing what we can do and often being surprised at that.

A resource I have found very helpful through this last while is one of those books that I read a little at a time, digesting the words and going back to them again. Pema Chodrun's "When things Fall Apart", gives a lot of insight about moving through uncertainty, using it as an opportunity to open up, to stay present and have compassion for ourselves and others. I recommend it highly.

It's also good to remember that the Tower is followed in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, by the Star. When we let go of belief structures that do our thinking for us, we begin to get glimpses of our greater self, our real potential. Our direction , like following a pole star, isn't based so much on circumstances but on a sense of something greater. Our security isn't much if it's based on what we can lose, if we are worrying over it, it's owning us. Change, difficult as it is, can be our friend. It can free us up and show us what has been owning us. Our creativity and ingenuity can overcome tough times. They say "necessity is the mother of invention" and tough times help us see what really is necessary.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cycles Of Change

I had some news today that I am passing along. My previous longstanding location Blackletter Books & Collectibles at 1170 Main St. (here in Winnipeg) will be closing this spring. They will be having a huge 75% off sale commencing January 14th and continuing until the closing.

I owe a lot to this place, it allowed me to really become independantly established. Although we were always seperate businesses (I rented space there) we shared a phone number and I learned a great deal working with Jan (the owner). When I moved earlier in 2012, (partly due to family that needs me nearer) it was a cooperative and respectful change. Jan has continued to let my clients know where I've gone and how to reach me, a pretty strong reflection of his great character and a fraternal mutual respect I value highly. I have known of places that have psychics that don't allow for contact beyond that establishment, like hairdressers or other service areas sometimes when you leave clients sometimes have to really search to find you or you have to advertise heavily. I have had a pretty straightforward transition partly due to things like this blog but again largely thanks to Jan continuing to let people know where I've gone and how to get ahold of me.

Over the last two decades Blackletter has been a staple in the North End (it was on Selkirk Ave. for quite a few years before we shared space for the last 17 years on Main) and a respected name in the used book business in Winnipeg, with many dealers coming from other cities stopping by. This industry has had to face a lot of change and transition in the last few years. This is not the first business of it's kind that has had to close in the last few years. I hope Jan will be doing something further, perhaps in a different format and rest assured I will be posting to let people know.

In the the next few months there will be some tremendous deals in terms of merchandise, I will definately be stopping by not just for the sale, but to say goodbye to a place I love and to wish Jan well and show my support to whatever the next chapter holds. I encourage you all to do the same. His hours are 10 to 6 Tues. to Fri. and 10 to 5 Saturday. The phone number there for further inquiries is (204)586-2702