Friday, July 30, 2010

Upcoming Art Exhibit by Charles McDougall

The show is called
"The Mystery and Magic of the Manitoba Legislature."
7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 2  
at the Cr8ery Gallery.
2nd floor – 125 Adelaide St.   
(in the Winnipeg Exchange district) 


For more about Charles' work visit Foxtower Photography

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keeping Readings A Healthy Resource (Not Unhealthy Dependence)




Some thoughts around how a majority of practitioners (that I know) and myself work ethically in not taking advantage of vulnerability or encouraging dependence on reading. Readings are an occasional resource and not meant to take the place of other areas of help and support. Most of the readers we have here in Winnipeg follow a good, down to earth and trustworthy approach but, as in any profession, there are sometimes the (fortunately rare) bad apples. Always trust your OWN instincts when it comes to readings.  Also watching out for scams or "up selling". For more on how to avoid these, see my article from 2010 on how to avoid scams, along with information on how to report these things if you encounter them, at:
Curses! Foiled Again!! (avoiding scams)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Curses! Foiled Again!

I have had some feedback lately from clients that have been to another reader in the city (Winnipeg, but this goes on elsewhere) that I will not name. They report that after a reading that seemed fairly accurate the reader went on to tell them that the cause of their problems or difficulties is a curse, a curse that the reader could remove for them but it is strenuous (of course) and that it is a costly procedure - $700.00 to be exact. When the client told the reader they do not have that kind of money the reader said (ominously) "come back when you have it".

I have heard of this before, it hasn't surfaced ( to me anyway) for a good many years. Back in the late 80's a local newspaper did an expose on this and the reader said "you can believe or not, I believe they have a curse". They were not shut down and their licence (at the time there was a city licence that required a background check, there isn't now) was not revoked. Back then the cost of curse removal was $500.00 and (get this) a pork roast - because the curse would get transferred into the pork, much like the biblical casting out of demons into pigs.

This type of scam, (you can believe it's not a scam, I choose to believe it is) manifests in many forms.  Sometimes they wait until they have read for the person more than once, building a degree of trust. I also have noticed that they seem to generally target certain ethnic groups, and always it is people that are carrying a degree of worry when they come in. They seem to be quite good at picking a mark.

Whenever people come to me with this sort of issue I point out that it is not in my area of expertise. I do not deal in curses, spells or energetic issues outside of what is within the persons own ability to identify in their own patterns and work with themselves. I NEVER bring up a cost outside of the reading they have booked and I don't tell them they have to come back. In my practice (and that of others in my field that I respect) a reading is meant to work in compliment to the person's own judgment. A good reader does not try to make the client dependent on them.  It's nice when people come back (I usually encourage waiting at least a season) and usually when I give a recommendation (counselling etc.) it is a referral to a resource that is free (see the area to the right  titled "Useful Links" for some resources around the Internet and here in Winnipeg).

I should mention too that there are resources to energetic work that can be helpful, such as practitioners of Reiki, alternative healing and various forms of work. Part of learning to work with intuitive awareness is about identifying what is baggage we are carrying and also how to have a healthy defense system in dealing with energy that is unhealthy for us. Like any profession there are those with abilities that are worthy of their hire and you can shop around, check their reputations and in most cases,if these people are working conscientiously they will be above board in what they do.

If you ask around there are a good many people in various fields that can be helpful. many of the local resources that I respect in energetic work (energetic clearing) are responsible practitioners, they will offer suggestions in a way that is self empowering and not about creating dependency. They usually will tell you that this (energetic work) IS in their area of experience, you know this is what you are going for when you go in - fair enough. These people charge reasonably and  to each their own.

At the same time there are things to watch out for - ANY time a person brings this sort of thing up in an intimidating or threatening way and tells you not to breathe a word of it to anyone that's a huge red flag. Also if you have a belief system, faith or religion that follows this sort of belief, there are usually people whose job it is to take care of this for you (elders, priests, ministers etc.) and they often are operating either on a not for profit basis where perhaps a token offering is made or their services are offered for a reasonable rate that should not have surprise costs.

My advice is always to take what a reader says (myself included) with a grain of salt. Your life, health, well being (physically, emotionally and spiritually) are ultimately your own responsibility. Anytime a reader makes you uncomfortable, scares you or encourages dependency on them as the only solution to your problems, walk away.

Also, if you don't want to be responsible for yourself, instead choosing to believe that all your life's ills are caused by fate or curses, then I am definitely NOT the reader for you. By all mean go to the sort of person that supports that. I should mention though that you might need a second job, in the cases I have heard of the 700 will not be enough, part of the scam is that once they know they've got you they can say the curse was heavier than they thought, (apparently like lice, more than one treatment may be necessary) and subsequent treatments go up considerably in price.

Additional note: If you or someone you care about has fallen victim to or has encountered a scam or fraud, one of the important things to do is contact your local law enforcement, the Better Business Bureau and also whatever federal agency that may cover your jurisdiction, here in Canada that would be Service Canada

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just Around The Corner

We certainly seem to be moving through a time of great change. Some would say when are we not? There's so much going on in the world that has our usual patterns going haywire, from weather and other environmental concerns, to economic shifts that have had everyone feeling apprehensive.


My area of intuitive work is more on a "one on one" basis in working with people's life energies. I see a lot of issues working through in vastly different ways. Many who are approaching retirement for instance, are looking at a different set of potentials than they had envisioned just as little as three or four years ago. The impact works through, directly and indirectly on a number of levels. People aren't as quick to get divorced in some situations as the necessities of staying together are different. Issues around how we care for our elderly and our children and communities are more at the forefront.


I'll leave the astrological predictions of the time to people much more qualified on those levels. It is interesting that the later part of this month does have some big transits going on, Saturn into Libra, Mars, Uranus all moving into different signs. There's some big alignments taking place, but again, some would say when isn't there? Many of these things point to the later part of this month through October as a time of some very big bumps and shifts. Most of the resources I find useful though also stress that we have to grow through this, not just go through it.

On a personal level, I've had to, like so many, look at priorities and security in the last few years. When I made the decision to have my business and much of my life settled in Winnipeg's North End, some people found that odd. It is an area that does have poverty and struggle, but it also has endurance, character, some very good people who care about community and a sense of loyalty in the support of neighbors. I don't think we would be still operating had we gone with a more expensive or "trendy" location. Our area is often in the news, but I can also say that I have a sense of safety here. I get panhandled less in the north end than I do downtown. A friend asked me recently how is business, my running joke is some days it's Kraft Dinner and some days No-Name Mac and Cheese. I have had to make some transformational, not just circumstantial changes in my life.

The picture (above left) is from Charlie Chaplin's silent film "The kid" with Jackie Coogan (who went on to play Uncle Fester in the Addams Family TV show- how's that for trivia). The film was made in the time of the great depression. It was in that time that the home I live in was built. It's a place that has what they now call a "granny flat", in other words it's an old duplex, but with the ability to convert easily into a single dwelling. Back in the time it was built a lot of families lived - by necessity- cooperatively. I've been blessed to have, in addition to my biological family, an extended family that tries to live that way. I've been part of adult kids moving back home (building bunk beds requires a DEFINITE sense of humor). What some would have seen as inconvenience has always turned out to be something incredibly important, a privilege to be part of  and there's a lot through it all that has helped me grow.

As a reader, I find I am picking up more and more, not just on the circumstantial changes people are moving through, but more importantly the transformational changes we have to come to terms with. Things aren't going to get back to "normal" folks. This is normal, this is it. We have had a 60 to 70 year detour, time to get back to what has helped us survive. That's just my opinion. I said in an interview about two years ago that we need to look at the experience of people in the earlier part of the last century, take back the wisdom we have stuck in nursing homes and disowned. Listen to our elders and be prepared to share that experience. Sorry if this seems heavy, but at the same time, I am not the sort to just placate where we sometimes need to wake up. It is a heavy time, but it is also a time of great positivity.

Transformational change is where we find tools and muscles we haven't used before. I believe the Creator gave us these things when we set out on our journeys, but it isn't until we get to these inconveniences sometimes that they really wake up. True there are some that actually go looking for transformational change, but real awakening isn't just a weekend retreat at Mount Shasta (don't get me wrong a weekend retreat can be a great thing and for some very helpful, but real transformation is not something we can usually schedule). We are moving into the real acid test of a lot of the new age learning and discovery that came in during the 60's. We have a generation approaching retirement that could be the greatest benefactors of mentorship in the history of the world. We might not get to loll for half the year on a pristine beach, we might have to go for a holiday then come home and work part time in our communities, but low and behold we MIGHT just be better off and richer in other ways than we would be otherwise.

So that being said, (I know, I have to stop saying "that being said"), I think we are in for a LOT of positive change. Fasten your seat belts! I always come back to the Desiderata, the part about "look after your career, it is a real possession" is not just about looking after your job, it's about doing what you do in a way that expresses who you are, and especially; "whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should".

Friday, July 2, 2010

A funny little interview

I try to keep a sense of humor when dealing with the random calls that come through from the press. Often around Friday the 13th or New years they go through the phone book and ask for predictions. I also find that (like a lot of people's perceptions) there is the immediate assumption that I am a fortune teller, a clairvoyant, a person who would be able to explain the ancient Mayans or any number of things. I try to be good natured with these assumptions, it goes with the turf, but I also am pretty clear about my own limitations and boundaries. The following is a good example of that. I should mention too that I was slightly misquoted on two things; I dont run Blackletter Books, I work co-operatively within that business and I don't implicitly trust Environment Canada, I use it as a resource that I take with a grain of salt (just as I'm sure a lot of the people I see make use of what I offer)
Interview about the weather - Winnipeg free Press

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Prairie Flower - The Crocus

The Crocus is the official flower of Manitoba. They symbolize beauty and endurance.
Some while back I wrote a little poem that had these elements in it and I came across it today in some files.
I feel like putting it up on the blog because this is also grad season; a lot of students starting a new chapter in their lives and for a lot of teachers, some much earned rest before going back to the grind.
When I wrote this, I thought of the teachers I know that love what they do.
This is for them:

The Crocus

She stands and looks at the row of desks
Like the furrows on her father’s farm
That she left nearly 40 years ago
Moved to Brandon
Got her teaching degree
And for the last 4 decades
She’s planted in these furrows
Some years it was a hard crop
The year Randy Benson
The terror of the middle school
Landed in her back row
She understood though
That he sometimes slept because he worked nights
He reminded her of her brother Frank
All feet and calloused hands
She knew better than to read aloud to the whole class the poetry
That came in like a late harvest in November
She had a way with the roughhousers
“If it’s under my classroom door when I get here on Monday, I’ll grade it as Friday”
No one ever thought Randy would be one of the ones to go on to brighter things.
Yet there he was off to Winnipeg and then Toronto.
She’d rarely taken a day off sick
Farmer’s daughter that she was
Crops and cows don’t know the word “burnout”
There had been the years she’d thought of giving up
Usually round about February
But always by the end of spring she’d renew her contract.
The new principle just might stick,
Fresh ideas but a good respect for “if it aint broke don’t fix it”.
She moves through the classroom now straightening desks
Preparing her furrows for another year.
Mr. Hoglund the caretaker will  be repainting this summer.
There’s rumors about computers but the board has to approve the budget.
She notices on her desk what she had not seen before
A little clay pot and in it
Gently taken from the prairie earth and living still
A treasure for her garden
A crocus
The little flower that comes every year
Small and sturdy
Roots running  into the prairie earth
All the sweeter having come through winter
Delicate and yet enduring
Back for another year

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Three Of Wands

Once again, time has gone by since my last post. Lots of activity around community events and such. Things that have taken me away from blogging, but good just the same to get out of my usual routines and participate in areas where I can be useful in other ways. I am following the suggestion of a friend who read my post on the three of pentacles and asked about my take on the three of wands. In some ways, my busy-ness has been a kind of three of wands experience.

I generally approach interpretation in a reading on not just the card itself, but what it is saying in relation to the other cards and also what it fits with in what I am receiving intuitively. Sometimes I find that the overall reading is summed up in a particular card and will go into that more in-depth. I always find a richness in Pamela Coleman Smith's illustrative skill (she was the artist who created the Rider Deck, under the guidance of Arthur Edward Waite).

When we look at the details of the card somethings become quickly apparent. The figure wears a circlet and a tartan. This lets us see that he is a ruler of a particular domain. He has climbed to a vantage point, with the aid of the staves, to look out beyond his known world at a vast sea, which has three ships sailing upon it.

In the Rider Imagery, the "great sea" is often representative of life beyond our comfort zone. The realm of the future, full of risk and potential. Lets remember that in the medieval period that is used in illustration, going to sea was a great life risk. Entire fortunes could be made or lost on just a single voyage. So for our little clan chieftain this is an area of great concern. It means going beyond the idea of  being a big fish in a little pond. risking commerce and trade with the wider world. No matter how big we think we've become, there's always an experience that's greater. A truly great person is someone who is willing to acknowledge what is greater than themselves and learn from it.

So my usual take on the three is to see it as an opportunity, a doorway into that experience. If what we have attained thus far has given us useful tools we will be able to negotiate through the challenges. It's a reminder too that success is an ongoing process, we don't stay fit on yesterday's exercise. Our growth involves ongoing challenge. Sometimes too we have to let go and let a process work itself through, once we have begun to venture forward it is very hard to just go back to our old ideas of limitations.

A big part of all of the threes is interaction and the emergence of patterns, putting our concepts into action and relating our internal consciousness to the outside world. In the Celtic cross spread the third position is often seen as a start or the first emergence of an idea into actuality, often the basis of a question.