Over a year? Really?
The older I get, the faster time moves. Imagine my utter shock when I logged in to update my website and noticed that I have not added a new entry in over a year.
I'm currently finished up work on the Wizards Tarot, coming out in March. It was really fun to create, partly because I had a great opportunity to hide some Easter eggs in the images. The deck was influenced by fantasy literature, TV series, and movies. You can see nods to some of my favorites like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, JK Rowling's Harry Potter books and movies, and The Magicians (both series and books) by Lev Grossman, for example. There is even a nod to the movie Serenity, although it is actually Sci Fi. Nevertheless, there is a nod to River Tam. Even so, not knowing these works will absolutely not get in the way of working with this deck. So even if you aren't as big a nerd as I am, you'll still love it...if you love magic, that is.
The Queen of Cups was posted a while ago (you can see it HERE).
And here are a few more that I really like and hope you do, too. I said just a few but got carried away. There are so many I like.
I'm in Minnesota
So let's connect! I'd love to share about my new life in California and on the farm with my sufi landlords. When I get home, I have chickens waiting for me!
Today, Thursday, June 21, I'll be at the Eye of Horus in Minneapolis from 6 - 8, signing books and hanging out with cool people. You are cool, so come join us.
Saturday, June 23 from 7 - 9 is PARTY TIME!
We are launching Tarot in Wonderland with fun, drink, fun, and gifts. Join us at my sister's store, Urban Relic, 1062 West 7th Street in St. Paul. I miss my Minnesota peeps, so even if you don't care about tarot, come say hello.
Sunday, June 24 from 4:30 until around 5:30 (or longer depending on who's hanging out), we are having a little open house. Not quite a party, but a nice space for visiting, catching up.
Hope to see!
Wonderful Wonderland Review
After a frustrating delay, Tarot in Wonderland is finally shipping and making its way into the hands of curious seekers everywhere.
Do all authors have a love/hate relationship with reviews. Maybe not all, but I sure do. I really like this review by the smart and creative Benebell Wen (it particularly makes me happy that she recognizes Eugene's other art). You can read it HERE.
But now my mind is turning to the next project. Have I shown you a picture of the art yet? It is too early to discuss much but a little teaser never hurt anyone, right? Meet your next Queen of Cups.
Spiritual and Energetic Wellbeing
The Modern Guide to Energy Clearing is making its way out into the world, beyond my wonderful team at Llewellyn. Some reviewers are starting to share their opinions. Here are a few from NetGalley:
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As an introvert and empath who is into all things spiritual, I very much enjoyed this book. The author's tone was friendly and down to earth, but she also takes these concepts and her work seriously and I admire and respect that. The book does a wonderful job at showing why energy work is important to learn and practice. I do wish more attention had been given to the cord cutting section, but overall, this was an amazing read. The blessings section was particularly beautiful and expounds on a practice I already regularly include in my life. Will recommend and will read again!
Great guide to Energy Healing. The information includes not only energy clearing (which is the primary focus), but also touches upon containment and cultivation. The author gives a good number of techniques, all of which are easily accessible. Importantly, she advises that each practitioner use those ideas that speak to them individually. These are simple to perform as well as to incorporate easily into everyday life. Recommended.
To give you a better idea of my approach, here is an excerpt:
Spiritual and Energetic Wellbeing
Energy clearing and cultivation are great practices for making your home, office, or even your car feel good and safe. You can use these ideas to help support your own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Good energy management can create a life with greater balance and peace, but energy work goes much farther than that. In fact, consistent energy clearing and cultivation is essential to living your soul’s purpose and that’s pretty exciting.
The idea of your “soul’s purpose” is a powerful but often misunderstood phrase. Too often we think that our soul’s purpose is like a glorified career guidance counselor that will tell you what to do to earn a living, as if our soul came to this earth to gain a specific job title. It makes sense that we think that because our culture really drives home the point that we are what we do for a living. The truth is that our job title can be part of how we express our soul’s purpose. Our soul’s purpose is the reason and the way we do what we do rather than what we. To complicate things further, your soul’s purpose isn’t just one word or sentence. It isn’t something finite but rather an ongoing dance between you and the Divine. With each step of the dance, we are changed so our soul’s purpose or at least our conscious understanding of it evolves. The more we live it, the more it reveals itself to us. Perhaps the simplest way I can describe it is that your soul’s purpose is the collection of ideals that you hold most dear, the ideals that you are willing to do whatever it takes to live up to.
But who among us fully lives up to our own ideals each and every minute of every day? I know I don’t. This means that our soul’s purpose is something we express in the world and it is also our North Star that guide us through the dark and confusing times as well as affirms our steps during easier, clearer times. I heard an interesting tidbit: airplanes are off course ninety percent of the time and pilots are always course correcting. Pilots learn that they have to continually adjust for changing circumstances. Sometimes I feel like my life is like that, that I’m kind of heading in the right direction but also kind of not. During those times, I find it’s important to pay attention to my energy and the energy around me in order to correct my course. That is another benefit of good energy health. The more robust your energetic health is the easier it is tell when you are off track.
Thinking about energy work, living your soul’s purpose, and just plain old living life as a continuous sequence of course corrections is actually a relief. Knowing that the point is the journey and that we are not required or even meant to ever completely “arrive” takes the pressure off. We are allowed and expected to make mistakes. Mistakes are valuable teaching moments especially with energy work. We cannot quantify and measure and label this work in any sort of scientific manner, so we really do have to rely on our experience. Because of that, energy work does not require a complete lifestyle change.
In fact, overhauling your life would be more of an effective distraction from the real work of developing sustainable practice in your life right now. For example, Minimalism is very popular right now and while it does draw from ideas about energy work, some of the Minimalist techniques are just too overwhelming for most of us to adopt easily. I rarely have time to clean a drawer or closet; it’s unlikely my family and I would have the time for a Packing Party. A Packing Party is where you invite people over to help you pack up your house as if you are moving in one day, even everyday essentials. Then you unpack what you need as you need it. After three weeks, whatever isn’t unpacked gets thrown away, donated, or sold. For some this is the perfect approach, but it can make others feel defeated before they begin. Instead, the energy clearing and cultivation that I practice simply involves one good decision at a time within the life you are currently living.
In order to make good decisions, to make appropriate course corrections, and to live your soul’s purpose, you have to be energetically clear. Think about your ideals. In fact, write them down. What beliefs mean the most to you? When you are between a rock and a hard place, what ideal helps you decide what to do? What matters to you? Those things are the essence of your soul’s purpose. Once you have your list, think about your past twenty-four hours. In what ways did your behavior, actions, words, feelings, and thoughts reflect your cherished ideals? Which ones did not? If you are like me, some things really are expressions of your values and some are not.
Joshua Fields Millburn (one of the The Minimalists) often says in his podcasts that if you show him your budget and your schedule, he can name your values. He means this in a slightly provocative way, because for most of us, our budgets and schedules do not reflect our true values but rather what we think we are supposed to value. It is a statement meant to make us think seriously about how we spend our time and our money. If we are human beings with free will and the ability to make conscious decisions, why do we make decisions about our time, money, and behavior that separate us from our values rather than embody them? That is a great question. In fact, it might be the question. “Why do I behave in ways that are not in alignment with my beliefs and ideals?” One answer is “well, I am only human.” That works but it is also a cop out. No one likes to think about where they’ve fallen short, unless they (like I’m ashamed to admit that I do) like to beat themselves up about it for a while. Yet, these moments, these mistakes or failures are road signs that point us to where we can find energy issues that need attention. In order to live your soul’s purpose, in order to live your values in your daily life, you need to be free from energetic disharmony. We identify our points of departure from our guiding values, figure out what caused the discrepancy, and deal with it. Then we can more easily correct our course toward becoming the people we truly want to be. The alternative is to be controlled, reacting to life rather than engaging with it in a mindful and meaningful way.
The next two chapters lay the foundation for our exploration of energy clearing. First we will establish a shared vocabulary. After that, we will discuss the basics of energetic health.
Spiritual and energetic health and wellbeing is about so much more than waving around a burning stick of sage or plugging in a salt lamp (although those things are really useful!). It is about knowing what you value and keeping yourself free so that you can live those values in the world in your own beautiful and unique way. You have great medicine in you that we desperately need. So pick up that sage bundle and let’s get to work so that you can express your glorious soul, support other glorious souls, and heal our world.
 I don’t remember where I heard the original mention, but when I looked into it to verify the facts, I found this: Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H80833B, (OK, Oklahoma City: US Department of Transportation, 2016), 6-2.
 Millburn, Joshua Fields. Minimalist Podcast. http://www.theminimalists.com/podcast/.
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Safe at Home After Many Adventures
One of the most difficult aspects of creating this deck is that Alice really has so many difficult and strange adventures but very few happy ones. This made designing some of the pleasant cards more challenging, including this one. But the ending of Wonderland, when Alice wakes all cozy and safe at home does quite nicely, don't you think?
10 of Pentacles
Through the Looking Glass
In the text, Alice’s sister is mentioned, but not any other family specifically. Instead, Dinah, Snowball, and Kitty are her closest companions from this world that show up in the stories. In Wonderland, Alice’s sister imagines what waking world sounds inspired Alice’s dream. In Looking Glass, Alice does her own analysis, perhaps showing that she is indeed growing up and becoming more self-reflective.
Alice talks to the kittens as if they are people, trying to find answers to some of the questions that plague her. “‘Now, Kitty, let’s consider who it was that dreamed it all. This is a serious question, my dear, and you should not go on licking your paw like that—as if Dinah hadn’t washed this morning!. You see, Kitty, it must have been either me or the Red King. He was part of my dream, of course—but then I was part of his dream, too! Was it the Red King, Kitty? You were his wife, my dear, so you ought to know—Oh, Kitty, do help to settle it! I’m sure your paw can wait!’ But the provoking kitten only began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn’t heard the question.” No matter how many unanswered questions Alice has and no matter how often the cats will not do as she asks, Alice is safe, comfortable, and loved in the drawing room by the fire.
Down the Rabbit Hole
In a reading, this card shows the gifts of a stable and loving family, the value of legacy, and the comfort of tradition. While we know all too well that family often brings obligations and dysfunctions that we’d rather do without, we also know that our ancestors and our current families also benefit us. This card reminds you to value those benefits, to honor them within your own life. Throughout this suit we’ve seen out the material and spiritual worlds are bound together. This is true here, too. Material and spiritual stability and life are important gifts that family members give each other. If this is not true in your life, this card asks you to change that.
Keywords: stable family, security, wealth, abundance, comfort, roots, plans for the future, connection, balanced and happy life
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This is one of the first images Eugene created for this deck and I just love the perspective. While we all love Pixie's compositions in the RWS deck, changing the angle of a scene can make a static moment more dynamic. Plus, the Hanged Man does remind us of the importance of seeing things from different points of view.
7 of Wands
Through the Looking Glass
During the trial of the Knave of Hearts, Alice is ordered to leave the courtroom because, according to Rule 42, newly penned by the King, “all persons more than a mile high to leave the court.” Alice stands up for herself, claiming she is not a mile high. A short time later, she proclaims, “Stuff and nonsense!...The idea of having the sentences first!” when the Queen insists that sentences come before verdicts. The Queen orders Alice to be beheaded and for the first time when so ordered, nobody moves. “‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). ‘You are nothing but a pack of cards!’”
“At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her…and [she] tried to beat them off….” Alice wasn’t afraid because she was filled with the strength of her convictions. She knew she was right and wasn’t going to be cowed by a ruthless Queen and ineffectual King. Once she realized her own power, she was able to face those who had become her enemies. In the text, this is when she wakes from her dream. If, as many believe, this story is about growing up, Alice has reached a stage of maturity where she knows right from wrong and knows that she must defend her values.
Down the Rabbit Hole
In a reading, this card describes a situation where you must take a stand against what feels like incredible odds. As the chaos swirls around, you keep your balance and your head by keeping true to your ideals and fighting for what is right. Just as Alice wakes before we learn the outcome of her fight, this card does not guarantee victory. The important thing is to defend the truth as you see it. That matters more than winning. Hold tight to your convictions and tap into your deepest reserves of courage and face all comers with integrity.
Keywords: defending, protecting, valor, courage, standing up for beliefs, bravery, resolve, taking action
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A Little Announcement
I just found out that my forthcoming Modern Guide to Energy Clearing made Aspire Magazine's April 2018 To 10 Inspiring Books List. Pretty nice!
Take a look at the others on the list. Maybe you'll find something perfect for you. Click HERE.
What is His Sorrow?
It is common to use "happy" or "positive" cards in blogs, especially when they are trying to promote the deck. But to be honest, I find the ones that portray those harder moments of human life to be more poignant and interesting. This is one of those cards.
4 of Cups
Through the Looking Glass
The Mock Turtle is one of the saddest creatures in the text. “…Alice could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. ‘What is his sorrow?’ she asked the Gryphon. And the Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same words as before, ‘It’s all his fancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know…’” We never really know why he is so sad, except that he used to be a real turtle. We don’t know how or why he became a Mock Turtle. This chapter, in fact, leaves a lot of questions unanswered and many Carroll lovers dissatisfied. Many who’ve analyzed the story say that this part lacks the richness of the rest of the story. It is entertaining and clever, but it’s all sizzle and no steak. Which makes the Mock Turtle an even more appropriate choice for this card.
If grief or heartbreak are not processed, they become a pointless cycle, leading nowhere. There is no transformation or redemption. Even the fishes in Wonderland value having a purpose. “‘They were obliged to have him [the porpoise] with them,’ the Mock Turtle said, ‘No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.’” In this card, the Mock Turtle has forgotten his own wise advice, as we often do when we are in the depths of despair.
Down the Rabbit Hole
In a reading, this card shows someone who is unhappy, disengaged, and lackadaisical. This is not a card of mourning nor of heartbreak, although either of those emotions could have been the starting point. When we hold our emotions tightly, rather than letting them flow to be experienced and processed, they stagnate. Like the Mock Turtle, you’ve dwelt too long in the past. You’ve held on too long to some slight or some disappointment, and now it has transformed and filled your heart and mind with ennui. You are dissatisfied with what you have. You cannot see any fresh possibilities even though they are right under your nose. The card does not indicate whether you shake this off or keep stewing, so it is completely your choice.
Keywords: discontent, dissatisfaction, ennui, boredom, lack of gratitude, depression, resisting change, stagnation, lack of inspiration
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Which Way Should I Go?
This card worked out so nicely. It includes elements from a scene in the text (I use "text" to refer to the combined works, both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) that fits in really nicely with the traditional RWS composition.
2 of Swords
Through the Looking Glass
“‘In that direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives a Hatter: and in that direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’”
This is the Cheshire Cat’s advice to Alice when she asks for directions. She isn’t sure where she wants to go, “as long as I get somewhere,” she says. With this information, she weighs her options. She’s seen a hatter before, so that choice is less interesting. Since the month is May, perhaps the Hare won’t be “so mad as it was in March.” As she approaches the Hare’s house, she second guesses her choice, “Suppose it should be raving mad after all! I almost wish I’d gone to see the Hatter instead!”
As it turns out, the Hatter was at the Hare’s and they are both behaving pretty madly. All Alice can do is make the best of it, try to get out of the situation unscathed, and learn whatever lessons she can. In the end, we are all glad she made the decision she did because the Mad Tea Party is one of the most well-known chapters from Wonderland.
Down the Rabbit Hole
In a reading, this card shows a situation where a decision must be made, and it also gives advice about how to make that decision. In many cases, tarot suggests listening to our intuition and values what we think of as “other ways of knowing.” However, the suit of Swords is about logic and reason. Alice sits with her back toward the ocean and the moon, both symbols of the subconscious and intuition. She is blindfolded so that she doesn’t look for more input. She is alone with what she already knows and using that information must make her choice. You already have all the facts that you need. Use your reason, weigh the pros and cons, and make your decision. Waiting for more input is just a way to procrastinate. Neither choice may be optimal and putting off the decision will not change that.
Keywords: needing to make a decision, insufficient data, lack of facts, denial, feeling conflicted, head and heart in opposition
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In addition to Tarot in Wonderland, which releases at the end of April, I have another new project coming in June. It is my first non-tarot (or non-oracle) work via traditional publishing (my wife and I wrote and self-published a book about dating).
This book was written during a really challenging time in my life. Because it wasn't tarot, with its own handy built-in structure, and because I never considered myself an expert in energy work, it was so hard to write. Last week I worked on my author proofs and queries from my editor. It was the first time I looked at the text in ten months (publishing has a LONG lead time) and I was so scared. But to my surprise (and likely due to my editor's very hard work), it was actually good. I felt proud of it.
Here's a little bit of the Introduction, to give you an idea of what to expect. I'll post more little snippets throughout the coming weeks.
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When my publisher asked me to write a book on energy clearing, my initial reaction was “But that’s not my area of expertise; I don’t know nearly enough to fill a book.” Initial reactions can be tricky. Sometimes they are inspired moments of knowing (also called intuition). Most times, though, they are reactions shaped by deeply furrowed patterns that may or may not be based in truth. After releasing the initial fear about taking on a new challenge, I was able to respond more thoughtfully.
As it turns out, I’ve consciously worked with energy for most of my adult life, even before I was grounded in a wide understanding of a variety of New Age ideas. While these stories I’m about to share may not have been my first attempts at deliberate energy working, they are the first I remember. Without any experience in or knowledge of modern magic, I created a ritual to help my sister sell her home and one to help a friend’s husband find a job. They worked. Both were simple rituals, designed in ways that made sense to me and used things that are found in most homes, or at least most middle class, suburban homes, which is where I live. My understanding and practice grew slowly at first and then more quickly when I discovered the New Age materials. The culmination of my current understanding came together only a few months before being asked to write this book.
In April 2016, I was a main stage presenter at the annual tarot conference in New York called The Readers Studio. You see, tarot is my recognized area of expertise and has been a part of my life since the late 1980s. I’ve written many books, designed decks, given readings, presented at conferences all over the world, and taught students in person and online through a year-long correspondence course.
Tarot to me is far more than a divination tool. It is a sacred text that contains something more important than ways to peek into the future. Within the cards, I find spiritual wisdom and practical teachings. Tarot has become the lens through which I see the world. How does tarot apply to energy work? There is a direct connection. Don’t worry, though; after this story, tarot won’t be mentioned again.
Most people who want to learn the cards focus almost entirely on the card meanings, which, of course, are important. But many people get frustrated when they try to do a reading. Readings that focus only on the card meanings are often disjointed at best and confusing at worst. You see, in the space between cards is where the real magic occurs. All the cards have a specific energy. When we simply observe the energy of the card in isolation, nothing much happens. When the cards interact is when they come to life. When the cards are read in relation to each other it is easier to see what is actually happening in a situation..
After assessing the situation, we can use the cards to determine advice. We do this by bringing in other cards that represent actions the seeker can take. We analyze the probable results. If the results are not what the seeker prefers, we try other cards. We figure out what kind of energy to tap in order to create the desired (or best possible) result. Years of paying attention to how the energy of the cards affects each other enhanced my understanding of working with energy in my daily life. But this is not what my 2016 presentation was about.
Ironically, my two and a half hour workshop did not focus on how to read the cards or share a new technique. Instead, it was about clearing our space, both internally and externally, in order to be better people and thereby better readers., It is kind of funny how this thinking has become such a part of the way I look at and move through the world that I didn’t even realize that I do, in fact, have an understanding of and experience in energy work.
What to Expect
My understanding evolved slowly and through everyday experiences. I didn’t learn some complex esoteric system or take training through a trademarked or certified energy school or teacher. There is nothing wrong with those paths, if they are your paths and if they resonate with the deep chord of your heart. But if you are reading this book, I suspect you are like me and favor personal experience and intimate connections that spring from within rather than taking on the cloak of someone else’s practice.
This book is for you if you are looking for a clear way of understanding energy, seeking practices that help you to live more freely, and hoping to improve yourself, your environment, and even larger world around you. This is, in fact, the main goal of becoming adept at energy management: to be unencumbered of anything that takes away your free will and causes you to act in ways that are not in accordance with your ideals.
You may be wondering what makes this a modern guide to energy clearing. There are two main traits that make this approach, at least in my mind, more modern. The first is that this book provides ways of thinking about and understanding the energy at work in our own lives and more importantly in ourselves. This differs from other approaches that follow a step-by-step prescription. My hope is that by guiding you as you form your understanding of energy that you also find what works for you, which may not be what works for me or someone else. It’s like understanding the basics of cooking. Once you know how some things that work, some simple principles, and your own preferences, you can make a meal out of virtually anything. Likewise, if you recognize the flow (or lack thereof) of energy in your life, understand what effects that flow, and know your own best state of being, you can “do” energy work anytime and anywhere.
The other characteristic that makes this approach modern is that real energy work is about controlling the outside world but controlling yourself. Many energy books focus on clearing external energy, but you will find that most of the energy work presented here has more to do with clearing and cultivating your own energy. The result of that work could very well be considered a third way that this book is modern: freedom. My greatest wish for you is that you are liberated from energy patterns that have controlled your life so that you are free to become the person you were meant to be and want to be.
The ideas presented here will be written in as neutral language as possible and broad enough to be adaptable to your personal beliefs because, and this is very important, I’m not promoting a specific practice complete in itself with specific lists of what you must do. Instead, I offer you general ideas, concepts, and practices that can be mixed and matched and modified so that they reflect your truth. The wisest teachers don’t ask you to accept their wisdom but rather lead you to the threshold of your own wisdom. I don’t necessarily claim to be wise, but I do believe a good teacher guides and encourages rather than dictates. I offer these ideas, based on my personal experience and understanding, freely, with no expectation other than to inspire you. If I can find my way to a personal understanding and set of useful and effective practices, so can you. In fact, I am still finding my way. Every single day, as I learn and experience more, my ideas and practices change, and I hope yours do, too.
My understanding of energy and magic was the result of just living my life in the best way I knew how. Energy work is a kind of magic, the kind of magic that creates change in the world according to your will. [AW1] A long time ago, I heard this story about magic that really rang true for me and which applies just as well to energy work. Here is the story as I remember it:
There was a farmer who sought out the advice and magic of the local wise woman. He wanted to learn how his farm could be more prosperous. She gave him a bag of sand and told him to walk around the parameter of his property every morning for a year and a day, dropping a grain of sand every few feet. Over the first few weeks, he noticed things like sections of the fence needing repair, damage to the edges of certain crops, and evidence of intrusive weeds. He began carrying some basic tools and materials on his walks, taking care of things as he found them. He was able to closely observe where things grew well and where they didn’t. He cleared debris after storms and planted trees as wind breaks in exposed areas. As the year progressed, he diligently dropped the grains of sand and attended to his land. The next year, his property was in good repair, his crops abundant, and his animals healthy.
Were those magical grains of sand? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the real magic was the attention paid to what was going on around him.
What does this have to do with energy clearing? We usually look for ways to clear energy when we feel that something is wrong, just as we often only go to the doctor when we don’t feel well. There are definitely ways to correct, cleanse, or clear energy that is inappropriate, stagnant, or just not right. Some may call it negative energy, but that duality doesn’t make sense to me because all energy comes from the Divine. Furthermore, labeling energy as “positive” or “negative” makes us lazy in our observations and identification of energy. Instead, if we talk of “inappropriate” energy, we are encouraged to identify in what ways it is inappropriate and what would be more appropriate or desirable. The more specific we are, the more effective our work can be.
In addition to paying attention to understanding the nature of energy, I talk both about energy clearing and about energy cultivation because the two go hand in hand. After you’ve cleared out the energy that you don’t want, it makes sense to bring in (and cultivate) the energy that you do want. Once any immediate issues are dealt with, we can create healthy spaces within ourselves and our environment. Through good energetic health practices, we create spaces that are resistant to inappropriate energy and are easy to maintain. Just like we don’t brush our teeth once and consider it done for life, our spiritual energy thrives best with consistent habits that support health and vitality. This is true of our personal energy and of the energy in our surroundings.
When we take care of our own energy, we are more stable and able to attend to the energy around us. After clearing and containing basic health, we can cultivate the energy within us and around us to support certain qualities or goals, such as protection, abundance, kindness, or creativity. We attend to ourselves so that we are stronger, liberated, and able to live our soul’s purpose in the world. In short, we attend to our own energy so that we can create ourselves and become the people we want to be. And if the people we want to be are people who want to heal and care for the world we live in and those who share it with us, so much the better.
Your Practice, Not My System
The approach to energetic health that I suggest is not a step-by-step system but rather a template or recipe. People are such unique beings and situations are so complex that it is unrealistic to think that any one approach will be right for everyone or even a majority of people. It is also unrealistic to think that doing the exact same things every day will suffice since each day brings new energy and new challenges. A more flexible, customized approach increases the probability of success. Not only are you more likely to do a practice that fits into your life, the focus will be more specific to your needs, which can change daily.
You will notice that the thinkers who have most influenced my ideas about energy work come from a broad range of subjects as well as various spiritual paths. So much wisdom can easily cross categories. A few decades ago, when I was learning to knit, the incomparable Elizabeth Zimmerman shaped my approach. A prolific author and highly respected teacher, Zimmerman rarely provided normal patterns detailing precisely how many or what kind of stitches to make. Instead, she taught general principles and provided examples of how to use that information to create precisely what you wanted. She empowered knitters to experiment and above all to trust themselves. She said, in her book The Opinionated Knitter, “I deliberately keep my knitting notes vague, because tastes vary, and your brains are as good as mine anyway.” This it is true. Your brains are as good as mine. I may have read more about this topic, practiced longer, and spent more time exploring the general principles of energetic health, but in this book, I’m sharing all I know. Once you’ve read it, the only thing you don’t have, perhaps, is experience. Using your perfectly lovely brains, commonsense, and knowledge of yourself and your life, you can incorporate these principles to achieve your own goals. Based on my own experiences and the information in these pages, I share ideas and suggestions to get you started on your path to becoming the free and awesome person you were born to be.
Clearing and cultivation is not hard or complicated. You don’t have to subscribe to any specific tradition, belief system, or religion. Part 1 will establish a foundational understanding. This includes using clear, common language to create a shared vocabulary that will make it easier to talk about the nature of energy. We will also discuss in greater detail the purpose of energy work. The language and purpose will help us have realistic expectations about what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.
The most important work will be your own personal clearing, which is covered in Part 2. Personal clearing includes creating a toolkit of techniques that you can use in different circumstances as needed, clearing long-standing energy blocks within yourself, and developing an energetic maintenance practice. You can try the techniques as presented and keep notes in a journal about how they worked for you as well as ideas for modifying the techniques to better suit you. After you’ve tried some techniques for yourself, you will use a simple step-by-step process to help you develop a practice that works for you and the life you are living right now. There will be no need to completely overhaul your life or purchase any special items. These ideas can slip easily into your already existing day, as naturally as washing your face or putting on your shoes.
Part 3 moves beyond ourselves and into the greater world. After you are feeling cleared and centered, we move outward, learning about the energy of spaces and places and how you can affect the energy of your home, work place, car, etc. Finally, you’ll learn how simple practices can change the world, one small action at a time.
As mentioned earlier, this book is a guide, not a manifesto of dogma. You will get the most out of it if you read it with a journal (and of course a writing utensil) alongside. There will be exercises for you to try and suggestions for lists, reflections, and general journal entries. Together, your journal and this book will help you create your own personal energy practice.
 Zimmerman, Elizabeth. The Opinionated Knitter (WI, Pittsville: Schoolhouse Press, 2005), 31.