Tarot Card of the Day: 8 of Wands

8 of Wands, Wild Unknown
Quick meaning: Action, Air travel, Movement, Swift change.

The Eight of Wands indicates that your struggles have almost cleared and you have the freedom and space to move forward with your plans and activities. The Eight of Wands contains a high level of energy and movement that propels you forward to reach your goals at a much faster pace than ever before. You can expect to be very busy but this is one of those ‘good busy’ periods where you are enthusiastic and energetic about the progress you are making.

The Eight of Wands represents a very focused kind of motion and activity. The Eights are all about structure while the Wands are about raw energy. Thus, the structure of the Eight creates a channel through which the raw energy can flow. You are so sure about your goal that all distractions have been removed and you can devote yourself to the task with complete concentration, determination, and will. This experience can be very productive, allowing you to accomplish a lot in short time.

With the Eight of Wands, you can look forward to the rapid completion of a project that is currently underway but you can also expect to be occupied by something new and even more exciting and inspiring very soon. There really is no stopping you right now as you are just bursting with energy and ideas, and cannot wait to achieve one task in order to start another.

This card is a sign to ‘strike while the iron is hot’. It is most definitely an action-oriented card that encourages you to move quickly to pursue the best opportunities available right now.

Often, the Eight of Wands suggests air travel. It is more likely to be a short-term or whirlwind trip, such as a business trip or holiday. You may even enjoy being part of a tour group that visits ten countries in as many days!
Information Source: Biddy Tarot

This is really exciting & very true to my life right now. I do feel like certain things are rapidly being completed (By early next year all short training courses will be finished) & Travel opportunities are being planned and are on the horizon! I have felt that although busy, I have been waiting for quite a while for a great opportunity to present itself & have therefore being preparing myself for it. I do feel almost prepared now and I am eager to ‘strike whilst the iron is hot’ So I guess I shall have to wait and see what the near future brings.

Read: It’s all Yoga Honey!

So as I am studying everything Yoga related I enjoy finding books and articles centered around personal stories of transformation with the help of Yoga. There are not that many books out there on the market that are published with this theme. Many Yoga books are about the Asanas or Spiritual sciences related to Yoga like Ayurveda, The Gita and The Yoga Sutras. It was a breath of fresh air finding these books I am going to review today because they are about personal accounts from real people and how Yoga became part of their daily life. These books are wonderful because the average person who may want to try Yoga may be intimidated by the intense spiritual texts like the Upanishads or unable to relate to the cold diagrams of Yoga postures in many popular guide books.
The Yoga Diaries The Yoga Diaries: At first when reading this I was a little bit disappointed by the shortness of each story. This book only has 157 pages so it’s a good travel book to fling in your bag to read on the train. I am now half way through this book and I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it, the collection of life stories slowly begin to merge into one big story between numerous souls about triumph over sorrow and adversity and there is this beautiful energy of sharing personal truths and aspirations through out. I have read a few stories about ‘newbie yogis & yoga teachers’ who are on the path of self discovery and teaching their knew found knowledge to others in their community and I really relate to these people. These short stories are brilliant mood lifters when you are feeling lost and alone because it reads like you are talking to a friend who is saying “Hey, it’s OK, I’ve been there too, let me give you a hug, everything will be alright, you’ll see.” Now I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. It is filled with such inspiration, from “real” people. Each sharing their story on how Yoga transforms and guides them. One of the most beautiful aspects of this book is, Yoga is different for everyone and if you’re looking for inspiration to take the plunge into teaching yoga, read The Yoga Diaries! I look forward to their second publication. You can buy this book here.

Fierce Medicine, Ana, T Forrest Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest: Ana Forrest is an amazing lady, I am really inspired by her amazing ability to overcome such harsh life obstacles and has become a pinnacle of inner strength over over adversity.
Ana Forrest describes her unique approach to yoga and her traumatic life history with ruthless honesty. While there is some good instruction on asana & pranayama practice, as well as guidance on how to utilize yoga to foster personal growth, if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to yoga this probably isn’t for you. Her experience with Native American spirituality informs this book & her blending of these two traditions has created a powerful tool for healing emotional wounds. Overall an interesting book, with fascinating insights into one woman’s amazing journey. I am left with a feeling of respect for her courage both in facing up to her past and herself and in rejecting teachers, sacred cows and traditional wisdom when they don’t accord with her own inner truth. To buy this book click here.

Yoga and Body Image, Melanie Klein Yoga & Body Image: In this incredible book, twenty-five authors, including Alanis Morrisette, Seane Corn, Bryan Kest, and Dr. Sara Gottfried, discuss how yoga and body image intersect. With these inspiring personal stories, learn how yoga not only affects your body but also how it affects the way you feel about your body. Each author offers a unique perspective on how yoga has shaped his or her life and provides tips for using yoga to find self-empowerment and a renewed body image. By bringing together a diverse collection of voices that span the spectrum of human experience, this anthology will help you learn to love your body and embrace a healthy lifestyle. I have been waiting a long time for body image to be at the forefront of discussions surrounding the “fitness world” and especially yoga. Through reading personal experiences of these professionals and practitioners of yoga, I have found my own thoughts over and over again. Speaking about the heart of the issue, patriarchal and capitalist media, and how that sometimes crosses over into the new “yoga world,” and bringing personal experiences of turmoil, frustrations, and growth experiences from that, such as these essays provide, reaches directly into the hearts and minds of the audience. Highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with “body positivity,” whether they have practiced yoga for years, have taken a few classes, or even aren’t sure what it’s all about. A great read! I was once again reminded of the importance of being true to who I am. To buy this book, click here.

21st century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice 21st Century Yoga:
This book is greatly needed in today’s society. It is a collection of essays from teachers and scholars around the globe beginning provocative conversations about where Yoga is in today’s modern world. I believe it is a must-read for all teachers, and practitioners of Yoga. The essays take a look at some challenging aspects of our human race such as; addiction, body-image issues, commercialism, and social & environmental activism. This is no single-sided promotion of any one viewpoint, but rather opens a platform for thought and speech, giving us tools for self-study and raises awareness of how our individual impact affects the whole world because we are not separate. The authors display courage to share their personal path through Yoga, and how this relates to the general public/our society. To buy this book click here.
Pigeon pose variation

Since learning more about Yoga I have come to discover it brings about a similar emotional,physical & psychological response as art or dance does. In that it encourages a sense of identity and confidence within ourselves in a world wrapped in chaos. It also stimulates the naturally occurring ‘happy hormones’ activated in the brain and sent to the rest of the body; further reducing heart rate, blood pressure and issues related to them like anxiety, stress and even insomnia. If you ask any qualified Art Therapist they will tell you that this is exactly what creativity does too! Yoga is creativity, it is another art or dance form that turns your body into a moving sculpture. It is a celebration of your body through movement and that is a beautiful thing. Creativity taps into the subconscious mind and so does Yoga and so I believe Yoga & the arts can go hand in hand.
I am really passionate about Art & Dance therapy and I know Yoga can be incorporated into these subjects. Yoga is more than just a type of fitness and more than simply being labelled as another ‘spiritual, new age, hippie fad’ I think it can evolve from these two extremes, I want to bring Yoga into the creative world working alongside art making and dance movement.

Infusion Emporium 2014

Wolverhampton
The weekend in Wolverhampton & the Infusion Emporium event was amazing. It was such a lovely bonus to my week & a half up North with family as it was only about an hours train journey from Blackpool. Wolverhampton is actually quite a charming city with beautiful gothic buildings and spacious, winding streets. I stayed at the Travel Lodge with a lovely lady called Margaret who happened to have similar interests to me. Margaret was in Wolverhampton to see Infusion Emporium shows and I was there to attend two workshops and perform on the open stage. We both have a love of Tea, healthy living, reading & psycho-spiritual philosophies so you can imagine we spent the evenings mainly discussing life than actually sleeping!
Infusion Emporium

Hats off the organizer Alexis Southall & her partner in crime Dan Fullard for creating & maintaining such a spectacular event. I only got a glimpse into what was on offer as I could only really afford the two workshops but if and when I attend next year I will be buying tickets to watch the shows and treating myself to some hand crafted costume goodies! I will also persuade my best friend to come along and maybe even sign up to the open stage to perform a couple of her songs?
Infusion Emporium 2014

Wolverhampton dance academy

One highlight for me was actually a dream come true. I was able to meet Rachel Brice & attend her workshops. I have loved this woman since I was 19 and to me, meeting her is the equivalent to swimming with dolphins. I learned so much from her two hour classes and was just in awe of her warm, down to earth personality with a wicked sense of humor to match. Maybe one day I will be able to enroll on her 8 elements program in San Fransisco? A girl can dream! I wrote her a message in a card with a Tiger’s eye stone inside, I hope she read it.
Rachel Brice workshop UK

Rachel Brice infusion emporium

Rachel Brice, black cat, white cat, Wolverhampton

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meeting Rachel Brice at Infusion Emporium 2014

Alongside a number of other performers I danced on the open stage of the Glitterball shake Down which again was a big achievement for me because even though I have performed for festivals & events all over the UK and abroad, this was my first performance for a Belly Dance event. I designed my costume & dance around mythological creatures, casting spells & Halloween and quite a few people commented with “You look & dance like a Mermaid” which is interesting since I have been told this before at the ‘Medicine Music festival’ in Somerset and when I danced in Morocco. This is a really nice thing for people to say because I love mermaids and their symbolic meaning so being likened to a Mermaid must mean they enjoy my dancing?
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Soon after the open stage finished everyone hit the dance floor, the photos I took were blurry due to low lighting but I managed to snap some good images that really sum up the bizarreness that unfolded through out the rest of the night. One thing I will always remember is at some point, Rachel Brice grabbed my legs, took my camera off me and placed it on the stage and said “Come dance with me!”- Surreal & Magical moment right there! Being here was the happiest I have been since Morocco, I was surrounded by wonderful (slightly nutty) people who made me feel like it was OK to be me, I look forward to seeing them all again next year.
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What am I up to now? Well I have just completed and sent for certificates in Mental Health Studies (L3), Coaching Techniques (L3) & Child Protection Awareness (L2). Now I am enrolling on two more short courses in ‘Understanding Eating Disorders’ level 3 with a college in Cornwall & ‘The Philosophy of Yoga’ with Oxford University’s Hindu studies program. I have also almost finished my second Children’s book with just 5 illustrations to work on before I start designing the book layout. I am going to be pretty busy up until Christmas and straight into the New Year which I am happy about. I feel like this year has been a year of learning & developing my knowledge in preparation for the future. I have really pushed myself to achieve numerous things and my confidence is blossoming. I really do feel like I am acknowledging my true self and the fire burning with passion from within my heart & soul.

9 days with family

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These photos pretty much sum up my time up in the North of England during the last week of October (2014). My family are based in the county of Lancashire in a town called Blackpool, near Manchester. When I was 20 I had pretty much flew the nest due to University commitments & spending my summers living in Cyprus. By my mid 20’s I did temporarily come home before leaving again to settle with Jon in Plymouth, Devon. It is a lovely feeling coming back home, to the memories and comforts, to what you know and what you hope to bring into your own family one day. I know for a fact my family home will be just as spacious as my Mum’s, full of animals, opened windows & music pulsating through the house in the mornings. Walking through the front door I am welcomed by my Mum’s collection of smiling Buddha’s & the smell of organic Cranberry oil candles. Sitting on the sofa, Mum says to me “Fancy a cuppa tea? I got ya sum Green tea coz I know it’s ya favourite and I also bought ya sum chocolate cake for afta tea.”…Aaaaah, i’m home. Nothing beats the Lancashire/Yorkshire accents because they are so warm & genuine.

Most of my time at home was spent with Harry my four year old Nephew, Arthur puppy & best friend Nic from Liverpool who came to stay for a few days. It was a relaxing 9 days, a time of reflection & of surprises. It was a time of being playful, thankful & content. It was 9 days of herbal tea & cuddling Arthur (I loved the earthy smell of his paws & the strange savory smell of his puppy breath.) and it was 9 days of just ‘being’ in the moment with those closest to me. I felt at peace and I was soaking up all the memories because this was going to be my last time in the home I grew up in…

Golden Oldies

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Whilst I am sorting out my family & Wolverhampton photos I have these retro delights to share with you guys. These pictures start from when I was little, through to awkward teen years & finishes with collage prom at age 18. I shall see if I can hunt down images from my early 20’s including university and spending 4 summers living in Cyprus.
I have been a little bit under the weather this past week and a half and spent some time just resting, I had quite a painful bladder infection plus I was emotionally exhausted so I also had to cancel performing in Bucharest, Romania which is a shame but there is scope for me to apply to perform this time next year, the organizer was really understanding & supportive about it and I will organize it as a week away belated treat for my 30th birthday (2015) as oppose to trying to cram everything in within one weekend. So all is not lost, I am back on the mend and getting back up to date with blogging, editing & training courses.
Whilst up in Lancashire (North West England) my Mum discovered a photo album of mine during her attic clearance, looking through the album made me laugh & smile and it brought back cherished memories so I hope you guys liked them too.
On other news; I have finished and passed my Mental Health Studies Diploma, currently doing Child Protection certification and soon to be enrolling on an Eating Disorders level 3 course which will be a nice way to end the year. It has been a really fruitful year for me and I know it will continue into 2015, I already have things planned, although not set in stone, they are experiences I am looking forward to.