You should see the other guy

I don’t wear makeup so I don’t often look at myself in a mirror without my eyeglasses on. The glasses makes my eyes look large and mask the look of black circles. Today for the first time in months I actually looked at myself in a mirror in good light without my glasses on. I look like I’ve been in a terrible fight or am about to expire from some gothic wasting disease. Huge black circles, almost craters, under my eyes. Looks a little scary, like death warmed over. Yummy.

Allergic shinersSo I did what any good Interneter would do: I Googled for information. Did you know there’s a name for these dark circles? No, neither did I. They’re called “Allergic shiners” and are a result of longtime allergies and/or sinus infections. iVillage has a good explanation, which says (in part):

In people with chronic nasal or sinus inflammation, venous blood circulating through tiny vessels in facial skin may have a hard time reaching the larger veins. If you can imagine the swollen tissues of the nasal cavity/sinuses acting as millions of separate tourniquets on these tiny venous channels, you will have a fairly accurate idea of what’s going on.

Thus, due to sinus/nasal inflammation, venous blood in the facial vessels is impeded in its return to the heart. This is venous congestion — “congestion” in the same sense as “traffic congestion.” When the small vessels in skin become congested with venous blood, the skin takes on a dusky or bluish hue … thus producing allergic shiners.

There’s no known treatment for allergic shiners. Aggressive treatment of the underlying condition is clearly helpful, but successful treatment does not always cause the shiners to vanish. Unfortunately, the only sure-fire solution to the problem is the artful use of cosmetics.

I suspect it’s tied to the same aspects of my allergies that are causing my eyes to be constantly watering or gummed up. Lovely.

(As a completely off-topic aside, I’m watching the best of Comic Relief 2007 special. David Tennant (Doctor Who) is wearing a dress kilt and he looks hot. No, I mean REALLY hot. I absolutely love a man in a kilt, especially a Scotsman in dress kit. I don’t know why. Genetics?)

(As another aside, what is with the horse riding pantomiming that people do to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”? It’s funny to watch but it must be a British thing.)

(As a last aside, the special also featured Take That singing Patience, which I first heard and blogged about here almost exactly a year ago. The circle spins around again…)


Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge

NaNoWriMo has started up a “Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge” in which members of the board are invited to make and share their goals for the coming year. I’m tempted — but afraid — so I was just reading the Big, Fun, Scary Goal Central thread to see what other people are aiming for. The first page of that thread led me to the Flylady.

“Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? “

Hmm, sounds familiar. My place looks like a tornado hit — and left no survivors. My environment reflects and affects my state of mind — the more chaotic my head gets, the messier my home gets; the messier my home gets, the more chaotic my head gets. It’s an endless, vicious circle. You know the saying “Garbage In, Garbage Out”? Yeah. That’s me.

Wasn’t I just talking about synchronicity?


It’s funny how things start to fall into place once you open yourself up to the possibilities and to meaningful coincidences.

I’ve been on a spiritual quest for most of my post-pubescent life. Interestingly enough, the start of the quest coincided with the start of my lifelong battle with clinical depression, back in about 1981 or so. My beliefs are somewhat fluid with one big exception: I have issues with organized religions of any kind. I had initally thought I was just rebelling against the Christianity I grew up with, I’ve since discovered that I have trouble supporting any religion as The One Truth. Mostly because I don’t believe there is just one truth — I think we’re all trying to understand and connect with the same thing. Religions, even the most tolerant ones, at their cores serve to bring groups of people together in a common bond while at the same time separating the groups more and more from each other.  But I digress.

My spiritual exploration has been fitful, consisting of periods of intense study and frantic purpose interspersed with longer periods of essentially being asleep, absent from all but the basics of life: eat, sleep, work… lather, rinse, repeat… The periods of wakefulness are usually sudden and are triggered by something external to me. And during all of them, I’ve experienced meaningful coincidences, instances where the hand of the universe is discernable. Before I moved here, I was endlessly slogging through contract job after contract job, with ample unemployment between. Depression was heavy. I’d been stubbornly refusing to give in and move somewhere with better job prospects for so long and the state of my life reflected the struggle. When I finally made the decision to move here, everything seemed to fall into place, quickly. Another time, I was unsure about where to go next, spiritually. At the time I was working in customer service and our phones were never silent, especially at the end of the day when I was usually manning the phones alone. One evening, another department manager stopped by my desk and we began to chat. We ended up chatting about spiritual exploration for about an hour, an hour during which the phone never rang. She gave me information about the meditation class that I mentioned previously (the one that led me to Caroline Myss’s works) and essentially provided me with the push I needed to keep travelling down the path. It came at the exact right time, and it underscored for me that you need to be open to what the universe has to offer or you’ll miss it.

I’ve felt the same thing happening over the last couple of years, more intensely in the past year leading up to now, though I don’t always pay attention as I should.

Today’s little meaningful coincidence: I visited songdeva‘s blog as a result of the comment she posted in one of yesterday’s posts. She hasn’t posted much recently (I hope she’ll keep posting now that she’s started again)  but her older posts are a treasure trove of spiritual guidance. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of them. Skipping past the crochet posts (I can’t crochet to save my life, though I can macramé), I ended up at Guideposts for your Spiritual Path (Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening, Part II), which in turn led me to Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening: A List. It’s an interesting list, some of which I recognize in me and some of which I haven’t yet experienced. The original author of the list, Ellen L. Montgomery, appears to have dropped off the face of the planet (or at least the surface of the Internet). Her old home page no longer exists and there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. The phone number that was on her site is now registered to someone else. And the only references to her that I can find are other people reproducing the Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening: A List article that she wrote. Thank God for the Wayback Machine. There, you can browse the other articles she’d written for her newsletter (her original version of the Symtoms article is also available and an updated version is in the archive of her other — and also defunct — site). I found myself at Things Fall Into Place, a 1998 article about synchronicity. 1998, incidentally, was around the time of that chat I mentioned earlier.

Hello. My name is Louise

and I have an online shopping addiction. (I have mentioned before that I have an addictive and, yes, bingeing personality in general, right? Why eat one chocolate when you can eat the whole box? Why buy one item when you can empty your bank account?)

Made the mistake of hitting eBay tonight. Whew! Bought some nifty things but really, really, REALLY need to put the Paypal account to bed. For the next several months at least. If you ever learn anything from me, it is to shop around BEFORE you buy anything ‘cos you gotta hate when you make an “all sales final” kind of purchase only to find it on sale somewhere else for less. I’m a bad bargain shopper. Hit a couple of those over the last several weeks, although in fairness, once you figured in taxes, duties, etc., for the cheaper items, most of them turned out to be OK in the end. But there were still a couple…ah, well, you live and learn. Hopefully.

Feels like Sunday (that’s what happens when you take a couple of days off) so imagine my surprise to see Saturday horoscopes on Jonathan Cainer‘s site tonight:

Saturday, 29th December 2007

Your Weekend: ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose.’ The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or so they say in France. Here in the rest of the world, things move on! We can’t make them stay the same no matter what we do. This is both a blessing and a curse. You are now keenly conscious of something you would like to change if only you could. But it is changing! It is just not changing in the way you think it ought to change. If you are going to resolve to do anything for New Year, resolve to let more time pass. 

Your Week Ahead: H G Wells remains one of the greatest writers of all time. In his day, though, he was derided for suggesting that one day, people would visit the Moon. With a great combination of irony and poetic justice, his famous fiction became the inspiration for millions of twentieth century schoolchildren. Some of these boys and girls grew up to be scientists. They took his dream and made it their dream. Then they helped to make it come true. That’s what the power of imagination can achieve. As you prepare to enter 2008, you have a special vision. It is not invalid or irrelevant. It’s just slightly ahead of its time But that time is coming. Soon. 

Oracle inventory

I’ve been digging through Aeclectic Tarot, trying to jog my memory of the various tarot and oracle decks that I have. I was partly successful and figured I’d jot the ones I can remember here (ones marked with an asterisk have been ordered in the last month or so). As you can see, there were rather more oracle cards than tarot decks until I went on a shopping binge online this month, especially over Christmas.

I know I’m missing a couple, though. But a browse through Aeclectic hasn’t sparked any memories and I can’t put my hands on the cards now. In addition to the cards, I have a bag of runes somewhere. And my father made me some yarrow I-Ching sticks one year that are also around here somewhere. (I really should find those.)

Over the next year, I plan to revisit and explore all of the decks I have, some definitely more in-depth than others. In particular, I want to take the tarot thing I have by the horns and sort it out — perhaps with more tarot decks to compare, I’ll be able to sort out why I feel blocked by the tarot but not by the other decks.

Theme music

Have been watching Turner Classic Movies channel most of the last couple of days. Currently, “King of Kings” is playing. I’m continually distracted by the fact that there is a certain piece of music that plays repeatedly throughout the music that was obviously the basis for the Stargate theme. It’s a little surreal.


Found some of my cards, including the so-called “Rider-Waite-ish deck” I mentioned previously. Not that that helps. All it says is that it was made by the Angel Playing Card company. But that was enough to confirm for me that “Angel Tarot”, which is what I was thinking of, was correct. has a small amount of information. Well, it offers pictures of all of the cards and a very tiny bit of information, including the fact that the deck was created in 1980 with a booklet by Stuart R. Kaplan and “combines features of several popular tarot decks, including the Tarot of Marseilles, Tarot Classic, and Starter Tarot.” Tarot Classic is also from Stuart Kaplan who also, interestingly enough, apparently also wrote a book to accompany the Tarot of the Witches that I received at the same time in the early 80s (I didn’t get the book). There’s a review of the Angel Tarot at Tarot Passages. For some bizarre reason, Aeclectic has absolutely no information about it.

So, there you go — I’m complete rubbish at the history of tarot.

Last of the Christmas money

I broke down and did what I said I’d do in a post yesterday — I ordered the Gaian Tarot major arcana deck with the last of my Christmas money. This second edition of the deck was first available in January 2005 so the deck itself has been around for a few years. The first edition is described by Bonnie Cehoyet in her review of the deck on the marvelous Aeclectic Tarot site. The cards in that edition were a little larger than the ones in the second edition and they came with a purple velvet bag (*sigh*).

I have a number of card decks, some tarot and some not. I don’t feel an extraordinary affinity with most tarot decks, especially the classic ones. I prefer non-tarot decks, especially ones with artwork that resonates with me. I received my first two card decks as Christmas gifts the same year back in, oh, 1982-ish or thereabouts. One of them was a classic Rider-Waite-ish tarot deck (can’t remember what it was called — don’t believe it was an actual Rider-Waite deck — and can’t find it right now). The other was the Tarot of the Witches. It is best known for having been used by Jane Seymour in the James Bond film “Live and Let Die”. It’s an odd-looking deck but very colourful. I used to let people pick which deck they wanted to use.

Since then, I’ve bought a number of decks, some I ended up not liking — not disliking, just not really “feeling”. I don’t believe that bunk that some people try to tell you, that you can’t buy your own deck. Poppycock! The decks I’ve been most attuned to have been decks I’ve bought myself. Some favourites (besides the Luman deck I mentioned yesterday and the Gaian deck I just bought) include:

  • The Fortune Teller’s Mah Jongg — A 144-card oracle deck. These are very small cards but the artwork on them is soothing and beautiful.  These are probably my favourite cards. My only problem with them is the colour of the backs of the cards. The backs are a vivid, almost pulsingly bright shade of red that makes me a little nauseous (you can see the backs of the cards on the FengShuiShopper site — it doesn’t quite do the colour justice but it’s close). Pictures of all of the cards (though not quite as nice looking scanned as they are in person) are here.
  • The Faeries’ Oracle by Jesa McBeth — These are marvelous cards. I absolutely adore them. The artwork is by Brian Froud. Check out Jesa’s Faery Wisdom site and Brian’s World of Froud for more information about the deck. You truly have to see them to appreciate them.
  • Druid Animal Oracle — A 33-card oracle deck of fairly large cards. Comes with a special layout cloth. I love the artwork on these cards as well. They have a decidedly UK/Celtic feel to them, which is nice.
  • Caroline Myss’s Archetype Cards — Well, Caroline Myss is just one of my favourite people anyway. I can remember watching one of her seminars with my meditation group back in late 1997/early 1998. I ended up buying her “Anatomy of the Spirit” book at the time. The 80 cards in this deck accompany her “Sacred Contracts” book. If you’re at all interested in Caroline Myss’s work, you can download podcasts of her radio show, in which she discusses the various archetypes, from Hay House.

I have other cards — I’ll have to find them to list them. But those are my favourite ones. There are others I’d love to have including the Celtic Dragon Tarot and the Celtic Tree Oracle (someone brought that one into work many years ago (late 80s or early 90s) and I fell in love with the artwork on them). Oooh, that last one used to be long out of print but I see it’s now available on Hmmm…

Daily inspirations

I was at ConsciousOne today. ConsciousOne is a site offering a variety of spiritual/self-help online courses and packages by the likes of Wayne Dyer and Sylvia Browne. I can’t remember when I first found them — I’ve been getting e-mail updates from them for many months, if not years, though I don’t always read them. I can remember when they first came up with their Wisdom Flash multimedia things — they seemed promising but IMO failed to live up to the promise (and I hate Flash). The last time I really looked at their site was when I reading up on psychic medium John Holland (his Psychic Navigator course is offered at ConsciousOne) a few months ago.

Anyway, they offer a daily inspirational message called “the Daily Guru“. Don’t know how they are over time but today’s is particularly relevant:


Your success in any occupation depends on your enjoyment.
Loving your work makes the difference.
If you enjoy what you do, you’ll be successful.
If you don’t enjoy what you do, you won’t be successful.

Your chances for success are directly proportional
to the degree of pleasure you derive from what you do.
If you have a job you hate, face the fact squarely and get out.
You’ll never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing.

Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind,
enjoyment, and happiness which comes only when you find
the work that you like best.

You don’t pay the price for success.
You enjoy the price for success.
Work is love made visible.

While I was at ConsciousOne, I did a reading with Doreen Virtue’s angel cards. (I’ve kept the reading private because the question was private.) It was quite interesting, and surprisingly accurate. ConsciousOne offers online readings with a number of different decks with which you can do daily readings. Daily readings are among the simplest and best ways to use cards to help guide you. I did a quick one card pull with Wayne Dyer’s inner peace cards and turned up the meditation card, which says (on the front) “I meditate every day to nurture my soul. ” and (on the back)  “Mediation gives you the opportunity to come to know your invisible self. It shatters the illusion of your separateness.” Also appropos, given that meditation has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately.

One of my favourite decks is the Luman Deck by Mindy Sommers. She and her husband also run the Color Bakery, which makes incredible tiles based on her artwork. Even more awesome is the fact that their house is purple, all glorious purple. It is a sight to behold. They used to offer a free online reading, which was very nice. I own a set of the cards but haven’t really used them much — they’re a bit larger than normal and a little awkward to shuffle.

Even more favourite is the beautiful new tarot deck, the Gaian Tarot. They offer an online oracle that is quite uplifting. Unlike many tarot readings, the Gaian deck puts positive spins on even the negative cards, which I really like. I have trouble connecting with the doom-and-gloom of much of the traditional tarot deck. The Gaian deck is a work-in-progress. The major arcana is done but they’re still working on the rest of the deck — the aces through sixes are done as are the pages, knights, and queens. I’d love to buy them but, at $80 for 22 cards, they’re a bit pricey. The cards are handmade, so the price isn’t surprising but still…

Aw, heck — I have some Christmas money to spend yet. Maybe I’ll splurge.