Previous month:
February 2013
Next month:
April 2013

March 2013

Faith and Art

I belong to a writing group where member Jim Woods issued a facinating blog challenge:

How does faith influence your art? What role does it play? Does your faith have implications in what you write? 

Hand globeSince I left my life as an ordained, Pentecostal minister and cannot--in good conscience--call myself a Christian (or, indeed, any religious label), this is a provocative challenge for me, personally.

At a loss for words (at first) I looked up the word "Fath" at Dictionary.com. The first definition:

Confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Ah...this I can work with!

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have confidence in myself. I am confident that, despite what I just wrote, I will never be at a loss for words (::wink::).  I am confident that one of my strengths is communication, and so I'll use it to the best of my ability. I trust that I'll always see the world with fresh, curious eyes and--in trying to capture what I'm seeing, exploring or pondering at a given time--will convey this passion using words.

Now, if we're talking about "something bigger than yourself", I believe in an Intelligent Mind. Some call it God, Higher Power, Goddess, All-That-IS or myriad other names. I believe that every person, every myth, every spiritual tradition has a piece of the "God" puzzle.


Sc 3ooFor my part, I have faith in what Caroline Myss calls Sacred Contracts. It's the idea that, before we come to this Earth, we get together with God, our angels, our guides--you know, the Big Guns--and look over our soul's growth. We confer as to what the Soul--MY soul--wants to experience this time around. Basically, we're devising a Divine Curriculum. We ask questions like: What lessons do I need to learn? What challenges do I want to face? How much crap do I want to take this time around? Who will help me achieve my soul's purpose? What family do I want to incarnate into? What will be the end of my mortal life?

Then, travelling down Lethes, the River of Forgetfulness, I am born.

I believe that we can know our Sacred Contracts, which are different for each person, based on the patterns present in our lives. We find our Sacred Contracts by asking questions like, What situations do I "always" find myself in? What kind of people am I attracted to? Repelled by? What are my strengths and talents? What roles are "so me"? What behavior patterns would my friends and family say are "so you"? What am I passionate about?

This, my friends, is the foundation for my art, my writing, my work. 

I communicate with words because I am compelled to. Heck, I was voted Most Talkative in my Senior Class!

ArchetypecardsThe Creator archetype compels me to create with words. The Pioneer compels me to create new systems for understanding the world, ourselves and others. The Prophet compels me to convey Divine Guidance, warn people "Bridge Out" and share possible futures not otherwise accessible. The Teacher/Guide compels me to instruct individuals "how to fish" so they can "eat for a lifetime". The Trickster/Provocateur compels me to shake up organizations, groups and institutions to expose hypocrisy, highlight incestuousness, reveal control tactics and illuminate stagnation. The Warrior compels me to fight for indepedence, protect the innocent and liberate the bound. 

I am convinced that if I feel to write or create something, it's because my Soul is compelling me to do so. It's because I want to experience a particular situation and, thus, I put events in motion to bring it about. 

I follow my bliss, because I trust that it's the True North helping me to find my path, should I get (temporarily) lost.  I allow passion to fuel me, because I know that the correspondng archetypal array will support my efforts. 

I have faith that my eyes will always be open, and trust that an authentic life is the one for me.

-- Janet


Amazon Acquires Goodreads (And People React)

A little while ago, Amazon.com announced that it was acquiring the social reading site, Goodreads.

Tweet 1
The reaction on Twitter was fast and furious.

Author Jami Gold mused:

Tweet 2
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (collectively known as The Book Doctors) tweeted:

Tweet 3
Personally, I'm trying to wrap my head around what's so "scary" about the merger.

In their official statement, Goodreads assured users:

It's important to be clear that Goodreads and the awesome team behind it are not going away. Goodreads will continue to be the wonderful community that we all cherish. We plan to continue offering you everything that you love about the site—the ability to track what you read, discover great books, discuss and share them with fellow book lovers, and connect directly with your favorite authors—and your reviews and ratings will remain here on Goodreads. And it's incredibly important to us that we remain a home for all types of readers, no matter if you read on paper, audio, digitally, from scrolls, or even stone tablets. 

Going on to say that Goodreads will now be integrated to the Kindle experience, a top priority, they also assured users that Amazon supports growing their vision "as an independent entity under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture. "

Noting the dramatic reaction on Twitter, a sensible, rational Kevin Smokler (author of Practical Classicstweeted:

Tweet 4

I replied:

Tweet 5

In response, and echoing my thoughts exactly:

Tweet 6
Author Charlene Baumbach weighed in with:

Tweet 7

Then proceeded to screech:

Tweet 8
Tickling my funny bone, Jeff O'Neal (editor at Bookriot.com) tweeted:

Tweet 9

Baumbach, still caught in throes of hysteria:

Tweet 10

Amid the fray, book blogger Jennifer Messner confessed:

Tweet 11
Dare I say that I never got into Goodreads, either? Maybe now that Amazon.com has acquired them (a site I do use and enjoy--as a reader, writer and Hall of Fame Reviewer), I may have to take a second look.

So what do you think, dear readers? Is Amazon.com a big dog pissing on everything with words on it? Or are they the salvation of books and reading? Will the merger with Goodreads be a good thing for readers? Traditionally-published authors? Self-pubbed writers? Might it be "incestuous" as Jami Gold suggests...and if so, how?

Speak your mind in the comments section below. I'm listening...and curious about your thoughts.

-- Janet


A to Z Blogging Challenge 2013 - Archetypes

AZ BadgeBeginning April 1, 've decided to do the A to Z Blogging Challenge again this year! 

For 2013, I thought I'd blog on the them of Archetypes. Here's my A to Z list (I need help with U, X and Y!):

A - Archetypes
B - Bully and Coward
C - Creator
D - Damsel
E - Entrepreneur and Pioneer
F - Fool and Clown
G - God and Goddess
H - Hermit and Mystic
I - Inventor, Alchemist and Wizard
J - Joseph Campbell
K - Knight and Rescuer
L - Lover
M - Mother
N  - Nomad and Seeker
O - Orphan
P - Prophet and Visionary
Q - Queen
R - Rebel and Trickster
S - Storyteller
T - Teacher, Guide and Sage
U -  ?
V - Victim and Woundology
W - Warrior
X - ?
Y - ?
Z - Zodiac

So, any thgoughts of what I can blog about with U, X or Y? What post and archetypes are you most anticipating? Any questions or themes you'd like me to address? Feel free to comment and let me know!

-- Janet 


Snowland Deck Companion Now Available

Snowland Cover Glowing 450I've finally finished the companion book to our Snowland Deck, and I'm pleased to tell you that it's now available on Smashwords at this link (it will be available for Kindle shortly). 

NOTE: There are no images in the Snowland Deck companion book, because the file was too big for Smashwords and Kindle. However, all cards are described, so you don't need to own the deck to benefit from the Keywords, Intuitive Questions, Writing Prompts and Affirmations. 

At over 18,000 words, the Snowland Deck Companion includes:

• Introduction
• For each card:
     Description
     Keywords
     7 Intuitive Questions (546 total)
    5 Writing Prompts (390 total)
     3 Affirmations (234 total)
     Secret
• Janet's 7 Clue Method for Learning ANY Deck
• Seven Original Snowland Spreads (Can Be Used with ANY Deck)
        Snowland Hermit Spread
Snowland Removal Spread
Snowland Teaching Spread
Snowland Mother Nature Spread
Snowland Ice Dragon Spread
Snowland Oracle Spread
Snowland Open Mind Spread
• Resources

What is not included in the Snowland Deck Companion (in addition to full-color images, which is available in digital format when you purchase the Snowland Deck from our site here) is information on my special Signficator "Soul GPS" System. You can only get that exclusive information when you actually purchase a deck. 

Enjoy!

-- Janet


5 Ways to Get on a Reviewer's Shit List

Authors, artists and deck creators, if you want to be a douchebag to reviewers, here's how to do it. Make no mistake, though: you'll be seen as a whiny-ass unprofessional, and likely damage your reputation. 

Wrong way1. Bug the hell out of me via email with "reminders"

2. Accost me on social media with hostile remarks

3. Have your spouse attack me when you get a 2-star review

4. Have your fans rush to Amazon to write 1-star reviews of MY books after I give your book or deck a 2-star review

5. Begin a slander campaign against me

The lesson, should you choose to learn it? Be nice to reviewers. They are volunteers, providing a service to consumers. Reviews aren't personal, especially when they come from an Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer with over 1,200 reviews and 30,000 helpful votes. (By the way, hacks with an axe to grind aren't trusted, respected reviewers...they're trolls). 

-- Janet


Snowland Deck $20 Off Sale EXTENDED

SmallCropped39Been getting notes of disappointment at missing the Spring sale on our Snowland Deck, so I decided to EXTEND the $20 off discount to this Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11 PM EST.

Click here to go the special sales page. Enjoy!

Also, if you are a therapist who works with kids, a special needs educator or someone that works with Autistic children and like our deck, please get in touch. You'll get our deck at half-price. Just email me at synerjay@atlanticbb.net

-- Janet


Archetype Me

I've been fascinated with Archetypes for well over a decade. It's one reason I blog on the topic (along with Symbols) for PaganSquare.

Turns out that Caroline Myss, a modern pioneer on Archetypes is out with a new book on the topic (that's coming under fire on Amazon from seasoned fans of her work) called Archetypes: Who Are You?. I guess it's a watered down version of Sacred Contracts that reads like a commercial tie-in.

Myss has partnered with the founder of Philosophy body products (I think it is). So I came across a potentially cool site based on her newest book: ArchetypeMe.com

ArchetypemeI took the test and, not surprisingly, came up INTELLECTUAL - CREATIVE - SPIRITUAL for my top three archetypes. (Like I said, it appears to be VERY watered down compared to Sacred Contracts). 

If you'd like to find out your Archetypes in this new system, click here for the quiz. (Make sure you come back here to tell me what you get!)

Did you find the Archetype Me quiz to be accurate? Comprehensive? Shallow?

And what do you think of ArchetypeMe.com? Personally, I think it has a lot of potential, but, as of now, it appears too much like a veiled attempt at targeted marketing based on profiles rather than a genuine attempt at fostering an understanding of Archetypes or bringing like-minded folks together.

Below is a video about the site:

-- Janet


Happy Spring 1 Day Snowland Deck Sale

The Snowdrop 200A most Blessed Spring Equinox to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere and a most Blessed Autumn Equinox to those in the Southern Hemisphere!

Ron and I are most pleased to offer a special one day sale on our lovely Snowland Deck (click here to see all the images). We're only planning two sales on our deck this year, and this is one of them (the other will be near Christmas).

So what's the sale? 

20 off

Yep, you read right: $20 off. And, you still get the same goodies we're offering on our main page (click here to see all you get with our deck, including your choice of one of three hand-sewn bags).

We're about to bulk order decks, so  packages will be mailed out within the next few weeks and will arrive at your door in April 2013. Click here to go to the special sale page on my main site.

Sale ends 8 PM EST March 20, 2013.



What You "Should" Be Doing

Hands down, the most frequent request I get for intuitive readings is this:

I have a sense that there is something I should be doing (life's work) but am clueless as to what it might be.

The above is a direct quote from a client who just ordered a reading, but it's the exact same request that I've received dozens of times.

Yes, intuitive and Tarot readings can help steer you in a particular direction. But I have a secret for you:

TreeEvery person who's interested in the business of consciousness (enlightenment) and doesn't want to live a wasted life (one with regrets) has this feeling. 

So what is it?

This question arises between the gap of the ego's search for meaning and the soul's desire for full expression this lifetime. 

Ego gets a bad rap, but it's a necessary and vital function to have. Healthy egos keep us from going crazy. Without a sense of meaning--a life purpose--most of us simply wouldn't go on, let alone endure suffering (sometimes, an insane degree of suffering).

This sense of meaning varies from person to person. It can be a religion, a higher power, a loved one, a career, a talent or a goal. It's the reason we get up in the morning. And, sometimes, people lose meaning. That's why depression may set in. So an individual must find a new meaning in order to go on.

But make no mistake: we create our own meaning. Sure, we can get our meaning from a book (or even a "Good Book"), but what happens if we experience a crisis of faith? Or our belief structure falls apart for some reason? 

There is no "wrong" in terms of meaning.

Granted, some of us are just high on life itself, for the experience. That's usually the soul part, winking to us, letting us know we're fully expressing what we wanted to do this time around. 

Q KeyboardBut once you find your meaning or life purpose (or several of them), you still may feel some existential angst. That "I know there's something I should be doing but I'm don't know what" angst. 

In that case, it's likely your soul trying to get your attention. It sorta works like a video game where you've hit the end of landscape's parameters (using an ATV: Off Road Fury example) and you're warned to "go back". Then, the game resets and puts you back in the playing field.

This happens when there's a gap between what our ego has set as a (or the) "meaning of life"...and what our soul wants to experience. The ideal, for most, is when we're in that blissed out state of flow. Where we get up, excited and joyful, and go where our passion leads us. That's the sign that youre ego's "meaning of life" and your soul's "what you scripted to experience this time around" have dovetailed. This is the berries.

But it can be a tricky state to maintain, let alone find. This is because our ego is influenced by the fears of the lower three chakras, including wanting to "fit in" (Tribal Identity: 1st Chakra), power struggles (Issues of Control: 2nd Chakra) and self-acceptance (Confidence/Self Esteem: 3rd Chakra). 

So we may known darn well what our soul wants to experience this lifetime (characterized by reconizable and embraced archetypal patterns via sacred contracts, as well as that ZING of being on track), but, for some reason, feel like it's not "good enough" or "acceptable" or "desirable" or "popular". But, because of "slumming in the lower chakras" (to borrow a phrase from Caroline Myss) we allow ego to lead the way with borrowed personal "meanings" that are simply a poor fit because we lack the archetypal support to pull it off.

Here's an example.

Love rainbowsIn just about every religion and spiritual path, love is at the core. It is THE most desirable trait and THE highest aspiration. So, for those with a Lover archetype, they're already ahead of the game in terms of what those realms deem as THE meaning of life. They ooze love, and often have a backup Rescuer archetype to prove it.

But, what if you don't have a Lover archetype? What if your archetypal array looks more like Joan of Arc on Red Bull? Athena channeling Optimus Prime?

See the dilemma? We've been told that "spiritual" looks and acts a certain way, and it's the Lover archetype. Which is simply a load of horseshit.

This is why you must have strong and healthy lower chakras: so you can withstand the winds of other people's egos and projections, forming your own personal meaning and staying true to your soul's path for this lifetime.

No one needs to agree with you, no one needs to understand you, and no one needs to like you. All that matters is creating YOUR personal meaning and knowing YOUR soul's path in this life time (including the archetypal array backing you up). 

Looking UpIf you have meaning, but not the archetypal patterns to pull it off, you'll feel frustrated at best and angry at worst. The solution? Create personal meaning based on your prominent archetypal patterns. They are your support system and your fuel. Trying to adopt the "meaning" of others, especially without their archetypal support system, is a recipe for misery.

If you know your soul's path but can't find a reason to get up every day, you'll feel lost at best and depressed at worst. The solution? Follow the threads of your archetypal patterns and choose something, anything, that gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Do not look to others or what they're doing. No, be an existential detective and look to your own patterns for clues to creating meaning. 

-- Janet


Excerpts from the Snowland Deck Companion Book

I'm hard at work finishing up the companion book to our Snowland Deck, and I thought I'd share a few card excerpts with you--Oracle (aka High Priestess) and Quester--Emoting (The Snowman, aka Knight of Cups).

(When you order the deck, you gain automatic entrance into the secret, password-protected Snowland Explorers blog where you'll be able to download the entire companion book in full-color digital format).

Oracle

HPDescription: A mysterious igloo sits under a flashing Aurora Borealis. Six divination symbols surround the entrance: coins for the I Ching, cards for Tarot, a hand for Palmistry, Futhark stones for the Runes, a book for Bibliomancy and a pendulum for Dowsing. An eye representing Clairvoyance (“clear seeing”) gazes from the top middle. Inside, a crystal ball sits on top a table covered in a green cloth. A warm glow emanates from within. On top of the igloo flies a flag bearing the symbols of the Sun, Moon and Stars. (Note: The runes are Mannaz, meaning “human” and Perthro, meaning, “casting lots”, “chance”, “pawn”, “the unknowable”, “secret” and “fortunetelling”).

Keywords: Internal Guidance; Esoteric; Advanced Wisdom; Library; Bookstores; Sanctuary; Sacred Sites; Seeking Answers; Prophecy; Divination; Accessing Intuition; Hidden Knowledge; Know Thyself; Privacy; Secrecy

Intuitive Questions:

How does intuition guide me?

How do I best hear my Inner Voice?

Where is my spiritual sanctuary?

What is hidden that may need revealed?

What can I do to hone my innate psychic ability?

What will it take for me to “Know Thyself”?

How might I access advanced or esoteric wisdom?

Writing Prompts:

An opportunity to know everything

A crystal ball reveals something

A fortuneteller in an igloo

An all seeing eye records a clandestine event

A secret kept…and a secret divulged

Affirmations:

I choose to know myself.

All answers are within.

My soul is my sanctuary.

Secret:

Honed intuition nurtures the soul.

Quester - Emoting

Kn CDescription: In the story “The Snowman” by Hans Christian Andersen, a wise, old dog tells a snowman why he’s chained outside. One day, as the dog was eating a bone, the child of the house took it from him. “A bone for a bone”, he figured, and bit the child’s leg. From then on, he was chained outside. The dog told the snowman about the warm stove, remembering how lovely it was to crawl under when it was cold outside. He urged the snowman to see for himself “you’ll be able to see it from where you stand”, and the snowman began to suffer from “stove yearning”. He gazed at her through the window—he concluded she must be a female—and exclaimed, “It’s more than I can bear! See how beautiful she is when she sticks out her tongue!” It became warmer and the snowman became smaller, but he didn’t utter a complaint (Andersen notes this was a “telling sign”, implying that his unrequited love caused hopeless resignation). One morning, the snowman fell apart, and his head rolled away. The dog noticed a poker sticking out the top. “It was what the boys had used to help hold the snowman together and make him stand upright. ‘Now I understand why he longed for the stove’, said the old watchdog. ‘That’s the old poker he had inside him. No wonder.’” The implication being that the stove tool inside the snowman caused him to yearn for the stove. As is the case with many Andersen stories, “The Snowman” ends on a sad note. The snowman melts away, little girls sing a song celebrating Spring “And no one thought about the snowman.” (From Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard).

Keywords: Infatuation; Adoration; Unrequited Love; Fervency; Ardent Affection; Yearning; Admiring from a Distance; Knight in Shining Armor; Romanticism; “Puppy Love”

Intuitive Questions:

When was the last time I felt infatuated?

What am I yearning for?

What do I tend to romanticize?

What consumes my attention?

Who is worthy of adoration?

In what way am I feeling “on the outside looking in”?

What unrequited desire needs examined?

Writing Prompts:

Re-write the ending of “The Snowman”

A dog will do anything to get his bone

A furnace burns with unusual fire

Tell the story of Romeo and Juliet in a new way

Use the following words in a story or poem: Stove; Dog; Rug; Snowman; Poker

Affirmations:

My expectations for love are realistic.

What I admire in others, I look for in myself.

When I love someone, I tell them.

Secret: If you can’t have what you want, then want what you have.

-- Janet


Naked Tarot Forthcoming from Dodona Books!



Naked Tarot Wheel editI'm thrilled to announce that I've signed a contract with Dodona Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, for my book Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice for Modern Living.

You can read a sneak peek of one of the chapters here

ISBN 978-1-78279-213-0 for the paperback, 978-1-78279-212-3 for the eBook.

As you'll read in the sample I linked to, my book ain't gonna be your Grandma's Tarot (like 99% of the stuff out there).

I also have a FB page for the book if you'd like to "like". It's here.

-- Janet

 


Steampunk Tarot

Steampunk Cover 250And since, above all else, Steampunk is about adventure—wherever, whenever and whoever it features—it seemed high time that there should be a way of looking into and through the strange distorting glass of this new-old world, and to explore its vitality and wonder, and its wisdom. Just as we may turn to the tarot to aid us in navigating the shoals of uncertainty which surround us, so, in the alternative world of the Steampunk Imperium, it opens vistas that help us to see things in a new way.” – From the Steampunk Tarot companion book by John and Caitlin Matthews

From hulking dirigibles to clockwork devices, intricate gears to steam-powered machines, the alternate world of Steampunk blends historical accoutrements with futuristic visions. A realm that evolved alongside our own but with various divergences, Steampunk embodies Victorian dress and manners with Edwardian industrial advancement. Add some clean fuel derived from amber (Pullman’s “anbaric powder”), metaphysical experimentation, conscious automatons and thirst for adventure, and you’re witnessing the essence of Steampunk.

In the scholarly, playful hands of John and Caitlin Matthews, Steampunk—sometimes derided as “goth dressed in sepia”—finds a fresh, bold presentation when melded with Tarot structure and philosophy…a combination resulting in a complex, intelligent oracular system and set of cards.

Steampunk 7In the Steampunk Tarot, all but three of the Major Arcana—known as the Gods of the Machine in this deck—are renamed, as are the four Minor Arcana suits (Leagues) and Court Cards (Ligates).

The Four Leagues are Leviathans (earth), Submersibles (water), Airships (air) and Engines (fire). The Four Ligates that govern the Leagues are Messengers (Pages), Navigators (Knights), Ladies (Queens) and Captains (Kings). In the 160-page companion book, the Matthewses also provide elaborate subsystems where four Regulators (Gods of the Machine) correspond to each League, as well as eleven complementary opposites and seven initiations of the Apprentice (seven triads).

I did say the Steampunk Tarot was complex, right?

Even if you decided to forgo understanding or (trying) to apply the convoluted (but fascinating) methods of the Matthewses, the cards themselves still prove a bit inscrutable, owing to detailed imagery of fantastical equipment, intricate technology and unrecognizable paraphernalia. Thus, those who glean scads of intuitive information by illustrations alone may find the illustrations by Wil Kinghan challenging to interpret.

However, for those intrigued by the idea of Steampunk sensibilities and hierarchical structures superimposed upon Tarot archetypes, the Steampunk Tarot vastly rewards the patient, the curious and the bright. The companion book is a thinking person’s playground and the metaphysician’s delight. Rather than simple keywords for each card, the Matthewses give seekers a holistic, perceptive overview, as well as personal lifestyle, interaction and impact (both upright and reversed). A “Steampunk Wisdom” phrase also accompanies each card.

Steampunk 12The authors also provide a spread for each of the Gods of the Machine (Major Arcana). Most any Tarot author can slap together a spread, but to craft twelve substantive layouts (corresponding to the 22 Majors) that each provide an insightful, meaningful blueprint for a seeker is extraordinary and commendable.

I’ve been using the Steampunk Tarot for the last week with amazing results. Not only have my readings been incredibly accurate and insightful, but also empowering. When I asked a question and drew Triumph (Trump 7, correlating with The Chariot), I was so encouraged by what the Matthewses wrote about this card that I decided to go a step further and try out their 4-card Triumphal Procession Spread.

I was so blown away by the psychological depth and precision of this spread that I’ve placed the four cards I drew in a prominent position on my desk to remind me of the journey I’m on, what keeps me on the road, the obstacles I need to avoid and my final (project) destination.

It’s obvious that much care and thought when into both the imagery and companion book, so rousing kudos to the publisher (Tuttle), authors (John and Caitlin Matthews) and illustrator (Wil Kinghan) on this superb addition to Tarot literature and thought. My Steampunk Tarot stands ready, awaiting yet another intronautic journey where visions become reality and otherworldly guidance manifests for my soul’s evolutionary enjoyment. 

To see 16 more images from this deck, click here.

-- Janet


Amanda Palmer's TED Talk 2013 - The Art of Asking

Just finished watching Amanda Palmer's TED Talk (see video below).

As an artist--and yes, as an author, blogging and communicator, I do consider myself that--I am deeply moved by Amanda's example and words.

Bonus points, too, for her pointing out that Metallica's "Napster BAD" stance lies at the other end of the spectrum from what she does...and stands for. 

What are your thoughts on Amanda Palmer's TED Talk? Should music and other art be given away in an act of trust? (Personally, I don't trust "the crowd" to support me or my work...but I'm not married to best-selling author Neil Gaiman, nor do I have almost 1,00,000 Twitter followers).

-- Janet


How to Remove a Connection from LinkedIn

LinkedIn 100Ever accept a few LinkedIn invites to connect, only to regret it when they start sending you group emails begging to buy their book (or some other obnoxious behavior)?

Although removing a connection from LinkedIn isn't as easy as unfollowing on Twitter or unfriending on Facebook, it can still be pretty easy to do...if you know where to look and what to do.

Step 1: Go to your LinkedIn profile page.

Step 2: Look for "Contacts" at top, in blue, on the black strip (it should be third from the left). Click on it.

Step 3: Look for "Remove Connections" to the far right (under the black strip). Click on it.

Step 4: There will be an alphabetized list of your contacts. Tick the box of the person you want to remove. (Note: Only "A" is shown at first. You must click on the appropriate letter corresponding to the contact's last name to get the correct list if the person's name doesn't end in "A").

Step 5: Click the blue rectangle that says "Remove Connections".  Expect a pop up to say "Are you sure you want to remove this connection?". Click yes, and the contact is removed.

Ta da!

I hope you found this helpful. LinkedIn really should make it easier to remove connections, don't you think?

-- Janet


15 Reasons I’ll Never Follow You (or Unfollow You) on Twitter


Behold, a list of the obnoxious, stupid and/or boring acts you don't want to be caught doing if you want me to follow you on Twitter.

1. One or more of the following words are in your bio:

Twitter Hell NoGuru
Marketing
Coach
Prosperity
Money
Free
Buy
Promotion
Expert
Traffic
Business
Facelift
Sale
Sell

2. You have an egg for a profile pic. (If I want to talk to an egg, I’d go to the supermarket).

3. Tweets are merely links to Facebook (If I wanted to read a Facebook post, I’d be there…not on Twitter).

4. Tweets are nothing but your horoscope (Who gives a shit about the Capricorn horoscope? I’m a Scorpio.)

5. Haven’t tweeted in weeks. (Why are you even on Twitter?)

6. Your tweets are RTs of other authors begging me to buy a book. (Bad enough if it’s you acting like a carnival barker for your book….let alone on behalf of the rest of the indie authors network.)

7. None of your tweets “@” anyone. You merely talk to yourself.

8. Obnoxious avatar (nudity, flashing neon, violent image, etc.)

9. You repeat the same tweets. As in, 5 or more times a day. (We got it the first time. We're not interested, K?)

10. Your tweets are game achievements. (Who cares that you’ve got an Agent Achievement in Mystery Manor Blitz. And what the hell does that even mean?)

11. Your bio contains misspellings. (You’re an “independant” author. OMG, really?)

12. Your bio IS IN ALL CAPS. (In case you didn’t know, that’s equivalent to shouting. Stop it.)

13. As soon as I follow you, I get an automated DM from your account. (Don’t do that.)

14. You use Twit Validation. (Why should I go through hoops to follow you?)

15. Possible dealbreaker - Any of these words in your bio:

Sports stuff
Politics
Fitness
Health
Self-Published Author
Motivational
Inspirational
Mentor

So, what about you? What are your Twitter pet peeves, turn-offs and reasons for unfollowing (or refusing to follow)?

-- Janet


Technology (Through the Eyes of Tarot) - Blog Flash 2013

Day-2-TechnologyI'm participating in author Terry Giuliano Long's Blog Flash 2013 for the month of March (every weekday), and today's prompt is about Technology. 

I'll probably do most of my posts through the lens of Tarot, but not necessarily.

There are three Tarot cards that come to mind when I hear the word technology: 8 of Wands (high speed communication), 6 of Swords ("science" in the Thoth tradition) and The Star (associated with Aquarius). 

To be honest, I don't get a squishy, cozy feeling when I think of technology, especially when it's connected with communication. Perhaps this is because I've been the recipient of cyberstalking, harrassment, slander and blacklisting--all via "technology" (the internet).

When we put those cards together, an interesting spread results:

 

UW Smaller103
Quick Messages
UW Smaller92
Via Science
UW Smaller36
Ushers in Aquarius Age

 

Of course, that's an idealistic interpretation of this spread, hinting at the beneficial aspects of the Age of Aquarius: brotherhood, equality, spiritual evolution, social justice and human potential.

The flip side?

With quick messages comes thoughtlessness and carelessness.

With technology comes instantaneous "groupthink", a hivemind that can turn toxic or dangerous very quickly.

With Aquarius, we have New Agers that are "too heavenly minded they're no earthly good" (7th Chakra), assuming they have some spiritual or moral right to be the judge of anyone and everyone without the balance of heart-centered compassion (4th Chakra), right speech/truthfulness (5th Chakra) or clear, objective vision (6th Chakra). All of this fueled by lower chakral fears like belonging/tribalism (1st Chakra), control issues/jealousy (2nd Chakra) or insecurity (3rd Chakra).

What about you, dear reader? What are your thoughts on technology--specifically, the internet and social media? What about Tarot cards connecting with technology? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

-- Janet


Deck of 1000 Spreads - Tierney Sadler

Sadler Cover 2“To get a better understanding of how a spread works, think of a tarot reading as a novel—stuff that happened and who was involved. But without some sort of organization, it’s all just a random pile of words and information.” – From the book How to Use Your Deck of 1000 Spreads by Tierney Sadler

Ah, the amazing Deck of 1000 Spreads. Incredibly, no one thought of this brilliant idea before (or, didn’t have the courage to create or publish it until now): a labeled, color-coded deck of cards listing spread positions and what they mean.

Seasoned and professional Tarot readers know how aggravating it can be do be in the midst of a face-to-face reading—especially with clients or addressing complex issues—and forget the designation of a particular position (especially with on-the-fly spreads).

“Wait. Did I say that position indicated The Past…or What Needs Released?”

Ack! It’s happened to the best of us.

Fortunately, Tierney Sadler had the experience and foresight to eliminate this pesky problem by crafting the Deck of 1000 Spreads and its 137-page companion book, published by Llewellyn. Separated into five categories (Influences/Blue, Topic/Green, Outcome/Red, Character/Orange and Timing/Purple), this 59-card deck covers just about every question addressed by the most popular spreads used by Tarot readers: The Celtic Cross, Horseshoe, Star and various 3-card layouts.

Sadler 500
For example, among the Topic/Green cards there are labels like Card of the Day, Career, Problem, Situation, Career, Friendship, Success and so on. For the Influences/Blue cards, there are labels like Positive Influences, What You Can’t Change, What Is Hidden, Surprise, What to Avoid, Hopes and Fears, etc.

Unfortunately, positions from the Zodiac Spread and Chakra Spread (two of my favorites) aren’t provided, nor are there cards geared towards novelists (protagonist, antagonist, villain, sidekick, subplot, turning point, complication and so on). Those types of cards would have greatly enhanced the Deck of 1000 Spreads, especially since there are only six blank cards for those types of permutations. Granted, some of the cards could be “stand ins” for a few of those positions, but not most of them.

Despite my “wish list” for this deck, it’s still a fresh, welcome addition to the world of Tarot and a reader’s toolkit.

I’ve given the Deck of 1000 Spreads several test runs, with clear, insightful results. I often have tons of irons in the fire, so I asked the Tarot “What needs to be my main thrust right now in terms of creativity?”

Sadler 2
I then selected Hobbies and Talents card from the Topic/Green pool, since it “Addresses the current state of your creative energies. When not used as the spread’s topic card, it can advise on creative endeavors”. From the Snowland Deck, I drew Impermanence (Death). This card shows a melting snowman, a flying bluejay about to eat a bug, a moose drinking from a lake and the spirit of the snowman among the clouds, winking.

I thought of how this card is traditionally associated with Scorpio, my Sun sign. Scorpio deals with penetrating truths, deep wisdom and transformation; it’s a lot like the Phoenix mythos. Yet, Impermanence also deals with something “passing away” in the cycle of life...or the resistance to change.

Sadler Deck 1Was this card saying that I needed to let one part of my creative endeavors go—the one that I’ve been doing the longest—to make way for a new focus?

I then fished out an Influence/Blue card: Clarification. I shuffled, asking for clarification for the Impermanence card. I drew the Mental Ace (Ace of Swords). I couldn’t help but chuckle because this card shows a pointed icicle being offered from a cloud to a very eager snowman on a bright, clear winter day….clarification personified! It’s also a card hinting at sharp, pointed, focused communications—an approach that happens to be my trademark. I took this to mean, “keep being you”.

So then I selected an Outcome/Red card, Advice. What was the Tarot’s advice, then, in terms of my creative output? I drew Quester Energy, the equivalent of the Knight of Wands. In the Snowland Deck, this card—featuring famed Australian polar explorer Sir George Herbert Wilkins—portrays the consummate Renaissance Soul as his various exploits and talents. He was “all over the map”…just like me!

So I weaved it all together as a message to keep pushing for the hard truths in life, expose bullshit when I see it, and celebrate being a polymath (rather than sometimes thinking it’s a liability). And, that having several creative projects going at one time is what I’m good at and what will fulfill me.

The companion book How to Use Your Deck of 1000 Spreads provides a wealth of ideas on how to vary spreads, switch out cards and create your own. And, as the author points out, "1000 Spreads" is a misnomer: with all the cards in this deck--and the option for choosing to arrange or select them consciously or randomly--there are literally tens of thousands of possibilities.

Sadler Deck 3I'm especially excited to try out the chart method, where cards from this deck are arranged outside a grid as placeholders, and then Tarot cards are placed in horizontal and vertical rows. What an innovative way to see a situation from various angles or explore how an issue may impact several people all at once!

My favorite part of the companion book, though, was how the author explained three Celtic Cross variation usings the same cards (but different position titles). Just extraordinary. I'd love to read an entire book with the author riffing on a dozen or more spreads using the same cards in different positions!

Although intermediate and advanced Tarot readers will likely be the most comfortable using the Deck of 1000 Spreads, there's no reason beginners couldn't cut their teeth on card layouts using this box set. In fact, it may very well save them months (or years) of grief that many experienced readers endured muddling on their own without such a handy, accessible tool.

Highly recommended!

To get your copy of the Deck of 1000 Spreads, click here. To get your very own copy of the Snowland Deck, click here. To see 4 more card images from this deck, click here.

-- Janet


Laughter (Through the Eyes of Tarot) - Blog Flash 2013

Day-1-LaughterI'm participating in author Terry Giuliano Long's Blog Flash 2013 for the month of March (every weekday), and today's prompt is about Laughter. 

I thought it would be interesting to take most (perhaps all) of Terry's prompts and examine them through the eyes of Tarot.

So what Tarot cards indicate laughter?

Sure, The Fool loves to laugh. He's pretty oblivious to danger and just about anything can make him (and others) giggle...especially if he shows up as the Clown or Jester archetype.

But when I think of laughter, it's not The Fool that comes to mind.

UW Smaller45No, for me, it's the Ace of Cups--that artesian well of bubbling emotions. While it's true that the emotions flowing from the Ace of Cups aren't necessarily joyful (especially if reversed, ill-aspected or in a challenging spread position), when upright--of all the cards in the Tarot--I see "laughter" emanating from it. 

Not silly Fool laughter that snickers at crude jokes, pratfalls or misfortune but, rather, the laughter that bubbles up in the form of a release (especially after a good cry or hardship)--or, giggles erupting out of innocence (especially as displayed by small children). 

What about you, dear readers? What Tarot card/s do you associate with laughter? The Fool? The Sun? 6 of Cups? Ace of Cups? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

-- Janet