Archive for May, 2009

Healthy Skin: Some Medical Intuitive Observations

I’ve been having a “rash” of Medical Intuitive clients complaining about acne, rashes or other unpleasant skin issues. Although many people face these issues, calls about them have become more frequent lately. It seems that rounds of doctor visits, natural or steroid creams, water or juice fasts, visualization and liver cleanses have not managed to alter the symptoms.

I find this very interesting! It’s not the same rash or the same location, and these clients live all over the world, so the same environmental factor seems unlikely. I do sense some similar root causes, though, so I thought I’d share the most common observations here.

1 ) Check Your Superfood and Beta-Carotene Consumption. Although getting too much vitamin A through diet seems unlikely on a SAD or SUKD, in the realm of raw foods and superfoods, it does happen. High sources include: goji berries, spirulina, carrot juice, AFA algae, mango, spinach, kale, beets, and many seaweeds. People who load up on antioxidant rich foods can easily slip into a beta-carotene  glut in which they’re consuming many, many times the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. Unlike B-vitamins that we excreet through urine, vitamin A goes into the liver. Too much can cause a strain.

I have had many raw food clients call me complaining of excessive skin dryness, flushing and/or a burning itch that seems to creep under the skin. In most cases, once they backed down high beta-carotene foods for a few days the itch completely resolved. Depending on severity, they may need to avoid seaweeds, mango, goji and spirulina for a few weeks to a few months, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that hasn’t been able to work some of these back in with time.

2 ) “Face” Your Fears of Increased Visibility. Skin represents the face we show the world–the wrapping on the package of our soul. So many of the most visible people in our society have suffered severe battles with acne, rosacea, or other skin issues. In many cases, the fear of people seeing their skin kept these folks in the shadow much longer than was natural for them. Having suffered mild acne myself, I totally understand the urge to think, “Oh, I can’t possibly teach about health if I don’t look perfect. No one will listen to me if I have a zit. They’ll think I don’t know what I’m talking about.” This attitude kept me from putting myself “out there” as a medical intuitive until 2006, even though I had been a practicing medical intuitive since 2001.

I get it. When skin issues present themselves, the last thing people want to do is increase their visibility. But sometimes that’s exactly what needs to occur in order for the symptoms to resolve. My own skin cleared as I grew more courageous about admitting what kind of work I do. Each time I feel challenged to raise that visibility a little more, I still experience an occasional blemish. I know from working with so many other leaders that this is extremely common, so now I just roll with it. The more people can embrace the beauty of what wants to flow through them and allow that message whatever size stage it needs, the more the acne or other unsightly things seem to resolve.

Even when it does not resolve right away, the energy takes over. I know many people who have acne who routinely get told how radiant and beautiful their complexions are! Sometimes they want to argue with whoever bestows the compliment, but in reality, they are living more honestly by letting their gifts and energy flow. Other people perceive that as beauty.

3 ) Look to the Past to Understand the Present. As one of our major detox organs, the skin offers an easy exit for all sorts of things we really don’t want clogging up our system. Many already understand the importance of cleaning the colon and liver and how that can affect the health of the skin.

From an intuitive standpoint, the colon represents control and the liver houses anger, especially anger stemming from frustration. Just as the body will release toxins when it feels strong enough to handle them, so it will release old emotions or issues when it senses enough of a support system to process these away. Skin offers a dramatic way of “coming out” about formerly repressed or embarrassing events, feelings or issues.

On a global scale, many people are getting ready to release their gifts into the world in huge ways beyond what they dreamed of doing.  In preparation of this next level of visibility and awareness, we’re going through a global purge on this planet and as individuals. I believe this accounts for why so many people who “never” have skin issues suddenly do. These rashes and other challenges represent a call to look very deep and to send compassion to ourselves in earlier times when we did not have the necessary tools to handle trauma or disappointment.

By way of example, I’m experiencing this in my own life right along with so many of my clients. I have had an odd rash on my right thigh for the last couple months. I found it fascinating because it exactly traces my “bladder meridian,” which is an energy channel in Chinese medicine. While recovering from my brain injury, I learned that fluorescent lights would “blow out” my bladder meridian. It would just short circuit and leave me hopelessly fatigued and unable to function until my holistic doctor “reconnected it” through energy work and some herbs. “How interesting,” I thought, “that I’m finally at a place where my body can let the rest of that go.”

When the rash continued to creep its way down my leg in a straight line, I contacted a dermatologist. She gasped because she had “never seen this in an adult before.” She biopsied it and found that it was, in fact, a childhood rash, which usually occurs at age 3. Hmmm … even more interesting! My paternal grandfather died when I was 3. He was my absolute favorite person in the world, my very best friend. I have memories of drawing with him when I was 2, as well as vague memories from even earlier than that. I vividly remember the day he died. I also remember a quick recognition (especially for a 3 year old) that other people were hurting and that my grief would only upset them more.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of work around that grief, and it certainly helps to have so many intuitive gifts of communication! Still, my reaction — that stuffing of the grief and shock that someone could just disappear — had left a mark on my inner terrain. The dermatologist urged me to use a steroid cream, even though the rash typically resolves on its own. It’s not contageous, infectious or in any way dangerous. It just looks like a red line running down the limb. If the location and diagnosis (Lichen striatus) did not so obviously tie into old trauma, I might feel worried or frustrated. But in reality, I see this as a celebration that my soul feels ready to release those traumas in a final way before moving on to the next level. I opted not to use the steroid cream, since that only represses the symptoms. If this is an old drama coming to the surface after 33 years, then it feels right to let it play itself out.

I’ve seen this pattern so many times in clients. Sometimes dietary shifts or creams help, but sometimes the skin simply announces progress — making visible what occurs beneath perception. Sometimes “ugly” skin makes us infinitely more conscious of our inner pathos, vulnerability and beauty. And whenever that happens, I rejoice.

Peace to you!

Related posts: Natural Beauty, 2012 and the Mayan Calender: What’s Happening?, Coaching Yourself through Food IssuesBreast Health: Some Medical Intuitive Observations.

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu: Pre-Orders!

Well, it’s official! I can start taking pre-orders for my new novel, Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. I’m correcting the galleys and the book should be available to ship sometime in June 2009.

I’m taking pre-orders because my husband and I are moving at the end of June and I have no idea how many to order in advance without taking some kind of pre-order. If you would like an autographed and/or inscribed copy, please click here. All prices include shipping and handling, so please make sure to order one that reflects your location.

Here’s what people are saying:

“A beautiful debut, this fantasy sparks real-world insights into life’s challenges and chance encounters. Synchronicity, renewal, and power of belief shimmer through an intriguing tale with heartfelt characters. This story lingers, as readers find through it more magic in their own lives.” –Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life       

“I had the blissing to review Laura Bruno’s upcoming book Schizandra And The Gates Of Mu while I was on holiday. Schizandra, the teen heroine is a portal for human transformation. As I read it, I realised that everyone we meet is a portal for our own transformation. Seems there’s a little Schizandra in all of us.” —Shazzie (full review to come via another post)

“From first page to last, a truly tasty, fast-paced treat. Suspense, mystery, humor, danger and a rainbow of characters and landscapes converge in a masterfully crafted modern myth that awakens inner senses and leaves us hungry for Schizandra’s next journey!” –Karen Lang, Lemurian Stargate

“Superbly written, well-researched, fascinating, weird, suspenseful, playful and definitely entertaining.”  –Traci Moore, Editor, Monsoon Voices

More blurbs and reviews to come. To pre-order your autographed copy, please click here.

Fox News on Twitter and Spirituality

Well, the times, they are a’changin’! FOX news is actually interviewing people about the spirituality of Twitter and the interconnectedness of the universe. You can watch this 10-minute clip here. They’re even talking about the “evolution of the human species,” a key topic explored in “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.”

I posted on this topic back in October 2008: Why Telepathy Makes People Mad. It’s nice to see more mainstream acknowledgement of our Oneness and Divinity!


Natural Beauty: An Interview with Lovely Raw Fooder and Animal Lover, Cassie Margraf

Today’s interview features Cassie Margraf, a Sonoma, California resident and one of the most natural beauties I know. Cassie has a knack for looking ultra-feminine even without makeup or fancy adornments. She not only looks natural; she truly lives this lifestyle.  Since so many people want to look healthy and radiant without turning to toxic face and body products, I asked Cassie if she’d mind sharing some of her secrets. Most of my clients also have furry friends and want the same healthy goodness for them as well. She shares tips for animals and for men, too. Cassie has her 27th birthday coming up on May 20, 2009 so please join me in wishing her a happy one!


Cassie Margraf

Cassie Margraf

You’ve had quite a journey into raw foods! How and when did you first discover this diet and lifestyle and what convinced you to make the switch?

Yes, it really has been a journey, difficult at times, but also magical and amazingly rewarding! I first discovered this lifestyle about a year and a half ago. I was in the process of awakening to the power of the body to self heal, the majesty of the mind in facilitating that process, and the truths about what we, as a society, consider food. I had been suffering debilitating symptoms for about two years prior to that. Frequent tension headaches accompanied by severe facial flushing, skin rashes and blisters on a daily basis, insomnia, severe food sensitivities, mild depression, anxiety and instability with my emotions in general were just a handful of the symptoms that plagued me. I found some relief with alternative methods, such as acupuncture, herbs and chiropractic care, but I was still suffering a great deal.

In the world of alternative health, medical mysteries often go hand in hand with the diagnosis of “toxicity.” This was the only footing I had at understanding a root cause to my symptoms, so I was vigilantly trying to undertake cleansing. At this point in my journey I was trying my best to eat an organic, whole foods diet, so a cleanse to me was eating fruits, salads, steamed veggies, etc. for a week. At the time eating that way felt incredibly difficult to me, but I would have done anything to feel better.

I went to Copperfield’s Books one night in search of a cleanse and happened upon The Miracle Detox Diet, by Robert Norse, N.D. When I got the book home I devoured the information. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and all the research and facts to support why a raw lifestyle is the healthiest diet for any living animal.

More than all the scientific data though, it just really resonated with me as such an obvious truth. It felt like information I had always known deep down, but had long forgotten. I thought, “Animals in nature don’t cook their food? Why do we cook, pasteurize, steam and heat everything?”

When I read about domesticated animals getting the same degenerative diseases as humans, yet wild animals not encountering these illnesses, a light bulb went off for me. I remember reading an article about animals at the zoo and how if they are fed cooked food, they die. That was shocking to me and I really began to educate myself, study and read scientific literature regarding our bodies and raw foods. The funny thing about my introduction to raw foods, is it was the day before Thanksgiving!

At this point in my journey I was very familiar with the Law of Attraction and manifestation, so the information I was absorbing coupled with the fact that I had “stumbled” upon this book, was enough to empower me to try this lifestyle starting the very next day, Thanksgiving! All the research I was doing really kept me going with raw foods because, although some experience major benefits right away, I didn’t feel better right off the bat.

What I did experience very quickly, though, was an unfolding and opening of my spirituality. I always considered myself a spiritual person, but the first week of going raw my third eye just burst open :). I was lying in bed and could feel this incredible energy in what felt like tingly, pleasant, pressure between my eyebrows/forehead area. I was laying there in utter amazement because I had never felt anything like that before. I soon began to feel energy movement in my body very easily and would put myself to sleep meditating, breathing deep and feeling energy flow within me. It was so peaceful and made me feel so connected to myself, all beings and the planet. I never wanted to lose that. My spirituality really began to flourish and deepen.

Raw foods are an amazing tool that allowed me to access parts of myself I was not in touch with before. As my journey progressed I became much more intuitive and that allowed me to be in “the flow” so I could make connections I needed to, get help and answers when needed and really dig deep and face myself exactly where I was and am at, with all my complexity and gifts :).

These tools, coupled with my diet have really facilitated a metamorphosis in my life on all levels; physical, emotional, and spiritual. 

What are your favorite beauty tips for face care? Body care?

Personally, it doesn’t matter what I do or put on my skin if I am putting foods that cause inflammation into my body. The appearance of your skin can be affected by various factors, but one main contributor to skin appearance is the state of your gut. When I eat foods my body regards as toxic or irritating, I see it!

That being said, there are many tools I use to really take care of and nourish my skin, from the inside as well as out. I’ll start with the inside. Green juice is the best beauty drink of all time! I try to drink about 16 oz. of green juice a day. I’m not fanatical about it and there are days where I don’t get it in, but it’s difficult not to drink it when the results are so astounding. My skin takes on a glow it just doesn’t get when I have gone periods without it. Drinking green juice gives the body mineral rich vegetation in a completely absorbable form. My favorite green juice is apple, celery, cucumber, kale, sun choke.

Cassie with Green Juice Web

MSM is my favorite beauty supplement. It works wonders on itching, rashes and other skin blemishes. Lately I have been taking a heaping teaspoon full a day. I mix it into my green smoothies after blending, as it is very heat sensitive and can easily be compromised by churning blades of a blender.

For my outer body and skin, my main beauty secret is exfoliation. As we age, our skin cell renewal slows down. Exfoliation helps skin to shed old, dying cells and reveals new skin cells to the surface. Exfoliation also increases blood flow, and therefore oxygen, to the skin. The skin is our largest organ, but it is on the periphery of the body. Our bodies are extremely intelligent and when we have imbalance, blood flow and oxygen are sent to the most vital inner organs and tissues. Our skin, hair and nails are last on the list.

This is why you see patients in chemotherapy lose their hair. The body is working so hard at keeping that person’s system functioning that it stops sending nutrients, blood and oxygen to the hair. It’s not needed for survival. By exfoliating, we increase blood flow to the skin, enabling this organ to get extra care and nourishment. The best way to exfoliate is to brush your body when the skin is dry. I use a natural bristle body brush from Whole Foods called Yerba Prima. I brush my entire body every morning before I shower.

Many people who do body brush forget their face! The face loves exfoliation too. You just need to use a bit of a softer bristle and work up to a comfortable pressure. I was using a synthetic brush for some time, then I read a great tip from raw author Tanya Zavasta. She recommends a 100% horse hair shoe brush. This works amazingly well for me and my skin is very soft. You will notice a pretty pink warm your cheeks as blood flows to the skin after face brushing. My particular brush brand is Kiwi.

I also brush my face every morning and often at night if I am not wearing any makeup. You don’t want to brush skin that has makeup on because you will be pushing makeup and other debris that has accumulated on your face throughout the day into your pores.

I love exfoliation so much I also often use a face scrub by Sumbody in the shower. I love the Russet Polishing Grains scrub. It’s mineral rich and has soy milk for soothing and softening the skin. Some other great options for gentle exfoliation are hemp or bamboo wash cloths and I also really like Tanya Zavasta’s face mask. She includes a face brush to help remove the mask, which provides some exfoliation as well. Nothing tops the dry brushing though.

I will say, I have been exfoliating for a long time and people should work up to facial exfoliation slowly and use very gentle pressure to start. Maybe start out 2-3 times a week and see how your skin feels. If you know you have very sensitive skin, opt for a very gentle scrub, like Go JoJo Facial Cleanser from Sumbody and start out slowly to see how you feel with the stimulation.

If you have inflamed acne, never use scrub! You will only irritate and inflame your skin more. Acne can be complicated and I would first focus on what you put in your body, as well as your spiritual development before looking to the external for a cure. When things mellow with your skin, proceed with incorporating a scrub slowly. A great tip for those with acne, as well as everyone else, is to use a gentle toner. I’m not a fan of astringent toners, especially with any amount of alcohol as I feel they strip the skin of vital oils and harm the Ph balance, but Sumbody has some great flower water toners that are alcohol free and Raw Gaia has a great toner as well with essential oils. Toners are great for bringing skin Ph back into balance, removing residue from cleansers, cleaning the skin in general (I often just cleanse with toner if I’m not wearing makeup) and removing dead skin cells that are ready to be sloughed off once you’ve loosened them with brushing :).

Of all the products I use, I don’t use anything on my skin that I would be afraid to eat! Your skin absorbs 60% of what goes on it: that’s how patch medications work, like the birth control patch. 

Do you have any favorite beauty products?

The ones I mentioned above are favorites, as well as coconut butter for a body moisturizer and shea butter for lip balm and face cream. I really like Tanya Zavasta’s products and her skin cream smells like marshmallows, yummy! Pure aloe is also a great moisturizer and skin soother. Just make sure it doesn’t have other questionable ingredients. You can add a few drops of jojoba oil for added moisture as well.

Sumbody Products

Another favorite product is my ionic toothbrush. I alternate between the ionic toothbrush and my Sonicare, but the ionic one is the best in my opinion at getting plaque completely off teeth so they feel silky smooth even in hard to reach places. I spend a good 3 minutes every time I brush too, really running over my teeth with my tongue to make sure I don’t feel any “fuzzyness”.

I just saw my family this weekend and I got compliments on how white my teeth are. They asked if I whiten my teeth and I had to tell them the truth, I don’t use whitening products! 🙂

You and your husband are such a beautiful couple. Do you have him on any special program or products?


My husband Steven is so cute; he uses whatever I get him! Besides a couple years in his teens, Steven has always had really easy skin. Before going raw he would get the once in a blue moon blemish, but I don’t even remember the last time I saw him with the smallest spot! He did ask me recently though about how often he should be exfoliating, because even guys want to prevent aging! He uses a face scrub from Sumbody in the shower and For Her Sons Living Moisturizer from Raw Gaia. He also just started to body brush on occasion…. so we’ll see how that goes! He uses coconut oil as a hair gel. We both also use Toothsoap and Oralive from Ascended Health for brushing our teeth and keeping them nice and white!

What services do you offer?

I’m certified in Reiki 1 and 2 and offer this healing technique in person as well as at a distance. I have a deep connection to crystals and their energies and offer intuitive crystal healing as well. I also offer wellness coaching, including incorporating and transitioning more raw foods into one’s diet.

I have my B.A. in psychology and I always knew I wanted to help people on an emotional and spiritual level. My experience in holistic health has allowed me to merge the emotional, physical, and spiritual in terms of looking at holistic ways of helping people to heal. All spheres of our lives are connected. One part cannot be altered or changed without affecting all the other facets of our lives.

For this reason I like to look at health and wellness as a web and incorporate different aspects depending on a particular person’s needs and desires. Our home environment and the energy we surround ourselves with is another sphere that I enjoy exploring with others. Feng Shui is a beautiful technique for creating balance in one’s external world.

You have two adorable dogs and one cat. Please share a bit about them. Do they follow a raw diet, too?

My husband and I have two Alaskan Klee Kais (AKK) named Malachi and Maikoda and an adopted cat named Milo. AKKs are a rare breed and are basically a miniature Alaskan Husky, although they often look more like little Siberian Huskies. They are similar to other breeds of northern decent and have double coats, LOTS of energy (so they need lots of exercise), and love to run! They differ in that they are extremely pack oriented and remind me often of a wild pack. They are very cautious with strangers, yet very loving and attached to their human companions. They are usually docile in nature and do well with owners who have the time to give these little dogs the exercise, attention and love they need. They would not do well being at home all day without their human companion.

Maikoda and Malachi

Milo is a sweet natured cuddlebug we adopted from a local shelter. He was labeled as semi feral when we chose him and he often hides when we have visitors :). He loves basking in the sun and bird watching from windows. He gets along great with the dogs and is king of our home. He often plays with the puppy, Maikoda, and he is totally in charge! Sometimes I catch him in the sweetest moment grooming Malachi.

They are a playful bunch and I often refer to them as our little gremlins. All our pets do follow a raw diet. I recently wrote a blog post with details on what we feed them, as well as supplements they take and other pet musings 🙂 You can check it out here.

How do you keep a balance between inner and outer beauty?

I keep a balance by remembering to give gratitude for all the beautiful gifts in my life. I am so grateful for all that I have learned about health and well-being, for all the love and support that surrounds me in my husband, family and friends. For awakening to my true self and having the courage to work on my spirit. Being grateful puts us in a high vibration.

Inner and outer beauty, although seemingly polarities, are actually one and the same. It is now scientifically proven that we are primarily energetic beings. Our thoughts, and more importantly, our feelings become our realities. It is said within every seven years every cell in our body has been replaced with new cells. In essence, we have a completely new body every seven years. These new cells that are constantly being created are directly influenced by our thoughts and feelings.

Do you wish to see beauty in the mirror? Then DO a beautiful act of kindness, think beautiful thoughts of love and compassion, feel gratitude for the things you actually like about yourself. The world you create within influences and eventually mirrors your external world. I feel a key strategy to shifting your feelings in this regard is understanding the power of the media and to not fully immerse yourself in television and magazines.

My husband and I stopped getting cable about a year ago and it was the best decision we ever made! You have no idea how much power these sources have until you go on a media diet! Without all the plastic, airbrushed, artificially enhanced, brainwashing in your face day after day, you may start to appreciate the things about yourself that are unique to only you.

I know it sounds cliché, but we are all truly beautiful in our own ways. Finding aspects about ourselves we can celebrate for their natural beauty is an amazing gift to give yourself and others. When we accept and can see the beauty we posses, we give permission to others to see their unique beauty as well.

As someone who once would not leave the house without makeup on, I understand the guilt and shame our society projects onto women and men alike in regards to natural, authentic beauty. Despite my past history, I can honestly say I now feel more comfortable in my own skin then I ever have in my life. I actually like my skin, and most days don’t want to cover up what I have worked so hard to reflect health of body and mind.

Treat your body with love and care; it is your vehicle for conscious expansion. By loving our bodies, feeding ourselves fresh, organic, whole foods, getting enough sleep, getting sunshine, experiencing joy and laughter, we increase the beauty factor in our lives, and our cells literally illuminate this truth for all to see.

Cassie Margraf Web

What do crystals and moon cycles have to do with beauty?

The lunar cycles are a powerful, magical force that affect all living beings, plants and our planet. Just as lunar energy affects the oceans and plants in cycles, it too affects our bodies, even if we are unaware of this force. Hair is affected by the lunar cycles similarly to plants. Farmers and cultivators of our earth from times of old knew of these cycles, revered and respected them, and therefore cultivated their crops in accordance with nature to yield the best food and healthiest plants. This ancient knowledge has been passed on, and although in our society it has been long forgotten, it is remembered in some older farming methods and the newer traditions of biodynamic gardening.

You can even find the moon cycles in farmer’s almanacs with tips of when to grow, plant, and prune plants. With certain phases of lunar cycles, energy is pulled into the root, or out of the root. Cutting one’s hair at certain times actually can send a signal to the hair shaft to stop growing, just as with plants! For this reason, it is beneficial to know about the moon cycles and to cut one’s hair only on auspicious days for hair growth.

If you actually want to hinder hair growth, such as with shaving, plucking or waxing, it would be beneficial to do this on days that correlate with stunting growth.

I have read beautiful, insightful works regarding our hair as our spiritual antenna. It is said that areas on the body where hair thickens, is to further facilitate spiritual energy to these chakras. For instance, the two major sites of hair growth on the body are at the groin, or root chakra, and on the head, crown chakra. The eyebrows are also of a thick, concentrated hair growth pattern, which would facilitate the third eye chakra and intuition.

This personally resonates with me and has allowed me to really honor my hair in a way I never did before. I always thought of hair as dead, not really considering dying, blow drying on high heat, and frying with curling irons to be something to give a second though to. Now I regard my hair with care and don’t artificially process it.

Henna is a natural plant that can be used if one wants to naturally color or give shine to the hair. Henna has been used safely for centuries to enhance beauty and was a favorite in ancient Egypt. Cleopatra was known to color her hair and adorn herself with henna. I sometimes still blow dry my hair, but I never use high heat, only cool or warm air, and I always keep the blow dryer several inches from the hair shaft. My hair is naturally wavy, but if I want a bit more uniform curl, steam curlers are not damaging to the hair and are a great option for a more styled look.

Crystals and beauty, like the lunar cycles, are as ancient as myths and legends passed on through the ages. Crystals have been used throughout the ages to adorn oneself with beauty. Cultivated by the energies of mother earth, crystals can be thought of as precious jewels that are concentrated energetic stones, gifts from mother earth to remind us of our own unique variety and beauty.

Symbolically, crystals are very much like people, each with unique gifts to share with the world, each possessing a unique beauty that cannot be replicated by another. They remind us our connection to the earth, and our own inherent value, with gifts and treasures to share. The infinite diversity of crystals lends beautiful variety to their uses.

Crystals often take on the surrounding vibrations of the environment in which they were cultivated, naturally synchronizing with the patters of the earth and this can help one in choosing the right stone to wear. Crystals can be embedded with energy and thought patters of their wearer and can even purposely be embedded to enhance beauty. This can be used to help enhance one’s beauty if one is embedding kind and loving thoughts about themselves.

Just as crystals naturally synchronize with earth patterns, they do so with their wearer. There are many stones that help to balance and uplift one’s thoughts and emotions and this can be helpful if one is experiencing low self esteem. 

Amethyst and citrine are wonderful crystals for dissipating negative energy and balancing the emotional and physical body. Amethyst’s properties lie in the realm of spirituality, contentment and healing. Citrine helps to activate and increase personal power. This in turn can affect one’s self confidence.

Moss Agate is another stone that can be used for beauty. Of many of its properties, it helps to strengthen positive personal traits, brings emotional balance and allows you to see the beauty in all things, including yourself :).

Turquoise is a holy stone to American Indians, which symbolizes beauty. They believe it is a magical stone that aids in protection and is said to make women content and men powerful and successful. Some properties of turquoise linked to beauty are giving confidence and lifting depression.

What are some of your favorite raw treats?

I try to be pretty simple with my eating because that’s the way my body likes it! But, I have to admit, I love to eat! I grew up in an Italian family and eating for pleasure was ingrained in me since I was very young. I know most people can relate. It’s easy for me to be tempted and I allow myself to eat for pleasure, not just health. I just need to keep it balanced because I have a history of VERY severe food sensitivities.

I love “Orange Julius”’ that I make with orange juice, banana and raw vanilla powder. They taste just like those drinks I used to get at the mall as a kid! I also love raw olives, figs and almond butter fudge made with carob powder.  

If I really want a special treat, or it’s a special occasion, Seed is my favorite raw restaurant here in the North San Francisco Bay Area. The owner, Jerri Hastey, is so kind and if given a day’s notice, will make foods for anyone with special needs, like sensitivities. I am sensitive to tomatoes and peppers and they are very common in raw recipes at restaurants, so it’s wonderful to be able to have someone make my favorite foods without these items. Her broccoli quiche is amazing!

Thanks so much, Cassie! You can find Cassie at  For more information on crystals and the moon, please stay tuned for Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.


The following essay comes via a friend of mine named Esther Weiss. She wrote it for a writing assignment with a simple prompt: 14%. When she read her essay to me over the phone, something about it just tickled me. I love her wry humor and the fact that she went all over town asking people what 14% meant to them. She said I could share her piece for others to enjoy on my blog.



By Esther Weiss 

Not having an immediate reaction to what 14% was, I began to do research and discovered that 14% of Californians are Hmong.

14% of my cousin Jimmy’s advertising business is car dealers.

At the “Y,” I was told that 14% of people who work out do not do strength training.

At a well-known pizza place in Chicago, a kitchen worker there said that 14% of his job involves fixing mistakes made by others.

A podiatrist asserts that 14% of people who have metatarsal surgery below their big toe and second toe will have further problems with the rest of their metatarsals. He went on to say that he just loves statistics – and has noted that 14% of his patients are on Medicare and another 14% live along the lake in the northern suburbs.

A smallish subset – say 14% of those people who use the Evanston Public Library are lower income people with few or no computer skills who need help applying for jobs online, typing resumes and cover letters, applying for student aid, grants, circuit breakers, stimulus grants and so forth.

Another 14% who use he EPL are home school families who check out lots of books, look for testbooks, reviews of curricula and who use the library as a meeting space, and as edu-tainment during the school day participating in story hours, family book discussions and more.

When I taught, of 28 children to a kindergarten class, roughly 14% were very knowledgeable about dinosaurs. They were my “resident paleontologists” – and entered kindergarten with a sense of what learning was. There was another 14% who were very good and never got into trouble. Another 14% cried at the beginning of school and took more than a few days for the tears to diminish.

Thankfully only 14% of my time as a teacher was spent in building or district meetings as these were rarely informative, helpful or enlightening.

In my co-op building, 14% of the owners in my building are single men. 14% do not have parking places inside the garage and another 14% are almost 80 or are already there!

Now that I teach seniors, I think that only 14% of class participants have an idea what the exercises are for, they have pretty limited understanding of the mechanics of their bodies and pains. I think another 14% are eager to understand.

I am able to do things independently 86% of the time, but the 14% when I don’t just get out there and do what I want, whether or not I have a buddy sometimes gets painted in day glow colors, and I forget which part is bigger.

There is, unfortunately, only 14% of the time that I like what I write!

I only understand one of my grandsons 14% of the time – but I love talking with him all the time. 14% of the time I question my son-in-law’s decisions, but I love them all the time. 14% of the time, my ex-husband asks me how I am – but that is such an improvement from 3% that I’m 100% delighted. Sometimes I only hear 14% of what’s being said – but I watch the lips moving and nod happily all of the time.

Only 14% of the time do people have a sense of how old I am – or how much of my body doesn’t really work well. That’s great! I forget things 14% of the time and that’s scary – but my friends say that they’re in the same boat so I guess I don’t paddle alone.

And what else about me? 14% of my life was under 10 years of age and I’m sure that by 14% of that time, someone tried to potty train me. 14% of high school was looking around at other people wondering what it would be like to be someone else. 14% of college was trying to be like someone else. Now that being someone else has failed to happen, I try to devote 14% of each day to me – to my exercise including a yoga practice at home, reading, writing, reflecting and listening to something. I have another 14% of my evening activities which include a yoga movement of gratitude and writing about my gratitudes.

When I was 14 I didn’t like myself very much. But now I like me and I know me and I can give that 14-year-old lots of love and let her know that it’s OK!

Natural Healing & Raw Food Novel Finished!

After months of extensive (read obsessive) editing, I am pleased to announce that I have finally finished Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. The last two weeks of work have helped me to turn a novel featuring raw and vegan foods, cacao, reflexology, crystals, tarot cards, Sedona, shapeshifting, Reiki, astrology, numerology, yoga, animal communication, medical intuition, past lives, universal telepathy, Atlantis, Lemuria, helicopters, 2012 and the Mayan Calendar into much more of a mainstream offering.

Yes, that was as difficult as it sounds!

I did have some help from a wonderful editor named Traci Moore. I highly recommend her services to anyone who wants help honing a message, and especially if you feel (as I did) like you can’t look at your manuscript or website for another minute. Traci brings fresh eyes and a lot of writing experience.

I will submit this first novel in the 5-part Schizandra series to iUniverse today, Friday, May 8, 2009, complete with a custom cover image designed by Visionary Artist Tania Marie, a back cover photo by my hubby, and some wonderful blurbs from Shazzie, Victoria Moran, Shirley Andrews and many others. I’m so grateful for all the support and excitement around this project … and truly thrilled to have finished! I’ll give order and arrival notice as soon as I know.

Blessings and Cheers and enjoy the transformative power of tonight’s Full Moon in Scorpio. I know Schizandra and I will. 🙂