Archive for the ‘Rabbits’ Category

A Strange, Synchronous Samhain Sojourn

David and I spent Thursday through Sunday in and around Indianapolis, during a time window originally set to spend with my sweet faery twin Tania Marie, her Dave and my David. Due to what have revealed themselves as very important and perfectly aligned changes in their travel plans, David and I agreed to switch around our scheduled trips. Instead of visiting my Aunt Kath and Uncle John around Autumn Equinox, we ended up meeting Tania and Dave in Madison, Wisconsin during a trip documented in Parts 1 and 2. That left this past long weekend for a trip to Indianapolis and nearby Fishers, Indiana, where my mom’s brother John, his wife Kath and my cousin, Tim live.

I mention the switch of trips, because Tania and Dave were eerily present during our entire time there. We kept seeing murals that reminded us of them, and David and I began “spoofing” their travels with photos of me on the “Indy economy version” of their year-long RV trip around the West and Upper Midwest of the US. I’ll share some of those photos here, but they’ll seem funnier if you’ve followed Tania’s spectacular photo chronicles of their adventures in the “Magick Bus.” The giggles began with a mountain goat sighting:


They continued onward with a beautiful waterfall that we “hiked” to:


Right after David texted Tania these photos, we decided to grab some Thai food, and what did my eyes spy, but a full on cosmic sync wink:


As Tania recently announced, they’ve returned to Lake Tahoe, in part for bunny Cosmo, who sat at the center of our Autumnal celebrations all together, anchoring the “Cosmos” and just being the love bunny he is. What’s weird is that this bloodstone bunny Tania gave me years ago to commemorate her beloved Nestor, somehow hitched a ride in my toiletries bag, so we had Tania, Dave, the Magic(k) bus, and a bunny, popping up at the strangest times and places:img_0537

This proved significant as our journey unfolded, but I’ll let Tania decide how much and when to share of that piece, since Cosmo is her elder rabbit, wise companion, and her baby bunny. This Nestor statue has a habit of appearing and disappearing at significant times, though, so when it inexplicably showed up in my bag as I reached for a totally different item, I felt another jolt of synchronicity.

We’ll return to what Tania began to term the “spoooooookay” volume of (sometimes literal) signs and symbols, but I want to share some of the really cool things that David and I found in Indianapolis. He planned our itinerary, as he lived in Indy for a summer about 30 years ago and had places he wanted to see again, including the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and Visitor Center. James Whitcomb Riley was a prolific poet, artist, musician and beloved public figure who lived in the now historic Lockerbie neighborhood of Indianapolis. A lifelong bachelor, he did have a little poodle named Lockerbie who accompanied him throughout his later life.

Although I hold a Masters Degree in English Literature, I must confess that I had no idea who James Whitcomb Riley was. I focused primarily on literature from the other side of the Pond, and the only American lit I read tended to be written by ex-pat’s. I had no idea what to expect, but after touring the home and watching the video at the Visitor Center, I understand why he became so loved by Hoosiers.


He wrote in “the country dialect” and captured an innocence that was fast fading as Indiana experienced exponential growth. The characters Raggedy Ann and Andy, as well as Little Orphan(t) Annie owe their original inspiration to James Whitcomb Riley.

The house includes beautiful 14-foot ceilings and all original furnishings. It also showcases some truly clever innovations that made this rented house Riley’s chosen location for reading, writing, and entertaining. Unusual features include: a rudimentary intercom system from the upstairs to the kitchen, a one-way upstairs window to allow the maid to see which salesmen were calling at the side door, a basement coal furnace, rain water collection, an attic cistern that allowed indoor plumbing, a (rather dangerous yet functional) hot water heater, passive heating above the kitchen, and a cardboard type wallpaper pressed and painted to look like ornately carved and polished wood. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour!

The next day, we went to Conner Prairie, a State Park that features historic buildings, a hot air balloon, early craftsmanship, interactive videos, as well as tour guides dressed in costume and fully acting out their 1816 parts. Not surprisingly, Conner Prairie attracts a lot of children. Our visit this Friday coincided with 1,200 schoolchildren visiting for the day, so it was very LOUD! We had watched a video about Conner Prairie, and it seemed so idyllic and quiet, like a journey back in time, so the noise gave me the same kind of double whammy overload I experienced at Turkey Run State Park, when I expected to find what Dana of The Druid’s Garden had described as “the most sacred woods [she’d] ever encountered. Period. Anywhere. Not just Indiana.” For the most part, Conner Prairie was loud, loud, loud, filled with shrieking, running kids that led us to ponder how we would have never been allowed to do that on a school field trip.

A few things we did particularly enjoy, though:

A woman my Uncle John calls “Curly Sue,” who, it turns out is a friend of his, had come in for an extra volunteer shift at the spinning center. She kept all the children (and us) completely spellbound with her demonstrations and descriptions of different sized spinning wheels for different types of yarns, natural dyes, and her tales of how she started a competitive fabric arts guild for children. She surprised us all when she explained how the boys’ group actually took first prize most often! In any case, we found her delightful, and it demonstrated how what had moments before been hooligans could suddenly turn into fascinated and attentive learners with the right authoritative and interested teacher.

We also loved how all the demonstrators of early crafts and skills remained in character, even talking about each other as characters, presumably with information gleaned from early letters. From the town doctor’s assistant to the uppity woman from “big city” Lexington, Kentucky, we found these talks humorous and authentic. We also loved seeing the old string mattresses, fireplaces, and herbal apothecary:



Later in the day, two unaccompanied young girls started trying to trick and tease one of the in-character workers, loudly baiting him to slip out of character and talk about “pop” and other later inventions. We watched in amusement turned amazement as this stern 1816 cartographer and explorer very firmly disciplined them with words, busting them on “wasting his time” and “asking questions they already know the answers to.” The girls went from quite bratty and disrespectful to fully engaged and interested in his story. David and I noted a lesson in here somewhere: today’s iPod and TV addled youth could return quite quickly to full attention, given the right guidance and firm expectation that they can pay attention and learn at a rigorous pace.

We also thought Conner Prairie did a great job showing a balanced view of Indiana’s deeply troubled history. The William Conner House, for example,  gives a history of William Conner’s double lives: first as a frontiersman who married a Lenape woman and fathered six children, and then as a prominent white settler who helped usher all the Lenape out of Indiana –including his wife and children — only to marry a young woman just months later and then father another twelve white children while helping to found Prairietown. Interactive displays ask viewers to consider the many difficult moral choices Conner faced and to vote on whether he was a hero, an opportunistic jerk or somewhere in between. The Indians get fair treatment in all these videos, and you can’t help feeling deep compassion and solemnity when recognizing just how Indiana became a state. (We saw a similar trend the following day when we visited the Indiana State Museum’s “Indiana in 200 Objects” exhibit in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial.)

In and around our historical tours, we did some fabulous eating. Our favorite was Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe in the Broad Ripple neighborhood:


This tiny but busy spot offers both raw vegan and cooked vegan dishes, as well as fresh juices, healing tonics, kombucha and a variety of raw vegan desserts and superfood treats. We had chocolate hazelnut torte and a superfood Reishi brownie on Thursday, since we arrived after the kitchen closed. On Saturday, we returned for lunch and had a fresh green juice, followed by an angel reading at The Playful Soul metaphysical shop next door, and then we shared a “Buddha bowl” and a slice of delicious raw vegan pizza on a nut crust. We discovered the reason for the extra yummy factor:


Ezra’s Organic Farm provides most of the food for Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe. They also offer CSA’s and prepared food for the week. Total yum. It reminded me of some of my favorite raw spots in Sedona and California. Having the Playful Soul right next door allows a high vibe experience for body, mind and soul. We enjoyed the angel reading with Brian. I almost never get readings but felt led to on that day of enhanced synchronicities. We also got some unusual stones the likes of which we’d never seen or heard of before.

After lunch on Saturday, we made our way downtown to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, where David had noticed they’d be hosting a Dia de los Muertos celebration. We didn’t know what to expect, but since it was the weekend before Samhain, we figured we’d check it out before heading to the Indiana State Museum next door. Due to the festival, we got free parking and admission, and our visit quickly turned surreal with the combination of full on celebration, mostly in Spanish. We saw traditional altars created by schoolchildren, as well as organizations in memory of the dead. We’re talking a huge room full of major decorations, letters, mementos and more, with very respectful Hispanic children making their way around each altar with their parents.

Further down the hall, we ducked into some exhibits and the Tania and Dave travel spoofing kicked into high gear. We made a whirlwind tour of Sedona, the Grand Canyon, magical forests, and snowcapped mountains, just like Tania and Dave. Well, almost:

We even saw a buffalo, just like Tania and Dave:


After our adventure at Eiteljorg, we took a chocolate break and then wandered into the Indiana State Museum, where David wanted to view the “Indiana in 200 Objects” bicentennial exhibit. We did not expect even more Dia de lost Muertos celebrations there, but we found full on skeleton faces with flamenco dresses, dancers, and music. It almost felt eerily like the beginning scene in the James Bond film, Spectre. As we moved into the actual exhibit, another buffalo greeted us:


The double sighting of these buffalo seems especially synchronous, potent and poignant given the recent buffalo stampede as answered prayer to the thousands of Native Americans attempting to stop the pipeline from being built on their land. After days of learning even more about Indiana’s horrible treatment of Indians, the current events with the Standing Rock Sioux remind us that some battles continue to rage. Having seen the results of Indiana’s “triumph” over the natives, perhaps we will all send extra supportive energy to this important fight out West. I know I am.

Great Spirit is listening: “… [I]n the midst of mass arrests, mace attacks, and beatings from batons, a stampede of bison suddenly appeared near the Standing Rock protest camp. A cry of joy reportedly erupted from the Standing Rock Sioux, as they had been praying for assistance from the Tatanka Oyate during their standoff with riot police and national guardsmen.” Huge blessings and gratitude to those on the front lines for Mother Earth and Sovereignty of the Land!

The rest of the 200 objects tour was highly informative, yet also eerie in its focus on death, change, Light and Shadow. Our trip through the exhibit began to feel like a sacred Samhain ritual, and the synchronicities between Tania and me ramped up even more. Right after seeing a sign depicting the Four Elements, I took this picture of a saber toothed cat:


The rail road sign behind the cat not only links our Goshen locale with its close proximity to trains, but the rail road in question is the Madison-Indianapolis Rail Road, thereby linking our Madison and Indianapolis trips. This was like an over the top whoa moment, as we continued moving through this darkened and somewhat spooky catalog of famous people,  items, inventions and events in Indiana history. To the right, you can see the state’s electric chair. Who needs haunted houses for Halloween scares?!

Signs scattered around the displays, offering philosophical commentaries that took on larger meaning in context of the layered connections Tania and I had been sharing throughout that morning and afternoon. This sign in particular arrived at just the right, confirming moment for Tania:


We continued on, and David found Johnny Appleseed’s drinking flask, which appeared after having told my aunt and uncle the night before that I was the Johnny Appleseed of Goshen:



We also saw markers for Indiana authors like the amazing Gene Stratton Porter, whose Limberlost home we visited on my birthday, and whom I realized on that day was THE huge inspiration for Grandma Van and her magical adventures with birds:


We looked at several other exhibits in the Indiana State Museum, including this giant pendulum:


It being two days before Samhain, I figured we ought to take a walk outside on the canal behind the museums, since my Uncle John and my now departed father walked there for an afternoon when my parents visited in 2013. Apparently, my dad really loved the canal walk, and we found it a perfect afternoon for sauntering along. We also found it a perfect opportunity for more synchronicities to flood into our awareness! The angel reading had mentioned owls, hawks and several other animals, but with a particular discussion of paying attention to hawks. I had seen a hawk the day before and then on the way to the museum, but check out this beauty we found under a bridge!


Knowing that Tania loves and often posts about hawks, we sent this snapshot to her, only to receive an “LOL, did you see I just posted about hawk wisdom?” Um, no, but why am I not surprised?! Here’s her Saturday post, “A Message from Hawk.”

David shot some photos of the canal walk to give a better idea of this vistas:




By this time, the day had gotten away from us, so we decided to meet my aunt and uncle at the restaurant instead of heading back to their house first. My uncle had decided he wanted to take us out to one of their very favorite restaurants, Mama Carolla’s, which turned out to be very close to the neighborhood where David lived for his decades ago summer in Indy. We figured the Tania and Samhain themed bleedthrough’s would stop now, but wait, there’s more! We arrived to find the entire staff and restaurant completely decked out in Day of the Dead costumes and decorations:


I put in my name, and our table became available just as my aunt, uncle and cousin walked in the door. Perfect timing! We sat down at the table, only to be greeted by a server in a banana costume, causing David and me to look as each other as we thought of “Banania,” our affectionate name for Tania.

Dinner was amazing! Every dish except the lasagna and ravioli can be made gluten-free, since they make it all to order. They offer vegetarian dishes, easily made vegan, too. We thoroughly enjoyed the food, the music and our conversations, as we also caught up with my cousin Tim, whom I had not seen for almost 30 years. We wound down our trip by watching the Cubs-Indians World Series and noting that “Take me out to the ball game” was composed by an Indiana native. Indeed, we are now filled to the brim with facts about Indiana originals!

The visit ended all too soon, as we toured their backyard and then packed the car on Sunday. David took this selfie of Aunt Kath, Uncle John and us, just before we left:

img_5792We had so much fun that we will definitely return! We barely scratched the surface of vegan food options and activities around Indianapolis, and we so enjoyed hanging out with John and Kath. With all the Fall colors and varied weather, it was a perfect way to usher in another Turn of the Wheel of the Year.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and a Spooky All Hallow’s Eve!

Tania Marie and Me: Equinox Visit and Cosmic Adventures with Our D’s ~ Part 2

Continuing on from where we left off in Part 1, Tania Marie, our Dave/David’s and I found ourselves at Cave of the Mounds — a stunning, prehistoric, subterranean world, carefully preserved since its discovery in 1939. You can see just a small selection of David’s photos from our guided tour below:









Someone kindly managed to snap a photo of the four of us, quite the feat with everything either pitch black or brilliantly highlighted:


Above ground we found butterfly and herb gardens, the top of a huge sinkhole we saw from below, and various trails “through time.” David caught Tania and me hamming it up as we “stopped to smell the roses.”



After Cave of the Mounds, we faeries couldn’t resist going to nearby Mount Horeb, “the troll capital of the world!” Here we are on Trollcam, showing off Tania’s matching key tattoo:


Since he missed our prehistoric peeps photo, we asked David to rest with us awhile on this kindly troll’s bench:


Afterwards, we did some shopping, and then look who we saw on our way back home:


We returned to their “Magick Bus” RV, where the guys took a Wisconsin brew break with New Glarus Indigenous IPA, while Tania and I enjoyed Live soda flavored kombuchas. Who knew cola and root beer could be so healthy?! Vegan pizza and salads followed at Roman Candle Pizzeria.

With our time together winding to a close, we realized we had not gotten any photos of baby Cosmo with “Auntie Laura,” so we all gathered again at the Magick Bus the next morning. Tania made smoothies from the greens I’d harvested from our garden, and we spent quality time with the world’s snuggliest rabbit. You could call this photo T.L.C.:


Our 11 a.m. checkout time loomed near, so we said our goodbye’s and headed our separate ways — Tania and Dave West to Iowa, and David and me to meet our Madison friends for lunch before heading East to Goshen. We’ve already got some ideas in the works for the next trip, but with the four of us very much in flux and synchronicity so obviously at play in our lives, time and sync winks will tell where and when we meet again. I was telling David on the way home just how grateful and lucky I feel to have such a loving romantic partnership with him and such a deep, beautiful friendship with Tania … and now we both know and love Tania’s Dave, as well. So much laughter and love:


Tania Marie and Me: Equinox Visit and Cosmic Adventures with Our D’s ~ Part 1

Best friend and faery twin Tania Marie and I are never apart in spirit. We keep in nearly constant touch via anything from texts to telepathy, and even if we have longer times without contact, we find our lives have either synchronously paralleled or gone into exactly opposite complementary experiences. Our own mothers have mixed us up in photographs, and our lives really do seem like those stories of twins separated at birth.

We both have our North Nodes (Destiny) in Capricorn, and we both have David’s/Dave’s with Cancer North Nodes. We’re roughly the same size and height, and our haircuts seem to parallel each other. Tania’s a two-fish Pisces, and I’m a twin Gemini. Tania has a special needs bunny, and I have a special needs yard. When Tania and her Dave downsized last year to start full time RV living, I simultaneously upsized by renting the house next door as an office/classroom/guesthouse filled with my David’s parents’ furniture they needed to move out of their old house. Despite the miles between Tania and me, we often giggle to discover we’ve made the exact same thing for dinner, or that one of us is out shopping for the very ingredient the other one just chopped.


All these long distance connections and synchronicities go into life-changing hyperdrive whenever life permits a fun and magickal in-person adventure. We went to the San Francisco Veg Fest Together in 2008 carrying bunny Nestor’s ashes and then learned about a bunny rescue that eventually led to Tania adopting Joy; I picked up her Joy with Tania and held her on their first road trip together; we’ve had many Cafe Gratitude binge fests where the waitresses actually looked under the table to see where we’d hidden all our food; we braved a spooky and synchronous Halloween 2008 in Bodega Bay with our friend Karen; have enjoyed multiple vegan Thanksgiving’s together; took a crazy, wild, and life-altering visit to Mendocino in 2009; did a silly, but potent faery reclamation of Chicago in 2010; and had a joyful reunion and birthday celebration in Goshen in 2015 when Tania first got to meet my David.

We’ve been planning this year’s gathering with “both our D’s” pretty much since Tania and her D took off in the RV. As timing and plans coalesced, we originally thought we’d meet over Samhain/Halloween as they drove East through Canada and then down through Michigan to Goshen, IN then wintering South and continuing their East Coast travels next Spring and Summer. These plans morphed all over the place until we finally decided to meet in Viroqua, WI on Autumn Equinox.

Yes, Wisconsin, the land of giant mice, cheese and brats:


Readers of this blog might remember The Sunflower Saga, Synchronicity and the NAPC, the first time tried to go to Viroqua amidst massive redirection, dreams and another head injury. I tried a second time for David’s birthday this year, but life strongly rearranged itself to send us to Turkey Run State Park instead. Apparently, I have a “thing” with Viroqua — a strong pull accompanied by a major block. When making plans with Tania, I mentioned that I was still a little nervous about that location, even though I’ve always wanted to go there, but we reasoned that since I’d be there with both Tania and my David, I’d be fine.

And so we made our respective reservations. While I harvested and prepped food for an Equinox Feast, we all gathered and prepared various gifts for one another. The afternoon before our trip, just as Tania and Dave neared Viroqua, I felt a sudden “flood” of energy. It was so strong that it knocked me back onto the couch, even when I tried to get up. Whenever I thought of our trip, I felt this powerful force field of energy so strong that it felt like a rush of water pulling me deeper and deeper. I texted Tania to say, “Wow, really potent energy for our trip in Viroqua. Almost knocked me out.” Then I checked the weather there, only to find a “Flood Warning.”

Hmmm …. I texted her not to set up camp too close to the Kickapoo River, as it might overflow, but we continued with our plans. We figured the potent energy came more from the intentional ceremony we had planned for that evening, the first time all four of us would be together, with Tania’s bunny Cosmo anchoring the center of our Circle. I had copied, modified and highlighted an OBOD Alban Elfed ritual, so that the five of us could personify the four directions and “the cosmos.”

All proceeded according to plan until …

…what I’ve come to consider “my Viroqua hex” reared its powerful head again.

Early Equinox morning, I received hurried texts from Tania that she and Dave were being evacuated from their camp site. A flurry of texts and phone calls followed as I tried to see if they could stay in the parking lot by our hotel, but people on their end urged them to get out of town while they still could. “Mudslides and flash floods would make it impossible” for David and me to reach Viroqua, and the Sheriff advised Tania and Dave to go to Madison. I knew she had little signal, so I located a KOA in De Forest, WI, just north of Madison, and it turned out they had trailers for rent, as well as a site for T and D.

Originally, we would have been staying about twenty minutes apart since we could not find any accommodations capable of housing both parties. Our trailer option meant a very different sort of packing, but it also meant we would be about twenty yards instead of twenty minutes away from each other! It meant we could hang out with Tania and Dave in their “home on the road,” while David and I shared our homecoming to the place he and I first lived together. A place with loads of vegan food options. A place we both love and had planned to drive through on our way home anyway to have lunch with dear friends there. A place which increasingly seems to be some kind of Wheel of the Year vortex portal for us, as demonstrated further by our potent Winter Solstice 2015 in Madison.

In any case, our plans rapidly morphed, and the synchronicities suddenly catapulted into crazy high gear. All of us dodged potential injury or death that day, between the rising floods on T and D’s end, and a rogue white van suddenly crossing and stopping right in front of us on the highway. As the day continued, Tania and I began to feel forces strongly opposing our visit, while even stronger forces protected and redirected us to safe communion. We eventually arrived, quickly got settled and then gathered in their “Magick Bus,” where we did introductions, hugged, changed into fun “Equinox costumes,” held our little ceremony and then feasted on the garden fresh white scallop squash “faux”lenta, pesto, tomatoes, leafy greens, raspberries and Sun Oven Lammas brownies, I had brought. It was so yummy and love filled that we forgot to take any photos that night.

Tania and I noticed that we “floated for hours” in some kind of altered state as our guys slept. The next day, Tania received word from our friend Dawn that she also felt floaty and interdimensional that night. We all felt we crossed onto a different timeline or alternate reality, as things eerily fell into perfect alignment, despite all the sudden twists and turns. I received texts from others confirming similar sense of shifts the night of Autumn Equinox, so we’re curious if anyone has other info to share in the comments below.

On Friday, we toured some of our favorite spots in Madison, including Willy Street Co-Op, of special interest to my D and me for green juice, and to T’s D for … vegan scones and donuts! Oh, yes, Dave is not only a vegan author, speaker, and animal rights advocate but also quite the junk food vegan connoisseur! He kept us well supplied with goodies throughout our trip, a bit of a shock to my “just harvested from the garden” norm, but also a fun and welcome treat! We enjoyed chocolate bark, donuts, scones and lots of wonderful teas from his extensive collection. We took them to our much missed restaurants Himal Chuli and The Green Owl Cafe, as well as to Roman Candle Pizzeria for vegan pizza. Here we are below on our first full, crazy windy day there, overlooking Lake Mendota, on the UW Madison campus. The wind was so strong it started blowing off my jacket and shirt, but we did manage to snap this selfie before wandering into more sheltered woods:


The whole trip continued to evolve moment-by-moment, and it seemed impossible to plan anything. Between road detours, missing emails, very specific weather guidelines, and more, we had no choice but to go with the flow. Saturday brought us to Cave of the Mounds, where we picnicked and then went on an amazing underground tour. I experienced such powerful and unshakeable déjà vu when we got there that I kept trying to explain it away by my early childhood visits to Pennsylvania’s Crystal Cave. The avalanche of synchronicities and slow motion time experience of our pre-tour time there convinced Tania and me that some other important time nexus or circular time event had arranged for us to be there right then. My David kept mentioning “the importance of getting you ladies deep inside the Earth so you can do whatever you need to do there.”

It truly was magical inside that ancient cave, but I’ll continue our adventure in Part 2.

Gaia and the May 20, 2012 Eclipse

After writing about the Divine Feminine, Dark Goddess and today’s Annular Eclipse, I spent today alternately offering sessions and attempting to finish reading Christine R. Page’s book, “2012 and the Galactic Center: The Return of the Great Mother.” I had bought this book several years ago as part of my research for Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar, but I’d never started reading it until Dark Goddess/Mother synchronicities started multiplying exponentially around me.

Today’s readings and my reading about the Great Mother and the Galactic Center continued layers of other spiraling themes in my life, including Hermes Trismegistus and “The Emerald Tablet,” a text which has stalked me since 1994. Here it comes again: different book, similarly extensive references to the ancient alchemical work. A strange day it was, indeed, with the eclipse energies, some time warps presenting themselves as scheduling snafus, and a photon belt from the Pleiades. I’d read a few paragraphs only to nod off, then ask myself, “What did I just read?!” then reread the paragraphs only to fall asleep again. I wasn’t actually tired, but the combined energy of the Galactic Center topic and Earth’s actual movement through some pretty intense Galactic waves kept knocking me out.

Our air conditioner malfunctioned, too, so that our house became an imperceptibly heated steam room, which may have contributed to the reading drowsiness. When we finally recognized an issue, David went outside to check on the AC just as our landlord synchronously happened to be taking an evening walk with his wife. While he and David checked on various potential cooling issues, I learned from his wife that she’s 12 weeks pregnant. Mother Goddess energy again.

By the time we finished with all that, I had completely forgotten about the Eclipse and just wanted to eat dinner. Thai Kelp noodles and veggies eaten, I felt a strong urge to open the huge box I’d received on Friday from my dear friend, Tania Marie. My birthday’s on Tuesday, but all of a sudden, I couldn’t wait. David cut open the box for me, and I carefully dug out enough packing peanuts to retrieve my gift: the original Tania Marie painting of “Gaia.”

Gaia by Tania Marie

I love all of Tania’s paintings, but I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for this one. I didn’t even know she still had the original, since she painted it before we ever met. I got so excited because I’ve long wanted to hang something above our earthy green loveseat, but nothing quite looked right. This piece just pops, connecting with color and theme to the nearby portal doorway number 1 with its green background, orange sun and Green Man/Earth.

Only after recognizing that this was not a giclee print, did I also realize that I had been unveiling the original Gaia at the precise moment of the Annular Eclipse. Gaia arrived with a print of Tania’s portrait of her beloved Nestor, a truly cosmic rabbit who transitioned in 2008. I had the honor of getting to know “Nestie” through animal communication sessions, and she continues to work her expansive energy from beyond the veil. Her appearance with Gaia at the moment of this powerful eclipse felt like a seriously synchronized activation of earthly and cosmic energies, right in our living room, without any conscious intention on my part. Overwhelming gratitude to Tania for this tremendous gift, for her talent, love, and participation in this beautiful dance of life.

ABNA Update: My Novel “Pitch”

A normal Sedona school day in 2001 unravels fast when thirteen-year-old Schizandra faints. Nothing wakes her, and mysterious symbols and messages appear when anyone tries to help. lunar eclipse has activated her astrological chart, marking Schizandra to fulfill an ancient prophecy regarding 2012 and the Mayan Calendar. If she revives, Schizandra will spark human evolution into a new age.

SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU follows her mythic journey and the awakening that confirms her destiny. While she remains in a coma, the veil separating conscious and unconscious worlds is translucent. The lives of a superstitious helicopter pilot, a midwife grandmother, cheerleader friends, talking crystals, twin spinster reflexologists, a lovesick nerd, an erudite frog king and a raw-cacao-loving Lemurian queen all converge within Sedona’s legendary beauty and mystique. This fantasy explores the tensions between rational and spiritual, shame and freedom, death and rebirth, as all heal through their interactions with Schizandra and each other. 

Written by a professional intuitive, Reiki Master Teacher and former Sedona resident, SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU presents a natural healing extravaganza. Most fantasies go far beyond what people can imagine in their own lives, but supernatural twists in this book spring from solid research. People want to believe in the unexplained. Each year, four million tourists visit Sedona seeking spiritual renewal; alternative medicine has become the new mainstream; even Oprah advocates higher consciousness. With series potential, this 60,000-word novel offers crossover appeal for young adults and older readers. It’s THE CELESTINE PROPHECY meets ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. The plot surprises. The dialogue flies. Its characters will especially delight teens, caregivers, mystics, misfits, literary nerds and chocoholics. To a troubled world, SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU brings hope. 


For those of you who don’t already know about the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, it’s Amazon’s second annual writing contest for full length novels. The competition runs from February 8, 2009 when entries closed, until May 22, 2009, when the winner receives a $25,000 book contract from Penguin Books. Along the way, the field of 10,000 or so contestants gets whittled down to 2,000, then 500, then 100 and finally to 3, at which point Amazon account holders (anyone who’s ever purchased something from can vote on their choice for the winner.  For the first two levels, something known as “the pitch” plays an all-important role.  Judges will read the pitches and decide who gets to advance to a level of having an actual excerpt of the book read. Advance again, and you get your whole manuscript read and reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly. 

Because real readers get to vote on the final 3 excerpts, ABNA does run a bit like a literary American Idol. I decided to enter after a series of bizarre synchronicities, which you can read here. In any case, I’ve agreed to post occasional updates as the contest progresses.  I thought I’d share my pitch, just for fun. I’d welcome feedback from anyone who cares to comment.

(For those of you who are fans of Nestor the rabbit, she also makes a cameo appearance!) 

Reiki for Animals: Visions of Nestor



In Greek mythology, Nestor was an elder statesman with a penchant for longwinded lectures to youths. In Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), Nestor is one gray-haired bunny with a commitment to serve. When I first encountered her, Nestor had already received first and second degree Reiki attunements. How odd (and intriguing), I thought, for a rabbit to know Reiki! As a Reiki Master Teacher, I understood how someone could have attuned her, but I wondered: what exactly could she do with it? As it turns out, some pretty amazing stuff!

I began tuning in to Nestor as part of my own service to her human companion. Much to my delight, I found a bright, eager intelligence, intimately aware of changes in her household and the world at large. She loves journeying with her homo sapiens and asked how she could best support their mutual growth. According to my favorite shamanism website,

Rabbit/Hare’s Wisdom Includes:

Paradox and contradiction
Living by one’s own wits
Receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages
Moving through fear
Strengthening intuition

Nestor embodies such gifts, and her gentle yet firm spirit conveys them to her own species and ours as well. I continued occasional communication with Nestor, but always in the context of relaying messages to and from her friend.

Since she had received Reiki certification from someone else, I never thought of evaluating when or if she might be “ready” for Master Teacher training. One day, Nestor’s human companion (my own Level 2 student) asked if I would certify them both to the Master Teacher Level. Implications and “buts” whirled through me. I don’t even invite all my Reiki 2 students to become Master Teachers. How would they feel if they knew I’d certified a rabbit? And what would other teachers think? Even as I explored these ideas, I sensed Nestor’s charges of “speciesism.” I felt like a Geico commercial: “Reiki. So easy even a rabbit can do it!” That’s true, I reasoned, at least for Reiki 1 and maybe even Level 2. As “universal life force energy,” Reiki can certainly flow through more than humans. At one time, only Japanese men knew Reiki and had Dr. Hayashi refused to teach a foreigner named Mrs. Takata, the West would have missed some incredible healings.

I never limit students’ movement between first and second levels, but I deeply respect the title of Reiki Master Teacher. Not that RMT training means one has “mastered” universal life force energy. Hardly! Nor does Master Teacher training require students become “enlightened” or perfect in order to proceed. I love teaching Reiki precisely because it does not require these things. Still, the title of teacher implies a certain degree of understanding and awareness. In order to certify anyone to that level, I need to believe they’re committed to an ever-evolving process of living Reiki as described by founder Mikao Usui: “Just for today, do not anger. Do not worry, and be filled with gratitude. Do your work honestly. Be kind to people.” Simple, yet powerfully transformative principles. I had no problem attuning a rabbit to Level 3, but in order to certify Nestor as a Reiki Master Teacher, I felt she needed further instruction in the potential and subtleties of this energy. Somehow I needed to transfer this information into Nestor’s psyche. But was such transmission possible?

Encounters with animals flooded my awareness. After a 1998 brain injury, I spent six isolated weeks at my parents’ house. As they worked, I longed for someone-anyone-to sit with me so I wouldn’t have to face my broken life alone. One day, heart and mind cried out, and a great horned owl appeared. In the middle of the summer, in the middle of the afternoon, this owl sat with me every day for six weeks, landing whenever I settled on the outdoor chaise. In 2000, I saw a puppy bounding uncontrollably toward four lanes of rush-hour traffic, his frantic human screaming after him. From across the street, I locked onto the puppy’s third eye and sent one simple word-image: “Stop.” The puppy wagged his tail and sat down as his breathless friend caught up and reattached the leash. Traffic had cleared and the man called out in a mix of confusion, gratitude and relief, “Um, Thanks?” “No problem,” I said. I also remembered the many times I’ve “called” animals to pose for my husband’s wildlife photography. They appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and allow photos to document the exchange.

OK, I agreed, I can communicate with animals.

I visualized myself as an external hard drive, uploading files to Nestor’s brain, but she surprised me first with sophisticated questions regarding Reiki 2. She understood and used the distance healing symbol/mantra, which allowed her to think of someone and “send” them energy, but how could she best utilize the other symbols? In telepathic shorthand I taught her subtler uses of other symbols, like clearing auras or recharging crystals. Reiki 3 teaches something known as “The Violet Breath,” and I attuned Nestor’s nose, so she could “violet breathe” all day long. I had scheduled our time together for 11:00 one morning, but decided at the last minute to start early. Nestor’s human friend later asked if I had perhaps begun our session at 10:36 a.m. because Nestor had entered a trancelike state then for about an hour. This was exactly the time of our instruction.

Nestor has proven an engaging and committed student, who mentally “checks in,” as my human students do via email. More amazing, though, she has become a teacher. Nestor’s homo sapiens tells me that wild rabbits now visit Nestor, undaunted by nearby human activity. Like my best students, though, she also challenges me, encouraging me to embrace the Reiki principles on an even deeper level. I often explain “Do your work honestly” as the Buddhist concept of Dharma, telling students, “Don’t hide your gifts! Be honest and creative about the ways you can serve.”

Touché, Nestor. Thanks for the reminder.

* I wrote the above essay in early 2007, and our beloved Nestor has since passed: but not before inspiring many animals and humans to become Reiki Master Teachers! Nestor’s “mom” shared articles about her rabbit’s healing gifts, and those stories resulted in numerous Reiki Master Teachers attuning their own animals to levels one, two or three. I’ve also shared some of her stories and struggles with other pet owners to open their minds to possible communication with their own furry, scaled and/or feathered friends.

On one occasion, Nestor helped me during some intuitive sessions with a brain injured man, and I mentioned this fact to his wife. That same week, a different intuitive told her that “an unknown rabbit and woman with long hair have suddenly appeared in your husband’s sessions. I don’t usually work with rabbits. I have no idea how it got there.” The wife laughed, delighted to find such “confirmation” in a field that seems to lack objective proof. Although I offered under-the-radar animal communication sessions prior to Nestor, this little bunny really nudged me to honor and offer those gifts in bigger ways. I’ve taught animal communication classes, facilitated sessions, and tutored animals in energy healing, including Reiki. Due to Nestor’s persistence, dozens of animals have avoided euthanasia because their owners could explore their true needs and expectations.

Oftentimes, the animals express desires to heal more proactively. Their behavior changes, and humans notice that other humans treat their animal friends differently as well. After Reiki attunements, people start gravitating towards those healing dogs, cats, or other species. Animals that normally shun each other start cuddling or exchanging meaningful stares. Those who knew and loved Nestor may miss her on this earthly plane, but she has certainly left her mark!

Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Animal Communicator, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the US. For more information on classes, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, animal communication, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: or call 775-750-9140.

Laura also has also written two books, available here: and In the works as of 9/2008: an animal communication e-book. For more information, please contact Laura.