Champagne Mystic

Not Doing

Posted on 02 December 2015

“What are you up to?” We exchange this friendly, casual greeting all the time, without thinking about its meaning. It’s polite and shows interest. The resulting exchange can be a quick catch up or a not-so-brief digression that becomes a conversation in itself. This variety of conversation is natural, personal and not remotely planned. The topic can be the day’s plan, those aggravating events that disrupt it, social matters or the crisis of what to wear to a special event. And, of course, relationships. The actions and activities that make up our daily life, our existence and our sense of who we are. We tend to define ourselves by what we do: these activities, our careers, relationships, passions and challenges. But we never discuss what we don’t do. Mostly because few of us all...
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Morning Meditation

Posted on 02 November 2015

A few minutes ago I wrote a tweet about one of ‘our’ local geese apparently musing over life, not the usual loud self-promotion but rather chuttering away quietly to itself. I suggested it might be meditation. Now that I’m thinking about it, why not? Many animals do stillness far better than we humans. I’ve called this blog Morning Meditation because that’s when the goose was at it. But as I’ve told the classes I’ve been teaching how to meditate, once the technique has bedded in – for it is a specific state, though one that can be achieved in many ways – meditation can be done at any time of day or night and, if you’ve got the will, virtually anywhere, even on a train on the underground. Wherever and whenever it’s done, the results and benefits are remarkable – as ...
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Stars and Spells?

Posted on 12 July 2015

A recent email about whether I knew how to cast spells got me thinking about the blurring of lines about various areas of Mind, Body & Spirit topics. I suppose it’s sort of like doctors. While within the profession there’s enormous clarity about various specialities, to the public a doctor is a doctor. This is even more so when it comes to matters of a spiritual nature because over the past several hundred years such matters have been sidelined. It wasn’t always thus, as is made clear in Shakespeare’s plays, which are brimming with references to both magical symbolism and the practitioners thereof, from the three witches in Macbeth to the wise X in Julius Caesar. So while those who were well-informed during Shakespeare’s time knew when they needed an astrological chart done...
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Good or Bad?

Posted on 01 July 2015

Restaurant reviewing takes preparation. Recently I joined a pal who’s a reviewer for a major newspaper for dinner at a new, wildly expensive, sushi restaurant. My pre-dining investigation revealed it offered foie gras sushi. This was entirely new to me, but she’d had it before and emailed by return that it ‘never a good thing.’ As it happens it was delicious, if odd – as was the case with many of the offerings that night.   This brings me to my topic, our fondness for labelling things ‘good’ and ‘bad’. We do it in the here and now and even more when considering the future. In fact, as an astrologer, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is “will things be good?” Just as with that bizarre – but ultimately delicious – foie gras sushi, employing the wo...
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Mystical Pleasures

Posted on 02 July 2015

Shelley von Strunckel’s list of favourite places, accommodation and experiences around the world: Caesar salad (and a margarita, of course) at Caesar’s Restaurant, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico – where the first Caesar salad was created. Food, food, food; whatever you want, New York’s Fairway Market (on Broadway at 74th Street) is unique. This is not just a grocery store. It’s distilled New York, the chaos of a rush hour subway meets Macy’s mass marketing. From soup (home made, of course) to nuts (organic, unsalted or giant-sized), whatever it is, they have more of it. the downside? Aggressive shoppers; arrive early or risk death by shopping trolley. Shanghai, China: M’s on the Bund. M’s rooftop terrace offers the best vantage point for surveying Shanghai’s tradi...
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Spring Clean

Posted on 22 April 2015

Easter, Passover, Spring Festivals. For thousands of years the period around the beginning of spring – the vernal equinox is its proper name – there have been rituals celebrating the fresh start that is what this season is all about. Over the next few days I’ll be examining the elements of these rituals. Today it’s Spring flowers. These burst through earth hardened by winter’s cold as a forcible reminder of the power of nature. While the actual blossoms often appear overnight then fade as swiftly, the joyous enthusiasm of daffodils and seductive scent of lilies of the valley lure us out of the isolation that comes with cold weather – and as we dress in lighter weight clothing we begin to think and move differently. If you don’t have some spring flowers nearby, on your table ...
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The Full Moon and Turning Points

Posted on 02 July 2015

Most of us are living in an era, and in circumstances that mean we ignore the cycle of the Moon, from the sliver of a crescent that follows the New Moon to the luminous smile of the Full Moon, about two weeks later. While, once this cycle was noted in ritual, at home and in places of worship – and still is in some cultures – that tradition and the accompanying lore have been largely lost. In fact, often, those who live in densely populated urban areas are so busy that it never even occurs to them that the Moon is full, and even if they were aware of it, they couldn’t see it. Being unable to enjoy this glorious sight, and the visually stunning link to nature that it is, constitutes a real loss. Yet, even if the moon can’t be seen, and nobody discusses its cycle, it cannot – and...
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Holst and the Planets

Posted on 01 June 2015

Today the word astrology conjures up magazine and newspaper columns. However, the interests of Holst & co were spurred by a contemporary trend for exploring ancient eastern philosophies, of which astrology was only a part. Still, Holst and his friend, and astrologer, Clifford Bax, delved deeper, investigating individual horoscopes, which show the planets’ positions for an individual’s birth date, place and time, indicating they were well versed about both the star signs and planets. Besides, the planets and the gods they signify are woven into everyday language – Mars; martial arts; a mercurial character; to venerate (Venus) another; a jovial or saturnine nature. They were common parlance, from Shakespeare to today. However, during this period psychoanalysis was dawning, and so ...
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The End, Perhaps

Posted on 05 July 2015

Over the past two days alone, I’ve received two emails about the year 2012. One includes channelled information about the Mayan predictions in regard to this period. These said the world is not about to come to an end. But there are numerous books which interpret the writing of this Central American culture as stating very clearly that our days are numbered. I also received a request from one of the newspapers for which I write asking me to comment on the rumours now circulating not as a result of these books, but because Hollywood has capitalised on them and produced a film, coming out on November 12, about exactly this – the world coming to an end. Should you be living in a cave and have missed the publicity, it’s called “2012.” Clearly the company which made the film wants t...
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New Life, Every Day

Posted on 02 October 2015

As a city-dwelling astrologer, living with skies are frequently obscured by cloud, if it weren’t for my columns, I wouldn’t know whether the moon was full, new or somewhere in between. Similarly, without a walk in a park, I could easily forget where we stand in the seasonal diary. Still, now that I live in a loft which overlooks an urban canal, which ices over in the winter and bursts with life in the spring, the seasons are unmissable. Better yet, for the three years I’ve lived here, one of the barges below my windows has hosted a nesting goose. And today, for the third year, I’ve been present to the miracle of fluffy chicks emerging from their eggs and hopping, almost immediately, into the canal for their first swim under the proud protection of their parents. It was thrilling, ...
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