Join me in celebrating Jen McConnel’s new release of her book, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls!
GODDESS SPELLS FOR BUSY GIRLS
Goddess magic is powerful magic: with the help of the right goddess, simple spells can yield amazing results. In Goddess Spells for Busy Girls, Jen McConnel offers 80 spells imbued with the vibrant force of 25 Goddesses from around the globe. McConnel provides an introduction to 25 celestial ladies, to make sure you are asking the right goddess for help: Athena for memory retention, Aphrodite to gain confidence, Persephone to find you path, and Sekhmet to prevent illness. Each section includes the history and lore behind the goddess, and three simple spells to invoke her help. For the busy young woman who wants it all but needs help getting it, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls can help you achieve love, balance, protection, and abundance in your life. Weiser Books: ISBN 1578635489 (ISBN13: 9781578635481)
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her first nonfiction book, GODDESS SPELLS FOR BUSY GIRLS, is out now from Red Wheel/Weiser Books. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.
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I learned about Dawn when I read about the December release of her book, “Healer of Souls.” Based in St Albans Hertfordshire, she has a thriving shamanic practice as both a healer and teacher.
How does one become a Healer of souls?
Much time has passed since I received a vision of the Inca while at Machu Picchu, Peru, who told me in no uncertain terms that I was to follow the path of the shaman – and that they would help me. And now I see that they have kept their word, as for many years now I have run a thriving shamanic practice, assisting thousands of people from all over the world. These people have come from all walks of life and from all religions; the youngest has been seven months, the oldest 87. Some have been following a spiritual and personal development path of some sort, others have been desperate mothers, stressed out business professionals or even people from other healing professions who have never even really heard of shamanic healing, they just know they need help.
Over those years my work has developed, with the assistance of my spirit guides and sometimes through sheer need. As is common to all in the healing professions, the more I have worked on my personal and spiritual development, the more my work has transformed and improved, for it is widely recognised that the healing received by the client is only as good as the levels of development and vibrational resonance the healer has attained, and I take this very matter very seriously.
A spiritual business is not like any other kind of business, for it is not run by spirit. They decide which clients to send, who I can help the most, with my blend of shamanic healing, general spiritual teaching and personal development methods. I found very early on that I could do a thousand soul retrievals and a person would still stay stuck in their old patterns, with their limiting beliefs and in their comfort zones, even though those zones may be very uncomfortable places indeed. In order for a person to truly heal and transform, change needs to occur on a massive level, ultimately, even down to the way a person thinks about themselves, their lives, and the world.
Although I am and will always remain a general practitioner, I specialise in healing sexual abuse, – which is currently a hot topic in the UK at the moment following the Jimmy Saville allegations – and I have seen wonderful results occur for both men and women. It is important to remember that when trauma occurs to a human being it occurs to them on all levels of their being, not just the mental level i.e. in my view, merely talking about something is not sufficient for full healing to occur. The great benefit of shamanic healing is that it works on all of the levels of a person.- not only the mental, physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual and soul levels, but also the conscious, the subconscious, the unconscious and the superconscious levels, as well as with the inner child.
In working with people suffering from sexual abuse ( I do not like to use the word victim), I recognised that they were often crippled with guilt and shame, which made me wonder why? Through my work I came to realise that during the abuse act, the abuser would offload his (or her) guilt, shame and hatred onto the person being abused. This person would carry this energetic burden around, thinking mistakenly that it was their own. I had one client, in her mid forties who completely hated herself, because she had not had the strength to fight off her abuser, and escape from a locked room in order to avoid the abuse. This was an intelligent, professional woman, who had not once questioned how she, at only four years of age, could have possibly escaped from such a situation. Once she realised the hatred was not even her own, a miraculous transformation occurred and she was able to free herself from a lifetime of neglect and self sabotage.
On the spiritual teaching front, I have found many spiritual seekers tie themselves up in knots over judging what is “spiritual” and what is “not spiritual.” Many will say, “Oh, I wanted to be a comedian, but that is not spiritual so now I guess I will have to be a healer.” There is nothing in this world that is not spiritual. We are spirit encased in matter. Even cleaning the toilet is a spiritual act, because a spirit is doing it. Being perfect is not being spiritual either, first of all it is impossible, and secondly, it requires us to disown and discard vast portions of ourselves. So not only do most people have a problem with the effects of soul loss, but they have a greater problem with what I call power loss, because often the aspects of Self that we disown hold our power, valuable aspects of our personality, and most importantly, our energy. Hence I found the need to develop a method called power retrieval, to bring these aspects of self out of shadows and the lower realms of consciousness and back to the Self.
We are living in very important times. Many people are picking up on that intuitively. They may have been carrying emotional burdens, depression or anxiety around with them for years, but now they are arriving on my sofa, saying they have to clear it, now. And they should feel so proud of themselves, because it takes a lot of courage to face our “stuff,” and make necessary changes in our lives, but it is important to know that our pasts need not define our future, we can heal our past and move forward, lightly and freely, and greet our new, happy and fulfilling lives with open arms.
It was a gentle turn in the white-sand road, a curve that disappeared into the Florida scrub. The afternoon sun slanted through the trees and January mosquitoes gathered around my face whenever I stopped too long. Nothing mysterious about this place or time, yet the bend in the road kept me walking.
I was alone on the trail with my dachshund, paced by the crunch of his feet and mine on the sand, the drone of an airplane, and the intermittent calls of birds. I was taking a stretch after a long drive. I had no reason to keep going deeper into the woods, yet each bend in the path beckoned me onward.
After the flamboyance of the Keys, this place seemed dull. I found the broken-apart scutes of a turtle and put one in my pocket as a souvenir. Maybe that was all, the only reward for this walk – and then a flash of white flared in the woods to the left, a big bird winging down the canal. It was a great white heron, the southerly form of the familiar great blue heron. I kept walking, the heron flying ahead, landing, and then when I again got too close, lifting with a prehistoric squawk!
Just as I paused, thinking about turning back, I saw the spoonbill. The rosy exemplar of all that was Florida. The image that I bought at Audubon House in Key West. There it was, strolling up and down on a lawn across the narrow canal, pecking at the ground like a Seussian version of a chicken. That was why I’d kept walking, the promise of something magical, something unexpected, just around the next bend.
So what does all this have to do with writing?
We need to provide the reader just such gentle curves in our stories, the bends that conceal what’s really quite close, the moment of held breath as the promised scene unfolds.
Don Fry, a wonderful coach whom I remember from my days as a newspaper reporter, called these “gold coins” – “something readers will enjoy, such as a terrific quote, a striking new character, a wonderful sentence, a telling detail, or an amusing anecdote.”
As Fry explains it, readers will begin to lose interest as they keep moving into a longer article. They may even think about stopping. “They need a lift to their spirits and expectations. So we put something wonderful just before the sag, a little bit that will refresh them, a reward for reading that far,” Fry says.
Now, the thing about human nature is that we don’t need a steady shower of gold coins. Whether it’s an article, a short story, a novel, we use our writerly craft to move the narrative forward, but it still requires mental work to follow a narrative. The reader has to put one foot in front of the other. So reward that reader with occasional joyful surprises – reinforcement, if you recall your psychology.
In operant conditioning, reinforcement is anything that strengthens or increases a behavior (as in reading all the way to the end). While continual reinforcement will work, there is something about the human mind that responds just as strongly to partial reinforcement, when gold coins or cookies are provided only some of the time.
We keep walking, waiting for that wonderful bird.
We keep reading, expecting the lovely phrase or startling moment or scintillating bit of dialog.
When I was just beginning to see the shape of the novel that would become Blood Clay, I had a moment of shuddering déjà vu. I was driving down a highway in North Carolina, newly my home. I looked to the left and saw a dirt road curve into the woods. On the outside of the turn, a sickle of standing water reflected the sky. I stopped, right there on the highway, trying to remember where I had seen it before. And it came back, a dirt road through the woods that my father used to take as a shortcut, a place he told me was “Bambi’s woods.” And I remember holding my breath as he turned there, and watching deep into the woods as we splashed through puddles left by recent rain.
I’m now at work on another novel – discovering new things every day about the characters, the back story, unexpected linkages. It’s what keeps me moving forward, as a writer. And those same rewarding moments will, I hope, someday lure the reader as well – turning the pages with the expectation of the reward that waits just around the bend.
Valerie Nieman is the author of Blood Clay, a novel about newcomers in the New South, as well as collections of short stories and poetry. She teaches writing at North Carolina A&T State University and is the poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.