Archive for May, 2010

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The Sorcerer’s Dream by Alysa Braceau

We invite you to join s on the virtual tour for The Sorcerer’s Dream by Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield). The full schedule can be seen at  You can learn much more about Dreamshield and her work on her website – The book can be ordered on Amazon – SPECIAL OFFER – Every time you post a comment on any tour post – you will be entered into a drawing for a $35 Amazon gift card — so, share your thoughts with us.

About The Sorcerer’s Dream: An Initiation into the Sorcerer’s World
This is the autobiographical story of a young woman bumping into the enigmatic sorcerer Running Deer and her initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.
The riveting autobiographical account The Sorcerer’s Dream written by Dreamshield takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and mastering conscious dreaming. This book, following the traditions of Carlos Castaneda and others, gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.
The author describes her initiation into the surrealistic world of dreaming and magic, following the teachings of ‘Man of Knowledge’ Running Deer. In the heart of Amsterdam, a thrilling stride unfolds in obtaining the knowledge of the Second Reality on the way to the ultimate goal: finding the Totality of the Self!
The combination of unusual instructions and experiences within the sorcerer’s world and the level-headedness of a very Dutch woman offers the reader excitement and contemplation on the way to the source of this reality, finding the ultimate self through the experiences and understanding of Dreamshield herself. Up until the last page the reader remains intrigued whether Dreamshield will reach her goal.
Right by the author’s side or facing her stands the character of Running Deer. Sometimes mysterious, then challenging, strict as a guru, or vulnerable as a visitor in a foreign country. However, the precise description of these distinctive steps on the road to her initiation stand like milestones in the landscape of this unique history.
About Alysa Baceau, Dreamshield
Dreamshield (Alysa Braceau) studied social work and is a freelance journalist who writes for newspapers and magazines. She has a Healing Practice and gives workshops about the Art of Mastering Conscious Dreaming and Dream Healing.

The Sorcerer’s dream is about my initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It is a spiritual adventure which takes the reader into the magic realms of the unknown and one can learn and practice the Art of Dreaming (the skill of conscious dreaming) him/herself.
In the next excerpt I’m at the point in my learning process that I am able to wake conscious from one dream into another, which was indicated beforehand by being stuck between doors in a dream. My dreaming teacher Vidar said that being stuck in between doors suggests becoming stuck in between two realities, “that is to be expected during a certain phase of the training. You will automatically experience this.”
‘I tell Vidar it felt spectacular to be fully conscious and waking into another dream. Conscious dreaming gives me a rush. The experience has given me renewed energy to jump into the following experience. However, the same problem presents itself time and again. When the awareness fully hits and I look forward and contemplate how to shape the reality, I quickly have to decide as I realize I am slowly running out of dream energy. In the end, the border between waking and dreaming is wafer-thin.

Vidar had discouraged me to look into Castaneda, but I could not help looking up how he handled it. I read in The Art of Dreaming, that Don Juan advised him to blink his eyes and to glance at his dream-characters briefly, preserving the dream longer. I practice blinking my eyes first in everyday reality and soon I saw results in a lucid dream where I meet my mother. As the technique prescribes, I take brief glances of my surroundings and look at my mother from the side, not fixated at all. My mother walks along a circle from the north to the east and I walk behind her on the right in the inner circle and ask her quickly: “How are you?” I blink my eyes obsessively.

“Not too well,” she answers and gives me a careful smile, hinting at depression. As I blink my eyes, I have to conclude that she really does look awful. I miss her terribly. She died over a year ago due to breast cancer, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. In the limited dreamtime that is left, we share our feelings and forge a bond. It feels as though I met her in the flesh.

“Well done” Vidar compliments. “You used the flashing eye-technique, dismantling and fixating the dream.” I ask him concerned, why my mother is ill, even now that she has passed away.

“Perhaps that was the way to draw your attention.” He has got a point there. Whenever she felt ill, we would all rush to her.

“Your mother is one of your ancestors,” he continues “and in that capacity she transfers knowledge to you.”

In a following dream, my mother speaks to me when I drive through the city in my car. Her voice sounds clear in my head. As we drive underneath an overpass, I ask her: “Where are you?”

“In your whole legacy,” she replies.

“What do you mean?” I ask her excited. I am afraid to miss what she has to say because of the noise of the overpass. “I can’t explain,” she says.

“Why not?” I ask her. “By the way, you’re not even my mother,” I suddenly say defensively. “You sound different.” I conclude that she has a different tone of voice. When we get out from underneath the overpass, the voice says: “I am your most beloved mother.” And then I understand. She is the universal mother.

What Do Avatar and Feng Shui Have in Common?

First off, if you have not seen this movie, go see it… if not for the stunning 3D effects, then for the beautiful message it conveys.
Briefly, here is a plot recap…The scenario is set in the year 2154. Most of the natural resources on Earth have been depleted through excessive and ruthless exploitation. A mission is set to use military force to conquer Pandora to acquire a unique mineral that is desperately needed on Earth. Pandora is inhabited by a wise, peaceful, and nature-loving blue skinned beings who call themselves the Na’vi. They are warriors and ready to protect their habitat. They understand and respect their connection with nature and worship a pantheistic deity they call Eywa.
The Na’vi are an indigenous species who not only understand but embody the meaning of the interconnectedness of everything. Their habitat on Pandora is simply breathtaking with the Hometree being their primary residence. The Na’vi truly live in harmony with all the energies of Nature… from the ‘deadly’ animals to the beautiful fauna. They understand that everything contains the Whole and is, at the same time, an inherent part of it. The Na’vi have the ability to transcend their individuality and see themselves as inherent elements of a bigger structure- the all encompassing global Consciousness.
Does this sound familiar? Living in harmony with the earth’s energy. This is the cornerstone and entire purpose of Feng Shui. And, yes, we can all have our own Hometree. And, yes, we can (and many people already do and are) experience and live by the interconnectedness of all energy. Although we don’t live outdoors in a jungle, our home can be just as interconnected as the Na’vi’s Hometree. There is energy running through every piece of furniture and component of your home, not to mention your pets, the birds and squirrels outside, and, yes, your neighbors. Pandora is not a fantasy but a reality that is present right now. We need only to stop, be still, and feel. In the movie, they used their tails as their feeling source. Although we don’t have tails, we do have the ability to tune in and feel the energy of everything around us. This movie just gave us the visual of how energy works.
My favorite part of the movie was when Jake went to pray to their god(dess) Eywa to stop the invasion, Neytiri said to him, “She protects the balance of ALL life.” In other words, she takes no sides but instead protects the balance of life. And so is true with Mother Earth. We live on a Planet and in a Universe that is constantly making adjustments, sometimes minor and other times major, to maintain an energetic balance. This balance of energy trickles down to each one of us as we seek to balance our own personal energy. And like the Hometree, we need to protect and maintain the balance of energy within our part of the Earth that we inhabit… our home. This is Feng Shui.

Ora and the Gem Star by Jack Cowardin

Ora begins her journey as an innocent sixteen-year-old daughter of the local fishing village’s chief—having the liberty to go freely on her way each day, swimming the turquoise lagoon and reveling in the undersea beauty which nature delivers. She suddenly discovers that the Gods have bestowed a powerful Gem Star—a magical gift from the heavens—upon her shoulders, forever changing her destiny. Ora’s Mayan heritage and adventurous spirit inspires her to capture the flashy, fiery ball. She absorbs all the energy and enlightenment it pours forth, setting her life and village into a new direction.  In a time when women were of a lower class and denied spiritual participation, Ora breaks these bonds and begins a journey of discovery and adventure, empowerment, and, eventually, leadership to save her people from the scourge and enslavement by the mighty King of the great City of the Gods, Teotihuacan.

When the events of a sudden, terrifying eclipse show young Ora the location of the tiny, yet powerful Gem Star, the sixteen-year-old is suddenly charged with the daunting mission of retrieving the precious jewel – by none other than the gods themselves. Though her subsequent journey is fraught with peril, Ora receives the support of key allies along the way as she strives to prevent the Gem Star from falling into the hands of the ruthless King Chan, who intends to use it to serve his own selfish purposes. With such a grave responsibility resting squarely on her shoulders, Ora must summon a courage she’s never known to protect the fate of the world from the malice of evil hearts. Intriguing, creative, and with a flair for the magical, Ora And The Gem Star is an engaging fantasy tale. Skillfully crafted by author Jack Cowardin, Ora takes the reader on a vicarious journey through a time long since passed, well before the contrived “adventures” of video games, virtual reality, and other modern technological advances. A genuine fantastical thriller, Ora also doubles as an edifying guide to the beliefs, customs, and practices of cultures that thrived and prospered long ago, ultimately helping to foster a deeper appreciation of the cultural folkways and mores that preceded our time. Furthermore, in Ora herself, Cowardin has created a rather admirable heroine, one who rises to the considerable challenge of a task that requires her to step outside of her own comfort zone for the sake of countless others. Such a feat is not an easy one to fulfill – particularly for a sheltered sixteen-year-old unaccustomed to danger and with a nod to grand, sweeping cultural epics, Ora And The Gem Star more than holds its own as an imaginative fantasy tale in the proud tradition of Tolkien and Herbert. A recommended read.
Join in the adventure of “Ora and the Gem Star.”
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Kenneth Weene’s Blog Tour

Widow’s Walk by Kenneth Weene tells the story of Mary Flanagan and her search for meaning, life, and love. It is also the story of her Irish roots and her immigration to America, her marriage, her husband’s life and death, and the lives of her two children. And it is the story of her relationship with Arnie Berger, a man who is totally different in background, religion, and approach to life. Theirs is a deep and meaningful love that gladdens the heart. If only things could always flow along with such ease. But they do not, and Widow’s Walk becomes a powerful tale of human pain and emotional conflict.
Recently released, Kenneth Weene’s new novel, Memoirs From the Asylum, is a comi-tragic tale of madness and sanity, of desperation and hope, of possibilities and fate. Set in a state hospital, Memoirs From the Asylum focuses on three main characters, a narrator, who has taken refuge from his terror of the world, a catatonic schizophrenic, whose mind lives within a crack in the wall opposite her bed, and a young psychiatrist, who is dealing with his own father’s depression. This is a book that will have you laughing, crying, and discussing.

An Excerpt From Widow’s Walk

People like Danny O’Brien don’t just wash their cars – they bathe them with deliberation. First they get ready, which starts with the right clothes. Danny always changes into his cutoff jeans, the last pair he has left from college. He has to suck in his stomach to snap them shut, and they have long ago stopped feeling comfortable, but they represent his youth so he won’t throw them out. He doesn’t tuck his Grateful Dead T-shirt in. He probably wouldn’t have anyway, but with it hanging out no one can see if the snap on his shorts has opened. His old tennis shoes go on his bare feet, and he feels like he is ready to go back in time and play Frisbee in Hollis Quad.
His equipment, too, is laid out carefully. Sponges, clean rags, a plastic pail, the garden hose, Turtle Wash and Wax, a Dust Buster, and finally cleaners for the glass, the vinyl, the leather upholstery, the chrome, and especially the tires – the car will not be to his liking until the tires gleam – not like new, but shining beyond newness. Even the placement of the car is – to his mind – just right. It is carefully parked in a specific spot so that he can get maximum efficiency from the hose.
His neighbor, Harry Brown, is tending flowerbeds. Not particularly a lover of nature, Danny leaves that task to the gardener. “Hey, Harry, how’s it going?” he calls to the neighbor, who is busily weeding around the azaleas.
“Damn weeds just keep growing.” It is a ritual exchange. The two men aren’t close, but they have as many rituals as any fraternity. That is one of Danny’s special qualities; his every relationship has rituals built in: little sayings or a special piece of body language that makes the other person feel that theirs is a special relationship
Danny is aware of a change in the light. He looks up and sees Kathleen watching him. He smiles. “Hi.”
She half smiles in response. Embarrassed by his notice, she starts slightly as if to move away.
“Do you like cars?” He isn’t sure where, but he knows that he has seen her before. “She’s cute enough,” he thinks. “Might as well chat her up.”
Kathleen, not having really taken a step, feels she has to respond. She smiles shyly – not flirtatious but friendly. “Actually, I don’t know much about them. I’ve never even learned how to drive.”
“Seriously?” Even while he is saying this, Danny is wondering if he shouldn’t perhaps take a more serious tone, one more appropriate to the classy young woman he perceives her to be.
“Why? Is there something wrong?” She can feel herself tensing, pulling back, becoming defensive. “I always wanted to learn, but I never had the chance.”
He takes another look at Kathleen and decides that she might be worth his time. “I tell you what. You help me wash, and I’ll give you a driving lesson.”
“I don’t even know you,” Kathleen responds with hesitancy.
“Harry here will vouch for me. Won’t you Harry?”
“Lady, I’d stay far away from that crazy Irishman. You should never trust a man who doesn’t garden.”
“I don’t really think I should,” her voice conveys doubt and a hidden wish.
“Suit yourself. If you ever change your mind, stop by any weekend. If I’m not home, my mother almost always is. I’ll tell her if a beautiful woman named …” He pauses.
At first Kathleen doesn’t understand why he is waiting. Then she wonders if it’s ok for her to answer. Finally she stammers, “My name is Kathleen, Kathleen Flanagan.”
“Pleased to meet you, Kathleen Flanagan. Danny O’Brien at your service.” Danny winks at her, and Kathleen feels a rush of confusion – her face flushes. “We Irish folks have to stick together especially around a Brit like Harry.” Danny’s sweeping gesture toward his neighbor sprays her with soapy water from the sponge he’s holding.
The cold tingle of the water makes her laugh lightly.
“Good. A sense of humor is the thing to have, but I am sorry.” He offers her a clean rag.
“That’s all right! I’m sure I’ll dry before I get back.”
“Back where?”
“Subtle, boy,” Harry comments.
“I live at the hospice, the one near the Star Market, in the staff housing.”
Danny smiles broadly. “The freckles on his forehead seem to dance when he smiles,” Kathleen observes to herself.
“Would the nuns be upset if I were to drop by some day?”
“That would depend on your intentions.”
“Better than they were when I went to Saint Edward’s.”
He grins again, and Kathleen is struck by the sparkle in his eyes. She waves as she walks away.
“That’s a nice girl, Danny.” Harry remarks as Kathleen leaves. “Not a bad looker either.”
“That’s for sure.” Danny turns back to the car, but his mind is following Kathleen down the street.

Words of Praise for Widow’s Walk

“Here is a story whose breadth of vision is exceeded only by the depth of its characters.” (Jon Tuttle, author, The Trustus Plays)

“This story includes the passions of everyday life that will touch you in a special way.” (Abe F. March, author, To Beirut and Back, They Plotted Revenge Against America, and Journey Into The Past)

“Written in the present tense, Widow’s Walk achieves the difficult balance of urgency and character-driven action possible with this technique. With deft humor and unexpected turns, universal dilemmas and unique perspectives, I believe Widow’s Walk captures all the elements of great fiction.” (Jen Knox, author, Musical Chairs

An excerpt from Memoirs From the Asylum

Arthur and I are pacing up and down the dayroom. That way the aides don’t notice. As long as we look agitated, they don’t care about our conversations. They figure we must be ourselves: the simply crazy. If we were to sit down on the bilious green Naugahyde and chrome chairs and couches that have long since deteriorated to junkyard quality and talk like normal people, then they’d get pissed off. They count on us to be psycho, to appear nuts. It’s like the cops and the criminals. The criminals might not want the cops around, but the cops need the crooks so they have jobs. And, if the cops disappeared then everyone could commit the same criminal acts so there’d be no payoff for being a crook. So, bottom line, the staff needs us to keep getting their paychecks, and we need them to keep getting our rubber-rooms, straightjackets, and butts full of Valium.
But, the numbers are changing. The psycho drugs have reduced the size of all the hospitals. The staffs have shrunk; now they’re resisting every discharge. No normality here! Nobody should get out. That’s the rule.
So we are pacing and discussing the alleged newest member of our very nonselective club. Of course, it is all rumor and conjecture. The rolling TV never plays the news; it’s considered too upsetting.
Newspapers and magazines only make an appearance when an infrequent visitor happens to bring them, which is always well after they’re better suited for wrapping fish. Visitors are few and far between. We who have survived the medication boom and still live on the wards have few family members interested in us. The aides and nurses do bring gossipy magazines that they share with each other and then leave around for us. We always know the latest tittle-tattle from three weeks ago. We can always tell that our bleached out castaway clothing isn’t the latest from Paris.
“Maybe. But, then what’s to stop them from frying every nut case,” I pause for effect, “including us?”
“Would you do something like that?”
“Well, neither would I.”
“Of course not, but you did attack those people.”
He giggles nervously. “God told me to.”
“I know, but maybe God told him.”
He raises his voice, always a foolish thing to do, but theology is always a hot button in the day room. “God would never tell him that – not something like that!”
One of the aides looks up at us. I catch her out of the corner of my eye, the one that I always keep directed at the nurses’ station.
“Sshhh,” I hiss at him. But he is way too far-gone. God’s prophet is on the pulpit, and nothing else matters. It only takes a minute before they drug him, wrap him, and carry him off to restraints.
They might decide I should get it, too, that I have been provoking him, that I might get others started – that I might be the “King of the Crazies” – and they talk about our paranoia. I walk away as fast as I can.
Too late! They have grabbed me and wrestled my ass to the floor. I’m not resisting. There would be no point. They still rough me up. One aide, this big hulk of an idiot, a sadist too afraid to take on anyone who can fight back, smacks me in the face – no reason, just his pleasure. My nose starts to bleed. They hold me down so that I’m coughing and choking on my own damn blood. One of the nurses brings the syringe. The big V to the rescue.
I wake up the next day on the medical ward. There is a hole in my throat where they inserted a tracheotomy tube. The bastard has nearly killed me. God, is my throat sore. I get to suck on ice chips and suffer. The bastard got to go home for his dinner.
A day later I am back on the ward. One of the women patients sidles over to me. “We heard they had to give you shock treatments,” she hisses.
“No,” I croak back pointing at my throat.
“I thought your brains were up here,” she says pointing to her head.
I try to laugh and then think better of it. I pat my ass. “No, down here,” I tell her.
She is still cackling as one of the nurses came out from behind their counter with the medication tray. My pills are different. I look at them and then at her. “Take your meds,” she commands firmly.
“They aren’t right.”
“The doctor changed them.”
“Ask him.”
“Come on, at least tell me why,” I plead, afraid of the side effects.
“We want to make sure that you behave yourself. No more incidents like yesterday.
I want to cry, but I just nod. I try to hold some of the pills in my cheek to spit them out once she has gone, but she checks my mouth and makes me take a second cup of the horrible juice they use. It tastes like a combination of the bug-juice they serve at summer camp and some powdered fruit drink straight from the army, and filled with saltpeter.
“Be a good boy,” she says as she walks away. I feel like I’m a dog being patted absentmindedly on the head by a totally indifferent and unfeeling clerk in a department store. “You really shouldn’t have your dog in here, mister; but keep him under control and we won’t shoot you full of meds.”
“Yes, ma’am; yes, ma’am, three bags full.”
No matter how fucked your head, you’ve got to hate the drooling and the shuffling. I try to control the tics and that damned unending pill rolling. I try, but I fail – failure is in the chemistry.

To learn more about Widow’s Walk visit the video at:

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To learn more about Memoirs From the Asylum watch:

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