3-perceptionAn Excerpt from First Intelligence by Simone Wright

The third facet of the foundation of intuitive intelligence is perception, which is defined as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. Perception is the interface between our biology and the environment; it is the conscious awareness of our external world as it is experienced through our physical senses. Perception begins even before we are born. It occupies a powerful position in our lives because it influences every action we take so that we can more readily fit into our environment. In this way, it helps to ensure our survival.

Physical perception includes the five bodily senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound. It also involves the senses that allow us to be aware of our body as it occupies space, and to be aware of movement within a given environment.

Perception is common to every living organism, from microscopic to macroscopic. In simple life-forms, it influences the automatic actions that shape reproduction, respiration, digestion, and immune function; and in more advanced life-forms, it has evolved to influence the actions that shape relationships, prosperity, success, and well-being. When we stop to look more closely at these functions, we recognize that even the smallest cell, in its quest for the highest level of survival, desires all those seemingly advanced things as well.

Consider all the things you consciously perceive at any given moment. The sensation of the sun on your face, the sound of traffic through the window, the smell of your coffee in the morning, and the sight of a bird flying past your window. Every one of these sensory experiences defines how you experience, participate in, and take action in your life. This process is continuous and largely unconscious and automatic; we do not have to stop and think about how we perceive. We just do it.

The Phases of Perception
There are three phases involved in the process of perception, and whether you are using it to experience something as mundane as a car traveling past you or something as mystical as an intuitive bit of precognition, the process is the same. The three phases of perception are awareness, recognition, and action.

When we navigate through our everyday life experiences, we flash through the process without thought. But when we adapt it to serve our First Intelligence, it is important to understand the mechanics of it so we can be certain to empower our intuition in the most potent way possible.

Phase 1. Awareness
The process of perception begins when something in the environment gets our attention. The energetic information that lets us “notice” — whether it’s the light reflected from a balloon into our eyes, the frequency of Mozart as it hits our ears, or the smell of a hot-dog stand registered by our nose — is at this point simply information in the field of possibility that has bumped into our sensory organs. It has not yet been processed by the mind, so it has no meaning or reality.

Once the energetic impression has been received by the sensory organ, it is translated into electrical signals that flow through the nervous system and into the brain and body to be interpreted. The actual moment of perception is when our body has gone through the lightning-quick processes of receiving and transmitting the electrical information, and not a moment before.

But awareness isn’t the complete picture. We are aware of many, many things as they blur in and out of our present moment of reality, but not every single one of them is something we need to isolate or process.

We perceive only a tiny percentage of the millions of energetic impulses happening around us each second. The things we do notice tend to be the things that align with our level of consciousness, that are equal to the beliefs we have about the world and our place in it, and that are relevant to our well-being and survival. The rest gets filtered out — either it’s ignored or it doesn’t even register.

Phase 2. Recognition
There is much we are aware of, but mere awareness isn’t enough to affect our physical processes. For awareness to have any impact, our brain must interpret what we are experiencing so we can give it meaning. This allows us to categorize and understand the world around us, which puts us in a better position to respond to it.

This part of the process is better known as recognition, which literally means to show awareness of, to acknowledge or appreciate. At the moment of recognition our brain identifies the stimulus and then categorizes it as, say, a rose or a hot dog, a fish or a bird, dangerous or safe, life affirming or life denying. The category or meaning we assign to that stimulus determines how or if we take action.

Phase 3. Action
The actions you take in response to the meaning you have created may be conscious, like jumping out of the way of a moving car, or unconscious, like scrunching up your face when you bite into a lemon. They may be major, like slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian, or subtle, like waving an insect away from your face. They may be life advancing, like introducing yourself to an important person you meet at a dinner party, or life denying, like staying in a relationship you know is not healthy for you. Regardless of the impulse or impression received, an action is always the final piece of the perceptive puzzle, even when the action is taking no action.

To simplify this even further, the process of perception is: What did you notice? What did it mean to you? And what action did you take? Misperception can threaten survival, and accurate perceptions encourage success, so these three questions hold great value for you as you develop your intuitive intelligence.

Simone Wright, “the Evolutionary Mind Coach for Elite Performers and Visionary Leaders,” is the author of First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition.  She has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and uses her intuitive skills to assist in police investigations, missing children cases, and corporate business strategies. Visit her online at

Adapted from the book First Intelligence ©2014 by Simone Wright.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

Be Calm in Your Heart

2-be-calmAn Excerpt from First Intelligence by Simone Wright

Be calm in your heart. This is the most powerful understanding you must carry with you when developing your intuitive intelligence. A calm and peaceful heart creates a calm and peaceful mind, and a calm mind is the center of all creative power.

Peace is the single most potent foundational energy in a life of mastery, and it is the energetic source of all creation. Peace is the access point for all evolutionary information that we will ever need. Mystics and masters have known of this hidden place of power for centuries and have tried countless times to tell us about it. Most people, however, are too distracted to pay attention or too stressed-out to care.

To build a foundation of peace, we must understand the situations, ideas, and attitudes that shift us out of coherence and create distortion or static on our intuitive line. These situations are fields of energy that influence us every moment of our lives, and they exist both externally and internally. Externally they can be generated by the conversation we had with our boss, client, child, or spouse; the movie or television shows we watch; and the invisible transmission of our cell phones and wireless Internet devices.

Internally, they are generated from moment to moment by what we are thinking about, and by the beliefs, habits, patterns, worries, and ponderings we carry. And because we are all transmitters and receivers of information, we are not only putting our own patterns out into the environment but picking up everyone else’s as well.

We have little or no control over the energetic information that we are exposed to externally, but we do have control over our internal fields of information, if we know how to identify them. Once we identify the sources of our internal disruption, we can eliminate them and reopen the clear channel through which intuitive intelligence flows.

The five main causes of intuitive static are as follows.

Stress or Fear
When we experience stress and fear, the rhythms of the heart and brain shift into erratic patterns that make access to the higher mind impossible. We must be certain that our patterns of emotion are as neutral as possible, and that we do not invest too much in either positivity or negativity.

Preconceived Ideas
If you think you have all the answers, believing there is only one solution to a problem, or that there is no solution, then intuition’s pathway becomes constricted. People who know it all have little access to intuitive intelligence, because their minds tell them, “I know there is no other solution than mine, so why bother looking for it?” And people who believe there is no solution at all shut the same door.
The mind must be completely open to all possible solutions or ideas. We must also be willing to let go of the need to know how intuitive information will make itself known to us or what the successful outcome will be.

Alcohol or Drugs
Anything that distorts a person’s ability to function or focus on any level will create resistance on the intuitive channel; even extreme amounts of caffeine or sugar can cause static. Excessive exposure to computer games, loud music, violent media, the Internet, and cell phones is “artificial stimulation.” Anything that interferes with our natural coherence should be kept to a minimum to ensure that our intuitive instrument is as healthy as possible.

Wishful Thinking
Having a deep desire or wish for something to turn out a certain way amps up the incoherence of our heart and brain patterns. When we are strongly attached to how something is supposed to work out, or panicked about achieving a specific result, we stand a greater chance of misinterpreting messages from our lower mind as intuitive direction.
When we trust in the process of First Intelligence and have faith that our higher mind will present us with a more expanded view of the situation, we can let go of our need to control the outcome.

Not Believing You Are Already Intuitive
Everybody is intuitive; it is a natural, biological process. We need not be gifted to have access to this powerful tool. However, we live in a world that favors the logical, rational mind, so anything that falls outside this norm is perceived as supernatural or unrealistic. Fear of, and advance judgment of, what until now has been “the unknown” prevents us from even trying to access our intuitive intelligence. Believe that you already possess this intelligence, and that it is a completely normal part of your humanity.
Before you engage in any sort of intuitive inquiry, do a quick check of your coherence level. If you notice that you are feeling anything other than peaceful, take a few minutes to establish the necessary field of energy. The extra time you take to establish this foundation is a small price to pay to ensure your intuitive success and overall well-being.

Simone Wright, “the Evolutionary Mind Coach for Elite Performers and Visionary Leaders,” is the author of First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition.  She has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and uses her intuitive skills to assist in police investigations, missing children cases, and corporate business strategies. Visit her online at

Adapted from the book First Intelligence ©2014 by Simone Wright.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

The Four Levels of Intuition

1-four-levelsby Simone Wright, author of First Intelligence

Learning to develop and trust our intuitive intelligence is more important now than it ever has been before. According to a recent UCLA study, we are exposed to a tsunami of information that amounts to over 174 newspapers full of data per day. That is more than 5 times the amount of information we were exposed to just 20 years ago.  Included in this deluge of data are countless opinions, endless streams of expert advice and a myriad of gurus and guides telling us what we should be doing in order to live our best lives.

The reality is that the only guidance system we need to assist us in living our best life is the wisdom held within our natural intuitive intelligence. When properly developed it can and will lead us to the choices, ideas and innovations that will guide us towards what is truly in our best interest and help us create the highest good in our lives.

Intuition is a subtle language so understanding the various ways it communicates makes having a deep and meaningful relationship with it rewarding, reliable and much more fun.

Intuition operates in our body and nervous system on levels that range from basic, binary, survival-based communications to complete conversations that are elegant, sophisticated, and evolved.

Level 1: Gut Instinct
Attributes: safety, security, and survival.
We have all heard of this level of intuition, and most of us can recall a time when we have recognized it or felt its presence in our lives. Gut instinct may be the best known and most mainstream interpretation of intuition, but it is only a small part of the entire intelligence system. We should not depend on it alone to guide us to our highest potential or outcome.

Gut instinct is simple, basic, and binary, which means it communicates through the feeling of opposites and uses impressions such as yes or no, stop or go, safe or unsafe, to convey its message.

When your gut instinct is operating, it will answer such questions as: “Is this choice/person/relationship in my best interests? Can I thrive in this environment? Will this situation meet my deepest needs?”

Level 2: Heart-Based Intelligence
Attributes: courage, compassion, and communication.
The intelligence in the heart encourages us to adopt the practice of courage, compassion, and care and use them to communicate and connect with all other life forms in our environment. It guides us to what is appropriate to say or do in moments of need and allows us to connect and communicate in often unspoken ways and to bond with people, animals, and places in ways that cannot be described by words or rational thought.

This center of wisdom prompts us to ask the questions, such as: “Is my life filled with beauty? Do I love what I do? How can I discover my joy? What would I do if I were not afraid? Am I bringing the best of myself to my life and the world?”

Level 3: Visionary Power
Attributes: imagination, visionary certainty, and creative possibility
The third level of intuitive intelligence is found in the mystical and often misunderstood power of extrasensory perception (ESP), expanded spiritual vision, lucid dreaming and other elevated psychic events.

This is the level of intuition where extraordinary solutions, alternate ways of doing things, and groundbreaking new ideas are commonplace.

When this center of wisdom is active it guides us to ask questions such as: “What do I see as a solution or possibility? Is there something I am overlooking? What dreams do I have for my future that I haven’t given myself permission to make into reality?”

Level Four: The Connection to Universal Wisdom
Attributes: Universal awareness and unity consciousness
The fourth level of intuitive intelligence is the most nonphysical of the group. This intelligence is often activated during deep meditation or advanced awareness practices, and it is sometimes reported after near-death experiences or times of great stress or trauma.

The highest level of intuition that humans can reach while in physical form is the one that allows us to access the realm of all things and to become consciously aware of our connection to and ability to create with the intelligence that is the source our reality.

When we are aligned with this level of intelligence, we recognize that all things in life are valuable and appropriate and that we have the power within us to change and heal our lives if we so choose.

Here there are no questions. There is only consciousness.

As you become familiar with these levels of communication, your rapport with this natural form of intelligence will grow, evolve and expand and it will not matter what the rest of the world is telling you to do. With the direct guidance of your own wisdom you will be able to navigate any situation with a sense of joy, ease and great satisfaction.

Simone Wright, “the Evolutionary Mind Coach for Elite Performers and Visionary Leaders,” is the author of First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition.  She has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and uses her intuitive skills to assist in police investigations, missing children cases, and corporate business strategies. Visit her online at

Adapted from the book First Intelligence ©2014 by Simone Wright.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.


The Art of Choosing a Tarot Significator

choose-a-significator-3by Susyn Blair-Hunt, MsD

Significators play a powerful role in Tarot readings. Not only do they identify a certain person, place or object, they can heighten the focus of the reader as well as the client when addressing the question at hand.

Choosing the best card to signify the main subject of one’s question can be challenging. The following are some guidelines to identify which images of the Tarot will bring the greatest amount of focus and accuracy to your readings.

People Significators

The most common reason a reader chooses a Significator is to identify a particular person. Typically, these cards are selected based on a person’s birth or astrological sign. In a traditional Tarot deck, Rods/Wands indicate someone born under a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius); Cups represent the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces); Swords identify air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius); the earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) are represented by Pentacles. The King of a suit will represent a man, and the Queen, a women. Knights will represent a teen or young adult, and Pages can be used when asking about children. For example, if the question concerns a water sign man (Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces) you would select the King of Cups as their Significator.

If you do not have the birth date of the subject in question, you can select a Major Arcana card to represent them, based on their persona. The Emperor can be used to indicate a father figure; the Empress, a mother; the Fool, a child. A spiritual or wise woman can be represented by the High Priestess, while the Hierophant can serve as a Significator for a man of this nature. The Magician or Devil can be chosen to represent someone who might be working against you or your client in a particular situation, while the Hanged Man could indicate someone who is in limbo.

Object Significators

When you come across a question that revolves around an object, such as, “Where are my gold earrings,” or, “Is my boyfriend giving me a ring for Christmas,” you can select a card that illustrates an image similar to the object in question. Sort through the cards until one stands out to you. In the case of the missing gold earrings, you might chose a card that depicts a heavily adorned woman, while for the ring, the Ace of Pentacles is an option.

You can also select an object Significator based on the elements and suits of the Tarot. Wands typify the element of fire, so objects related to fire such as candles, incense, lamps or electrical equipment would fall into this category. Cups can be used to represent dinnerware, jewelry, art and anything related to water, this suit’s element. Swords will cover objects connected with communications, cell phones, computers or music, along with anything connected to its element of air. Pentacles can be used when your question involves money, documents and objects related to the element of earth.

Be creative when selecting your Significator. An excerpt from my book Tarot Predictions and Divination, outlines how a client used significator cards to select the ideal gift for her parents’ anniversary.

Mary Ellen was considering a pair of antique silver candlesticks as a gift, so, for this choice, she selected the Two of Wands (two representing a pair of something, Wands representing the element of fire, i.e., candles). She also knew that her parents needed a new television set. For this option, she chose the Wheel of Fortune to represent one of her parents’ favorite shows, since she found no cards that illustrated a television. To represent her third gift possibility, a Caribbean cruise, she chose the Sun, an image that reflected the climate of their destination.

Location Significators

Significators can also be used to determine destinations or locations. The following are some of the guidelines from Tarot Predictions and Divination that indicate how to choose the right card for this type of question.

Using the cards to determine a location can come in handy when one seeks guidance about where to take a vacation, the ideal spot to relocate, or when one is searching for a person or lost object.

There are a number of cards in any Tarot deck that can be used as direction indicators. Because different decks contain varying illustrations, focus on the images in each card rather than their traditional meanings.

When you are considering a move, vacation or trying to locate someone, it is best to narrow down the general direction first. For example, if someone is considering two or three different places where they would like to relocate (one south of them, one to the north, and one to the east), you may be able to narrow down their options with the cards.

If you or your client are looking at relocating to a new city, or trying to find a vacation destination, you can choose a card for each of the places being considered. The suit of Swords is ideal for indicating a place that is north or south of you (upward swords indicate north, downward, south). You can opt for a court card with someone facing left to represent west, or someone facing right to indicate east. If you are asking about a coastal location, look for cards that illustrate water or a beach.

To determine the best place for a vacation or relocation, first consider the direction cards above. Next, you can signify the climate or geography of the location.

There are a number of cards in a Tarot deck that can indicate the geography or climate of a location. For instance, cards depicting water or shorelines can identify coastal spots. Cards such as the Eight of Cups and the Fool, which both depict mountains, can be used to represent a higher altitude. A foreign country can be represented by the World card, while the Sun can be used to signify a warmer climate such as Arizona or Florida.

Let’s say that you are planning a summer vacation, but your family members cannot agree on where they want to go. You can perform a reading to discover which option would work the best. If one wants to go to a beach in Florida, and you live in Ohio, choose a Significator card that suggests coastal, water or oceans. If another family member wants to go camping in the Rockies, choose a card indicating west (if the Rockies are west of you) or one of the cards that depicts mountains.

You might meet with a client who wants to know where they should go to find new love. There are cards in the deck that can represent the workplace, a bar, a party or an internet search. Reviewing the card images to find the perfect Significator takes a little time, but, with practice, you will soon learn instinctively, which card to select.

If it turns out that you cannot locate a card to represent what you are looking for, you can select any card in the deck and program it to signify the person, place or object you are asking about. Focus on the card and assign it to represent the subject of your reading. Then place it at the top of your reading, or in the Significator space of your layout.

The guidelines in this article are not set in stone. If you sense psychically that a better card or set of cards will work for your specific question, trust your instincts. The important thing is to remember that using a significator will make your readings more focused and, ultimately, more accurate.

For an in-depth look at Significators and the important role they play in a Tarot reading, along with specific card recommendations for any subject, a complete section on Significators can be found in my new book, “Tarot Predictions and Divination.”

Excepted from “Tarot Predictions and Divination” by Susyn Blair-Hunt. Susyn Blair-Hunt is internationally known for her psychic tarot and astrology readings. A professional metaphysical consultant for over 25 years, Susyn was recently named one of the top psychic astrologers on the Internet. For daily horoscopes, personal readings, and more information on Susyn’s books, visit her website at


What Types of Questions Can One Ask the Tarot?

article-1-tarot-croppedby Susyn Blair-Hunt, MsD

The answer is, just about anything! Once you have formed a repoire with your cards, you will discover that they are able to address most any question you can come up with.

One evening, soon after I first began learning the Tarot, I was at a friend’s house, where I had just finished a reading for her. As I was putting away my cards, she asked me if I would like a piece of birthday cake from a recent celebration. I hesitated, citing my diet and stating that I really “shouldn’t.” She laughed and said, “Why don’t you ask the cards?”

I shuffled the cards and performed the “Yes or No” reading featured in my book “Tarot Predictions and Divination.” I pulled these five cards:

Eight of Cups (Indulgence)
Three of Cups (Celebration, i.e., the birthday cake)
Seven of Swords (Stealing away from my diet)
Nine of Rods (Indicating I should stay strong in my commitments)
The Tower (I would feel poorly if I ate the cake, as it would undermine my efforts)

With three “no” cards and two “yes” cards appearing in the layout, I saw that the Tarot cards were warning me not to partake. My friend called out from the kitchen where she was cutting the cake to see if the cards would allow me a piece. I replied, “Apparently not!”

I took the cards’ advice, and we had a good laugh over it.

Another friend, who was quite skeptical about my newly forming skill, finally agreed to let me read the Tarot for her. She was so taken with the process and answers that, a week later, she asked me to read for her again. Two weeks after that, she requested another reading. As I laid out the cards, she stopped me. “How is it that each time we do a reading, the same cards show up?” I replied, “Because you keep asking me the same question!”

I learned early on not to keep asking the same question over and over. After a few times, just as people would do, the cards would become frustrated with me and refuse to answer, or finally say, no, that isn’t going to happen! Once you get the answer to your question, it is best to trust in what the cards have to say. If you do not like the answer, reshuffling and asking again will not change the outcome or the message the Tarot has for you.

Although you do not want to become overly dependent on the Tarot, running to it with every decision you face during the course of a day, it is always fun to test out your less serious questions and see what the cards have to reveal!

Remember that each Tarot card can have multiple meanings, depending on the type of question you are asking. My book “Tarot Predictions and Divination” contains multiple appendixes of the different categories and meanings each Tarot Card can represent.

Susyn Blair-Hunt is internationally known for her psychic tarot and astrology readings. A professional metaphysical consultant for over twenty years, Susyn was recently named one of the top psychic astrologers on the Internet. For daily horoscopes, personal readings, and more information on Susyn’s book “Tarot Prediction and Divination” a complete guide to the Tarot, visit her website at


Learning to Read Tarot Cards

tarot-101-article-1by Susyn Blair-Hunt, MsD

Typically, many Tarot decks on the market today only come with a small booklet providing a brief description or interpretation of each card, and offering the Celtic Cross layout and perhaps two or three simple spreads. Even if you purchase a deck that comes with an accompanying book, there seems little guidance on how to begin, and soon most people give up and relegate their decks to the back of their dresser drawer or a seldom visited shelf.

So if you’re one of those people who has a deck stashed away, or you’ve always been drawn to learn the Tarot, here are some great guidelines to get you started.

Selecting the Right Deck

There are many Tarot decks available on the market today, offering an endless selection. Many metaphysical stores will have a number of decks open for display, allowing you to sort through the individual images and get a feel for the card’s energies.

The are three basic criteria for selecting your deck; its visual properties, its energy qualities, and personal identification, or the level of connection you feel with the deck.

You’ll want to opt for a deck that you are drawn to visually, noting the characteristics of the images and the visuals they portray. For beginners, I recommend the Hanson Roberts or Robin Woods decks. They are smaller than most decks and easier to handle. If you are able to shuffle through a sample deck, you’ll be able to get a sense of the energy they emit. You may also be drawn to a “theme” deck, so trust your instincts and pick a deck you can identify with.

Purifying and Storing Your Deck

Once you get your Tarot deck home (or pull it out of that drawer), it’s important to cleanse and purify the deck before using it. There are a number of ways to purify the deck, and one of the easiest methods is with a sage smudge stick or incense. Open the deck and fan it out across your table or workspace. Then light the stick and let the smoke waft over the cards. Then turn the cards over and repeat. A second method of purification is to rub the deck with a silk or cotton cloth. If you choose to protect your cards by wrapping them in a silk cloth, you can use this cloth to purify them after each use.

The Tarot cards are a magnet for energy, so it’s very important that they are stored properly when not in use. Wrapping them in a silk or wool cloth or scarf is a great way to insulate them, or you can find a box or container with a lid to house them in.

Preparing Your Space

Make sure you practice your reading sessions in a quiet and calm place, with no distractions. Use a flat surface with plenty of room to lay the cards out on. Light some candles or incense and clear your head with some deep breathing or a brief meditation. Then say a simple prayer that you be guided to receive the answers you are seeking, from the highest source possible.

Formulating Your Question

The way you phrase your question is one of the most important aspects in reading the Tarot. For example, if you ask, “Am I going to get some money”, you are leaving the time frame and method that money will come to you wide open. Be as specific as possible with your questions. For example, “Will the money I am waiting for arrive this week?” Or, “I need $300 before next Friday, will I get it and how will I get it?”

Shuffling the Cards

There is no right or wrong way to shuffle the cards. You can pick a method that is comfortable to you, whether it involves traditional shuffling, cutting the cards repeatedly, or fanning them out on the table and shuffling them in a circular manner. As you shuffle, concentrate on your question and then trust your instincts to indicate when they have been shuffled long enough.

Laying Out the Cards

You can lay the cards out on the table either face up or face down. For beginners it may be easier to pull the cards and lay them out face down, turning them over as you read each one. Then when you become more proficient, you may find that laying them out face up will give you a better overall picture of the reading. Either way is acceptable, so go with your instincts, or try both ways to see which one works best for you.

Reading the Cards

Pay close attention to the images of the cards while you are reading, as well as the number of major and minor arcana that appear in a spread. The more major arcana cards you have, the more prominent the messages a reading will contain.
The minor suits of the Tarot, the Rods, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, all correspond to different aspects of life, and different seasons:

Rods – Spiritual or Business Ventures/Spring

Cups – Emotions/Summer

Swords – Thoughts, Ideas and Communication/Autumn

Pentacles – Money, Objects, The Physical World/Winter

Using these guidelines will help you determine more clearly, what dimensions of a situation or question the cards are addressing.

Once you feel more confident with your readings, it’s a great idea to ask friends or relatives to let you read for them, to take your skills to the next level.

For your complete guide to the Tarot from start to finish, pick up a copy of Susyn’s “Tarot Prediction and Divination” at

Susyn Blair-Hunt, MsD has been a professional metaphysical consultant for over 25 years and holds a Doctorate in Metaphysics, along with certification by The American Association of Professional Psychics and the American Tarot Association. This article contains excerpts from her book, “Tarot Prediction and Divination”, your complete guide for reading the Tarot. To contact Susyn and learn more about her private readings, daily horoscopes, books, radio show and other psychic services, visit her at


How to Make Your Own Plant Spirit Essence

herb-article-3by Laura Silvana

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

In making an essence for your personal use, the most important tools are prayers, love, gratitude, and your relationship with the plant spirit upon journeying. If you choose to make an essence to take internally, trust the plant spirit to tell you the most fertile time for harvesting the necessary plant part to help you with your creation.

You will need spring water, alcohol (such as vodka or brandy, as a preserving agent), the part of the plant used for the medicine, a clear glass bowl, and your intuition. You will be guided as to the part of the day in which you are called to harness the healing energies of the plant spirit. I suggest that you create a sacred space and begin your journey with the plant spirit there. You might want to make your creation in the sun, in the night with the energy of the moon, or in a special meditation room. Take the part of the plant you will be using and immerse it in a small, clear bowl filled with spring water. Intuit the amount of time needed for the healing energy of the plant and spirit to imbue the water. When the energies of both have aligned with the water and have been blessed by the Divine, your water is now potentized and becomes a plant spirit essence. Place your essence in a secure, clean, one–ounce bottle in a proportion of four parts essence to one part alcohol, and your process is complete. The alcohol secures the Earth element, while the plant spirit essence holds the space for the etheric. In making the essences, much love, prayer, and vibrational plant spirit energy helps to create these medicines of the Earth and sky.

Plant spirit essences have no adverse side effects. However, like all plant medicines, they allow for the natural healing process of the self to unfold. This may cause suppressed physical symptoms to appear, or symptoms might become exacerbated as in a healing crisis before shifting in the body. Unfamiliar and unexpressed emotions and all forms of toxicity may also surface as the body and its various levels become

Excerpted from Plant Spirit Journey, by Laura Silvana

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2009. All rights reserved.


10 Foods and Spices You Can Use for Healing

herb-article-2by Ellen Evert Hopman

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

As a Druid Priestess I have made it my business to become well versed in Herbal Healing. My novel Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey (Llewellyn, 2008) is a fictional piece about Druids, but also features herbal lore within its pages. Some have told me they actually bought the book to learn the herbal cures!

Every Druid needs to know at least some herbal basics. Fortunately, there are spices and herbs already in your kitchen that you can easily use.


Some basic guidelines for kitchen medicines are:

  • Never cook with aluminum utensils; the aluminum can flake off and can lead to health problems. Use cast iron, steel, copper, or ceramic cookware only.
  • Be sure you simmer ingredients in a pot with a tight lid so that the volatile oils don’t evaporate into the air. (Do not boil the herbs, as they will lose their virtue.)
  • Herbal teas can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week in a glass jar with a tight lid. They can also be frozen into ice cubes and stored in a bag in the freezer for later use.
  • Whenever possible, use organic ingredients to avoid pesticides. Fruits and vegetables must be cleaned with hot, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly to remove pesticide residues (which are often oil-based to make them stick to the produce skins).
  • Dried herbs and seeds should come from commercial organic growers. It is irresponsible to purchase wild-crafted organic herbs and spices, as in many cases these are becoming endangered species in their natural habitats.
  • Flowers and leaves are steeped in freshly boiled water that has been removed from the stove. Roots, barks, and berries are simmered (never boiled).
  • Honey is not suitable for infants, as it may harbor bacteria.
  • If any herbal preparation does not agree with you or makes you feel bad, then DON’T USE IT. As it is said, “an ounce of caution is worth a pound of cure.”
  • Sleep, exercise, and healthy foods are the true keys to a long, happy life.


This spice comes from the unripe fruits of an evergreen tree (Eugenia pimenta—commonly known as Pimentos) that grows in South America and the West Indies. It tastes and smells a bit like cloves and is used to season meats, curries, and pies. You can make a remedy for stomach upset and gas by simmering ½ to ¾ teaspoon of the spice in a cup of hot water for ten minutes. Be sure you use a non-aluminum pot with a tight lid.

When the tea has cooled, strain it through a coffee filter and take in a tablespoon dose. Dilute it with water if it is too strong for your taste.

Three or four cups of strong allspice tea added to bath water can also help those suffering from arthritis or rheumatism—it is warming and it eases pain. You can also soak a washcloth in the hot tea and apply it as a compress to an arthritic joint.


Aloe can grow in the garden in warm climates and indoors in a sunny spot in colder areas. This is a plant that you will want to have somewhere near the kitchen.

Whenever someone gets a burn, whether from cooking or from the sun, split open one of the fleshy leaves and apply the moist, inner gel to the burn. Aloe is cooling and soothing and loaded with skin-healing vitamins.


Anise is a spice that was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Anise seeds are used to flavor pies, cookies, and stews. The tea is a great remedy for colic, gas, and indigestion. It can also be taken with honey for a cough.

Steep two teaspoonfuls in a pint of freshly boiled water in a tightly covered non-aluminum pot, for ten minutes. Strain and take a tablespoonful as needed. Sweeten with honey if desired.


A wise, old adage states that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Several studies have proven the health benefits of apples. In a University of Michigan study it was determined that students who ate two apples a day had fewer headaches and emotional upsets, as well as clearer skin. Eating raw apples increases saliva, stimulates the gums, and cleans the teeth—leading to better dental health.

Eating raw, peeled apples will help cure diarrhea. Eating apples with the skin on will ease constipation (cooked or raw). For both diarrhea and constipation, it is also wise to drink plenty of extra water.

It is a good idea to follow up a course of antibiotics with apple cider, garlic, plain yogurt, sauerkraut, or miso soup, to re-grow the correct bacteria in the intestines. Antibiotics kill both unfriendly bacteria as well as friendly bacteria in the body and balance needs to be restored with these natural probiotics.

In Norse mythology it is said that when the Gods feel they are beginning to grow old they eat a diet of apples, to restore their strength and youth.

It is unwise to eat apple seeds, as they contain cyanide compounds (which are poisonous).


Artichokes are regularly boiled and eaten as a vegetable; simply cut off the stem and sit the base of the green flower head in a pot with about ½ cup water. But did you know that the water left over from cooking could be used medicinally?

A strong tea of the leaves is a diuretic (removes excess water in the body through urination) and is very useful for liver problems such as jaundice. You can use a mixture of ½ artichoke leaves and ½ asparagus. Use about one pint of water for every 2 tablespoons full of vegetable matter. Simmer for 5 minutes, cool, and strain and take ½ cup every 4 hours. Be sure to drink the tea 2 hours before a meal. (Caution: Diabetics should avoid this remedy and other diuretics).


Asparagus spears should be simmered quickly, or steamed, for no more than five minutes. In this way they retain their vitamins (A and C) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorine, sulfur, and potassium).

Asparagus is both a diuretic and helpful for kidney problems. It also helps flush uric acid out of the system. Excess uric acid accumulates when your diet is heavy in animal meat products. Too much of it in the body can lead to gout and rheumatism.

(Caution: Diabetics should take care with this and all diuretics.)


Bananas are fruits of the tropical rainforests, some of the Earth’s oldest living ecosystems.

Bananas are best eaten when they show a few brown spots. They are loaded with vitamins (A, B, B2, and riboflavin) and minerals (potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chlorine). The minerals found in bananas replace the ones lost through diarrhea. Children with diarrhea will be able to keep up their weight and energy levels if they eat bananas.

In Sri Lanka a cup of the sap of the banana tree is given to a person who has been bitten by a venomous snake.


Barley is a soothing, cooling, mucilaginous (slippery) grain that is helpful for bowel diseases, throat and stomach problems, and fevers. It can be eaten as a vegetable or (if a person is very sick) given as a drink.

To make barley tea, first wash the barley carefully in cold water, and then boil 2 ounces of barley in one cup water for 3 minutes and strain out the liquid. Add 4 pints of fresh water and continue to boil until ½ of the liquid remains. Cool and strain.

Be sure you use whole grain barley because it will have all the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.


Basil is used in Italian recipes such as spaghetti sauce. It can be added to egg and cheese dishes and to fresh salads. It is easily grown in the garden.

Basil tea is delicious when combined with a little fresh or dried mint or catnip leaf and honey, and is said to help rheumatism. It also soothes stomach upset and constipation. It has even been used to relieve whooping cough.

For headaches, dip a cloth into a strong batch of basil tea and apply it to the forehead as a compress. (This works even better if you add 2 tablespoons of Witch Hazel extract. Witch Hazel is a small tree that blooms in the fall with crinkly yellow flowers.)

Use one teaspoon of basil for each cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, remove from the stove, and add the basil. Allow the basil to steep for 10 minutes in a non-aluminum pot with a tight lid.


The pods of beans (kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, green beans, snap beans, wax beans, etc.) have a lot of silica, which means that they help strengthen internal organs.

The pods are slightly diuretic and they also help lower blood sugar levels. They are helpful in very mild cases of diabetes. For this purpose you have to eat 9 to16 pounds of the pods a week, cooked like a vegetable. The pods should be picked before the beans are fully ripe and are best used fresh.

The dried pods can be consumed as a tea for rheumatism, kidney and bladder ailments, and excess uric acid. The tea is also useful for acne. Put three handfuls of the dried, cut-up pods in 1 quart of water and simmer for 3 hours in a non-aluminum pot with a tight lid.


Did you know that you can eat beets raw? Grated, raw, fresh beets and carrots can be served with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt. The green leaves can be steamed or lightly sautéed. Beets are loaded with vitamins such as A, B, B2, and C, along with plenty of blood-building minerals. Beets should be consumed if anemia is a problem, or after an operation where a person has lost a lot of blood.

If you have a juicer, you can peel the beets and put them through the machine. (Adding some carrots makes the flavor sweeter.) If you don’t have a juicer, peel the beets, mince them, and then place them in a glass jar. Sprinkle lightly with a little sea salt and just barely cover the beets with fresh, cold water. Allow to sit for six hours and then strain out the juice. You can add more cold water to the drink if desired and adjust for taste.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2009. All rights reserved.


An Introduction to Herbalism and Homeopathy

byherb-article-1 Christopher Penczak

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

Healers are from the world of plants. In the primitive societies ministered by the shaman and wise one, early humans learned to cure by using plants. Even today, the basis of our pharmaceuticals comes from the plant kingdom. Modern science synthesizes the most active compounds of plants, and things like aspirin become distilled from our knowledge of willow bark. What’s lacking in our modern world is a living relationship with the green world, which, over the long term, is just as vital to the healing process as any active ingredient.

In those simpler worlds and times, the universe was not divided and subdivided into minute categories until all spiritual connection was lost. There was an intuitive understanding that all things are part of the whole, and to affect one is to affect all. This holistic view is again becoming a part of popular healing in the realm of alternative care therapies. Herbalism, flower essences, and natural cures are not in opposition to traditional medicine, but quite complementary, and each has its place in a holistic worldview. Modern medicine is great on many levels, particularly for major traumas and fast, invasive illness. If I were in need of surgery, I would be very thankful for the miracles of modern medicine. At the same time, it is only starting to acknowledge the role of the mind, emotions, and soul in the healing process. Older forms of healing, from Western herbalism to traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, know these are vital components to health and well-being.

Our modern scientific view proposes that the early healers evolved the rich lore of herbal medicine by trial and error, but the healing really occurred through a harmonious relationship with nature. I think few people would go to the “wise” one who poisoned as many people as she cured. Perhaps there was some experimentation, as modern herbalists continue to experiment, and there was some observation. By watching animals, humans could benefit from their natural wisdom. Sick animals know exactly which plants will help bring healing and balance, and often such plants took on animal names and symbolism, to pass this teaching and knowledge onto others. The plants too, became teachers, not only through their relationship with animals, but through their shape, form, color, and habitat. To the medieval alchemist this was classified as the Doctrine of Signatures, the way in which the plant realm communicates with the human realm. If a leaf is shaped like a lung, as in the case of lungwort, then perhaps its herbal action relates to the respiratory system. Native herbalists know this same doctrine, but without the fancy name. The plants speak to all who listen.

Since understanding the power of plant medicine came through interactions with the plants themselves, knowledge of the plants was not solely in the hands of a few esoteric experts. True, the old world wise ones and herbalists made it their business to be experts, but in any society with a close connection to nature—direct agrarian societies or hunter/gather societies—everyone in the community will know a bit about certain plants. They will have a relationship with the plants physically, and for some, spiritually. In fact, as many believe they have a totem or spirit animal, some believe we each have a “totem” plant, and most herbal healers will say the plants “speak” to us in a variety of ways to share their blessings.

Old folk cures consisted not only of herbal remedies, often administered through food, but through simple rituals and charms. These simpler societies were more in touch with the source of their food. Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” The holistic view desires to maintain health over the long term through healthy living, rather than simply fixing problems as they arise. Consciously preparing your food, and thinking about the properties of the herbs you add to it, makes every meal a healing experience, feeding body and soul.

Synthetics don’t quite carry the same holistic spiritual properties as natural herbs. When we distill the herb to its seemingly only active components, we lose a lot of compounds that science classifies as inactive, though we don’t really know. Pharmaceuticals seem to be more potent and concentrated on one hand, but have more potential side effects. Herbalists would contend that these “inactive” components that have been discarded are the factors that actually balance the more recognizable compounds. The truly amazing thing about herbal medicine is that all the medicinal compounds in so many powerful plants don’t seem to have a physiological benefit to the plant itself. They seem to be willing partners, waiting to be used by the human and animal worlds.

Though you should never forget herbal medicine is medicine, and should be treated with respect, caution, and knowledge, there are a lot of things you can do to empower yourself and build a direct relationship with the green world. Some portray herbal medicine as wild and dangerous, but it has been used safely for thousands of years.

A great introduction to herbal medicine and philosophies can be found in Healing Herbs & Healthy Foods of the Zodiac by Ada Muir. Written in an easy style, yet eventually delving into complex topics, Muir shares many easy-to-use tips for those interested in integrating herbal healing into daily life, including an overview of basic herbs and their actions, harvesting, and drying. The book has a great focus on astrology, categorizing the herbs by the zodiacal sign that resonates or rules them. A special section links cell salts with the various signs and the appropriate herbal source for them. One of my favorite tips she shares with the reader follows:

Native Americans used the pine tree as a source of vitamin C. Tea was made from the pine needles. Because the pine has evergreen needles, we need not store a dried source. We can just pick the fresh needles as we need them. (p 9)

That was one of the first lessons my herbal teacher taught me, and I used it to help myself get over a bad cold the following winter.

For something to benefit both beginning and experienced herbalists, I like Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies by Jude C. Williams, M.H. It’s an excellent overview of herbs and herbal actions, and I particularly like how the book is organized. After the general principles, the following chapters are based on the body system and potential complaints—from beauty and skin care to headaches, digestion, colds, and blood disorders. The end of the book is household and family tips, focusing on harvesting and preparing your own home medicine chest.

One of the easiest and safest ways to work with plants is through flower essences. If you are afraid of making teas, tinctures, and ointments, then flower essences, also known as flower remedies, are the way to go. The most popular line of essences are known as Bach Flower Remedies, and are available in most health food stores. Essences are dilute solutions of flowers working under similar properties to homeopathic remedies. Rather than having a high chemical content that works primarily on the physical body, flower essences tend to work on the mental-emotional-spiritual levels. If the spiritual root is balanced, the physical body will realign to health. Bach Flower Remedies for Beginners by David F. Vennells details the history of essences from the modern founder, Dr. Edward Bach, to how these remedies work. Through this guide we learn how to prepare, prescribe, and take flower remedies, including case studies and tips for working with children and animals. Details on the thirty-eight traditional essences of Dr. Bach and how to use them are given. A favorite of many is the combination essence Rescue Remedy used in cases of physical and emotional trauma. I never leave home without some.

And any information on Llewellyn herbal books would be remiss without mentioning my favorite herbal writer, the late Scott Cunningham. His Magical Herbalism, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, and The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews are all classics. The aim of these writings is not medicinal herbalism, but the magical herbalism preserved in folklore, myth, and tradition. Magical herbalism is an excellent and fun way to get in touch with the spiritual properties of the herbs. Making things like aromatic oils and incense are definitely medicinal for the soul, and many would argue that they hold potential medical benefits as well.

Looking at herbal healing as building a relationship, step by step, with nature, you can maintain and enhance your overall health in the physical and spiritual realms. Building a relationship with nature isn’t just what you take into your body; it’s a part of your worldview. Make time to connect with the green world. Take a walk in the woods, fields, or your local park. Take time to feel the sun on your skin. Breathe the fresh air. Reach down and touch the Earth, the grass, plants, and trees. Then you will be well on your way to walking the path of green healing.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2004. All rights reserved.


Meister Eckhart on Letting Go

letting-go-3Eckhart says, “God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.” Subtraction and letting go leads us to the Divine depths. When we can let go and “sink into God,” amazing things happen between God and us. “I advise you to let your own ‘being you’ sink into and flow away into God’s ‘being God.’ Then your ‘you’ and God’s ‘his’ will become so completely one ‘my’ that you will eternally know with him his changeless existence and his nameless nothingness.”

God is characterized by a “nameless nothingness.” Nothingness lies at the heart of Divinity — and maybe all things. Notice we are to sink, not strive, not ladder-climb, not ascend by willpower and determination. We “let God,” as AA members talk of it. To sink is a godly act, according to Eckhart: “God alone sinks into the essences of things.” When in love, we sink into each other, we let go, we don’t try overly much, we trust; we don’t rule by willpower.

Eckhart goes further in naming the practically unnameable union created by letting go. “When all the images of the soul are taken away and the soul can see only the single One then the pure being of the soul finds passively resting in itself the pure, form-free being of divine unity, when the being of the soul can bear nothing else than the pure unity of God.” Intuition is sometimes like this; it lends us a direct knowledge of truth or God “without image, without mediation, and without likeness.” Thus Eckhart promises:

All God wants of you is for you to let go of yourself and creatures and let God be within you. The smallest creature image that takes shape in you is as big as God. Why? It deprives you of the whole of God. As soon as this image enters you, God with all His Godhead has to exit. But when the image exits, God enters….What harm can it do you to do God the favor of letting God be God in you? Let go of yourself for God’s sake, and God will let go of Himself for your sake! When these two have exited, what is left is one and simple. In this One the Father bears His Son in the innermost source.

Eckhart explains how it is that being unable to let go restricts our experience of the Divine. “True possession of God depends on the mind, an inner mental turning and striving toward God — but not in a continuous and equal thinking of Him, for that would be impossible for nature to strive for, very difficult and not even the best thing. One should not have or be content with a God one imagines, for when the image disappears, God also disappears. Rather, one should have an essential God, who is far beyond the thought of humans and of all creatures.”

For Eckhart, emptying the mind is “the most powerful prayer, one almost omnipotent to gain all things, and the noblest work of all is that which proceeds from a bare mind. The more bare it is, the more powerful, worthy, useful, praiseworthy and perfect is the prayer and the work. A bare mind can do all things. What is a bare mind? A bare mind is one which is worried by nothing and is tied to nothing which has not bound its best part to any mode, does not seek its own in anything, that is fully immersed in God’s dearest will and goes out of its own.” A bare mind is not busy worrying, not living in the past or the future, in regret or fear. It dwells in the now.

Furthermore, this great emptying is conducted decidedly not to make us bliss bunnies or capable of strange spiritual or mental feats, such as levitations, bilocation, or other oddities. No, the purpose of such deep unity is to render our work and our service more effective so that it derives from our being and not our compulsion to act. This is how Eckhart puts it: “Here God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground. Here I live from my own as God lives from His own….Out of this inmost ground, all your works should be wrought without Why. I say truly, as long as you do works for the sake of heaven or God or eternal bliss from without, you are at fault. It may pass muster, but it is not the best.”

In this way, Eckhart cautions against turning practice, even the practice of letting go, into an idol. “Indeed, if a person thinks she will obtain more of God by meditation, by devotion, by ecstasies or by special infusion of grace than by being at the fireside or in the stable — that is nothing but taking God, wrapping a cloak round His head and shoving Him under a bench. For whoever seeks God in a special way gets the way and misses God, who lies hidden in it. But whoever seeks God without any special way gets Him as He is in Himself, and that person lives with the Son, and is life itself.” For Eckhart the practice of letting go itself must eventually be let go, so that it is not taken as an end in itself.

As a way to help visualize what this means, Eckhart asks us to consider a tablet you would write on: “The tablet is never so suitable for me to write on as when there is nothing on it. Similarly, if God is to write the highest on my heart, then everything called ‘this and that’ must be expunged from my heart, and then my heart stands in detachment….Therefore the object of a detached heart is neither this nor that.”

Such an emptied heart “desires nothing at all, nor has it anything it wants to get rid of. Therefore it is free of all prayers or its prayer consists of nothing but being uniform with God. That is all its prayer….When the soul has got so far, it loses its name and is drawn into God, so that in itself it becomes nothing….When the detachment reaches its climax, it becomes ignorant with knowing, loveless with loving, and dark with enlightenment.

Thus we may understand the words of a master, that the poor in spirit are they who have abandoned all things to God, just as He possessed them when we did not exist. None can do this but a pure, detached heart.” Eckhart applies a passage from wisdom literature to God when he says: “This is God who ‘in all things I seek rest’” (Sirach 24:11). The Godself seeks rest in us, but we must offer a restful place for God to reside in.

Matthew Fox is the author of over 30 books including The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Christian Mystics, and most recently Meister Eckhart. A preeminent scholar and popularizer of Western mysticism, he became an Episcopal priest after being expelled from the Catholic Church by Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI. You can visit him at

Excerpted from the book Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times ©2014 by Matthew Fox. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.