My Favorite Pumpkin Bread From Downeast Maine

loaf-a-pumpkin

I was a little surprised at how many more people clicked on the recipes I included in my last newsletter – and how many took the time to email and let me know how much they liked them – so I decided to do one more. Enjoy!

As a rule, I don’t really enjoy baking. Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at it. I rarely have an urge for bread, cake or pie, but when I do, I’ll buy it rather than bake it. But one day I did have an urge – for pumpkin bread, in particular. I have no idea why I wanted to make it, but I found myself searching recipes on the web, and one of them sounded really good to me. I even ended up reading the comments of people who had tried it and had added this and that.

I chose the measurements and ingredients that appealed to me and went to work. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it came together. [I am notoriously slow in the kitchen, so this made a big impression]. And it turned out great. This pumpkin bread always turns out great. I’ve given it to many friends and it’s always a hit.

One of the extra added treats of making pumpkin bread in your own kitchen is how good it smells. It fills the whole house and you get the pleasure of that exquisite aroma for hours afterwards. And let’s not forget your taste buds. They get their full measure of delight, as well!

golden-raisins

According to Laurie Bennett: “This is a great old Maine recipe, moist and spicy. The bread actually tastes even better the day after it is baked. Great for holiday gift giving!”

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I prefer 1/2 veg oil, 1/2 apple sauce)
  • 2/3 cup water (I like to substitute orange juice for the water)
  • 3 cups white sugar (I use 1C brown sugar, and a little less than 2C white sugar)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • may add 1 tsp vanilla (if you like, but, honestly, it is just as good without it)
  • pecans (they’re optional, but for me, they are what really make this pumpkin bread so good)

Directions
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3, or two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
2.    In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3.    Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This was my first attempt at pumpkin bread, and I love this recipe! The combination and measurements of the spices are perfect. I have used 2 (8×4) pans, instead of the 3 (7×3), and both sizes work. You may need a little extra baking time with the larger pans.

I brought the extra loaf to a neighbor, and they finished it in one day. Yeah. It’s GOOD!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

norman-rockwell-1

May you find it easy to count your blessings this year, and always.

I want to say a big THANK YOU for being a blessing to me!

 

How Shiatsu Can Positively Enhance Your Life About Shiatsu & A Case Study Explored

lindy1Shiatsu, meaning “finger pressure,” is the practice of applying thumbs, fingers, palms or feet to pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in ancient Asian medicine. Aside from the pressing, this type of treatment also focuses on stretching limbs and opening joints. As a type of healing therapy, it produces an effect of deep relaxation, increases energy levels and brings a state of balance to the body, among many other things. As several clients say, it helps them feel more “grounded, centered and self-aware.”

Shiatsu is a practice based on the traditions of ancient Asian medicine. The theory behind Shiatsu is that our bodies are made up of energy, called Qi, and this energy can get blocked and cause suffering within the body and mind. Shiatsu helps to remove blockages by clearing channels and acupoints, which balances the Qi and eases the body and mind. When Qi is balanced, healing occurs. The applied pressure stimulates both the nervous and immune systems, providing relief, while also restoring the circulatory system, improving blood flow.

lindy2A current client, named Christina G., has been receiving Shiatsu for approximately 18 months, at a rate of once every two to four weeks. At the start of her treatments, Christina was seeking the following:

  • Regularity in her menstrual cycle,
  • An increase in energy and stamina,
  • A decrease in daily anxiety and stress, and
  • An improved awareness and connection to her intuition.

Here are the results she experienced over the course of the first few months working together and then ongoing over the last 18 months:

  • Menstrual Cycle: Christina experienced better regularity and less blood clotting in the first few months of treatment. Within four months, she experienced a brighter, healthier color of blood and better flow in general, which she hadn’t experienced in years.
  • Energy and Stamina: Christina experienced more energy immediately following each treatment along with a “sense of calm and strength” that would endure for several days following treatment. In conjunction with her bi-weekly meditation and daily supplementation, she has experienced an increase in energy and stamina over the last 18 months and “it continues to improve everyday.”
  • Anxiety and Stress: Within the first few treatments, Christina experienced less anxiety and stress in her daily life. She also worked to manage her anxiety and stress on her own based on suggested exercises and regular reassessments, including identifying areas for
  • Intuition: After the first year of treatment, Christina wanted to connect to and be more aware of her intuition. In each session we reviewed progress she made, and feedback in the form of exercises was given for further improvement. She now says she “feels more connected to her intuition and is now able to look inside for answers to questions and for direction.”

lindy6Christina G. experienced the benefits of Shiatsu in every area that she was seeking assistance and vitality. It is through client experiences like these that Shiatsu proves time and time again to be a viable and effective treatment for those experiencing many types of mental or physical suffering. What once began as a treatment for simple muscular tension when it was first introduced to Western medicine has become something much more integrative. The benefits of Shiatsu have become more apparent, and it is now used for treating a variety of ailments and issues. These include the following:

  • Overall Weakness & Fatigue: Shiatsu can restore and maintain the body’s energy, helping those who suffer from overall weakness and fatigue.
  • Muscle Pain and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Shiatsu is frequently used to alleviate the muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis.
  • Injury Recovery: Shiatsu can aid in the recovery from sprains, fractures and other injuries.
  • Migraine Headaches: Shiatsu helps relieve headaches and migraines by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout.
  • A Stiff Neck & Back: Shiatsu can reduce problems with the neck, shoulders and back, including sciatica.
  • Stress: Shiatsu can do wonders for a body and mind that is stressed. It can reduce stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression.
  • Reproductive Issues: Shiatsu can be used to aid women during their monthly cycles, especially to alleviate menstrual cramps and regulate blood flow.
  • Pregnancy: Shiatsu has been known to help women in labor and also to help babies turn in the womb. It can also help ease morning sickness and swelling.
  • Circulatory System: Shiatsu can help to improve circulation throughout the body, improving blood flow.
  • Digestive Disorders: By allowing food to digest more easily and aid in the elimination of waste, Shiatsu can benefit and improve your digestive system.
  • Skin: Shiatsu can stimulate circulation in the soft tissues of the skin, helping to keep skin soft and moist. This can in turn can give the skin a glow and prevent wrinkling.
  • Immune Support: Shiatsu can reduce the severity and frequency of coughs and colds, along with other sinus and respiratory problems.
  • Combines with other treatments: Shiatsu works well with other treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, chemotherapy, herbs and supplements.

lindy4A shiatsu treatment can last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. It can be administered on a padded mat on the floor or on a massage table. Typically, the treatment begins with gentle stretching and pressing to relax the muscles and stimulate the flow of energy. Depending on the needs of the person receiving the massage, it can be very gentle and calming or used with high pressure. However, it should never be painful. For more information regarding Shiatsu and to receive a treatment, contact Lindy Ferrigno here.

SAMHAIN – THE SACRED NEW YEAR The Cycle of Birth, Life, Death and Rebirth

samhain-stags

In the Old Ways that we still celebrate to this day, Samhain is the Celtic New Year. On October 31st, we once again turn the Wheel of the Year and contemplate life and death and rebirth. It is a night of wonder and magic. The past, present and future are one. On this night, we recognize that the fallen leaves are decaying. We remind ourselves that this decay feeds new life to come. We honor the generations that have come before and we shine the light of our best wishes and most beautiful dreams onto those yet to come.

honoring-trees

Samhain is the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. Samhain is pronounced SAH-wen or SHAV-na, and it is the night for reconnecting with our ancestors. We honor them for the life and energy they passed on to us through the miracle of our DNA. If we take a Shamanic Journey, we sometimes meet them. An ancestor may show up as an individual personality, or as a general archetype. In any case, we show respect by having no expectations of them and making no apologies for them. We consciously appreciate their efforts on our behalf, and know they watch over us. We can ask for their advice, protection and guidance for the upcoming year. We can converse with them to let them know what we are up to in life. We can assure them that we want them on our side. We want to receive their blessings. We can ask for their blessings for our children and grandchildren, too.

remember-ancestorsThis is the night when the gateway between our world and the spirit world is the thinnest. Tonight is the night to call out those who came before. Tonight I honor my ancestors. Spirits of my mothers and fathers, I call to you. I welcome you to join me for this night. You watch over me always, protecting and guiding me. Tonight, I thank you. Your blood runs in my veins. Your spirit is in my heart. Your memories are in my soul. I remember all of you. You are dead but never forgotten. You live on in me, and within those who are yet to come.

carved-w-moon-stars

Samhain is also a good night to contemplate our own mortality. It is a good time to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. If anything is left undone, this is the perfect time to resolve it. Once unfinished matters are cleared away, we can begin looking toward the next year, free from restraints and encumbrances. We can then look to see how any unwanted aspects from our personal year can be released and transformed. We can also look into the crystal ball of our mind’s eye and get a glimpse of what is to come in the year ahead. This is, indeed, a most magical time!

 

turning-of-the-year

PEARS – THE SUPER FRUIT Prevent Colds & Flus

3-in-a-blue-bowl

Pears are the super fruit of Asia and around the world. They have been called the “gift of the gods” and were presented as a delicacy at some points in history. They are rich in Vitamins C and K, and hold powerful nutrients and minerals. They are known to have healing attributes for many ailments, especially coughs, colds and flus.

According to Cheryl Murphy, “Pears add approximately 3 grams of water, non-soluble fiber to the diet. The fiber binds to unwanted toxins and bacterium in the colon and leads the way out of the body, reducing the onset of heart disease, cancer and Type-2 Diabetes. Pears reduce cholesterol due to the fiber involved.

 

9-benefits

“The pear works as an anti-inflammatory in the respiratory system. The pear helps maintain moisture in the lungs. Pears, due to their sour properties, help eliminate phlegm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the lungs take in dry, pathogenic factors, then the intestines, plus other areas of the body, get involved. The pear is a cooling food that prevents lung damage and adds moisture to the lungs and prevents bacteria.

“Colds and coughs usually find their way into the body from August through April when humidity levels drop in the air. A cold or cough within the body is usually the body’s way of saying that it needs to rid excess toxins, waste and bacteria overgrowth. Over 66 million Americans catch colds per year and catching a cold in the Fall usually signifies the lungs are being challenged. If a cough is present, the body is trying to release unwanted toxins to cleanse itself. There is usually an energy imbalance or stagnation, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is better to harmonize with the body than to fight it. You can help the body to bring harmony and balance on its own, and speed the recovery process, with diet and natural remedies. Adding pears to the diet, especially in the Fall, can boost immunity, release toxins and deliver all that is needed to keep colds and coughs away.”

 

Here are some easy recipes that you can enjoy this season and boost your immune system in the process!

 

PEAR REMEDY
Pears hold precious cooling compounds to energize the lungs, keeping the area moist and free of bacteria.

cored-peeled-halvedStewed Sweet Pears
2 pears, peeled and sliced                                        4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey

Boil the pears and honey in water for about 30 minutes. Drink while hot.

 

EASY PEAR SAUCE
Pear Sauce is easy to make and is delicious served plain. It is also great as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and toast (for a real treat, spread the toast with almond butter under the pear sauce and top with blueberries). Try spooning it over ice cream for desert.
This recipe yields about 4 cups.

Ingredients:
8-10 pears; peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (I use Bartlett)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pear-sauceDirections:
1. Combine pears, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender to process the pear sauce until smooth. If you prefer a chunky pear sauce, mash with a potato masher. You can also transfer the cooked pear mixture to a food processor or blender to process, just make sure the pear sauce has cooled down.
3. Once the pear sauce has cooled down, pour into glass or plastic containers. Cover and store in the refrigerator. The pear sauce will keep in the fridge for one week. You can also freeze or can the pear sauce.

 

Here’s one from Chef Nick Stellino that’s a little more elegant, but still uncomplicated. 

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE – Pere al Vino Rosso
Serves 4
Ingredients:
4 large pears, peeled and cored
2 cups red wine
1 cup sugar

poached-in-wine

Instructions:
Cut a small slice from the bottom of each of the pears so they will stand up straight in the saucepan without falling over. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears, bring the wine and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring well. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cook for 3 more minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and gently place the pears, standing up, into the saucepan, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot wine-and-sugar mixture.

Place the pan back on the stove and cook the pears over medium-low heat—15 to 20 minutes for a firm texture or 30 to 40 minutes for a softer texture—braising the pears with the wine-and-sugar mixture every 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pears stand in the wine sauce until they reach room temperature. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each of the pears to a dessert dish, and top with plenty of the wine sauce.

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CHEF’S NOTE: For an elegant presentation, serve the pears with sweet whipped cream or whipped mascarpone cheese, and top with toasted chopped pistachio nuts.

MEDICINES ARE IN YOUR KITCHEN Cooking With Antibiotic Culinary Herbs

cooking-herbs

Autumn has arrived with its promise of beauty. Oh, those amazing colorful leaves against exquisitely clear blue skies! But the change of seasons also comes with health challenges. Changes in the weather cause some measure of difficulty for our immune systems. Plus, the kids are back in school. That means exposure to germs and illness. And we become more vulnerable to catching a cold or flu. What can we do to protect ourselves and our families?

 

health-benenfits

One thing that makes a lot of sense is to eat foods and herbs that have natural antibiotic qualities. We know that people have an increased resistance to pharmaceutical antibiotics these days. There is a wise response to this fact. And it is such an easy course of action to take. All we have to do is use foods and herbs as medicines when we cook. They can act as remedies when we are sick. And, more importantly, they promote the prevention of our most common health conditions.

 

healing-herbs

Many herbs have antibiotic properties and other health benefits. Below, you will find a list of herbs that you can use on a daily or weekly basis. They taste good. They support and strengthen your immune function. You will enjoy both the added flavor and better health. So go ahead and cook with them this Fall!

Here are some excellent herbs to use, in no special order. BON APPETIT!

  • allspice
  • ginger
  • thyme
  • various mints
  • basil
  • cinnamon
  • sage
  • chervil
  • rosemary
  • lemon balm
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • tarragon
  • cloves
  • bay leaf
  • chili peppers
  • marjoram
  • caraway seed
  • coriander
  • dill, nutmeg
  • cardamom
  • pepper
  • anise
  • fennel
  • mustard
  • parsley
  • turmeric

For a couple of good seasonal recipes, one sweet and one savory, click here.

 

AN APPLE A DAY ~ YUM! IT KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY, TOO

a-painting

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We all know this saying from childhood. So what exactly are those benefits? Research has come up with quite a few interesting facts. What they have discovered just may inspire you to eat more apples!

 

apple-benefits

  1. An apple is high in fiber, pectin, flavonoids and antioxidants, which fight disease.
  2. Fiber regulates the water balance in your colon. This balance prevents constipation and diarrhea. Fiber pulls water out to keep things moving when you’re backed up. And it absorbs excess water from your stool when you need to slow your bowels down. Added benefits are prevention of hemorrhoids and neutralization of  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  3. The pectin in an apple lowers LDL cholesterol (the “bad” one). Eating 2 apples a day could lower your cholesterol by as much as 16%.
  4. Many cancers are helped by apples. In a study of 10,000 people, those who ate the most apples had a 50% lower risk of developing lung cancer. A study on rats at Cornell University showed that rats that ate an apple a day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17%. Three apples a day reduced their risk by 39%. And six apples a day reduced it by 44%. One study showed that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43% lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin in apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. Still other studies found that rats fed an extract from apple skins showed a 57% reduced risk of liver cancer.
  5. Weight loss – A Brazilian study showed that women who ate three apples or pears a day lost more weight while dieting than those who did not eat fruit while dieting.

sliced-stacked

 

SO! . . . ADD AN APPLE A DAY TO YOUR DIET!!!

Here are a couple of delicious recipes for you to try.                         Bon Appetit!

 

APPLES WITH PINE NUTS AND GOLDEN RAISINS

  • INGREDIENTS                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • 9 apples, peeled and cut in bite-size chunks                                                                                                                                          
  • 2 packages pine nuts                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • 1 package golden raisins
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  •  sugar to taste                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • fresh cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

    DIRECTIONS

    • Place cubed apples in saucepan in approximately 1 inch water. Bring to boil. 
    • Reduce heat and add all other ingredients except pine nuts.
    • Simmer approximately 30-45 minutes. 
    • Remove from heat. Toss in pine nuts.
    • May be served hot, warm or chilled.

 

w-cinnamon-in-bowl

SOME OF MY PERSONAL TOUCHES

~ Try a variety of apples, like Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, cooked together etc.

~ To me, it tastes better when you don’t peel the apples.

~ Honey, instead of sugar, is a delicious alternative.

~ Include cloves and allspice with the spices. Remove them before serving.

~ This dish makes a tasty desert – either alone, over ice cream, or with certain cakes (like sponge, pound, lemon, etc.).

~ I love it on toast for breakfast – sometimes with mascarpone or cream cheese, sometimes with banana slices, but mostly just alone. It’s wonderful mixed into a bowl of oatmeal, too. I’m sure you’ll find your own new favorite ways to serve it to friends and family.

 

APPLE ONION SAUTE 

This is a quick savory-sweet accompaniment for your favorite meat. If you are in the mood for a bit of a twist, use Bermuda onions and Idared apples for an attractive pink presentation.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium firm New York State (or similar) apples, cored and sliced
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat the butter in large skillet. Add the onions and apples.
  • Saute over medium heat until tender.
  • Season with marjoram, salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice.

 

SERVE HOT WITH CHICKEN BREASTS,

PORK CHOPS, AND OTHER MEATS.

 

                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Here’s a short video: 4 Ways To Add Apples To Your Diet

SPRINGTIME CLEANSING For your Gall Bladder, Liver and Intestines

Grand real angel oak tree

In Asian medicine, Springtime is the season of the WOOD ELEMENT and the perfect time for internal cleansing. The taste associated with the Wood Element is Sour. When you put “Springtime” and “Sour ” together, you come to the conclusion that this must be the perfect time for eating things like dandelion greens with citrus dressing (yum!).

HandHeart on Belly

The Wood Element is also associated with the Gall Bladder and Liver.  Therefore, Springtime is considered the best time for cleansing these organs. Many of the cleanses used for this purpose involve a combination of olive oil, garlic and lemon in varying proportions. But most of the ones I’ve tried are really hard to take. However, there is one I actually like because it calls for less olive oil and it allows the inclusion of orange juice, which really helps the olive oil go down. If you are interested in an internal cleanse, try one of these two:

[MY FAVORITE] LIVER & GALL BLADDER CLEANSE

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Breakfast Cocktail:

  • 3 T cold pressed olive oil
  • 1–2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange (optional)

Mix the above ingredients in a blender and drink this for breakfast. [If you do not have a blender, chop the garlic finely and stir the mixture, or shake the ingredients in a closed jar. In this case, it is best to chew the garlic bits before swallowing.]

Herb Tea: Half an hour to an hour after drinking the cocktail, follow with 2 C warm herb tea. Suggested teas include peppermint, comfrey leaf, fenugreek seed, roasted dandelion root and ginger root. Take teas alone or in combinations. Do not sweeten.

Brunch: Have a fruit meal early in the day. The fruit should be fresh, such as grapefruit, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, papayas, melons, or any fruit in season. Eat fruits alone or combine similar fruits into fruit salads. For example, do not combine acid fruits with sweet fruits, and eat melons alone. Be sure to rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and obtain organically grown food whenever possible. Do not add dressings or sweeteners.

Lunch, Dinner, Supper: Eat fresh vegetables and sprouts, cooked and/or raw. For example, have a salad for one meal with loose-leaf lettuce, sprouts, chopped spinach, green onions, grated carrots, celery, and/or other vegetables. Use a homemade oil-and-lemon or oil-and-vinegar dressing. Add herbs if desired. Another meal might be steamed vegetables. You may mix several vegetables together, being sure to start with slower cooking vegetables. Vegetable soups are also excellent. A small amount of melted butter (not margarine) or cold-pressed oil over the vegetables is fine. Be sure to include a variety, such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, corn, etc.

Avoid the following foods while on the diet: All meats; seafood; eggs; dairy (milk, cheeses); bread and flour products; sugar, honey, or other sweeteners; peanuts, nuts and nut butters; cooked grains; and fried foods.

Occasionally, once or twice a week it is all right to have some unsweetened yogurt with a fruit salad, or a cooked grain with a vegetable meal. Foods to shy away from on this diet include potatoes, bananas, and fruit juices (in excess of a small glass).

Eat as much as you like of the foods in this diet and be sure to drink plenty of water. Consider getting bottled water for purity and to drink a half-gallon or more per day.

 

STANLEY BURROUGHS’ MASTER CLEANSER

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  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1–2 T 100% maple syrup
  • 1/10 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 8 oz. spring water

Combine all ingredients and drink 8–12 glasses throughout the day. It is important to keep the bowels moving during a liver and/or gall bladder cleanse. A tablespoon of cold-pressed olive oil, twice a day, lubricates the intestines and tones the liver.

Caution: Rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking to clear the lemon and maple syrup from your teeth. The ascorbic and citric acids can pull calcium from tooth enamel, and we all know the effect of sugar on teeth! [If you tote this mixture with you during the day, be sure to carry it in a glass container. It is possible that the acids from the lemon could cause a chemical reaction with a plastic container that would allow toxins to leach into it.]

The Year of the Fire Monkey 2016 Forecasting Fast Progress!

in hoop

As you read this forecast for the Year of the Fire Monkey 2016, you will want to keep in mind that, as with all forecasts and predictions, they vary from source to source, depending on how the forecaster reads the indicators. There can be opposite views – one person may see favorable aspects where another sees challenges. Also, these predictions are based on only a portion of the information needed. It is like reading your horoscope, which is based on only the Sun Sign, not on your complete chart.

So I’m starting out with a reminder that what you read here comes from various viewpoints and is written from the angle of the generalities of the Sign of the Fire Monkey. Still, it is fun to have some idea of what we might expect and get some perspective and guidelines for how to respond. So . . .

Legend says that before the Lord Buddha left this Earth, he summoned all the animals to come to him. Only twelve came. First to arrive was the Rat, then the Ox, followed by the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. The Asian calendar employs the metaphors of these 12 Animals to convey a quality of qi (energy) for each year. It is not to be taken too literally! The energy archetype of the fire monkey is one of agility and being fast moving and creative.

The Monkey bursts with exuberance, bringing a lightening fast pace and fantastical motivation. It increases communication, humor and wit, helping us get through stressful times with grace and ease. Business flourishes and risks tend to pan out. The Monkey’s gift is the ability to find unconventional solutions to old problems. Daring to be different can lead to success.

Although a lively, optimistic and progressive year where finances, politics, and real estate should see an upturn, there will be a decided undercurrent of insecurity. Nations that are created in the Year of the Monkey usually spawn great minds. Even though the monkey is impatient and scattered brained, he has a whole lot of ingenious ideas in store. Everyone wants to work the shrewdest angle, get the best deal, and win big. However, business decisions made this year should be based on fact, not emotion. Problems and dishonesty abound, so nothing this year should be taken for granted, whether politically, financially, professionally, domestically or emotionally. It is a year to watch out for deception. Talk can be “fast and cheap.”

The positive and negative qualities of the Monkey Year 2016 culminate in a year that anything can happen. There is little point in storing up goods or planning one’s life. The influence of the Monkey puts everything into flux. Things will get accomplished, but largely through personal and individual efforts. Group movements, such as political upheaval or revolutions, may not make much of a mark during this year.

A particularly auspicious time for new inventions, the Year of the Monkey is for taking risks and being rebellious, a year where agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out. A lot of global economic growth can be expected in the Year of the Monkey. Expect a lot of life changing inventions to be released. Now is the time of courage, action, anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes, a time to start new endeavors, for they are destined to succeed under Monkey’s influence. But a word to the wise: those who can hang on for the wild ride, outsmart the confidence-trickster, and bluff their way through, will come out unscathed. Those who are dull or slow-witted, and can’t handle the stress will come unglued.

RedOn the individual level, do go ahead with your life. Move forward, make strides, and stretch out for what may lay ahead. The key to success this year is education. This is not meant as mere college or graduate school but to take up courses that matter for your everyday life not just for your career or status. Don’t be too shy to take up silly little courses at your books shop or join those financial groups to help manage your money or start up a small business. The monkey is all about being creative and innovative with what you have. The Year Of The Monkey 2016 is a time for business considered as risky, and here the seeds of unplanned success lay. Run with ideas, embrace the inventive, and don’t look back.

The Year of the Monkey 2016 is a good year to break free and take calculated risks, as there is nothing more powerful or rewarding than following your heart’s desire. The energies are supporting these changes. Remember that this year will reward the individual effort and those who place their trust in the group collective could face disappointment.

The almanac also states how people born under other signs will fare in the year of the Monkey. This is a generally auspicious year for Rats, Oxen, Dragons, Horses, Monkeys, Roosters and Dogs. This could be a difficult year for Tigers, Snakes, Dogs and Boars. Rabbits should beware their finances. Sheep should take care of their health.

Amazing Year for: Rats, Dragons, Monkeys – brings charm and confidence. Unstable but dynamic!

Positive Year for: Goats, Rabbits, and Ox improvement in all areas of life. Progress finally!

Exciting Year for: Roosters, Horses – Tricky situations abound. Enjoy the stimulation!

Complex Year for: Tigers, Snakes, Boars, Dogs – strong focus and objectivity brings the best results.

with kanji

 

WINTER SOLSTICE: The Return of the Light

mystical iceflows

Winter Solstice is one of my favorite holidays.

I love the magical paradox of Winter Solstice:

that it is both the longest night of the year.

 

Solstice Sunrise

And . . .

simultaneously,

the return

of the light

to the Earth.

 

Snow-covered, Sun's halo

I love the resounding silence that blankets the land when the snow falls. I love the stillness that protects all new life incubating within The Earth Mother.

Winter Solstice signals us to get quiet; to go within; to seek peace. We rest, recharge, and incubate the dream that lies growing within us, in power and beauty, to reconnect us with our own soul’s essence.

 

baby

This is the time to reconnect with your original self, your true soul, and to let yourself rest in its power and beauty.

 

 

Horse in Snow

Great Horned in Snow

Consider what you do, instinctively, to stay connected to your light. Find the deep comfort that restores you at this time of sacred darkness. ‘Tis the season!