Do you like pomegranates? I have been seeing them more and more over the years both as decorative items and in the grocery store isles. I really like the holiday ornaments that are, or include pomegranates. I also think pomegranate trees are beautiful with their bright red-orange blossoms. I think I may just plant one.
Some of the artisans I work with make ceramic or polymer pomegranates. I also noticed they were from the Middle East – Israel and Turkey and follow their cultural traditions, of which the pomegranate plays a part. I never knew pomegranates had symbolic significance but as it turns out, they are highly symbolic and greatly revered in the Eastern Hemisphere, and have been since before recorded time. As people traveled to the Western Hemisphere, they brought their pomegranates with them and started cultivating them here. Afterall, they have a LOT of seeds! So now the pomegranate is a common fruit here but still revered in certain cultural traditions.
I decided to dive in and find out what pomegranates were all about and here is what I found out:
Since as far back as the 5th millennium BC, evidence of pomegranates have been found through carbon imprinting of the interior anatomy of the seeded fruit, however some of the oldest medical writings from around 1500 BC indicated Egyptians used them to treat tapeworms (and it is still used for treating tapeworms today) and other miscellaneous infections. Ancient Egyptians revered pomegranates as a symbol of ambition and prosperity.
Pomegranates, although thought to have originated somewhere between Iran and Northern India, have been cultivated and spread throughout the vast Mediterranean regions. Around the 16th Century they were introduced into the Spanish regions, which were then further introduced into California with the influx of Spanish settlers in 1769, California and Arizona being some of the largest cultivators of pomegranates. Today pomegranates are widely cultivated around the world in the warmer and more arid areas.
We see pomegranates throughout history revered symbolically as life-preserving, fertility generating, and bringing good luck. It is valued as a symbol of abundance and prosperity in ancient times as well as today as represented on coins. Considered a fruit of the highest nobility, it was also considered to be of exceptional beauty. High Priests and Kings had pomegranates embroidered on clothing and engraved onto 2 pillars outside of the main entrances of King Solomon’s Temple. The Song of Solomon 4:3 is quoted as saying: “Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.”
In Ancient Israel and Judaism Pomegranates are traditionally eaten during Rosh Hashanah because it’s multiplentious seeds symbolize fruitfulness. They also represent the mystical experience of kabbalah in this Jewish Mystical Tradition of entering into the “garden of Pomegranates.” Another attribute of the pomegranate is that it is believed it would ward off the “Evil Eye,” a belief largely inherent throughout the Middle Eastern countries.
In somewhat of a contrast, in the European Christian traditions, pomegranates are inferred to be of high value as a fruit of nobility and are found in various motifs of Artwork, Mosaics, Architecture, and Fabrics, however, the symbolism is a little different as it is almost solely related to the story of Jesus and his crucifixion. They are generally depicted as being held by the Christ child or Mother Mary. If they are split or bursting open, they are symbolizing the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection. According to J.E. Cirlot, author of The Book of Symbols, the significance of the pomegranate represents “reconciliation of the multiple and diverse within apparent unity” based on the interior structure of the fruit. The Biblical interpretation of the pomegranate is thus a symbol of the “oneness of the Universe”.
In Islam, legend has it that each pomegranate contains one seed that has come down from Paradise. Quite often, with the symbolism of pomegranates being fertility, the pomegranate is split open by the husband after the wedding as the newly wed couple enter the door of their house.
The symbolism of pomegranates has endured throughout history, now and back through ancient times representing well wishes and the granting of good fortune, multiplying of abundance, and blessings of fertility for both families and lands. Pomegranates are often found in homes, churches & temples, and in artwork and garments as a testament of the fruit of highest distinction throughout the eastern hemisphere, and having also migrated to the western hemisphere the traditions continued to spread. We have found today as well as in ancient times, pomegranates are also valued for their medicinal and healthful qualities. By the way, eat the seeds, too. They are high in fiber.
Faerie Dust is has now acquired beautiful sets of pomegranates for your home, or to give as thoughtful and well meaning gifts. These ceramic pomegranates come in a set of 3 and have six beautiful colors to choose from. They are intricately designed and handmade and are imported from Turkey. They will beautifully grace any table or shelf to remind us of their promise of abundance and prosperity in all you do.
Make your gift giving exceptional with Pomegranates. You can find our selection HERE
or click on the picture below:
Swami Vivekananda is one of my all time favorite spiritual leaders. I learned about him in an Eastern Religion class in college. I was so interested in what he had to say I bought his 9 volume collection of his Complete Works and teachings.
What I found so interesting was as enlightened and knowledgeable as he was, in his personal letters also published in these works, he showed the human side of himself, with his doubts and fears like all of us experience. It showed me that as long as we are in this physical body and world, that is just a plight we all share, which makes me feel better about myself. It is OK to be less than perfect. It is OK to doubt and be fearful from time to time. We just need to know where it comes from and work to rise above it, or to seek encouragement when we can’t. What more can we do? What more can we be?
Swami Vivekananda also came to me in a dream one night and told me things that were beyond my comprehension. I thought I would never forget what he told me because it was so very profound, so I didn’t write it down. When I awoke in the morning, I had remembered the dream talking to him, but had forgotten what he had told me. I have been seeking that information since, never specifically finding it. Perhaps it was something I should only know on a subconscious level. Hopefully I am using/understanding the information in my daily life.
Anyhow, what brought me to writing this blog entry was having viewed the following video about Vivekananda’s acquisition of his enlightenment. It is about 15 minutes long but if you leave the sound on it is very soothing and worth the time investment. If you are interested in reading the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda you can read it online HERE.
Abundant evidence exists to show that “energy of form” is attracted by, stored in, and emanated from model representations of the Great Pyramid.
Years of investigation reveal that we are dealing with a multitude of energies, even though various researches tend to give the phenomenon a single name.
The Egyptians are perhaps best known for their use of pyramid energy to protect the dead. However, for centuries pyramid energy has also been used for healing purposes.
Pyramid vibrations affect our own auras, and it has been shown using Kirlian photography that the aura is brighter and larger after exposure to the pyramids and also quartz crystal. The quartz crystal can produce a force field of healing negative ions while clearing the surrounding atmosphere of positive ions.
It also tends to eliminate or cancel out the effect of radiation and radioactivity. You can surround yourself with the pyramid energy by placing the quartz pyramid on your desk or holding it whilst meditating.
As a meditation aid place a pyramid at your feet if you are sitting in a chair. They call this the pivot point. This will engulf you in a vortex of energy. If you use the lotus position (cross legged) place the pyramid in front of you. When you go to bed place it on your bed stand.
Feng Shui is the science of balancing or the modification of the energy in your environment. When you place a Quartz Pyramid in each corner of a room, you create a balanced energy condition. This raises the energy in your environment and helps to remove negativity thus improving the quality of life.
Placing pyramids on your desk raise the energy around you allowing you to receive more energy thus increasing productivity. Placing a pyramid in the refrigerator keeps your food in a high energy environment and will charge your drinking liquids also. These are just a few of the different uses for quartz pyramids. Use your creative ability and expand their use.
Why use quartz crystals?
Quartz crystals have been used since ancient times as powerful healing objects and meditation tools, and to make medicinal elixirs. Wise adepts have long known about their qualities and have used crystals for powerful talismans and amulets.
Throughout history people have valued the beauty of quartz crystals and have used them for ornamental decoration. References to crystals are found in both the Old and New Testament, and in many other sacred teachings throughout the world.
How can minerals or stones have any influence or value? It is because there is a consciousness inherent in all forms of matter. Even rocks have their own consciousness! We use these crystals of the mineral kingdom to aid us in attunement with different aspects of ourselves.
Crystals have their own particular vibration of a precise and measurable intensity. This vibration attunes itself to human vibration better than any other gem or mineral. Quartz crystal is used to amplify, clarify and store energy.
When you create a thought, you can amplify and clarify it by using a crystal. Quartz has long been recognized for its ability to produce electrical impulses. (Pressure on quartz crystal generates a minute electrical charge called piezoelectricity.)
You can learn how to handle and work with crystals to heal yourself, others, and the Earth. Crystals have long been revered for use in magick, for psychic development, and to see into the “hidden dimensions” that permeate physical reality.
It is said that crystal has the ability to rebroadcast energy from the Universal Mind so your “inner self” can pick it up, granting you heightened perception. A crystal is a focus for this knowledge and help, and it magnifies and transmits psychic energies and healing powers.
Crystals have a hexagonal, symmetrical shape. This is a basic form in geometry, physics and atomic theory, and is a universal, perfect form in the structure of matter. The energy that radiates from clear quartz, the piezoelectric effect, amplifies healing abilities.
As a rose has been called the most perfect representation of beauty in the plant kingdom, the quartz crystal is the essence of perfection in the mineral kingdom.
The use of any form of quartz crystal will benefit you. What can you do with these gemstones and crystals to help yourself? Meditate with them. Place them on a part of your body that needs healing. Carry them around in your pocket. Wear them as jewelry or use them as a keychain. Sleep with them under your pillow.
Put them on your desk, kitchen table, coffee table, anywhere that you will be near them and enjoy the benefits of their vibrations. They are just like a good friend – one whose companionship you delight in. Love them. Look at them. Enjoy them. They help you by their very presence. It’s a gift they freely and lovingly give to you.
Historical Uses for Crystals
Stories of the powers and uses of crystals and gems have come down to us from the beginning of time. Legends have it that crystal forces “set” the electromagnetic field of the Earth so that human souls could incarnate.
The most popular stories dealing with the use of crystals date back to Atlantis. There, it is said, large crystals were used to generate power for cities, and it was the abuse of these energies that eventually caused the destruction of this great civilization. Edgar Cayce stated that the largest crystal generator is buried under the Atlantic Ocean near the Devil’s Triangle, and this massive shift of unfocused electromagnetic energy is what causes ships and planes to go astray.
It is said that crystals were harnessed in Atlantis for power and surgery. In ancient Egypt they were the force that enabled the huge sandstone blocks to be positioned in building the pyramids. Built atop granite, the immense pressure of these stones activated the crystals found naturally in this granite, creating a gigantic generator.
Crystals were used to light the inner tunnels and chambers while the pyramids and Mystery Temples were under construction. Ancient civilizations, particularly Atlantis, used giant crystals to focus laser light.
Crystals were used to fly aircraft, light homes, heal, for agriculture, and to focus beams of energy between pyramids, obelisks, temples, stone monuments and all grid points. Each pyramid amplified the energies to “light” Earth. Crystals were used to control weather, to attune initiates, and in radio waves for communicating with home bases in space (the orbiting Mother ships).
Crystals were used to generate energy, which was focused in various ways, not all of which were positive. The Atlanteans used an advanced form of hypnosis in which complex detailed visuals were projected into a person’s brain, either knowingly or not.
By doing this, thoughts could be influenced, as could memory banks. Near the decline of Atlantis, the dark priesthood was involved in control over others. They used crystal power to create pestilences and diseases to kill people by projecting holographically the images, fears, concepts, etc., they wanted to impress on people.
They experimented on the populace. Scientists manipulated embryos to create subhuman forms to be used as slaves. Embryo development was arrested with crystal energy and hypnotic suggestion caused the embryos to stay more reptilian, scale-like. (Some people today are concerned that genetic engineering could be used for control and manipulation).
Crystal generators were built which Edgar Cayce called the “terrible crystals.” Many Cayce readings refer to the use of crystals in Atlantis, both for positive and negative uses.
Long ago it was learned that much good could be accomplished in the blood and nervous systems. In Atlantis and other ancient civilizations, the Earth grid system or energy ley lines were understood and utilized.
Crystals were employed to accentuate this energy grid system. Crystal energy was used as a focus for other purposes also. Atlantis and Lemuria used ultrasound and other energy forms.
They used mind power by humming or “toning,” and by doing so levitated rock. Crystal pyramids were used like a laser device because they could store and focus energy: sunlight energy. The crystals could encode information to a higher vibration and beam information into a person. The student could obtain the equivalent of a college education from crystal energy.
Lemurians used crystals underground to grow food because they were afraid of the giants living on the surface who were unfriendly and antagonistic. The Lemurians came to spend most of their time in caves, and so needed light energy to grow food. The stored energy from crystals was the source for this light.
In times past, crystals were used to balance harmonies in the body – to stabilize the flow of prana, to stimulate the chakras, to raise the kundalini energy. Facets of three, five, or seven were used for certain illnesses, while four- and eight-sided crystals were used to maintain balance. Crystals of various colors – red, green, blue, violet, white, etc., were used to heal various illnesses.
Their healing properties restored eyesight to some in the hands of adept healers. Crystals were placed on the eyelids to draw in prana and heal organs inside the body. Much later in history, the American Indian shamans placed quartz crystals over their eyes to help them become more clairvoyant.
The ancient Greeks believed that quartz was “eternal ice” which came down from Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods. The people used its natural magnifying power to focus the heat of the Sun’s rays in order to start ceremonial fires.
According to the famous Roman scholar Pliny, who wrote in the first century a.d., they used the focused crystal heat from the Sun to cauterize wounds.
The ancient Egyptians held quartz sacred, and carved drinking vessels from quartz. When they drank from these cups, the water became imbued with life-giving energy. They mined quartz, and along with many cultures began to carve it into jewelry and a variety of objects, both artistic and utilitarian.
The Crystal Ball
This unique form of quartz found by archaeologists has been found in such distant areas as Peru, Siberia, Australia, Chaldea, Greece, Rome, Assyria, Persia, Japan, and China. The ancient Chinese and Japanese regarded quartz as the perfect gem.
The artists who carved spheres were thought to be the most capable of spiritual and artistic purity. They considered the quartz crystal ball the heart or “essence of the dragon,” symbolic of the highest powers of creation. The Chinese and Japanese shared the term sui ching for quartz, which means “water essence,” the source of peace and power.
Tibetan monks called crystal balls the “windows of the gods,” using them as holy objects of great power. The Taoists believed that looking into the crystal’s clarity “crystallized” one’s being, and they considered quartz the “gem of enlightenment.” Buddhist altars included quartz spheres as an invocation of the “visible nothingness” that delineates the duality of the material and spiritual world.
Contemplation of this “visible nothingness” gave rise to crystal-gazing, which has been practiced since time immemorial. Crystal gazers use the spheres as windows to faraway places, the past and future.
Origin of Quartz Crystal
A crystal is a beautiful, perfect form. It contains within it harmony, balance, clarity and perfection. A quartz crystal takes over 10,000 years to form. They come from deep within the Earth’s core, and were formed when the Earth was evolving.
Natural quartz crystals, often referred to by ancient traditions as the “veils of the earth,” frozen water or frozen light, combine the elements silicon and water through a lengthy process involving heat and pressure.
They are buried in the Earth, or sometimes in stream beds where they have washed down from higher ground after being dislodged. They are often found near gold. Varieties of quartz crystal, sometimes called rock crystal, are found all over the world. The largest numbers of crystals are mined in Arkansas and Brazil.
Ninety per cent of the Earth’s crust is made up of the mineral group known as silicates, a combination of silicon and oxygen, plus other elements. The simplest silicate is silicon and oxygen – quartz crystal.
Chemically, it is the oxide of the element silicon, and its chemical formula is SiO2. It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. The crystal structure of quartz is hexagonal with void spaces in geometric trails throughout the crystal.
The name crystal comes from the Greek word crystallos meaning “clear ice,” for the ancient Greeks thought that these transparent rock crystals were in fact frozen water turned into stone. Another legend has it that Holy Water was poured out of the Heavens by God and frozen to ice in outer space on its voyage to Earth. Angels petrified the “Holy Ice” to preserve it as a protective blessing for humanity.
Quartz is the most common mineral found on the Earth. In the world of gemstones, quartz supplies more different varieties than any other mineral. Gem quartz can be divided into three main groups:
– crystallized quartz
– compact quartz
– cryptocrystalline quartz
Most crystals are formed by the repetitive addition of new matter to a growing crystalline mass. Some crystals have their origin in the magma or fiery gases of the Earth’s interior or in the volcanic lava streams which reach the Earth’s surface. These minerals, which include quartz, are called igneous.
They are formed by the solidification of this molten mineral as it cools and hardens. As the molten rock mass cools, the atoms group together to form the essential regularity that determines the shape and composition of the crystal.
Some crystals grow from vapors in vents in volcanic regions. This type of crystal includes sulfur, and is condensed from hot mineralized gases into a solid state as the vapors are escaping from the inner Earth.
Some crystals form from water solutions or grow with the help of organisms on or near the Earth’s surface. These crystals are known as sedimentary minerals, and are formed through the process of mechanical or chemical weathering.
Air, water, wind and ice are the main erosion factors involved in dissolving the Earth’s materials that will eventually be cemented together and occasionally crystallize.
Also, new minerals are formed by the recrystallization of existing minerals under great pressure and high temperatures in the lower regions of the Earth’s crust.
These metamorphic minerals undergo structural and chemical changes after the original formation, reorganizing the atoms and creating different textures, compositions and crystals.
Tap into the Transformational Power of Crystals
Energy Muse is a conscious lifestyle brand providing crystal tools of empowerment, inspiration and hope. Each piece combines crystal energy and intention to help you achieve a desired outcome.
We will be the first to tell you: if you think that just having a crystal is going to change your life, you’re going to wind up disappointed. What a crystal will do is act as a tool, a touchstone, to ground you, center you and empower you to transform your life. The magic is not the crystal, it’s you. It’s not doing the work, you’re doing the work. It’s an ally on your journey, a tool to help you get to where you want to go.
Our mission is to de-mystify the world of crystals. By teaching people simple ways in which crystal energy can benefit their daily lives, our hope is for you to feel empowered, motivated and excited to create the life you’ve always dreamed of. We get that lives get busy, and the intentions we have for ourselves often get pushed aside. That’s why Energy Musepromotes a conscious lifestyle.
Through using crystals, both raw and in jewelry, we can tap into the vibrations of the Earth, and ground our spirit in what’s important. Crystals are tools that we can use, not to do the work for us, but rather, to open up our energy so that we can recognize the changes we need to make for ourselves.
The high vibrational power of crystals encourages us to shift our perspective, get centered in what we want and manifest our aspirations into realities. When we combine the healing properties of crystals with a mindful effort to evolve, we can finally embark on the spiritual path toward the person we were always meant to be. To have a success story of your own, let the crystals be your muse.
Let me start by saying, people ask me why I started Faerie Dust, my gift store. At first I started it to provide gifts for like-minded people. The idea was to open a brick and mortar store, but it occurred to me that I could “open” it online and open a brick and mortar store later.
I dedicated myself to buying merchandise that I really like, not just any merchandise to fill space, but beautiful, cheerful, and unique things that have purpose, even if that purpose is just to make someone else (or myself) happy. Supporting artisans who hand-make their products is also important. These products go beyond just gifts that are manufactured and are made with Love and their own personal touches. Our website features these artisans and their stories as well as their products.
The third, and biggest reason is that gift giving brings people together. It connects us. It shows you care and have thought about someone else enough to buy a gift. Connecting with others is so important, especially in this day and age when we are so divided. It says, regardless of our differences, I still care about you.
From a metaphysical point of view
I was reading in Tarot of the Spirit, by Pamela Eakins, PhD, and a paragraph in the Nine of Water stood out to me. It said,
“As we journey into the cosmic sea of Yesod [unconscious mind], we see the reflected images of the collective unconscious, that unconscious mind which we share with each other. Once we have accessed the collective unconscious via inward travel…we begin to understand our Self as we understand others. We begin to understand that we are each a separate spark of the One, and yet we are the One. With acceptance that I am you and you are me, while we are at the same time, unique and separately beautiful individuals, we begin to move into a deep and real harmonious love.”
That is the bottom line, making that connection with the collective consciousness, and gift giving is a wonderful way to contribute to that end. “The more we come together, the happier we’ll be.” There is truth in the words of that little song.
How to choose Gifts
So all that being said, let’s talk about gift giving. I have heard so many people say something like,
“I just don’t know what to give to Sally. She has everything!” “I have no idea what Sally likes or needs.”
Buying people what they want or need is one way to decide on gifts, but here is a perspective you may not have thought about; what you give to someone as a gift reflects how YOU feel about them. When choosing a gift for someone ask yourself if that gift reflects your personal feelings about them. Hopefully, that is a good thing. Also, does that gift remind you of them? Sometimes gifts speak to you regarding others. If you don’t like them but have to buy them a gift, buy something that makes YOU happy. It is likely that if it makes you happy, it will make them happy, or at least they will know you were wanting to share something to make them happy because it makes you happy. You know, that collective consciousness thing. Worst case, it’s the thought that counts. This approach makes gift buying and gift giving much more pleasurable.
The gifts at Faerie Dust are personally selected by me.
I love all my merchandise, and when I sell it, I am connecting with the buyer, and they will connect with the person receiving the gift. What a lovely way to support this chain of collective consciousness. Faerie Dust gifts go the extra mile of gift giving because the artisan gifts are unique and one of a kind. They demonstrate you like them enough that you went out of your way to find something no one else has, something with purpose, and that you are supporting individual artisans. I can’t think of a better kind of gift.
Faerie Dust brings these lovely gifts together on one website, https://faeriedustonline.com. Our gifts are affordable so you don’t have to break the bank to show you care and we are constantly getting new things and/or new vendors all the time, again, personally selected by me.
By the way, if you want the gift giving experience to be complete from beginning to end, we also have some adorable, elegant, and artistic gift wraps and greeting cards that are made by artisans/designers. Start the smiles even before they open the gifts.
So make sure there is a little bit of you in the gifts you give and make those connections that are so important. I hope this makes your gift buying and gift giving a little more pleasurable for both you and the gift recipient. Share the Love!
Analysis tells us that studying known data will give us answers, the philosophy being that analyzing data will inform us of patterns and trends, which will then project answers. Or maybe we will see the answers if we look hard enough, and sometimes that is true. It will give us knowledge. What are we to do with that knowledge?
All of us are guilty of analyzing everything to death in search of answers. Most of the time we don’t find answers through analysis though, we just uncover what we already knew. We can validate what we believed to be true or untrue (what we learned we already knew), or we can take that knowledge and seek newer unique and creative answers.
It’s hard to find answers from something that is already learned. If we keep searching for answers in what we already know, it is like the man in a round room trying to find a corner in which to piss. To find real answers we need to use what we know (knowledge) as the ladder to the yet unknown.
Rungs and Ladders
There are probably many kinds of rungs and we may have complete knowledge about rungs. But now you have to ask yourself, where do I go with the complete knowledge of rungs? Does it stop at rungs or do you then contemplate where the knowledge of rungs will take you? OK, now it takes you “Up” and “Down”. What next? Rungs take you to a place that is typically out of reach without them and then back to the original place.
In the Tarot of the Spirit, by Pamela and Joyce Eakins, the first Major Arcana Key is “The Fool”. The Fool finds that throughout his journey though life, he always ends up back in the place where he started, but he is changed in the process. He is enlightened. Was his journey in vain?
The things we learn along the way become “the known” and are the building blocks that will lead us to answers.
Knowing is finite and subject to dying through obsolescence at some point. Seeking and finding answers can be an eternal process, and if you are doing it right, it is. It can change direction quickly if we are open to learn. We are propelled forward to continue, following an ever unfolding path. If you have only attained knowledge, your work has just begun.
Look for Signs and Wonders
I was just watching an episode of “Gray’s Anatomy” and the metaphysically enlightened patient said to McDreamy (Patrick Dempsy) before going under the knife, “Just remember if you get scared, become inspired.” Look for signs and wonders that gently lead us through life. They’re there. Use your knowledge as the bridge to inspiration. Be enthusiastic to uncover that which has been elusive, which could only have been attained through climbing the rungs of knowledge.
“There is always a way”, said the patient.
We keep things fresh and new by seeking and learning beyond our knowledge. It is not free will, it is cause and effect. It is problems and solutions using the building blocks of knowledge to find answers. Once we attain knowledge of something, it’s like cement that hardens into the next step toward expansiveness. Conjecture opens doors.
From a metaphysical perspective, we say God (Universal Intelligence, in my book) is all Knowing, yet is also all Spirit – so what would God know about the human experience? Perhaps we, as physical manifestations, are here to help God expand and learn beyond his knowing. If God really was all knowing, why would God create anything? It seems to me that that would be boring as hell. It WOULD be hell! Instead, there is the continuing unfoldment of the human race and life cycles and all the knowledge to be learned from it. The question is, will you come back to your starting place enlightened?
Knowledge is not the goal, using knowledge to find real innovative, unique answers beyond what we already know is the goal, and when we reach that “AHA!” moment, that is the real high…that swift moment of understanding is orgasmic. God’s ejaculation?
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
I use Vegan and Plant-Based Diet interchangeably, but I guess there are some to which Veganism also means, no animal products whatsoever such as leather. I am referring only to Dietary Vegans in this article.
Most of my life I wanted to become vegan because of my profound love of animals. I always had a hard time reconciling being a meat eater and an animal lover, but it seemed very daunting, especially since vegetables are not my favorite food. I don’t hate them but I really had to go out of my way to eat them.
I tried to “sneak” vegetables into the meals I made by chopping them up and putting them in meatloaf, casseroles, etc. I bought and drank V-8, which I like, especially with gin, tabasco, and a stick of celery, but that’s beside the point. I’ve really never been a huge meat eater, preferring to use it as a condiment, such as in beef stroganoff, rather than sitting down to a steak. Eating a plant-based diet just seemed bland and undoable for me.
How I got there
I had a heart attack. I am going to somewhat diverge here for a few moments to share some important information. One night after eating dinner, I was feeling a little uncomfortable so since we have a long hall in our house, I decided to walk a little bit to maybe help me digest a little better. When I started walking, I felt a little burning sensation in my chest, just like indigestion. I have felt this before when I have gone walking and I figured it was just because I was out of shape. It usually went away if I just pushed through it.
I started belching and it went away. Then it came back, only more intense, again I started belching and it went away. It kept coming back, a little stronger each time. It was getting pretty uncomfortable and I was starting to feel some aching between by shoulder blades that went up my neck and my head felt like it was swelling. I decided to lie down, thinking that would make it go away. When I lay down, it got much stronger and didn’t go away. It just so happened I had just read an article on female symptoms of heart attack the day before. I told my husband I thought we should go to the hospital, even though I wasn’t accepting this was what was happening to me, but the symptoms fit.
My husband drove me to emergency and by the time I got there my systolic blood pressure reading was over 200! It turns out that the heart starts doing this at the beginning of a heart attack. OK, I’m starting to believe it now. It turns out I had a 99% blockage of a main artery to the heart and had a stent installed.
Here’s the moral of this little story. Be sure to read up on heart attack symptoms. If you have ANY symptoms, go to the hospital, and this applies to men as well. Some men have the same symptoms as women, and some women have the same symptoms as men!
All the way to the hospital, the belching relieved the symptoms and I told my husband it was probably just a bad case of indigestion. Many times I just wanted to turn around and go home, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be embarrassed at the hospital if I just had a bad case of indigestion. The doctor told me that because I responded to the symptoms and got to the hospital right away, my heart was not damaged at all. Don’t worry about being embarrassed if you are not sure, GO! It could save your life!
On Becoming Vegan
So back to becoming a vegan. A couple of months later during my recovery, my cardiologist told me about eating a plant-based diet. He recommended I watch a documentary called “Forks Over Knives”. Faerie Dust Online also carries the Forks Over Knives Paperback book and Forks Over Knives Cookbook. After having watched it, he decided to go plant-based because of the scientific evidence presented in this documentary that eating meat was damaging. I watched it with my husband and both of us decided to also eat a plant-based diet.
This documentary not only pointed out the negative way the body responds to meat, but it also showed evidence of how a plant-based diet can reverse some major diseases like diabetes, cancer, and inflammation diseases. And of course it will help get cholesterol under control and helps with heart diseases as well.
Ok, so where do I start. I did not realize I would be at such a loss. One can only eat enough beans and rice. One can only eat so many salads, especially me. We spent a lot of time looking through plant-based and vegan websites looking for recipes. None seemed appealing, but we still fumbled through. I was still motivated by having had a heart attack. When I was really craving something tasty with meat in it, like hamburgers, I had to tell myself I have already eaten enough hamburgers to last two lifetimes, or that in another universe I am enjoying hamburgers. I know this seems silly but it did take the sting out of the cravings.
What really helped me make the transition was when I took a trip to Las Vegas. I just needed to get away and I wanted to tour the casinos as they seemed to be updated to some pretty spectacular places. I found some vegan restaurants even though I really wanted to get in on some buffets (I ended up going to one and it was not good for vegan options). The first place I went was a restaurant called “VegeNation”. The reviews were really good and the pictures of their food were even better! I ordered a “FOOD NOT BOMBS BOWL” which had house spiced tofu, black bean chili, and breakfast potatoes. topped with “cheese”, avocado, and chipotle “cream”. served with corn tortillas. This honestly was one of the best things I ever ate!
All of a sudden I got it. I finally could see how to prepare plant-based food that was REALLY good! The next place I went to was “Chef Kennys Asian Vegan Restaurant”. I ordered 4 different entrees. I am sure people thought I was a pig, but I wanted to try lots of stuff. It was again spectacularly delicious. I took the rest back to the hotel with me for the next day. I was getting excited. This vegan stuff was actually doable. The last day there I ate at “Vege-Way”, also a Chef Kenny Restaurant, but it was a burger joint. I had a burger, fries, and milkshake, all to die for!
Now you may not live in Vegas, but my advice to you is to first of all, eat at a really good vegan restaurant. Most larger towns have them. Try different things. You need to know that it can be done and this is the best orientation. Read the reviews, look at pictures, and then go eat there.
How to Survive the Transition
Even though I used to be a cook and worked many years in restaurants, I just don’t like to cook much anymore. Fortunately, for me, my husband does and he is damn good at it! My husband has always gone on diets with me because he figures it is easier to go along than to prepare different types of food for each meal, he is so supportive of my efforts. Love that man!
I have to have food that is handy and fast to cook. I find I get hungry immediately on a plant-based diet and when I am hungry I need to have stuff that is either ready to go or that cooks quickly. I am also an ex fast food junkie, so I need to have some of that stuff on hand as well. If I want to do some “chef-ing” I need to get started preparing food early, because as I said, when I get hungry it has to go fast. I have included some recipes that are great for guests or just as a special dinner for you and your family.
If you are having a craving for meat, there are lots of really good meat substitutes. The Beyond Meat brand has some really excellent choices. The Italian Sausage is the best. It is so close to the flavor of Italian Sausage that you may not be able to tell the difference. I like the HOT ones because they have more depth of flavor. We like the Bratwurst Sausages served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut made with a touch of brown sugar and caraway seeds. To die for! Beyond Meat also makes hamburgers that are really good. I add Za’atar (my new favorite herb), garlic and onion powders, salt & pepper, and vegan worcestershire sauce. They also make fake chicken and several flavors of ground “beef” crumbles. You can find Beyond Meat products at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, and some grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger. If you subscribe to their website you can get coupons now and then and be notified of new products and information. FYI, I prefer the Sprouts brand meatless burgers. I like the flavor better and they are easy to fix. You can actually find Beyond Meat Burgers on menus in many restaurants now as well as Impossible Burgers, also very good but not available in stores yet.
Gardein is also a very good “Meatless” brand. We use their Meatless Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs or sandwiches. We also use their Golden Fishless Filets. You can make Fish & Chips or I like to use them if I have a fast food craving by putting them on a bun with “cheese” and tartar sauce for a fake McDonald’s Filet O Fish sandwich. Pretty darned good, however, the texture is a little light for a fish filet, but the flavor is there.
Amy’s products are pretty good but I usually only buy their Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Beans & Rice Burritos. I am also Gluten Free because of an inflammatory disease and it helps, but I like the Gluten-Free Burritos the best anyhow. The non-gluten free is a heavier tortilla and tends to overpower the filling. I usually thaw these in the microwave for 1.5 minutes, then finish them off in a little oil in a frying pan to brown them, otherwise they come out doughy. It makes them like a lite chimichanga, which I love. The flavor is so good you don’t miss the cheese. I usually put some salsa and Tofutti Sour Cream (excellent!) on top or guacamole or just sliced avocados. Quite good for a fast meal with fruit.
Another fast-food fix: Annie’s Mac & Cheese. There are 2 types, one is regular flavor Mac & Cheese and the other is made with pumpkin and sweet potato. I love them both. Amazing that there is no dairy in it! If you like the boxed Mac & Cheese, it tastes just the same! It is made with Rice Noodles (if you want Gluten-Free) or regular pasta. The cheese mix is a little salty but I usually put beans (I like Limas) with it to make a complete protein and add some Tofutti Sour Cream. That cuts the salt a little. Anyhow, it’s very good.
And now for non-dairy cheeses: I really like Follow Your Heart “cheeses” for sandwiches and burgers. My favorites are the Smoked Gouda and American flavors. Follow Your Heart also makes a shredded Parmesan Cheese as well. It is similar to Parmesan, but is a little lacking. Works if you use sparingly like in pesto. And finally, I use Original Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart. I love mayo and this one is pretty darned good! Diaya makes a good SHARP cheddar, but it is quite tangy. If you like really sharp cheddar you would like this. Their Mozzarella shreds are good when melted on a pizza, but make sure it is really melted or it is very tangy. Chao has some quite tasty cheeses, my favorite being the Tomato Cayenne Slices. I can just munch on a slice right out of the package. I also stumbled on a recipe for Queso using a full package of the Creamy Original and a can of Ro-tel. I haven’t tried it yet but I miss Queso so I will. Tofutti Sour Cream and Cream Cheese are both really good. Tofutti seems to have upped the sourness of the sour cream so it tastes more authentic. Non-dairy cheeses do not melt as easily as regular cheeses. You have to give them more time so plan for this when using them.
I haven’t found a good milk substitute to replace good old cow’s milk for drinking without adding some truvia and maybe some vanilla, but you can use non-dairy milks (soy, almond, coconut) in a lot of recipes that call for milk. So, if you are a big milk drinker, I’m sorry, but one good thing to know is that some non-dairy milks contain a lot of calcium and protein, which you need to add to a vegan diet unless you are really conscientious, which I am not. I used to like the Coffee Mate creamers but now I use Original Silk Soy Creamer. Just as tasty and the Original is plenty sweet for me, however they also have Vanilla, and I think some other flavors.
Some hard-core vegans think you should not eat the prepared foods I have mentioned that are available now and everything should be whole foods and made from scratch. I agree, but I won’t do it and I will be worse off for it. I tend to not eat at all if I am hungry and I have to make something from scratch. That’s up to you. The idea is to improve your life and do the best you can. I have proof that this works. I just had a bone density scan and my bone density has improved since the last one two years ago. My cholesterol is also down to a normal level from being way high. You can be hard-core about this if you can, or you can do what you can do. Maybe even just cutting down on how much meat you eat and adding more fruits and vegetables is what you can do. It is still an improvement in your nutrition. No guilt. That’s my motto.
Be good to yourself.
I will be adding recipes, suggestions, and information as we go along so be sure to check THIS PAGE now and then.
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The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
People seem to struggle with the issue of Duality, as do I. It just doesn’t seem right. Is it something we just have to endure in our physical life? What is the reason for it?
I think some of the reason is that we know there is a spiritual part of us, but we have not reconciled with the logistics of it. Churches tell us the only way we can access spirituality is through the dogma of each religion. Scientists tells us it’s not real because it’s not science, but does acknowledge now there are some kinds of psycho/placebo responses sometimes when outcomes are unexplainable.
We all identify ourselves with some kind of relationship to spirituality from no spirituality at all, to all Spirit where this physical life is an illusion. Maybe there is another approach, perhaps another middle ground so to speak.
As I was getting ready to do a Tarot reading for myself one day, I was reaching to the lower level of my end table where I kept my Tarot book and cards, I was stopped in my tracks. I felt strongly a real presence of myself. It was that one everyone gets from time to time where you get confused as you get older, because despite what your body is doing, you don’t feel any different inside. My usual number is that I don’t feel a day over 19. Then we dismiss this as wishful thinking. What if it wasn’t?
That day, the feeling was that I was the same person I have always been and it defied time and space, and distance. I felt the like person I have always been without having aged as well as still being in the same place, even though I have moved a lot in my life. It was like having watched a movie and gotten so wrapped up in it you felt you had experienced a lifetime traversing the world in a couple of hours. When the movie was over, you discovered you were still the same person as when you first arrived. This may not make sense to you but it was like a more vertical time experience than linear. I will explain this later.
So I went ahead and started my reading. I chose a card in my deck that was one of the major Arcana, Key XXI. The Universe. The Tarot set I use is called Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, PhD. This is one of the most resourceful and spiritual Tarot books I have come across and always stimulates advanced spiritual thought in me.
In this Arcana, I started reading the Meditation section which I almost never do. There was a section that said,
“The Universe, one verse, one turn
Hailed on Earth as it is in Heaven
Done on Earth as it is in Heaven
Lived on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
I got to thinking, perhaps there is no separation, no duality. Perhaps we live in a Universe where the physical plane and the spiritual plane co-exist. We tend to feel so separated from the spiritual realm because we have been told they are different but I am beginning to think they are simultaneous and integrated.
Eakins further says,
“Through this magical window [between the physical and the spiritual], you can see your steps laid out before and behind. In reviewing these steps, it appears as if you have been traversing the Earth incessantly. But where have you actually gone? It appears now that you have traveled forever, but you have gone nowhere!”
“You feel, in some ways, just like you did at the beginning.”
This is exactly how I was perceiving things that day.
“As above, so below”
This phrase, “As above, so below”, I learned when I was training to be a Reiki Master and was commonly used in different attunements and healing techniques. I have since heard it used often in a Metaphysical sense but never thought much about it thinking it was defining the difference between a spiritual “heaven” (perfect) and a physical “earth” (imperfect). Now I think what it is saying is that it’s all the same existence, a shared existence in which we have access to all the divine answers right here and right now. We just have to remove ourselves from the fallacy of perfectionism and experience life as a human with all the flaws and gooey stuff, and trust that our “salvation” lies in acknowledging the lack of duality with a willingness to trust the Spiritual “US” when we need to.
“What is the beginning? Did you not begin to re-member WHO YOU ARE? Did you not learn that the illumination you sought without was within you all along? Did you not see that you ARE the illumination you sought without? The point never was the distance from whence you came in the world of matter, nor to where you fathomed you were going in that world, but the discovery of WHO YOU ARE. The purpose of the journey is the discovery of the inner self….Your physical body has been the vehicle of your discovery.” *
So back to my experience of my Self being as it has always been and transcending time and space, and even distance. Perhaps this phenomena of feeling like you have never aged is the real reality. Perhaps this is the eternal YOU that is in the non-eternal body/vehicle that will get you through this physical life. I told you I would get back to you about a vertical time experience versus a linear one.
Linear vs. Vertical Time
We are all used to the linear time experience that runs from past to future, but perhaps when we mentally and emotionally have that sense of time not passing, we are actually tapping into the eternal self, vertical time. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t travel, but it can be experienced. It is the only explanation. Instead of thinking it is wishful thinking, I challenge all of us to pay attention to that Self instead of blowing it off, and see if we can see more. This is new to me, too, so I will be doing this experiment with you.
Here is an even greater challenge. This one I can attest to. In order to tap into that spiritual side of us, because we have never really known how to do this (except prayer works for some, but then that separates you from spirit again), when a worrisome situation comes up try to set aside worry and just know that the Universe will take care of things in the ways they need to be taken care of. Get out of your own way. Do what you can, then wait, watch, and trust. Don’t give in to helplessness. Pay attention to “signs and wonders”. When we project worry or helplessness to the Universe, it tends to mess things up, Universally.
A psychic one told me there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and in its own time. I have come to believe this. You will understand things, sometimes later rather than sooner, but most of the time you will “get it” at some point.
I would love to hear your responses and words of enlightenment if you have some to share. Please leave your comments below.
This beautiful handmade soapstone soap dish features a pattern of interlaced leaves against an earthy brown background. This hand carved soapstone piece from Kenya makes a beautiful addition to a variety of decor schemes. Origin: Kenya