Thursday, 16 February 2017

Questions and Answers -

Fred asks: Hi Wendy, do we choose our life before we are born and choose our present circumstances?

Hi Fred: There are a variety of answers to this depending on whether you are a believer in reincarnation, the Judeo-Christian faith or Spiritualism, for instance.

The Hindu reincarnation theory is that we do not choose our circumstances in this life because we are given them in response to our spiritual accomplishments (or lack of them) in previous lives, the good rewarded with privileges and the bad, given a gruellingly hard life. Because those who are suffering are also those who have least education, they are unable to defend themselves of having committed some dastardly deed in a previous life that has justified their suffering. My problem with the theory of reincarnation is that if we were learning from each life, our world would be progressing spiritually. do not remember how or why.

One of the problems of this theory is the supposition that - those born into an extremely poor family with little opportunities to improve their life - is being punished for self-centred actions committed in a previous life. I think it rather disingenuous for a person in the rich first world to support such an opinion which applauds themselves and judges others who are less well off.

Because we forget what happened in our previous lives, perhaps we are unable to see any connection between the crime and the punishment, the self-sacrifice and the reward. According to this theory then, by default, we subversively choose our life.  

The Judeo-Christian theory is that our soul enters life at conception. This seems to be random, not chosen in any way. It is purely by good or bad luck whether we have access to education, health, work, justice and other important benefits that help us to attain a comfortable life.

Spiritualism does also not believe that we choose our future life though Spiritualism is a broad church and there are some within it that do believe in reincarnation. There is little in the teachings of Spiritualism by Silver Birch and other teachers in the spirit world that we exercise any choice in our present life before we get here. The teaching is more about how we are to live our life while we are here.
long time ago I read a novel titled ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’. Many years later it was made into an award winning not-for-profit film. The story storey begins when the narrator visits Provence in France during the early years of the twentieth century - a journey that led him into the foothills of the Alps. There, in a lonely and desolate place, a meeting takes place with a shepherd who is planting the acorns from the single oak tree that grows in the area. After the First World War, the war-weary narrator returns to this place and discovers a remarkable oak forest. The old man is in a home for the elderly but described his satisfaction and contentment that his contribution to posterity has a beneficial one.

I was delighted to hear recently that a nut bearing tree is helping the very poor people of Ghana to move from extreme poverty through education and self-sufficiency. The tree is named after a Scottish Botanist, Allan Black, and it can be grown to provide medicines, oil for cooking and lighting, and it also makes a good dye for clothing. It also provides shelter and all the other many valuables that trees provide.

There are some outstanding charities promoting tree plantation in many areas around the world. One of these is Project Greenhands that has recruited volunteers to plant indigenous trees in Tamil Nadu, S India; one tree for every 50p that is donated to the organisation.  

In the UK, we do the opposite of protecting our tree stock so overwhelmed are we with the needs of people. I have often collected acorns and conkers and kept them in my handbag until I have found a suitable place for planting (not near foundations of properties or where underground pipes or phone lines can be affected). I have also recently found out that trees can be grown from cuttings, if propagated at the right time, with the correct conditions. Several friends have cuttings of my Tamarisk tree. Five years ago, I was in West Cork staying with relatives and my ancient aunt had a handkerchief tree in her garden which greeted me with a waving white handkerchief each time I looked out of the window. I have never seen another in the UK except at Kew Gardens. As I was returning home to the UK, I broke off a twig and placed it in my luggage. It survived the journey and, with a smattering of rooting hormone and some tender loving care, it is now ten feet tall and doing well in my London garden.

Q: Please tell us about the Durrell Wildlife Trust Project 

A: Courses and education projects are run by highly skilled specialists in species conservation such as those on the marooned island of Madagascar, a lost world where 80% of species have been isolated for 160 million years and are unlike any other in the world. The eastern part of the island is ringed by rugged mountains and rainforests and there are hot days and icy nights. Here we have the Land of the Lemur, a word which meant ‘ghost or spirit’ in the days of ancient Rome due haunting looks, eerie calls and nocturnal habits of the most prolific and endangered species of this island. When human settled on Madagascar 2000 years ago, there were lemurs the size of male gorillas!

How to raise Awareness and Money: Cycle through India or trek along the Great Wall of China, raise money and awareness around the world about the importance of protecting rare species.

Adopt: It is possible to adopt rare species and follow their conservation progress, many projects around the world funded by the Trust work to introduce improved sanitation and health and also improve education in many

desperately poor countries around the globe, helping people to help conserve their natural species.

Logging, mining, climate change, arable land requirement for increasing human population and crops for animal food is massively reducing species around the world. Each depends on the survival of others!

The ecological balance of our ecosystems which are immensely delicate and we do not fully understand its magnificent complexity.

Conservation work with many species is revealing that drugs could be made that can heal illnesses in the human population.

The Pygmy Hog from Assam, Ploughshare Tortoise from Madagascar, the St Lucian Amazon Parrott, Livingstone’s Fruit Bat, a megabat from the Comoros, The Floreana Mockingbird from Galapagos, and a host of other species are teetering on the very brink.

What is the meaning of ‘spirituality’ if it is not about caring for those that Mother Nature (or the Universal Intelligence) has placed alongside us, to share our extraordinary planet and who also share our genetic make-up!

Despite advances, in our modern day we cannot explain how the spark of life developed on our planet from a mass of natural chemicals. 

Dear Wendy: I was very hurt recently when a friend who invited me to her party made comments about the way I dress, saying I looked like I have just walked out of a jumble-sale. She spends all her money on botox and the latest fashions while I am a family person, not interested in fripperies. My grandson almost died recently and I have felt very down. Should I say something? Laura from Swindon

Dear Laura: Superficial people are only interested in what something looks like, not the true value of something. Your lack of concern for perishables will only show up her petty self-centredness. I can tell you are a kind person and this is of far more value and importance than the clothes you wear. You could say something like: ‘I felt hurt when you said this to me because I can’t see that what I wear should matter to anyone. I have had a great deal of anxiety recently and found your comment an added distress. I feel as though caring for others is more important that fussing over myself.’ In this way you can own your feelings, explain why you felt so hurt, and avoid blaming her for her self-obsessions.  

Dear Wendy:I have heard that there is a list of the 100 most influential people in the world – in spiritual terms – can you tell me more about this please? Karl

Dear Karl:Watkins Bookshop in Cecil Court off London’s Charing Cross Road is our oldest esoteric bookstore. It publishes a magazine titled ‘The Watkins Review’ which features the world’s most popular authors in the mind, body and spirit other similar categories and now also features a ranking of the world’s most spiritually ‘influential’ people. 

Dear Wendy: I cannot understand why there is so much evil in our world. Did God create all this disease, suffering and hardship? Shirley, Norwich.

Dear Shirley: We live in a world where the elderly ox collapses and dies in the heat of the midday sun and the lion must ruthlessly kill the antelope to feed its young. We have natural calamities, tsunamis, volcanos, storms and harsh winters. This is the world that God made. However, God, whatever name you wish to give to him – or her – also made human beings with enough intelligence and ingenuity to relieve suffering wherever it is seen in this world. This is our true spiritual path, to be a witness to suffering - and to redress it at every opportunity. Evil occurs only when pain is not relieved, or worse, when it is caused unnecessarily, such as in crime and war.

Dear Wendy: Can you provide a reading for me please, Wendy? I’m on a gap year from college and will be doing voluntary work in Guatemala with a youth organisation. I am a 23 year old Gemini. Lenny from Manchester.

Dear Lenny:You will need your Gemini twin energy to provide more than you usually need in the way of compassion, practicality, versatility and enterprise. If this great journey of discovery can be mastered by anyone in your group, there is no-one better to undertake the challenge than yourself. Make sure you do your homework and learn first aid, some of the language, make sure you are reliable and clear about your helping role. Your flair for innovation and your willpower will help you get through what will sometimes be a tough time when you will need to draw on resources you never knew you had. Try to maintain your sense of humour. This is not the time for romance. Best wishes for an amazing journey of discovery and enlightenment.

Can you explain to me about ‘scrying’? I had a dream and woke up thinking of this word. Sean

Dear Sean: The term is quite general for any form of divination that involves gazing into a shiny or polished surface, such as water, a mirror, but most especially a glass sphere, in order to receive ‘foresight or hidden knowledge’ from the spirit world.

Scrying has been used for many thousands of years and is one of the most ancient forms of divination. It was used in Egypt, Babylon, Greece and China. Any reflective surface was used, such as mirrors, lakes and black ink poured into the palm. Many modern scryers often use a glass globe or quartz globe, but you can scry effectively using water placed a bowl. Try the following method:

The scrying room should have reduced lighting with closed curtains, a shielded candle or soft lamp light.

If you have dreamed that you are scrying, spirits are already informing you of your ability to scry. Try the following method: Fill a glass bowl with water. Water is a blessed substance and has highly spiritual properties. It is a good conductor for psychic power. You can place some flower petals into the water if you choose or a few drops of olive or essential oil.

Sit with your back to the light source and look within the bowl and rest your eye focus. Take a moment to offer a prayer for guidance and wisdom. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Just stare comfortably and let your mind wander for a few minutes.

Return your thoughts to the water. Deep within the reflection you will see some movement and some images or associations will come to mind.
Dwell for a moment on these images and associations and compose a story around them. Your spiritual guides will inform, enlighten and guide the storyline to reveal information from the spirit realms.

The most famous scryer in history was the medium, Edward Kelley, who worked for the intellectual nobleman, Dr John Dee. Dee was advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. Several notable scrying artefacts are on display in the British Museum that belonged to Dee: an obsidian (black volcanic glass) mirror, known as the ‘Speculum’ which was originally brought to Europe after the conquest of Mexico by Cortez in the late 1520s and dedicated to the Aztec God of sorcery, Tezcatlipoca, whose name means ‘Smoking Mirror’; some small wax seals which supported the legs of the table upon which the scrying was carried out; a support known as the ‘Seal of God’ for the crystal known as the ‘Shew Stone’; and a crystal ball about 6 centimetres in diameter. Edward Kelley made contact with archangels (such as Raphael) and the Old Testament prophet, Enoch, for magic and sorcery.  

Though many like to use expensive instruments for scrying, always remember that natural stone is taken from the earth under huge duress, often with loss of habitat to species and injury (sometimes death) to very poor miners.

I suggest you purchase a glass ball and place it on a white cloth. Ask the angels for protection and request an answer to a question that is of importance to you and light a candle at dusk. Gaze into the globe with an open mind for about fifteen minutes. If any thoughts come into your mind, be aware of them but do not follow them.

How to 'Refresh your dream-life!'
Pull out the furniture and vacuum behind everything. Turn over the mattress and give both sides a vacuuming. If possible paint the room sky blue. Put away winter woolies and place your favourite Spring and Summer clothes at the front of your wardrobe. Throw away feather pillows that can cause stuffy noses and red eyes and launder fresh sheets and duvet covers. Buy some new nightwear - or for the best and luxurious sleep ever - go naked and prepare for the very best dreams of the year.

Using an aromatherapy eye pillow will stimulate vivid dreams and provide a refreshing sleep.

How to make an aromatherapy eye pillow: 

Buy a new face flannel, fold it in half and sew the long side and one short side to form a pouch. Fill the bag with rice. Sprinkle a few drops of lavender or tea-tree oil or place a few sprigs of sage or mint in the bag with the rice and sew the last short side to keep the contents inside. When you are ready to sleep, lie down and place the bag over your eyes for ten minutes.  
If the weather is very warm, cool your aromatherapy eye pillow by placing it in the fridge before use.

Can you explain to me the theory behind the energies in colour? Pat, Bath, Somerset

The ancient Egyptians painted the floors and walls of their temples in bright colours. The Greeks, Romans, Asians, Orientals and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia have always loved colour and used it in their pictorial language to create effects that were both pleasing and powerful. The colours of the clothes that people wore reflected the natural dyes of their country and some were highly sought after and extremely expensive, such as the purple dye made from molluscs and worn by Roman emperors. Cleopatra was said to have loved the colour purple. Temples, churches and mosques have always been places of colour, with stained glass, mosaic tiles, paintings and embroidered cloth.

The colours of the prism were first recorded by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and the colour wheel of harmonising and complementary colours was shown in detail. Goethe wrote a book on the theory of colour.

Healing energies and knowledge of colour is relevant because it affects mood. Prisons are decorated with pink as this reduces violence. Hospitals, especially operating theatres, are decorated with green to induce the idea of being surrounded with nature and therefore this colour helps with relaxation and health. Yellow is thought to reduce depression and is used for psychiatric wards, though babies do not like it. Weightlifters lift best in blue rooms. Red tends to stimulate and motivates action. It can raise the respiration and pulse rate. A restaurant with red décor will send a message that it is not vegetarian. Colour associations in art are quite traditional. For instance, the Mother of Jesus, Mary, usually appears in royal blue to denote sadness. Colour is very cultural. Yellow for Westerners signifies Spring and energy whereas to those from Indonesia, it is associated with funerals. Therefore it is the opposite of what we would expect. In the West, we wear white to weddings and black to funerals. This shows that the healing nature of colour is cultural, although the general meaning of white throughout the world is a sign of purity and innocence.
Preferences in colour are not only cultural but can also be very individual. A colour associated with healing might produce stress in a certain individual depending on their associations and their level of health and vitality. It is best always to consult with a person and learn what their individual preferences and association are.

Dear Wendy: This is a recent dream. I am attending a big get together. People are sitting in an auditorium and there is a presentation in progress. In the back of the auditorium, towards the doors, there is a banquet.  I begin to fill up a plate when I realize that I am the first to help myself and also I might not have been invited. My old high school netball coach is present. She and some other people from school are hosting the event. Then, I walk outside and I am in an old mansion that is now a museum. I taught yoga classes at this venue as part of their "Reconnect with the Past' series of events. There are some people I know playing netball and my cousin is here. There is a lightshow behind her. She arrives wearing roller skates that double as shoes. She is wearing a stuffed animal costume, either a skunk or bear. She is telling me about how much she loved her shoes and that she had to clean her room and trade in favorite items to buy them. MF

Dear MF: You are in a prosperous position but you have doubts whether you deserve it. You feel a fraud but everyone seems to be having a beano so why not you? Your family background is of good status and its easy to breeze and flow through life but to do this one needs to have a thick skin, be a bit intimidating or push people away in order to be really in the limelight. Clarify your aims.  

Dear Wendy: What is shamanism? Just recently I have met several people who are interested in this subject. LD
Dear LD: Shamanism is the oldest religion throughout the world and it is still practiced by indigenous people in isolated areas where ancient spiritual traditions have managed to survive. The word “shaman” is a Siberian word for a medium who accesses wisdom, advice, knowledge and healing for their tribe. Trees, stones, mountains, animals, and all natural products are thought to possess their own living spirit and honored. Shamans travel the spirit realms often with the use of a drum, they fast and pray and receive inner wisdom and maturity that helps them to contribute to their community.  
During the 1960s, an American university graduate wrote a number of books under the name of Carlos Casteneda based on the life of a native shaman of the Yaqui tribe of North America. This revived a world interest in shamanism. 
If you are interested in exploring shamanism, be very wary of going abroad with a group to a place where hallucinogenic substances are imbibed. You might have a reaction and be far from a good hospital. (Fly agaric mushroom and peyote are just two of the toxic substances used in South America to produce visions of the spirit world.) I can suggest you visit Outer Mongolia where drugs are not used and you can study with selected animal whisperers, herbalists, magicians, witch doctors, overtone chanters, sacred clowns, bone setters and other natural healers.

Dear Wendy, Who or what is Satan? PT

Dear PT: The word “satan” stems from the Arabic word “shaitan” which means “to be hostile”. It was used in the Old Testament to mean an adversary or enemy. This concept of evil was depicted as a half man, half goat, with bat wings, and was not considered a pure specimen of humanity. Humans are above the animals because human beings have been given intelligence to be aware of their actions and therefore be responsible for them whereas animals act instinctively without conscience or knowledge of consequences. There are many evil spirits named in addition to Satan, such as Beelzebub and Lucifer which are also associated with evil. Though personalised in this way, evil is a concept and many eminent people have tried to explain the difference between good and evil, but there are complex values at work. Basically, Jesus’s teaching on this subject is related to “do as you would be done by” and, as he did, attempt to relieve suffering and practise truth, compassion and justice in all aspects of life.

Is there really such thing as free will? Mary Hill Glasgow
There are many differing ideas about this subject, Mary. Personally, I believe some people have more free will than others and that prosperity, education, family prosperity and maturity and country of origin enable us to choose our life circumstances, our partner, our career, our hobbies, our religion and where we live. We are immensely fortunate that the UK is not suffering war, famine, disease or serious poverty as this reduces free will to a minimum. Many people who believe in reincarnation believe that our good fortune is dependent on good deeds that we have carried out in previous lives. Though I believe in the spirit world and in reincarnation, I believe that other people's choices often govern our own. For many, circumstances are entirely haphazard and we are the lucky ones - and should not forget it.

Dear Wendy: Can ghosts be stopped from haunting? If so, how can this be done? Kat Bishop Adel, West Yorkshire
Dear Kat: When the physical body dies, our spirit goes through a process of transition where we pass over a bridge, through a tunnel or doorway into the Otherworld Then we are met by dear friends, past pets and angelic presences that take us to a healing realm. We then have duties to carry out in the spirit world, such as to train as a spirit guide or to pray for world peace. Sadly, sometimes the transition is not fully complete because of confusion (they might not have received any preparation) or because they want to stay in this world to complete some unfinished task and go through the motions of this event, time and time again without result. The way to help these 'ghosts' or lost spirits is a) to discover what their needs are and b) explain that they have no physical body now and that they have good work to do on the Otherside. c) request help for guidance towards their spirit home. The great psychopomps of the ancient world await them; Anubis of Egypt, Hermes of Greece, the angel Gabriel, all can be called to help the transition. You can also call upon your own caring friends in Spirit who can lead this lost spirit by the hand across the Great Divide and to a place where they can be cared for.    

Dear Wendy: Where are the mediums who produce ectoplasm? Jenny Smith, Arlington, Devon
Dear Jenny:The production of the gauze-like substance known as ectoplasm comes from the orifices of the physical body of a trance medium. Materialisations require the production of ectoplasm through a process called Physical Mediumship. Lights, sounds, table tipping, transfiguration (when the face of the medium changes in appearance) etc., are related to this phenomenon and Helen Duncan and Gordon Higginson were well known Physical Mediums. This ability requires great dedication for the medium and also for the sitters. Delivering messages from the spirit world, called mental mediumship, by comparison, is easier to conduct and is not so dangerous for the medium. For this reason, in our time, mental mediumship is preferred. However, the major mediumship training centres in the UK, Arthur Findlay College, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain and the College of Psychic Studies occasionally have training and/or demonstrations.

Dear Wendy: I’d be interested to know if you walk under ladders, Wendy? I try not to, but if I do, I turn around three times and spit on the ground. It looks strange but I feel better for doing it! Jackie Mellows,
Hi Jackie: The Hollywood Film Director, Sam Goldwyn said "The harder I work, the more luck I get!" I think this is a sensible philosophy. I am concerned about giving power to an inanimate object to hurt me in some unrelated way. I think it is important to consider the possible origins of this tradition and perhaps we can get closer to real meaning. When the builders were hauling huge stones into place on the great cathedral towers, many men died or were seriously disabled when they fell from high places. Honouring the precariousness of ladders and those who climb them is as ancient as ladders themselves. If walking under them is unsafe, what of those who climb them with huge loads?   

Dear Wendy: Was Aleister Crowley as bad as he's made out to be? Samantha Paige, Hartlepool

Dear Samantha:Yes, he was a very self-serving individual, what would be described today as an anarchist, a sociopath, narcissist, racist and sexist snob. He contracted a sexual infection early in his life, and at a time when this had no treatment, continued to have sexual contact with both men and women - and perhaps children (many of his erotic poems suggest he was a paedophile). He used violence against the porters on his mountaineering trips and on one ascent of Kangchenjunga, four men died and he expressed no concern for their dependents. His second wife was incarcerated in a mental hospital for the last 30 years of her life whilst he spent a vast fortune touring the world with women in every country he visited, many of whom had his children but not many were thought to have lived beyond childhood. Most of his visions were drug induced and he formed his own occult group so he could rise in the ranks. He was argumentative and unable to sustain friendships. Many people have described that they found him quite sickening. A real role model for today’s idiots! Information taken from Wikipedia.

Hi Wendy: Do crystals work for you? When I hold them I can detect no difference between them.  Lucy, Dagenham, Essex

Dear Lucy: Crystals are made from the core of our planet and took many millions of years to form. They come in many types, colours and formations. However, when they are removed from the Earth, the mining produces huge amounts of carbon emissions and as healing tools are not needed. It is possible to heal just as effectively without. Many people involved in removal of stone in the quarries are paid very badly and, when they are injured, have no insurance to support themselves or their families. Due to this history, the stones do not heal because they have caused only harm to the miners and the planet. In the past, I collected and used these pretty coloured stones and I still enjoy my collection. However, I prefer not to take them from the planet – as they can never be returned there and as a healer, my practise has not suffered as a result. 

Dear Wendy: What happens to those who commit suicide? I was told as a child that they went to a place called ‘limbo’. Beth from Cambridge

Dear Beth:In the past, established Christian Churches were very condemnatory of those who took their own life. Until recently, those who committed suicide were not buried in consecrated ground. The Christian Church has reconsidered its teaching on this matter to take a more compassionate and understanding attitude towards those who, with despair, distress and depression cannot foresee any hope for their future and attempt to put an end to the immense suffering they are experiencing. Spiritualists have always recognised, and of course been told by spirit guides, that those who take their own life should be pitied for their unhappiness in this life. Normally, their spirit goes through the division between this world and the spirit realms to be met by loving family, pets and friends established throughout their life here on the earth plane. They are welcomed and then taken to a place where their mental, emotional and physical wounds are healed. They then go through a process of education where they are taught to care for themselves and to honour the Creator’s work.

Hi Wendy, Would it help me spiritually to become vegetarian? Keith Gray from Devon

Hi Keit: Yes, it does help with spiritual life to avoid eating meat for several reasons. When we take an animal’s life, we reduce our psychic sensitivity because animals have a more grounded and grosser physicality than the simpler life forms, such as vegetables and fruits. We have a huge choice in the affluent West, and have no need to eat other animals. Butchers do the slaughtering for us and supermarkets do the packaging, so it is easy to avoid thinking that we have caused the death of an animal. Bear also in mind, the fact that animals are fed genetically modified foods and injected with antibiotics and steroids are important reasons to avoid eating their meat.  

Dear Wendy: Do you believe in UFOs? Quite a few mediums I’ve spoken to say they have seen them? Sue Smith, Lancashire

Dear Sue: I have not made any study of Unknown Flying Objects so feel unable to make a judgment. When I was interpreting dreams for a national Sunday newspaper, I had many very concerned people write to me about being abducted at night by aliens. I gave this matter some considerable thought as I needed to reply in some helpful way. Just recently, I have made a small study of spirit orbs that I thought might be spirits who have left this life and are in the Afterlife. I asked for one to appear on a photo on my digital camera, and it did! Then I asked for more communication and the very next day I saw a beautiful sighting of two UFOs flying high and fast on a clear early morning sky, catching the light of the sunrise, appearing as intense pink dots, one flying closely in front and the other flying perfectly in the first’s trajectory. I was quite astounded but what they are is another matter. Maybe they could be people from the future who have a time machine or people from another planet wanting to make contact. The jury is out.   

Dear Wendy: Do you pray and if you do, are they set prayers? My prayers are the same everyday but because of that, would they lose their meaning, they now sound habitual. Thanks, Tanya Davies, Peterborough

Dear Tanya:Studies into prayer should it to be highly therapeutic and also highly effective in bringing about extraordinary changes. When we pray, our breathing and heart rate slows and stress hormones in the body that contribute to ill-health are reduced. Our concentration improves and we are able to take better decisions. When people pray, they are generally happier than those who do not pray. Handing over life’s difficulties at the end of the day to a higher power
is beneficial to a good night’s sleep. Some studies have shown that when a person prays, circumstances change for the better. I have a preference for spontaneous prayer, speaking out loud as if to a caring parent. If you feel your prayer life getting stale, join a prayer group. It is easier to pray with others than to pray alone. 

Dear Wendy:I have recently been diagnosed with a serious illness and my brother-in-law told me it was a karmic debt and I was being punished for something bad I did in a previous life. What is this? Jennifer O, London.

Dear Jennifer: The Hindu religion is very hierarchical and their primitive ideas date back thousands of years. Their philosophy of karma is based on a belief in reincarnation and that, if we commit a bad deed in one life, we will be punished in the next life. This really is a most abusive and manipulative philosophy. On one occasion, a person in a wheel-chair was told they had committed a sin in a previous life and were being punished in this life. If you go to India, you will find high status Brahmins parading around like Kings with people falling at their feet, and the poorest, 'untouchable' class, waiting all day for someone to stop sneering and fill a can at a water pipe because the lowest class is not allowed to touch the handle of the tap themselves due to their 'genetically unclean' status. This belief is not a spiritual one and no person of any level of integrity or caring should condone it. Such appalling innuendo that is designed to uphold subservience and discharge responsibility must be challenged. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people and visa versa. The lion must kill antelopes to survive and it's an unjust world. However, we have been given intelligence and we can, if we choose, make this world a better place. This is the reason we are here in this life, to help others, our neighbours, friends, co-workers, our country, those in far off lands who are not as wealthy as we are, other species and our planet.   

Dear Wendy: Three separate people have mentioned the name Swedenborg to me over the past couple of weeks. Who was he and why is he famous? Jen by email.

Dear Jen: I have often heard it said that Emanuel Swedenborg is the father of modern Spiritualism and there is an important anniversary of his Society, the Swedenborg Society this year. Though born in Sweden in 1688, he left his job as a mining official and came to London and has a visionary experience that changed his life. At the age of 56, he began to experience trance states and for the next 28 years he wrote books of his spirit revelations that included information about demons, angels and all kinds of spirits that reside in the spirit realms. Stories about of his paranormal abilities, such as he what is happening in another country. His books have been very influential and William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Baudelaire, Balzac, W. B.Yeats, Carl Jung and Helen Keller, all give credence to the importance of his writings. He began an international Church movement called the New Church, in the UK there are several centres, for instance one in Notting Hill Gate and the Swedenborg Society building in Holborn. The Church itself has its own training and ordination and runs workshops on angels, spiritual growth and other related subjects. I have attended several workshops and courses at these centres which have been well facilitated and are welcoming of newcomers. They also have a retreat centre at Purley Chase, Nuneaton, Warwickshire where I was delighted to find a mid-Victorian house with landscaped gardens. It has a modernised wing that provides spacious rooms and a marvellous dining room with excellent meals. 

Dear Wendy: I have been receiving herbal remedies from a Chinese doctor and am recovering from eczema after years of difficulties but a medium told me to stop taking the remedy so I am troubled now. What should I do? S B, West Wales.

Dear S B: Many Chinese ‘herbal’ remedies are not exclusively plant extracts and some contain a mixture of animal products. Because there is no label on the bottle, these herbal remedies can contain chemicals or animal products. I have heard of some herbal practitioners calling themselves ‘doctor’, having gained a qualification in China that is not recognized here. Please be aware that the Chinese keep bears for their gall bladder juices, some species of which are on the endangered list. These bears are kept in crush cages for 25 years and their wounds become infected and their minds disturbed. Find out from your Chinese doctor the name of the substance that is helping you to recover and get it elsewhere. I think the medium might have seen something related to the medicine that you are taking and has warned you that there can be toxic adverse reactions to herbal remedies, due to unknown sources.

Dear Wendy: A friend has told me that we choose our parents and the family we are born into. Is this possible?
Keith Waterhouse,Duneaton, West Sussex
Dear Keith: Many people believe this to be true, especially those who believe in reincarnation. They believe that we specifically choose our parents because only they can teach the life lessons that are needed in order for the soul to progress. Personally, I do not endorse this philosophy because an intelligent creator would never give to a baby a criminal (or an abuser) for a parent. And no kind Master of the Universe would want millions of babies, throughout all time, to be born into disease, starvation, squalor and ignorance. The majority of people in this world are seriously oppressed for various reasons and are unable to make any choices whatsoever. It is unconscionable to even suggest they can make this kind of decision. We, in the affluent West, are the most fortunate people on the planet because we have been born into a society of choice and therefore we can concentrate on improving our soul progress in a way that the majority of others cannot do.

Dear Wendy: I’ve heard we have spirit guides helping us from the spirit realms but I was surprised to hear we have ‘door keepers’ too. Please can you explain what these are? Nancy Booth Bodmin, Cornwall
Dear Nancy: Each of us has a large entourage of spirits who guide, inspire and influence us. Some stay with us throughout our life, others are appointed for short durations. As we learn and develop, so many of our spirit guides change to facilitate our needs, similar to when a school pupil goes up a year into a new class and receives a more advanced teacher. Our principal guide is like the head of school who appoints spirit teachers to mentor us through specific tasks and projects. Door-keepers are like school security personnel. They are given the responsibility to ensure that only reputable teachers are allowed on site, and therefore valuable spirit contacts and messages can be received.

Dear Wendy: What are Earthlights? Have they anything to do with extra-terrestrials? Kelly
Earthlights are said to whirl over marshy wetlands and mountain ridges, anywhere where there is geopathic stress and they also seem to be attracted to ancient stone circles. During the hours of darkness, they appear in the sky as tiny specks of fire. During the day, they appear as metallic or black saucer-shaped objects, hence their UFO connection. The native North American people have ancient folk tales about these objects and regard them as a manifestation of the Earth Mother. In our European culture, they have been called ‘Will o’ the Wisp’ and ‘Friars Lanterns’ and were said to guard lost treasure. Some researchers think that these balls of light have consciousness and respond with intelligence and humour. Others argue that they are a natural phenomenon, related to gases released from the earth’s surface. Intriguing!

Dear Wendy
I am especially interested in the wartime medium, Helen Duncan. Is there any new material based on her life? Joan K, Brighton.

Yes, Joan, there is something new and very exciting available. There is now a CD recording of Helen’s voice in a séance conducted in December 1937 at the Edinburgh Psychic College. It is the only known recording of her amazing voice. The sitters can be heard speaking to ‘Albert’, Helen Duncan’s spirit guide. Albert is heard giving messages. There are materialisations at this meeting, one, a materialised spirit child, is heard singing a nursery rhyme.
Included in this CD is a marvellous explanation of Spiritualism by Ernest Oaten, recorded by the BBC in 1934.
If you would like the CD it is called Mrs Miller’s Gift

Will we meet our spirit guides for real when we pass over into the spirit world?
Hazel Carling
Bardon, Leicestershire
Dear Hazel
With every certainty they will be at the Pearly Gates to welcome us through and ensure we meet with the correct healers and trainers for our further duties in the spirit realms. There are many people who have not had loving parents or a caring family and, at the end of life, when there might need a requirement for a great deal of support for the transition, spirit guides are the ones to oversee this process. Throughout our life, we usually have a contingent of spirit guides, one or two are consistent and several are recruited for specific occasions. If you were to train to become clairvoyant, you would be allowed to see your principal spirit guide now and perhaps a brief vision of the more specific guides that have also worked alongside you to guide, protect and advise.

Hi Wendy
I’ve heard that passing over is just like stepping through a door into another world. Would you agree with that?
Carl Manning
Dear Carl
My mother was a nurse during WWII and she also nursed very elderly people for many years. She often told me about times when a very ill patient would tell her that they could see their close relatives beckoning. The patient would express great joy and happiness and she would know they were close to the threshold of physical death and entry to the spiritual realms. There are many documented cases of people whilst undergoing surgical operation who die and are revived and who report travelling through a tunnel towards a light source. Sometimes, these people are told they must return to our physical world to complete a life task and the experience makes them a more spiritually aware, understanding and caring person. Sometimes, the transitional space is not a tunnel but a bridge or doorway. Only a very small percentage find this transitional phase uncomfortable, most find it so beautiful they do not wish to return here to the physical world.

Dear Wendy
A couple of times I’ve heard that when animals pass away they go to an animal pool. What’s that mean?
Wendy Hancock
Buckhurst Hill, Essex
Dear Wendy
There are many conflicting reports about whether animals survive and live on in the spirit realms but this is an area of division. Many Spiritualists believe that all animals, including wild animals have an eternal soul and survive, some believe only pets survive, others believe that pets survive but only for a short time. Perhaps certain information is given to some people and not to others, depending on what that person needs and can cope with. We still need a huge amount of open minded research to be conducted into the spirit realms. I personally believe that the realms themselves are so huge and complex that in some areas, pets survive in order to greet their owners when they return to the spirit realms. As the soul progresses, and goes on to become stronger and perhaps act as a guide, the spirit of the pet lingers for a while and then is laid to rest.   

Wendy, Do you believe in Jesus?
Paul Pugh
Harrogate, N. Yorkshire

Dear Paul
Yes, I am a firm believer that Jesus was the most amazing healer and spiritual teacher who has ever lived. Amongst all the religions of the world, He was the only one to instruct us to ‘do unto others as you would be done by’ even if it meant sacrificing His life, which He did. Whilst I was growing up, my Irish mother told me many stories that were not strictly the Catholic version, for instance, that Jesus was truly a King and was murdered because he could have rallied an army and caused a revolt to oust the Romans, as they were an occupying nation and had desecrated the Jewish Holy of Holies, the rock of Jerusalem where Solomon’s second temple stood.  
The powerful Catholic Church has presented Jesus as a poor carpenter but there is evidence that he did have considerable access to power within his community, such as the expensive tomb that Joseph of Arimethea provided after the crucifixion and from which Jesus arose from the dead. Though not all Christians are caring people, I have met many who, inspired by their belief, are very kind and generous people.   

Dear Wendy
If reincarnation is true, can we chose not to reincarnate. I would miss my family if we were not together in heaven?
Pete Philips
Blean, Kent

Dear Pete
I’m a believer in reincarnation but there are many schools of thought on this subject, many of which are quite controversial. One belief that relates to reincarnation that I always contest is that of the karmic principle that describes the constant return to physical life as a learning process and one where the poor, suffering, traumatized and dejected are being punished for some sin in a previous life. We must never blame those who are in need for their own situation. It is my belief that the strong and affluent are given their riches specifically in order to assist those who are deprived. Having said that, I think it is the will of angels, saints and guardians who suggest to us that we return here to be given an opportunity to help or heal someone and we accept this or not as we choose. Despite wanting to spend eternity with someone whom we love, when we are in heaven, our overriding agenda will be to improve the lives of people still here. Our own needs and desires will be insignificant at this time.     

Dear Wendy
If after passing over disabled people become healed, what about those who are mentally ill?
Adam Naylor
Lanchester, Durham

Dear Adam
When we pass over, we have a time of adjustment. During this time, we will meet many people, loved ones, spirit guides, spirit teachers and also spirit healers. It can sometimes take a long period of time to become fully healed. This is sometimes why a person who has passed over and whom we wish to hear from, is silent and we get no messages. This silence is due to their busy schedule. People who have been disabled physically quickly go on to become spirit guides themselves often to those who are physically incapacitated in some way. Those who have had mental trauma, distress and illness, equally need a time of renewal. Personally, I would not seek contact with someone who passed over whilst in an unsettled mental state. I don’t think it is fair to be needy for messages when someone requires a time of restoration to equilibrium and peace. I have known someone who did receive some very spurious messages from a family member who was distressed at the time of passing. If you know someone who was mentally ill, light a candle, say a prayer, offering light and love. Most especially care and help those closest to this person, as they need your healing at a very difficult time.

Dear Wendy
This may seem a strange question to ask someone connected with a spiritual magazine but can you honestly say with hand on heart that you believe we don’t die?
Kate Brown
Lingford, Norfolk

Dear Kate
I am absolutely convinced our spirit survive physical death. I have had personal experiences that cannot be explained in any other way. I have also received messages from mediums that cannot be explained in any other way too. I think that some people are skeptical and this is because they have not had any evidence to convince them otherwise. It is not important whether we believe in the afterlife. What is important is that we live our life as an honest person, who helps and cares for others, seeks justice and is open to the beliefs of others without judgment or criticism. For those who do believe we will live on, the emphasis of our lives is often changed by this belief. However, this does not mean that non believers are not conscientiously caring people. We are all entitled to our beliefs in this country and this is a reason for considerable celebration.

When mediums say, for instance, I see your dad standing next to you’ or they see this or that, do they really see people who have gone to the spirit world, as solid as we are or are they just recalling sensing it? It does make me wonder! David Castle, Portsmouth

There are several types of medium, the basic abilities are that some see spirits, some hear them, others will feel something. When a medium says ‘I see your dad standing next to you’ they are actually seeing your dad and can describe his features, dress and demeanour as easily as though he were in physical life. If a medium hears what a spirit says, they will tell you the actual words used, if they sense the spirit, they will sometimes say that they feel as though they have a pain, a problem or a discomfort that the spirit experienced in physical life. Most mediums are a mixture of all three basic types of ability, that of seeing, hearing and sensing in various amounts of each. There is a simple exercise on my website to detect which works best for any individual. All you need is someone to read the exercise and someone to relax and enter the spirit realms. It might take a little practise for those who have not tried it before, but after several tries, certainly Spirit will make something will take place. 

Dear Wendy
I’ve not taken part in a healing course but when I put my hands just over someone’s body, the palms of my hands feel hot to me and other people can feel the heat radiating from them. What is this heat? Des, Lincs

Dear Des
Some healers are taught to rub their hands together vigorously before giving healing on the assumption that all illness requires heat. Some certainly do, such as illnesses that involve tension and restriction in a joint or muscle. Heat tends to reduce tension, just as a hot water bottle is recommended to soothe, warm and relax. Many circulatory conditions and also emotional distress can also cause coldness to many regions of the body, even in the warmest temperatures. Spirit know this, and use the healer’s body as a transmitter for heat directly to the affected areas. I was taught that some conditions naturally generate a great deal of heat, such as infection, inflammation, prolonged physical exertion and some hormonal conditions. Spirit then will work accordingly through the healer, producing coldness in the hands to transmit this refreshing coolness to the recipient.  

Dear Wendy
I’d love to have knowledge of everlasting life but when I hear about people who can communicate with those who have passed over I do think, why them and not me?
Paula Scott, Glasgow

Dear Paul,
I believe that the ability to communicate with the spirit world is our natural state. It would appear the ancients, primitive societies and children have greater ease of communication. I think there are a vast array of abilities, for instance, some might be precognitive (glimpses of the future), some might be hear spirit voices (clairaudience), some can allow spirit to take over their hand and write (psychography or automatic writing), some can dowse (dowsers) some use cards, such as tarot, some of course are healers and there is a vast array of different abilities within healing too. I think in the UK we have generally lost the ability, perhaps through education, lifestyle, modern technology, all kinds of reasons. Some people have managed to retain some ability and some manage to develop what they have left. We all have varying amounts. The reason why there are so many methods is that sometimes it can help a medium to use something to focus, such as a palm, this can lead into a trance like realm where the object is no longer used to focus and their spirit guides can take over and inform them. I would suggest you try a number of different methods to see what best suits you. I think you will achieve something if you try. Some make quick progress, for others, the progress is slower. However, I have taught psychic skills and I can tell you that those who don’t get anything for ages can suddenly put on a spurt and overtake the quick learners, and also those who sit quietly getting nothing can suddenly come out with some outstanding and stunning information when they do get it. Spirit is nothing if not full of surprises! 

Dear Wendy
I have just watched a TV programme “Most Haunted” and hardly slept the night. Is there any evidence for ghosts? Sally K by e-mail.

Hi Sally
Parapsychologists use magnetic detectors to trace electromagnetic fields in the area where phantoms are reported. It would seem that there is also an increase in radioactivity and radical temperature fluctuations that can be measured. Ghosts are enigmatic spirits that rarely cause anyone any harm and do not usually communicate directly. They seem to have a desire to keep a memory of a certain event alive. These ghostly spirits are usually traumatised or lost and continually return to the site of the event, playing the situation over and over like a video recording in order to resolve an internal conflict that was current at the time of their death. They appear never to change, as though they are caught in a time warp and are unaware of their current surroundings. If any spirit being creates fear or distress to anyone on the earth plane, a ceremony can be performed to help the spirit to be released from their pattern and to go on its way to its rightful place in the spirit world. This should only ever be a healing ceremony not one of confrontation or conflict.

Dear Wendy
What are the origins of the Green Man? Garry, London.

Dear Garry
The Green Man is often depicted as a large, hairy, bearded man with a club. Sometimes, he is represented as half-man, half-plant with twigs and leaves for features. His image dates back to Pagan times and can be seen on church and house architecture. These representations are symbols of rebirth, of health and vitality and of the enduring strength of nature.
Gamekeepers and forest verderers (as the latter French word suggests) still wear green clothing as camouflage so they can move through their work surroundings without disturbing wildlife.
Verderers care for the natural environment of the forest and green places to this day. Often a public house called the 'Green Man' denotes that the area was once forested and that in the area there was a man who was a herbalist and healer.
I heard an interesting story form an archivist that I have not been able to confirm. She said that most of the 'Green Man' pubs are near a hospital because the verderer was a doctor who had access to knowledge and the herbs that could heal both animals and people. He built a shelter for his work and this was the first hospital building. These 'Green Men' had access to fresh water and to fish, meat and vegetables that would be required to restore health.
The Green Man is also a symbol of the greening of nature and represents the spirit of plants and trees. 
In his role as Jack-in-the-Green, he takes part in May Day celebrations. During these ferstivals, he is said to mate with the Great Mother Earth, thereby ensuring fertility and fecundity for the land in the coming year.   

What is the meaning of the celebration held on 1st August? Derek, London.

The first of August is one of the oldest festivals of Britain when beacon fires would be lit on hill-tops to encourage the dying summer sun to shine more strongly into autumn so that the land could raise a second harvest. This time of year is called ‘Lammastide’ or ‘loaf mass’, as it celebrates the grain harvest. It is called “Lughnasah’ in Ireland, the feast of the Gaelic God Lugh. In these ancient pagan times, the first of August was known as the Gule of August. The word “gule” means red in heraldry. There were times in the distant past when human sacrifice was still practised in Great Britain. Sacred kingship dictated that as the King represented the land, a good harvest would reflect a good, strong king. When the corn in the fields was ripe and ready for cutting, and when the King was no longer virile, the King, like the grain, would be cut down. King William Rufus (the name Rufus referred to his red hair) died at Lammastide in the year 1100 when he was hit by a stray arrow while hunting. Many think he was the last of the sacred kings and that this was not a stray arrow but an intended human sacrifice. In the countryside today, when the first grain is cut in the fields it is plaited into a corn dolly which is kept on the mantelpiece in the home until the following spring when the corn dolly is ploughed back into the land.
In many areas of our country we still have ancient Lammas Lands that exist from a time when tenant farmers would pay their rent to the Lord of the Manor on the first day of August. A bad landowner would raise his crops and celebrate a good harvest while the poor landless tenants starved, but a good landowner would throw his private land open on Lammas Day. The poor landless people had rights to glean what was left of the harvest crop, graze their cattle, and they would try to raise a second crop, giving the land back to the landowner on 25th March

Dear Wendy
Can you tell me something about mazes and labyrinths and how it is possible to tell the difference? I am fascinated by them. Harry, Lincs.

Dear Harry
Both mazes and labyrinths have been known throughout the world since ancient times and the word has been used interchangeably. They are sometimes known as ‘Troy Towns’. There are hundreds in the UK and many more in Europe, North and South America, Australia, India, Nepal and as far as the island of Java in the Far East. There are enthusiasts in many countries who travel throughout the world to visit these enigmatic sites. Why were they built? They provide physical activity, mental stimulation and emotional enjoyment! Anyone of any age can walk, run or dance through to the centre and out again. 

There is a wonderful story that comes from the Greek island of Crete. The King of Crete built a complex prison for a great monster called the Minotaur that was half bull and half man. Every year the monster demanded human sacrifice and young men and women were thrown into the confusing dungeon to be killed. One day a young man named Theseus volunteered to go down into the dark cave and kill the beast. Ariadne, the King’s daughter, immediately fell in love with the caring Theseus. The task was impossibly hard. Firstly Theseus had to find his way through the underground system of tunnels to get to the Minotaur, secondly, he must kill the beast, and lastly, find his way out. Princess Ariadne helped Theseus by giving him a spool of red thread which enabled him to find his way back to the entrance. Theseus was not just a caring young man, but also brave and intelligent. He killed the beast and won the heart of the princess.  
What is the difference? A maze is a puzzle which involves frustrations. It requires that you make decisions to find yout way through a series of dead-ends, re-tracing your steps to eventually arrive at your destination. Then you have to find your way out! This is often difficult, as you will need to remember, in reverse, the pattern of the maze! The experience of the maze is often fun but also requires some concentration to recognise and remember the pattern. Hampton Court and Longleat are examples of hedge mazes.
A labyrinth is a single narrow path. There are no choices to be made. The path takes you, by a circuitous route, directly to the centre. Having arrived at the centre, you then walk the route again from the centre to the entrance. Because the path is so narrow, on the way to the centre and out again, one meets other people also using the path. The experience is usually one of peaceful relaxation and the joy of meeting like minded people along the route. Communication needs to take place as to who takes initiatives and who gives way. Willen Park in Milton Keynes and Tapton Park in Chesterfield are examples of turf labyrinths.

You can make a maze or a labyrinth on the sand at the beach or on grass using chalk paint that disappears after a downpour of rain.

Dear Wendy
This is just a snippet of a dream. I’m on a cruise-liner, everyone looks stylish and is enjoying the high life, but my cabin is on the lower deck which is noisy, and stormy weather is brewing. Chris T by e-mail. 

Dear Chris
This is a warning dream that changes are about to happen and you must take avoiding action. On the surface, you are floating along enjoying a rather trivial lifestyle, and you present yourself to the world as though you are really a superficial person. However, you find keeping up with others quite stressful. Due to this you need to make certain changes to your lifestyle that will provide you with real happiness. You are the designer of your destiny, and you can change your circumstances. Remember, you are in control of your future and just as good as anyone else. Find those people who you can relax with and who you really enjoy being with.
Do you have a dream you would like interpreted?
Contact Wendy:

Dear Wendy
I know someone who smokes cannabis and says it helps his mediumship and especially his healing abilities because it helps him to relax. Could this be so? Malcolm, Carmarthen.

Dear Malcolm
Recreational substances, of which cannabis is just one, have psychoactive properties and therefore should not be combined with mediumship or healing. Strong chemical substances can seriously upset the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual systems for weeks requiring intensive detox to remove them. Psychoactive substances, of which tranquillisers, alcohol and tobacco are included, affect judgment and behaviour and should not be indulged. It is possible that many earth-bound spirits were addicted to drugs in their earthly life and cannot rest without them. Obviously, prescribed medicines can be used by mediums and healers but these also can be addictive, as in the case of painkillers or sleeping tablets, which should also be avoided. 

Dear Wendy
I have heard that Emanuel Swedenborg started a new church. Can you tell us about him. Carruthers family, Lincoln.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 -1772) was a Swedish mining official and son of a Bishop. At the age of 56 he began to experience trances where he could talk with demons, angels and all kinds of spirits and for the next 28 years wrote all that was told to him from the spirit realms. His writing influenced William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Baudelaire, Balzac, W. B.Yeats, Carl Jung and Helen Keller. They do have a church movement, called the New Church, such as in Barnet and in central London at Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill Gate. They regularly have workshops on angels, spiritual growth and other related subjects. They also have a retreat centre for conferences and courses at Purley Chase, Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

On my arrival at Purley Chase Centre, I was very impressed by luxurious new wing to the mid-Victorian house, and was pleased that many of the fine features of the old entrance hall had been retained. We were a small group of eight women for the Secret Garden weekend workshop, ably facilitated by Helen Brown, a Jungian psychotherapist, and Rita Russell, a minister with the New Church. It was a sunny weekend that included some enjoyable early morning walks and some leaf clearing and bulb planting in the magnificent gardens that surround the centre. The weekend was very varied with plenty of time for discussion, and we enjoyed ourselves with a re-enactment of the Biblical stories and the retelling of the New Testament parable of the sower. We also had time to watch a Warner Bros film entitled The Secret Garden, based on a book by the Victorian novelist, Frances Hodgson Burnett. All these activities were interspersed by meditative circle dances to the accompaniment of beautiful music. It is always a pleasure to be at Purley Chase and spend time with the Swedenborgians in this splendid spiritual setting. The meals were exceptional and if you haven't visited the centre yet, I would recommend it.

Dear Wendy
I've seen a couple of mediums who have given me names and also described people who I have known and who have passed over, the trouble is no matter how good the evidence, I still have doubts about living after we die. I wish I could believe. Why do I still have these doubts? Caroline West, Loughborough.

Dear Caroline
It is natural to doubt because we live in a society where people live for the 'now' and do not think about the soul surviving into the Afterlife. In other societies, it is normal to believe, and it would be very unusual for someone not to believe. I think that people are either believers or they are non-believers, and that no amount of proof will make an atheist into a believer or a believer, doubt.
For doubters, there are no consequences for actions or omissions. This is a very convenient belief for those who are self-serving. However, for those who believe that our soul lives beyond this life into the eternal realms, we must live with an active conscience knowing that good deeds will be rewarded and evil actions will be punished. We have greater responsibility because we have greater knowledge.  

this aspect of my recovery and I am now convinced that I have lived before. I have tried to find other people who are also believers in re-incarnation but when I tried my local Spiritualist Church, I got a cold reception to my experience. S.M. Salop.

Dear S.M.
I’m sorry that you did not find support at the Spiritualist Church you attended. Reincarnation is a highly controversial subject for Spiritualists. You might find Buddhists more accepting of your experience, especially Tibetan Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhism is thought to be the oldest religion in the world and they base their philosophy on a belief in reincarnation. I’m sure you know that the reigning Dalai Lama was chosen by the Regent of Tibet who had a vision when the previous Dalai Lama returned to the heavenly realms. In this vision, the Regent was shown the home of a two year old boy. He and other high ranking officials searched for this child and found him where they were guided. The Regent wore a disguise, yet the young boy recognised him as the Regent and also identified many objects belonging to the previous Dalai Lama. Hindus also are believers and there have been many studies in India of children who have remembered previous lives. Prof Ian Stevenson of the University of West Virginia is a reincarnation expert who researches memories and birth marks that relate to previous incarnations. He is convinced that at least some people have lived before. 

Dear Katy
I suggest that you purchase a good quality garnet. This jewel comes in all colours but the most common is a deep pomegranate colour. The rarest is a blue stone that changes colour according to the light source. The properties of all garnets are excellent for travellers as the garnet provides rational and sober thought. As a ring can get a great deal of wear, purchase a pendant on a lengthy chain. This will enable you to keep your stone private. In some poor countries, you might have to pay more for goods if you are seen with an expensive jewel. If you run out of money whilst abroad, you can always sell your gemstone, therefore it is an investment and provides protection against mishap. One of the most auspicious stones you might ever buy is one that you are offered in the country you will visit. Make sure it has been ethically mined and pay full price for it. 

Dear Wendy
Can you tell me the origin of Candlemas? Shirley Mason

Dear Shirley
Candlemas is a Christian light celebration that occurs at the beginning of February, mid way between Christmas and Easter and it heralds the return of sunshine. At Candlemas candles are lit in churches. It is actually the feast-day of St Brigit, an important early Irish saint who had connections with pagan Ireland. She lived amongst a community of women, said to be three sisters, all called by the name, Brigit. They tended the tribal fire and therefore were very powerful women in the area of Kildare where they resided. The tradition of fire-keeping by women was known in ancient Greece and Rome. As a fire-keeper, she is patron saint of the forge and the hearth. She is also patron of those who work with inspiration, such as poets, writers and healers. She is also associated with wells. It is said she came to London and set up a convent at Brideswell in Fleet Street where a church is devoted to her. If you are able, visit St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, EC4, or place some flowers at a well on this day. As Brigit is said to walk on the night of 1st February, pieces of clothing can be left with a small equal armed cross by the bedside to receive her blessing.

Dear Wendy
I recently went to Glastonbury and saw the great ruin of the Abbey. Can you give me some details about this ancient site? Erica 

Dear Erica
Glastonbury Abbey was once the largest and most influential cathedral in England but during the dissolutions of the monasteries during Henry VIII’s reign in the early to mid 1500s, the Earl of Somerset’s soldiers smashed the holy statues, burned the ecclesiastical library and almost levelled the entire building. In 1908, it was suggested that it could be reconstructed and a surveyor, Frederick Bligh Bond investigated the ruin with a view to renovation. To find the ancient foundations, the slow process of digging trenches was avoided, as he instantly marked out an outline on paper of the suspected positions of the main altar, twin towers and the Edgar and Loretto Chapels and his suggestions proved correct. By dowsing over a mapped area, he discovered dormitories, refectories (dining rooms), washrooms, cloisters, herb gardens and other parts that were not shown on the historical plans. He also uncovered secret tunnels, watercourses and drainage systems which were investigated and identified as he had accurately predicted. This extremely quick work puzzled the authorities and it remained a mystery for the next ten years until Bligh Bond published a book entitled “The Gate of Remembrance”. In this book he revealed he had worked with a medium who used automatic writing to contact “the Watchers” a group of monks who eventually led him into contact with a monk who was present at the building of the Abbey. After his book was published, the original written scripts of the séances were published. The Dean of Wells was furious and cut the funding for any further research. He also sacked Bligh Bond from the survey. It proved, however, that map dowsing was being used in 1908 and also how map dowsers can use mediumship to contact spirit guides for information about such matters as this. 

Dear Wendy
I need healing, can you recommend someone please? Kathy

Dear Kathy
If you are in need of spiritual healing, please join the Harry Edwards healing Sanctuary at 10am and 10pm each evening when healing is sent to those who are in need. A spontaneous prayer can be said or the following prayer recited. 
May I be thankful for all the blessings I already have. Grant me relief from pain and sickness, protect me from all ills and grant me good health in the days to come. Remove all causes of imperfection and bring Thy Healing Ministers close to me that I may be conscious of their presence and so receive guidance and inspiration. Grant me courage and fortitude to overcome all adversity. Let me be conscious of Thy strength in all times of need. Grant me confidence to overcome my fears and not to anticipate harm. Teach me, how to live rightly in Thy sight, to do only that which is right and true. I pray that good guidance and right influencing will inspire all Thy peoples to be as brothers, one to the other, and that peace shall endure for all time. Amen.

Can you tell me about a book called “The Secret”. I am told by friends who have read it that it has changed their lives. Sara, Norfolk. 
A film entitled “The Secret” was released by Prime Time Productions and they market the film mainly through the Spiritual Cinema Club. The film has been very big sellers, especially in the US where the companion book by Rhoda Byrne, released by Simon Schuster which has topped the New York best-sellers list and its supporters have appeared on Oprah Winfrey Show. The Secret is described as ‘an ancient knowledge known only to a few masters of success which is being revealed to selected people within our time’.
     The Secret promotes ‘The Law of Attraction’ which states that you attract what you think about most, so if you have negative thoughts, you will attract negativity and if you think positive thoughts, you will attract positive experiences. The same applies to people. If you surround yourself with losers, you will become a low achiever, and if you surround yourself with successful people, you too will become successful. It suggests the way to achieve your ambitions it to write down your life objectives and the ways to achieve them. This formulates a clear picture in your mind of the direction in which universal forces can assist you. Also suggested is that you make a collage board placing upon it pictures of items that you would like to have in your life.
    Basically, you must ask for what you want and believe you will receive it, and be grateful for your good fortune. I would not dispute these basic tenets, however, it also promotes a sense of self serving financial advancement where anyone who has had an accident, a disease or disability is responsible for their own hard luck, and I cannot endorse this mentality.
     The Secret is not ‘green’ philosophy, nor is it a caring philosophy. It is undeniably about wealth enhancement, which is not bad in itself, providing we have boundaries, ethics, standards, morals, and scruples about how and what we are prepared to do to gain it and what use we will put it to. Much of this psychology is self serving in my opinion, and based on a childish belief in wish fulfilment. Reality thinking is what is required. The basis of the Law of Attraction is not new. It was in vogue a hundred years ago. The thinking style was described in a book entitled ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ by Wallace D Wattles and other books have also ably described the basic premise without the mystification.  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale is another. I would suggest, if you like this sort of self help book, you try ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and ‘Making Time’ by Steve Taylor. Both are best sellers in the positive thinking field.  I would also recommend a book entitled Nexus – a neo-novel by Deborah Morrison and Arvind Singh, which is an excellent antidote to the Secret

Well, most religions and philosophies seek to answer this old chestnut of a question! Personally, I think we come into this life to learn, and this includes some painful and difficult life lessons. The aim of this life is to learn from each obstacle, so that when we meet another obstacle, we have access to more life wisdom to draw from. I also think that these lessons are a test, to check if we deal with each problem with wisdom and understanding, with compassion and empathy. That is what ‘spirituality’ means. Such a way of life acknowledges that our spirit is eternal and that we face judgment one day. Generally it is thought that our spirit is housed in this physical body to do good work and we must do ‘what is right’, that is, to be honest, care for others less well of than ourselves, have gratitude, kindness and generosity. If we do our best, despite difficult circumstances, we will get to heaven one day with flying colours. By doing what is right rather than for self-centred motives, we act as a good role model to others, showing a good example of what it means to be a believer in a generally unbelieving world. If we look at the great books written by the best spiritual masters of our world, we see a search for peace, love and goodwill is the thread that runs through all texts of ancient knowledge, which may have different paths but arrive at the same destination.    
Can colour therapy really work? It just sounds rather fanciful to me. Samantha, Cheshire

Dear Samantha
Marketing consultants have done a great deal of work on how colour influences our mood. Food is not happily purchased in purple, black or blue containers, yet a person’s appetite increases if the same foods are sold in green containers. The colour of science favours golden yellow and royal blue and many popular medicines are sold in containers of these colours, yet hospitals and schools prefer green and definitely not brown or purple. TV studios place stars in the ‘green’ room to encourage relaxation before their appearance on the show. Other studies show that weight-lifters lift most weight in a blue room, babies cry most in yellow rooms, prisoners react badly to red décor and are easiest to manage in more calming pink. Many people report that colour influences their reactions to people, places and purchases. Throughout the world, people have vastly different associations towards colour which tend to be cultural, personal and traditional. For instance, if you attend a funeral for a Chinese or Japanese person, you would wear white; for an Iranian, wear blue; for Thai wear purple; for Egyptian or Burmese, wear yellow and for a South African, wear red. In our culture, black is for seriousness, brown and green for growth, red for physical and emotional energy, yellow and orange for intellectual stimulation and white for purity. I suggest you experiment with wearing colours to see how they affect you and notice whether other people’s reactions to you vary on account of what colours you are displaying.  

I've read in several books that we are born with the innate longing to return to God. I can't say I know anyone around me who has that feeling! Do you believe it?
Angela Brighton

Hi Angela
There are some marvellous meditative tests, such as ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ that describe well this seeking for spiritual enlightenment. We all have an instinctive wish to be comfortable, secure, peaceful and in a loving environment. This is what ‘heaven’ is like and one day we all hope to experience the promised feeling of bliss and utter happiness. The presence of God and his angels provides such a sense of holiness that we want to be as close as possible. Our physical world is one of material enjoyments. We are told money and fame will bring us happiness. However, we get caught up in the rate race and we are surrounded with possessions that we cannot take with us, we think we are getting something out of it, but we are not. When the chips are down, it is the caring love and devotion of family and friends that matters, and health and contentment. It is not the outer world of illusion that is ultimately important, but our inner, spiritual life. It is not what something looks like that is valued in the Spirit World but what something really is on the inside and its usefulness and goodness. God, the deity, is not deceived by outer trappings. One day, when we are lost, tired, bereaved, in pain and alone, he will come and hold our hand and take us on our last journey.  When you reach out your hand, as we all must, you will also know that desperate longing to return to your one true home.

I am interested in remote viewing. Can you explain how to do it? Harry Lorimer, London. Remote viewing is the ability to project the awareness of the mind to visit a location and gain information about it. The Stanford Research Institute in California conducted many experiments and a New York psychic, Inigo Swann, scored highly in their tests. He was able to supply accurate details of passwords to a top secret military base!  If you would like to test your remote viewing skills, take a pack of playing cards and shuffle them. Remove three cards from the pack and without looking at them, place them face up on a high shelf space. Now sit down on a chair and close your eyes and relax. Take your perception to high within the room where you have a vantage point above the cards. Look down at the cards. Which three cards are they? Now check whether you guessed the cards correctly.   

We are immensely fortunate to live in the UK in the 21st century as we have access to amazing records of the many gurus, prophets, wise teachers, healers and mediums who have lived in the past - and many also living in the present - who we could visit if we wanted to meet them. What makes Jesus different from all the others is the time in which he lived and the mysteries that surround him, which will never be proved or disproved. It is said that the Jewish God was a jealous and sometimes angry God and that Jesus came to this world to show us what sort of a person God truly is. Jesus was a gentle and wise teacher, an extraordinary healer, a prophet and also a person who suffered due to the selfishness, cruelty, greed and thoughtlessness of those people around him. For these reasons, Jesus takes a higher place in the minds of many who believe he was God incarnate, the equivalent of God made man, on earth. Whatever path a person chooses to walk or whatever person to follow, it is the path of kindness, truth and generosity that is the true spiritual path.    
The unconscious mind holds all kinds of repressed fears, frustrations and hurts and delivers messages to our conscious mind in the form of symbols.

Dream interpretation decodes these symbols. In a one to one session, meditation is usually used to re-enter the dream to gain as much information as possible about these messages. In a group, there is the opportunity to re-create the dream with members of the group so that symbols, ideas and feelings can be explored and repressions can be worked through to bring release and re-evaluation.

Most dreams are about personal every day matters but sometimes we have what is called a ‘big dream’. This type of dream is not just about personal daily concerns but is the sort of dream that shamans, prophets and spiritual leaders have regarding the bigger picture of society, its direction, difficulties, values and leadership.

We are all affected by society and our place within it. We need to be on our guard, careful we are not vulnerable to being duped or attacked. It is a defensive position rather than an open one and one that causes stress and exhaustion.

We had a suitable, spacious and delightful venue for a dream workshop where P worked on a dynamic and intense dream. P has kept an extensive dream diary for the past 15 years and chose a dream which featured her nephew, A, as he could take part in the dream re-enactment.

Her dream reveals threats from places where evil can hide and cause chaos, confusion, pain and suffering to entirely innocent people. As shamans go into the Underworld to bring back something which has been lost, so this dream took the dreamer to the darkest place from which something important would be revealed.

P's Dream “I was running through a street late at night. There were lots of people running behind me. I was running the fastest but I did not know why.

I saw people standing in front of me. They were not moving. They were just smiling. It was not until I got closer that I realised why! The people all had knives and stabbed everyone as they passed. I thought, so that is why we were all trying to escape. They had small knives and they stabbed everyone multiple times to make sure they were dead!

I ran really fast down alane of a motorway but the people were still there. I turned left down a lane and the people who were killing were wearing black all in onesuits with a pattern of a skeleton.

Eventually we all came to a dead end and we were all lined up. I was in the front and everyone else was behind. The ‘skeleton’ dressed people had captured a few of us. My nephew, A was amongst them.

They explained to us that if we surrendered, they would return those who they had taken captive. So I surrendered. Briefly, I saw A but then the ‘skeleton’ people all stood in front of him and then he suddenly vanished! I was now extremely stressed and was shouting for Alex at the top of my voice. I could sense all the panic. I shouted “Is Alex there?” Then, a young boy about twelve years old with blonde hair and wearing a striped shirt stood out from the crowd and said “Of course I am here”. We all knew at this point that he was not A because A was dead.

I went looking for A in a massive car park but when I could not find him, I screamed out the name, Steve. Then I woke up.”

The violence in this dream shows P's concern that a lack of caring boundaries, discipline and restraint in society causes stress and confusion and can leave lives shattered. In the dream, she is quick to escape the danger but others are more vulnerable and fall prey to the attackers. When it is necessary for someone to make a self-sacrifice, P offers herself as a replacement so others can go free. As a Reiki healer, Paige is often in a role of doing all she can to help others, often at cost to herself. A is P’s nephew and is soon to join the army, a calling which will place him in highly dangerous and violent places. He is no longer the young boy she knew and he will not be there for her when she calls upon him because he is embarking on a new life. She will need to find someone else to take his place. As P read out her dream to the group, Paige’s mother was in the group and was tearful. No loving mother can bear to see her daughter dealing with such frightening scenarios, even in dreams. Paige’s dream is showing her mum she is quick thinking and can escape danger and protect herself from the dark forces that are around us.  

The next part is to re-enact the dream as P would like the dream to have been. Here the attackers are overpowered and instead of capitulating and surrendering, P is proactive and powerful. Alex, who had disappeared and was replaced by a child in the original dream, has become a policeman and arrests the perpetrators. He is proving himself in the world as a man of courage and authority.

Everyone who took part was de-roled at the end of the workshop to make sure they were not left with uncomfortable feelings.

There is a dream technique where symbols from a frightening dream are converted into gifts to be used for good rather than evil. As the interpreter, I took the symbols of the skull and knives and converted them into symbols of the Goddess Kali. I spoke the words to P:

“I give you the shirt of the perpetrator to win the fight over all evil. I give you the knife which cuts through illusion, and I give you the skull of eternal honour. You are empowered by the Goddess Kali who brings forth good from evil.” This reframes the dream, converting a negative into a positive experience. Paige’s response was“these dream re-creations were great fun and it was wonderful to bring so many people together who wanted to take part. It not only put me directly in touch with my dream and explained it, but also then reframed it. By digging a little deeper into this dream – I have been given a different outlook. It was new, exciting and revealing to work in this way!”  

“During the replay, I felt in control of the situation, making decisions and doing what is right. I wanted it so that the perpetrators were caught, detained and prevented from doing further harm. I didn’t want more violence and I hoped they learnt their lesson in a productive and positive way. I was so happy as Alex assumed a new role, in charge, in uniform, and as a man entering his prime. If he cannot be there for me when I need him, someone else will be! I don’t know who that is yet, but I have every confidence, though I will miss him when he joins the army, all will be well.”

“Standing in my power with the symbols of the Goddess Kali, I felt as though I had successfully removed the danger from the perpetrators and that any danger is in my safe and responsible hands. I felt indestructible, as though no-one would ever challenge me! I realise that though I hold the symbols of the Goddess Kali’s power, they are mine to do as I like with. In my hands, these objects are symbols of my empowerment to help those who are vulnerable and most in need.”

Dear Wendy: When is the Chinese New Year and what year will it be? Jason, Derby.
Dear Jason: The Chinese New Year falls on February 14 February, 2010.  It will be the year of the Yang Metal Tiger, a year of courage and independence. It completes its cycle on 3rd February 2011 when the Year of the Yang Metal Rabbit will begin.
New Year’s Day is just the first day of a fifteen day Chinese celebration which should be celebrated by booking at your favourite Chinese restaurant and celebrating in traditional style, with blue and white china, fireworks, lanterns and fortune cookies. Wear your favourite red dress or shirt to bring in good luck (definitely avoid wearing black and white as these are the colours associated with death). Order a seafood platter, with prawns and oysters and an edible seaweed salad. Finish off the evening off by playing cards or board games. If you cannot book at a Chinese restaurant, make your own fortune cards that offer good luck and happiness and send them, to friends in a red envelope. Celebrations include lantern lighting, lion dances, firework displays and door to door visits. 
To increase your Feng Shui and provide good energy, you should clean your home and buy good luck charms of three coins with a square hole in the centre. These are tied together with red cotton and hung in the southeast corner of your home. Other emblems of good luck are bells made from clay or metal placed in the northwest of your room, an ornamental glass or metal fish placed in the north west of your room, an ornamental china frog, usually with three legs and sitting on a bed of coins, in the northwest to attract career luck, and a statue of the Buddha which should be placed in the northwest to stimulate spirituality and carry away bad energies.

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