Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Book and Deck Review: Shedding Light on Jyotisha

I watch Julianne's channel on YouTube and have become intrigued by Vedic astrology through watching her New Moon and Full Moon videos. I've always had an interest in astrology of all types and know my sign in almost every version of it, but sidereal astrology, and the Vedic sidereal astrology in particular, has nuances that particularly resonate with me and Julianne does a great job of communicating those nuances.

I was interested enough to purchase her book and waited for this second edition to come out since she was almost done with it at the time my interested piqued to that point. I'm glad I did, and as they say, everything happens for a reason. Reading that book and letting her know about some errors I found in it led to some great conversations with someone who is already a good friend in my life (which is why I felt comfortable reaching out about those errors), and those conversations led to her asking me for my input on the deck she was creating to complement her book and act as an oracle deck and study tool. 

Because of my input, she ended up making two versions of it, and in full transparency I'll disclose that in return this deck was gifted to me, but without strings and that's not why I'm writing this review. I'm also not an affiliate so there's no financial gain for me if you click my links. 

I honestly love both versions of the deck, though the study deck was created out of my preferences for a deck to use for that purpose that could also be used as an oracle, with less imagery that's more of a soft background and Julianne had the brilliant idea of then adding more text to that version than she has on the oracle deck version of it that has more prominent imagery. She has a video up explaining both decks as well and also links below it to both decks. Her book is on Amazon and it's very affordable, and now all of the minor errors I found have been corrected because apparently that's something you can do on Amazon's new self-publishing format. 

This whole set, regardless of what version of the deck you purchase, is a wonderful tool for those who are dipping their toes into Vedic astrology for the first time as she simplifies it here and the deck offers the perfect way to layer all of the information in your chart so you can use the keywords to begin to make your own interpretations of it, or look at the charts of others. Having the deck to go with this wonderful book makes it fun to learn too! And you can get just your preferred version of the deck and the LWB to go with it and learn quite a bit with just that, you don't have to purchase the full book unless you want to go a little deeper, still without going over your head at first like many other books do. 

The card stock of the deck is great, it's from The  Game Crafter and has a linen finish, and it's tarot size, so a nice size for an oracle deck: not too big and not too small. It's got a bit of a matte finish so it slides nicely, and it's just bendy enough to riffle shuffle nicely. It fits into a regular size tarot bag as well, something I suggest getting as it does come in a regular tuck box in a matching design. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

How I Break My Fast

One of the hardest things for people to wrap their heads around when they change to a diet that limits or eliminates sugars and carbs is what to eat for breakfast. After all, in the US we're used to a very sugary carb-based breakfast of cereals, muffins, donuts, waffles and pancakes. That was my mother's first question years ago when I was following the Paleo diet and we visited them because she couldn't imagine a breakfast that wasn't based on the foods I listed above.

Since changing to eating Keto and getting all sugars out of my diet plus doing intermittent fasting (IF) a lot has changed about when and what I eat, even from when I was following the Paleo diet. Then I ate one hardboiled egg and an orange for breakfast, and on weekends we had bacon or sausage with sweet potatoes and fried eggs, and when I was off of it we added in regular potatoes sometimes in place of the sweet potatoes because my husband is the weekend breakfast cook and he wasn't a fan of sweet potatoes for breakfast.

Some things changed with us both going Keto, some didn't. So on weekend mornings we still have the big breakfast with bacon (no more sausage), sweet potatoes with garlic cloves and mushrooms (no more regular potatoes of any color), and he has fried eggs while I have hardboiled ones. I also add seaweed to my breakfast for my thyroid even though I also take supplements for it. 

During the week though, my breakfast now looks like the picture above--a mixed green salad with carrots and onion, seaweed, garlic-stuffed olives and canned salmon. Again, most of this is for my thyroid and the rest of my hormones as well as getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that leafy greens provide. I also have two hardboiled eggs (not pictured) and a cup of tea. 

The other big change is when I eat breakfast because of the IF. I used to eat around 8 or 8:30 am, but now I wait until 10 or 11 am, and then eat dinner around 3 or 4 pm, depending on when my husband gets home. He doesn't eat breakfast until closer to noon, and then eats dinner with me, having a much smaller eating window than I do and sometimes doing OMAD (one meal a day), only eating dinner. I'm still too insulin resistant to do OMAD or a smaller window, and often get hungry around 1 pm, at which time I'll have a handful of nuts and some pepperoni. 

He's losing weight much more rapidly than I am this time, but then as I've said before, this time I have a much longer road to healing than I had before, so I'm not worrying about the scale so much as I am my health. I know that if I keep sugars and junk out of my diet, then eventually the weight will start to melt off like it did before. It is now, but it's slow and since fat is being replaced by muscle as I work out, the scale isn't moving as fast as it did before. But that's okay, for both of us this is about getting healthy for life rather than the short term goal of weight loss. Keeping my eyes on the long goal keeps me from getting frustrated in the short term.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The Truth About Groundhog Day

All across the United States, and maybe even all around the world, people wait to see if the illustrious "Punxsutawney Phil", a groundhog, will see his shadow or not when he emerges from his hole in the morning. More often than not, he does because apparently this is usually a sunny day, and today was no exception after almost a solid week of cloudy weather in Southwestern PA (Punxsutawney is only a couple of hours away from where I currently live).

So then, usually it's the gloomy forecast that there will be six more weeks of winter. One year a few years ago though he didn't see his shadow and I heard that there were only six more weeks until spring and remembering the forecast from the year before I sauntered over to my calendar and started counting...and yep, sure enough, in the sixth week after today the Vernal/Spring Equinox occurs. So no matter what, from this day forward there's officially six more weeks of winter in the northern hemisphere no matter what the weather forecasts say.

So, why do we have a famous groundhog and celebrate him on this day? Apparently this is from a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition that they brought from their home country of Germany (PA Dutch are Germans, not Dutch, and that's a whole different story of the mangling of foreign languages that happens here in the US). Apparently in Germany, it's the badger that forecasts how much longer winter will last, only there it's four weeks of winter weather from Candlemas Day, which is also February 2nd. 

The most famous celebration is the one in Punxsutawney, PA, which started in 1886 but there are other celebrations around the country now as well, and in Canada where it's also recognized. So, it's a wee bit of fun for those who want something to celebrate in what is normally a cold and dreary winter month. For me, since I know that no matter what it's only six more weeks until the Vernal Equinox and first day of Spring, it makes no difference if any groundhogs or badgers see their shadows.