Caracasonne France

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A zoom meeting attendee recently mentioned that he was visiting Cacasonne and that brought back a flood of memories of my own visit a few years ago. The charming  town of  Caracassonne is situated in the south west of France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas.  Within the town, high up on a hill is a citadel known as the Cite de Carcassonne. It is France ‘s most medieval walled city. The name Carcasonne is derived from a legend of Dame Carcas who bravely defended the fortress against the Saracens. There is a very amusing tale tied to this, which is a story by itself. Climbing up the hill to the entrance, you couldn ‘t help but picture all those swashbuckling heroes, cavaliers  and soldiers guarding, defending or attacking this magnificient fortress. With gorgeous ramparts, gargoyles, cobblestone pathways and stunning views from every angle, you can spend hours just gazing in wonderment. It is no wonder that author Kate Moss was attracted to this setting for her novel “Labyrinth”. The city is dotted with picturesque canals,vineyards and natural trails for cycling, walking, picknicking.

               Inside the well preserved fortress , there are several shops, restaurants, bars and quaint little museums and stores which give you the impression of time standing still. I had the famous red omelette for lunch, a carcasonne speciality. It was rich,filling and  provided the stamina needed for all that steep climbing. I was so impressed by the architecture and preservation of this Unesco heritage site, that I knew I had to paint it. So I burnt off my lunch, climbing as much as I could to get the perfect picture.  After purchasing some souvenirs from the colorful shops, we headed back to our hotel, which was fortunately located just across the fortress. After a bit of resting my tired legs, as dusk approached, we headed back to the fortress. The gates were locked, the hordes of tourists were gone, and the fortress shone brightly in a quiet twilight sky. This was spectacular. We were so glad we made the trek back to capture some of this magic.   Last picture is my own humble version of Caracasonne by night under a stormy sky.

 

 

 

The Green Light

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As the release date of my second publication was approaching, I was wondering what day would be optimal to announce it publicly. According to my marketing Director, the release date was pushed back a month due to the pandemic.  Darn ! I waited soooo long and now this. I got over my initial disappointment, and asked the Universal powers before I went to bed that night for some advice and guidance on this matter. This is the dream I got. I was sitting in the back seat of a car, along with two other people. The door and window of the car were wide open. Sometimes, you do turn the window down , but does one ever leave a car door open ?.  The three of us were engaged in a conversation, while my attention was suddenly drawn to the open space to my left by the open door. A little baby elephant walked by, stopped directly by us, waved his trunk in a happy fashion, (elephants are known to have a temper) and walked off. I woke up the next morning, happy as a lark, the elephant in my dream represents Ganesha (the God of astrology) who is half man half elephant. Fittingly, the elephant happens to be on the front cover of my publication! Folks this is NOT a coincidence, it is divine guidance. Whatever your beliefs/faiths may be, trust in their power to guide and help you in life. It is about paying attention to the signs in your way, and being open to receiving them.

         Although there was roughly more than a month to go for the fulfillment date, taking my dream as the green light to my query, I announced the details of my soon to be released oracle deck, “The Mahabharata Oracle” What happened next is unbelievable, I still have goose bumps relating it. Two days later, my Marketing director informed me that the original release date was back in play. Wow ! I went from on to off and on again. The open door in the dream signifies exactly that. A door that was supposed to be closed is OPEN. There is yet another layer to this story. During the week of these events, the ruling planet in my astrological chart went from a retrograde motion to direct.  Bingo ! Honestly, I was not even aware of that until I was actually read the transit report a week later. Then it all came together and made perfect sense.  The bottom line is that you will get the answers you seek , just learn to trust.

Solar Eclipse June 2020

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The upcoming  Solar eclipse in June is sending waves of fear and anxiety among so many people. We will have six eclipses this year, but we usually have five or six anyway right. So why is this any different. Yes the pandemic has caused havoc and stirred the pot of anger and frustration which has manifested in protests and mass destruction. But really, we have been through all this before, at least our ancestors  did. They have been through unconquerable things(at the time) like polio, Spanish flu etc. and they survived.  They found solutions to problems and worked it out.  Just as we will. If the population calms down and keeps their anger in check, we can all be more co-operative and productive. Look to the past to evaluate how far we have come. Civilization has advanced rapidly as we approach space travel never attempted before.

                   Eclipses sometimes come with a fair share of devastation, similar to those caused by the regular cycle of nature. Perhaps the eclipse that occurred in December 2019 has evoked dread due to its signaling of the start of the pandemic. Having witnessed the total solar eclipse, I can assure you that not all eclipses need to be anticipated as doom and gloom situations. In 2017, I seized the opportunity that was being offered to witness a rare sighting of the total solar eclipse and it was a lot of fun. In Charleston NC a bunch of us gathered on the rooftop of a hotel, and saw the magic event happening live, there was total darkness in the afternoon when the sun was eclipsed for a few moments. The silence among the 300 odd people during this magnificent moment bespoke of awe and admiration.

  I know it must be hard to ignore the hue and cry being made by the media and other folks looking for your attention. My advice is to stay indoors if you must, engage yourself in something that uplifts you and brings joy. Focusing your attention and energy on something else, will keep you centered and grounded.  Let nature happen and take its course. It will soon be over.

The Dublin Doubledown

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The flight from Charles De Gaulle airport Paris to Dublin Island was about 90 minutes. As we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel in a cab, I almost felt like we really should be in a horse carriage instead. The Clontarf Castle hotel is a well preserved 12th century castle, with stone walls and beautiful beveled glass windows. The lobby and reception area are a good mix of old and new and trendy which gave it a bit of that Goth feel.  Modern art fills the walls alongside ancient tapestries. This is where Dracula author Abraham Stoker stayed and perhaps got inspired ? Take a look at the pictures of what might have been gateways to dungeons  where they may have sent their victims. I know my imagination is running wild !.

      After enjoying a nice dinner in the Fahrenheit restaurant, which was one of the best Chicken tikka masala dishes  I ever had. Who would have thought Irishmen were good Indian cooks !  I took a walking city tour to explore the busy crowded streets of Dublin. Spent some time at the O’Connel monument, a popular gathering spot for photo ops. It was refreshing to see how casual Dubliners were, I honestly couldn’t spot the tourists from the locals. Trinity college is very close to the city center and you see hordes of students going about their business while groups of tourists were cluelessly ambling around. Grafton Street is a popular hub of bars, restaurants and shops. Music appears to be a huge part of Irish culture, besides street musicians, celtic and non Celtic strains could be heard coming from pubs filled with throngs of people.

          I had forgotten my medication in a Paris hotel, and was in a panic. But the friendly pharmacies were so obliging and gracious enough to fill my order without a prescription, and quickly to boot. (They just took my physician’s information.) It was such a relief ! And surprisingly so much cheaper than what I pay in the US. The evening was spent walking along the streets, admiring the several bronze statues evenly spaced throughout the city. I strolled along Merrion Square and was amused by all the various colors of the “Dublin Doors” an iconic image of Dublin. The story behind this popular tradition is too long for me to recount here, you can look it up. Finished up the day with a visit to the Famous Guiness factory. I am not a whisky drinker, nevertheless the history made it interesting.    

The next tour I took was to Malahide Castle on the outskirts of Dublin. Got to see a bit of the famous green countryside, passed a few quaint fishing villages, flashed by the humble country home of U2 lead singer Bono. Malahide Castle also dates back to the 12th century. It was built by the Talbots, a family with a long and notable history. Part of the castle was open to the public, the rooms decorated with period interiors and furnishings. As with every castle, we were entertained by a ghost story which was nicely framed by the backdrop of the surrounding moat, outer wall and drawbridge.  

It was a short sweet trip and for next time I will probable explore the countryside of Ireland.    

Cruise To Aruba

We set off on our cruise by taking the train from Philadelphia to Miami. The train was on time, 70 % empty which is such a rarity at this time (Christmas) Our sleeper car was almost empty, except for the roomette across which was occupied by a somewhat elderly lady who talked on the phone a majority of the waking hours with a loud New York accent and never left her room even for meals, or to stretch out at station stops all during the 30 hour trip. I have to mention the fancy dining car which was all renovated and spacious. We spent a glorious 2 days in the South Beach area, (my favorite) with fabulous weather. Then onto the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas the third day. This was the first time we had taken a cruise that was more than a week, this was 10 days, so of course there was a lot of elderly people, very cruise savvy, manoeuvering around expertly in their scooters. The ship itself, although grand was not so glamorous as the newer ones. Although it did have some wow features like a professional ice skating rink and a flow rider for water sporting events. First port of call was Labadee Haiti. We spent the day on the beautiful private island owned by RC. It was such a relaxing day amidst the natural beaches and stunning landscape. Activities besides swimming included 3 levels of zip lining and go karting. There was also a sumptous buffet lunch spread out in four different locations around the island. Next stop was Bonnaire. As soon as I stepped off the ship, I lost my hat in the sea. Oh well ! that’s what gift shops are for. The downtown area was right off the pier. As soon as we walked out, I was pleasantly surprised to see the pleasant chic shops that greeted us. Not the usual predators swooping down on us with their wares, like in most Caribbean nations I have been to. I was amazed at how clean, organized and sophisticated the town was. No seedy people hanging around in street corners waiting for tourists. The next day we docked in Aruba. I had heard so much of this island, it peaked my curiosity. Having had a taste of the Dutch influence in Bonnaire, I was not surprised to see the same kind of cleanliness and organization here. Our first stop was the Aloe factory . It was an interesting little enterprise with mostly hand driven machines. Our next stop was the American Rock, a very steep mountain with a spectacular view of the city. Being an organized tour, we all returned to the coach at the assigned time, except for one couple who also lost a hat while disembarking the ship. They kept us waiting while the lady was trying to choose the perfect hat. In the meantime another lady in the bus who was done eating the banana, asked the driver if she could go discard the peel on top of the rock, or should she use the garbage can ! Seriously ! Next we visited the black stone beach made of volcanic rock. Driving around the island, there were zillions of cactus, very arid land somewhat like Arizona, your friendly donkeys looking for food. The driver even joked that if you were ever to hit donkey with your car, the ambulance would first tend to the donkey !. And divers galore everywhere we went. No wonder it is called the Divers Paradise. There were pretty much all the American fast food franchises giving it a very American flavor, except for the Dutch architecture which was very distinct from the American style resorts around Momo beach. Curacao was the last port of call. It was the most Dutch looking of all the three islands. The Queens Bridge in Willemstadt had a spectacular view of the city, standing so high above. We stopped at the Curacao factory and briefly toured the manufacturing facility. I was looking forward to this since cuaracao happens to be my favorite liqueur. Of course it had a special tourist price, Super expensive !. The downtown area was clean, colorful and pulsating with tourists, shops, bars and restaurants all just outside the gangway. All in all, I was really impressed by the low rate of unemployment and crime in these Dutch assisted islands. They seem to be doing something right. From a tourist perspective, it felt so good to be walking around everywhere feeling safe and un-hindered.

Trip to Greece and Turkey

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As we awaited our boarding call to Athens, there was a commotion and a flurry of activity. Minutes before departure the flight was canceled !. After a couple hours of waiting we were redirected on another flight to Munich, spent a few jet lagged hours there, and took another flight to Frankfurt. Tired as we were it provided  a magnificent view of the Black Forest, looking down. I had only experienced a black forest cake, but this was just as dense, rich and dark as could be. It was at Frankfurt that we boarded a flight to Athens. We arrived well past midnight, were met by a friend who took us out to dinner at a lovely Greek restaurant, where there was a spread as huge as the Agean sea. But we were so tired that it was a bed and not food that we craved.

                     The next morning we had breakfast at a fabulous outdoor café that overlooked the Agean Sea. As I put my camera on the table to marvel the sumptuous sea with my own eyes, something else took place. The waiter who brought us delicious watermelon, took his return tray with the camera. Of course when I asked him, he denied it, so I was devastated to find myself camera less at the start of the trip.   What a bummer, it was a great one too. Well, fortunately we have our cell phones these days. We started our tour of Athens with a visit to the Parthenon, the museum was well organized, well managed. The exhibits were interesting and fun.

Next stop was the outdoor stadium where the first ever Olympics took place. We braved the hot July sun and visited Plaka, the shopping/dining mecca of Athens, aka Tourist trap,  which reminded me of Canal street Ney York with its endless shops and booths. The restaurant avenue was filled with tourists and agents all literally grabbing you into their place. This reminded me of Ocean Drive Miami. We bought a hat for our trip to the Acropolis the next day, and a few other Greek souvenirs to take home. Headed back to the hotel (Mariot) for a siesta before dinner. Here was another surprise, as we waited for our room key at the receptionist counter, the hat that we just purchased was gone!. Oh my goodness, this was a Mariot for God ‘s sake.

                      The Acropolis was heavily crowded and not so well managed, everyone climbed the hill like goats both ways, in intense July heat nonetheless, so it was highly dangerous, but we survived. The view of Athens from the top was breathtaking. The next day we boarded the Hellenistic Olympia  for a 4 day cruise. What a difference from the American Cruise ships, food was not available 24/, only at certain times. There was no ice cream stations or pizza which had the kids in a tantrum mode all throughout. We were okay with it but it was sad to see long faces all around. I felt sorry for the parents. Our first stop was the island of Mykonos. It was so refreshing to see the pure white streets,pristine white buildings with blue roofs. Everything was super clean all the time. Despite the large number of tourists and foot traffic, it stayed so white. It seemed like there were invisible cleaning fairies  at work constantly. The bougainvillea all around was spectacular.

The trip into Ephesus Turkey was one of the highlights. It was incredible to retrace the steps of the great philosophers, Socrates, Aristotle etc, as we made our way from the Gates of Hadrian’s palace  to  the great library which is still highly intact. Since we got there very early in the day, we were fortunate to miss the horde of tourists and get some phenomenal pictures. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a Carpet Factory, where we got to see the old traditional carpet weaving practice still in  use to make beautiful carpets.  In the next afternoon we visited the island of Patmos after climbing a super steep hill.  It is perhaps best known today as the location the disciple John received the visions found in the Book of Revelation of the new Testament and where the book was written. The church was set on a higher hill where the wind played its song loud and clear.

  We visited the island of Crete the next day, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Ideon cave was the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. We spent quite some time in the palace of Knossos, a bronze age settlement and ancient Minoan city, which was really in good shape for its age. I particularly liked the use of color in the murals and floors. Next we landed in Santorini, a feast for the eyes. The spectacular views from just about anywhere on the island were inexhaustible. The vibrant flowers, the crisp white and blue structures were delightful. Of course, the tourists were endless. We finished up our trip with two more days in Athens, did no more shopping for fear of being robbed. All in all it sure was a memorable trip. Feed

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Color in Precognitive dreams

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I mentioned in my Precognitive dream video, how color can give you a clue of what is to come. I reference a dream that I had, where the color green kept repeating itself on a regular basis for several weeks. Although the size of the object kept increasing with time, the color and shade of green remained constant. I describe in the video, how I noted in my dream journal, the exact shape and shade since I had a good feeling this was going to come true. It came in the form of an impromptu visit to the tea gardens in the South of India, a city called Conoor.   Here are the pictures to give you a visual of what my dream had foretold me.   ” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>http://
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Tarot in Adversity

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In adverse times such as the present, is it advisable to do a reading. Most people are facing a crisis physical,emotional,mental etc. How will this play out in the spreads or messages that you receive as a reader? Since energy is so important in a reading, it poses the question whether negative thoughts will influence the readng. When the overall energy is so gloomy, things around you, people around you and your environment almost seems like an Apocolypse, what can be done. Even if you turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to news and media it somehow seeps in. Whether you like it or not, thoughts swirl around the number of deaths, suicides, starvation, homelessness, abandonment and so many other issues. Yes, you can do your meditations and cleansing and sageing etc. but can you be in the right frame of mind to transmute without being influenced by all this negativity. And not be impacted so you can provide an honest regular reading as you would in normal times.

Here is my take on this subject. I was recently (just before covid) doing readings at a psychic fair, one on one, face to face. This was during a time I was undergoing a crisis where my whole life had turned upside down. I was starting to recover, even while still undergoing treatment so I could actually physically travel. Being in a very weakened state, I was actually doubting my capacity to perform at such a large event. Let alone being able to connect with the right spirits to bring in valid information. But I knew my repeat clients would be sorely disappointed if I canceled, so I persevered. I received the same extensive list of clients that I normally do. And what do you know! I was able to give such profound, insightful readings that the clients were overwhelmed. While I am used to seeing a few tears and emotional reactions, I was blown away by the deep sobbing mixed with joy and relief at hearing what they needed to from their loved ones. I was rather surprised that my physically and emotionally weakened state did not hamper or reflect the readings in any negative way. I have yet to compare this with what happens next time so I can gain more insight on this matter. For now, I don’t see current conditions necessarily influencing readings negatively which is good news right?

A Pilgrimage of the soul

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One summer I took a unique opportunity for Artists and photographers in the form of a workshop in Monet’s lovely village of Giverny. Located 50 miles West of Paris in the heart of Normandy lies the Home and beautiful gardens of Monet where he created the magic of so many wondrous landscapes. Interestingly enough Giverny was also a colony of American painters at the turn of the 20th century. The charming village and its surroundings have been painted so often by so many impressionist artists, that they now belong to the world of those who know and love it. The Pink House in Giverny which today belongs to The Terra Foundation accomodates artists in residence in the summer.  I was very curious myself to unlock the magic of  Arguentil, the surrounding mountains with its vast poppy fields. As I set about arranging my tubes of paint and canvas, I could almost feel the spirit of Monet looking over my shoulder and prodding me along. Painting in Plein Aire is such a different experience. Being in direct touch with nature, under the blue skies on a warm summer day, I let myself go with abandon truly enjoying the mystical moment.  

          After the workshop, I took a tour of the Home in which Monet lived for 43 years until he died. Everything was just as it used to be, very real, almost surreal. . The foyer, the bedrooms, the gallery, and the rest of the house with its furnishings intact. Other than the click clack of the humongous tourists, there was nothing museum like about it. His Japanese garden and the works of art that provided the inspiration,  had always intrigued me.  The gallery is a showcase of Monet ‘s impressive collection of Japanese prints, which has an interesting and unlikely birth. One would be likely to think from this expansive collection that they were acquired on a visit to Japan. In fact, Monet almost never left Europe. On a visit to Amsterdam, in a shop of Deft porcelain, Monet was haggling over an object without any success. Suddenly, he saw a dish filled with images on a shelf.  Stepping closer, he came upon Japanese woodblocks. The merchant, not aware of the value of these prints let him have them with the China jar. The dining room is decorated with this impressive collection of 18 th and 19 th century Japanese Masters. The tour of Monet ‘s home and this exceptional collection enables the visitor  to become imbued with the painter ‘s vision. His marvelous architectural planning of the garden, the various ponds and his detached artist studio are all proof of his passion. Monet ‘s love of water is evident  throughout. All his life, Monet lived on the banks of a river, be it the Seine, or The English Channel. His home in Giverny is a mile away from the Epte river. He even had a little Cabana there, where he stored his canvases. Imagine the joy of having a secret little hideout where you can go and play in total solitude !.

                             As I packed up to leave the awe inspiring abode, my curiosity somewhat satiated, I promised myself another trip back…. Au revoir Monet !  This is when my  humble rendition of  “ Field of Poppies “  was created . You can check it out at www.gitaart.com