Cartas- Letters from Home
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February 2011

It's Raining...Pink Jasmine

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 California,  to me,  is a vision of mountains and foot hills,  blue skies and sunshine, dense shadows of Live Oak, and long shadows of Eucalyptus,  the flash of brilliant semi-tropical vines,  the scent of Jasmine and Tea Roses, and the glint of the Pacific in the sunset.

But, says the practical gardener, if you were going out to Santa Barbara to start your garden in a bare lot, where would you gct all this glorious flora you speak of so glibly?  

Indeed,  we have thought of that!   They are listed in Theodore Payne's marvelous catalog, and his address is 345 South Main Street,  Los Angeles;  and besides,  in Santa Barbara, there is Dr. Doremus,  the President of the Garden Club,  who can tell you exactly what will thrive and what will not, and when and how to plant it.

So you see, it is a practical Dream Garden.

~ AMH and AG H, Bulletin of the Garden Club of America, Vol 1 - 11, 1919

A week of rain has been forecast for Southern California.  The timing of this latest storm is perfect as we approach wildflower season.   Our gardens at home, and the landscape at large, will benefit.

Here is an electronic copy of a book written in 1910, by Mr. Theodore Payne, who is mentioned above.   People like Mr. Payne and Dr Doremus brought great horticultural beauty to Southern California in teaching us what to plant in cultivated gardens.   They were also some of the earliest educators to introduce us, formally, to our wildflowers.   From them, we also learned to incorporate wildflowers into gardens around our homes and in our cities. 

This booklet and catalogue will offer you a glimpse of the singular beauty of our native wildflowers that grow from desert sands, over the mountains, and to the sea.  As the author advises,

a very good time to plant is just before it rains, or even while it is raining, if that can be arranged...

If you are so inspired, this may be a good time to sow some wildflower seeds!  (Also - please see the typewritten note, signed by the author, attached to one of the last pages of the electronic copy of the book.)

If you would like to see native flora - close up - plan a trip to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.  In springtime the wildflower meadow is beautiful beyond description.


Paradise Found

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Paradise Found is a veritable nirvana, an earthly Arcadia, an Elysian field of dream interpretation manuals,  tarot cards, jewelry, clothing, music, crystal wands, prayer flags, gongs, cards,  precious stones, candles, beautiful objet d'art, and more.   Since 1986, Paradise Found has been a local repository of heavenly delights located right across the street from the Art Museum and public library, in downtown Santa Barbara.  

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Teresa Taylor, owner, maintains a comprehensive inventory of carefully curated and beautifully displayed items.    True to her vision, Ms. Taylor ensures that Paradise Found continues

to provide heartfelt service to our customers, to promote the awareness of conscious living, to be a focal place in the community for like-minded people to network and share ideas, resources, and information, and to be a positive and healing energy point in the global network.

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This afternoon, I stopped in to find gifts for Valentine's Day.  I found the perfect items for my Valentines. 

Then,  I decided to meet with the Sarah Uma , the intuitive reader who was featured today.   Sarah and I discussed Kali Ma, the divine destroyer/creator, who is also revealed as Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, and is known to some as Dakini, or Sekhmet, and by other names, as well. 

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During our conversation about archetypes and their roles, I was reminded that Kali, fierce protectress and keeper of the sword, rules truly and well as the stoic and pragmatic goddess.   She annihilates and destroys what is old and outworn, only to prepare for re-creation.

Equal and opposite, is The Muse.   Also known as Calliope, Brigid, Clio, Sarasvati, or by other names, she, too, creates and brilliantly protects her progeny.  The Muse  just does it a bit differently than the Destroyer -  she rules from her throne by the wand, not the sword.  

The Creatrix is a destroyer and a creative muse;  she is a force of perpetual regeneration, no matter what she is called.  Each face of the goddess - The Destroyer and The Muse -  is the shadow-self of the other.  Each has the authority to rule with equal effectiveness - one by fire and might, one by light and joy.  Each has her time to shine - each, her time to recede.   Neither could exist without the other. 

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So I spent the rest of the afternoon walking downtown.  I contemplated the duality of  dark and light, life and destruction.  I examined the loving strength of these archetypal Goddesses and their roles in my life:  phases of rejuvination and creativity, and dark labrynths of  excruciating ruin.   It seems I am at the gate again.   The creative cycle is beginning anew; this time - by wand?  or sword?

I walked in the warm sun with fringed palm fronds flickering above me.  Amethyst pigeons and  iridescent doves flitted from building to building.   Sidewalk cafes were full to overflowing; the Paseo was crowded with people.  Shop windows offered lavish displays of angels and fairies and flowers, chocolates and hearts.  I saw pink and red and ribbons and tulle - all in glorious excess during this Valentine's season. 

How fitting.  How perfectly timed.

It is often that way - I end up at Paradise Found at just the right moment.  I receive a new perspective, a new window from which to gaze.  I find the perfect incense that perfumes my world.  I buy a little gemstone that seems to glow with meaning.   I meet a friend.  I hear a beautiful gong.  I am reminded, every time, to recalibrate my place in the universe - to see where, exactly, I fit in.

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And whether you ascribe to a spiritual path, or a more prosaic one, Paradise Found has something to offer you, as well.   You'll find an extensive selection of tomes about various religions, spiritual paths, psychology, physics, and history -  written by authors both ancient and modern.  You might want to schedule a time to meet with  a  gifted intuitive/healer.  Be sure to browse the unique creative works by local artists.

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My advice?   Stop by Paradise Found - read the message board outside.  Come indoors - buy some prayer flags, shop for a book, ring a bell, pet the dog, or pick up a flier about a community event.   Consider - if just for a moment - where you are,  where you're going, and what it all means.

You may visit Paradise Found in person at 17 East Anapamu (805.564.3573).  Or, visit them online at Paradise Found.

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