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Monday, June 26, 2017

Learning On Many Levels - Alternatives

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance. 

Not only do I believe in signs and intuition, I believe somewhere inside me I do know the answer to problems I’m confronting. What I also believe (actually know is true) is that there are answers to problems I have that don’t like.

We always have choices. To do nothing is a choice. To complain is a choice. And it isn’t unusual to do one or both (although I do see complaining as ‘doing something’) because we don’t like the action options or choices we see. The world would be a very different place if the choices before us were always presented in ways that gave us an easy choice. Something we like versus something we don’t like.

However life does not usually do that (my experience). We have choices where we pick the least objectionable, least restrictive, least favorable instead of what we’d really like to do because that choice isn’t on the table.

So, back to me and how I make choices, find solutions ‘outside the box’.

If you’ve read Diana the third book in my Sacred Women’s Circle series, you’ll know she used a Tarot deck to make decisions. (Check out the cover and you'll see an overlay of Tarot cards).

There are times I do use a Tarot deck myself. And while I was at the conference I had a Tarot reading with Deborah Wellborn, the Sunshine Psychic. In her reading I learned that I needed to clean up the ‘stuff’ in my life (my friend’s tangled mess) in order to have my own joy and happiness.

I also checked my Messenger Oracle deck by Ravynne Phelan and drew cards whose messages supported my Tarot reading. I also purchased a couple of new decks and had similar ‘readings’ from them. One even gave me an exercise to do to move me in the right direction.

While visiting my friend, Lois, we had numerous conversations about The Dalai Lama and wise compassion and other Buddhist beliefs. I overlay my challenges with my friend over those constructs to see directions I could take that were different than the path I’d been on.

In the meantime, just being away from the daily deluge of issues gave me time and space to step back and see how I’d been part of my own problem, to take stock of my own values and beliefs.

So, when near the end of my time in Arizona Deborah interpreted my Natal Chart (my first) and I looked at my 2016 chart and how congested it was in a particular place, I easily saw all signs were pointing to my doing something different in order to gain my own balance and peace of mind.

By the time I sat down with my friend and his attorney a couple of days after my return, I was clear about what I could and would do and what I would no longer do.

Of course now I’m in the position of staying the course and not veering back to old ways of handling my friend’s problems. But in the end, it is a win-win for both of us. 

We’ve been friends for almost 37 years…not something I want to throw away. And I do have a life of my own and have reclaimed it—well, to be honest that is a work in progress. I’m making headway and am catching up on those things (like writing), that got shoved aside over the past 5+ months.

What do you do to find solutions to problems that your everyday process doesn’t handle? I’m always looking for new ideas so please share!


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Learning on Many Levels: The Grackle

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

You may remember at the end of last week’s post I said I’d tell you a story about a Grackle. Here’s the story:
In 2014 when I attended the Desert Dreams Writers conference, a bird kept visiting my room. Well, not actually in my room, but it sat on the railing outside my room. My friend, Lois, told me it was a Grackle. Now Grackles are big and dark, resembling a crow or raven if you’ve never seen one. Being someone who believes that animals (including birds, reptiles, insects) bear messages, I looked up Grackle in Ted Andrew’s Animal Speak book.
Fast forward to 2017. I’m again in Arizona attending the Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference where I’m not only presenting a workshop but also participating in the Readers’ Experience. (More on that later). One of the things I needed for my “Book Club” was a stash of desert quartz. My friend, Lois, had some she was willing to share.
The day was Hot (especially to my Pacific Northwest self). We gathered the desert quartz but had another task to perform before returning to air conditioned comfort.
Grackle - we put nuts out so I could take pictures


Three large black birds sat on tree limbs a few feet away and were chattering away as if giving us advice on how to go about our task. At one point I turned towards them and had a ‘conversation’ with them, assuring them we would finish quickly and leave them alone, reminding them that we are all part of the larger circle of life, etc.
When we were done and had returned to air conditioned comfort, I asked Lois what those large black birds were. “Grackles,” she replied.
So out came Ted Andrews’ book as I refreshed my memory as to their significance.
What you don’t know unless you know me personally is that when I arrived in Arizona a couple of days earlier I was struggling with a conundrum of difficulties. I’d been obsessively talking about the challenges in my life. I’m sure my friends were sick of me chattering on and on about it—but even though I knew I was repeating myself off I’d go again.
Grackle=overcoming excess and emotional life congestion.
 We laughed out loud when I read this question.
Are we simple rehashing and talking about them without doing anything to correct the emotional situations of our life?
There and then I made a plan to figure out how to correct the problem and vowed I would not talk about it unless it was in the form of a solution. I’m not going to tell you an answer immediately appeared but as I write this, not only did it appear it has been implemented.
Seeking answers in innovative ways can solve problems in a more rapid and satisfying manner than just bemoaning the fact that there is a problem and we don’t have a ready answer.


Next week I’ll share a couple of ways I search ‘outside the box’ for the keys to solving sticky and sometimes just ordinary issues.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on
 my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Learning On Many Levels

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

Last week at this time I was traveling home from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area of Arizona. I promised in the post I’d scheduled for my travel day that if you checked in this week, you’d learn more about my trip and the conference.

I am fortunate enough to have friends in the Phoenix area therefore I traveled a week before Desert Dreams so I could spend time re-creating myself on several levels. This year has been one of unforeseen challenges and I’d diverted from my writing routine. Deviated enough that I wasn’t as happy and energized as I wanted to be.

Spending a week before the conference gave me time to reflect on what has been happening in my life and make some decisions.

My Android Tablet was my friend, giving me an easy place to read some craft books (highly recommend Maggie McVey Lynch’s Book One Secrets Every Author Should Know, ChuckHeintzelman “The Author’s Guide to E-book Bundling”. (Click on Chuck's link to learn about Bundle Rabbit). Learned a lot about the importance of attitude from Dean Wesley Smith in his “Writing a Novel in Seven Days”. Mary Buckham “Writing Active Setting – Book 1” had great examples that drove home her point.

And since all work and no play makes for a dull blog post, I will also admit to finishing a great reread of Sarah Addison Allen’s “Garden Spells”. Yes, it is back on my keeper shelf. Enjoyed former Genre-ista and Cover Designer of my Sacred Women’s Circle book covers Christy Carlyle’s “Rules for a Rogue”. I purchased Victoria Alexander’s “The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen” and read that in the airport and on the plane.

The time away from my ‘real life’ was long enough for me to realize what the changes were that I needed to make. And after that initial realization, I gained clarity on what those changes needed to be.

Every day I engaged in fantastic discussions on a wide variety of topics several of them having to do with the Buddhist view of the world. I’ve made a commitment to aspire to wise compassion.

Changing Hands is a great book store. We traveled from North Phoenix to the one in Tempe because it is so much bigger than the one in downtown Phoenix. I went looking for something in particular and came home with three decks of cards: two Tarot Decks and one Oracle Deck.

Mikhaela Asheena and I have talked over the years when I’ve visited Vision Quest which I’ve done whenever I’ve been in town. Mikhaela is an expert in Sacred Geometry and I’ve learned a lot about that subject in my conversations with her. 

Check out her creations and you’ll see what I mean about being inspired by her. One of the joys of this trip was gifting her with a copy of Gabriella and sharing with her how she inspired me to keep learning so Gabriella would know enough to have find her way to Giovanni Migliori. I will always remember the surprise and joy on her face when I handed her her copy. 

So much more to share but rather than do an exceptionally long post, I’m breaking it down. Next week I’ll share a story about the Grackle (bird in case you didn’t know) and tracking down rose quartz and desert quartz.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19


Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sacred Women's Circles Create Sacred Space - Part Two



Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

When you are reading this post, I’ll be on my way home from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference. Look for more about my time there next Monday, June 12th.

Last week I talked about women’s circle and Sacred Women’s Circles. Today I want to share more about them.

In addition to my own Sacred Women’s Circle, I also participate in the Women of the 14th Moon Celebrations. This truly is a Sacred Women’s Circle. My first one had 100 women in attendance. There was no judgement. No one looked at another woman and thought she should have put on her make-up, worn a different blouse, was too tall, too thin, too fat, etc. (We were camping out in a large field with port-a-potties, tents, no electricity, etc.). I was fifty-three and so was a ‘crone’, a wise woman. I was taken care of. If I needed to use the port-a-potty, I got escorted to the front of the line.
The horse hide drum I made and use at 14th Moon

Same for meals. The crones were always first. The singing and drumming was amazing. But what was even more magical was the time in the evening when each crone was invited to stand and talk to the other women. We could say whatever we wanted to say and talk for however long we wanted. To this day I remember what I talked about, how surreal it felt to have 99 other women listen to me.

Is it any wonder that after over 20 years of being a part of women’s circles and Sacred Women’s circles they are a constant theme a major thread in my stories?

The stories in The Sacred Women’s Circle series follows the seven members of The Circle as they face life’s challenges including the scariest of all—the love of their life. They battle themselves as they find the courage to grasp what they want without the certainty they’ll reach that goal. Even seeing the other women find their happily-ever-after, does not mean the next circle member believes it can happen to her.

Lily, Elizabeth, Diana, Ashley, Hunter, Gabriella and Sophia are stories about independent women who’ve weathered many of life’s challenges. Domestic violence, infidelity, divorce, single parenting, custody battles, abandonment issues, child abuse, death of a spouse, recurrent cancer treatment are the main themes but in addition, each woman must also face her own inner demons.

With the support of her Circle sisters and using her own personal spiritual practices, each finds her way through the ups and downs, doubts and fears to her own happiness.

One of my goals in writing this series is to show readers the options they have both in terms of spiritual practices but also in the support that can come in the form of a woman’s circle.

Some of my readers who have a different spiritual or religious background still enjoy my stories because of the way these friends interact. It has given them a new view of their own relationships and some have made the decision to form their own Sacred Women’s Circle.

I’m here to support and cheer you on regardless of the direction you go.

Please leave a comment. I do want to know your thoughts, especially about what it would be like to be a part of a Sacred Women’s Circle.

And if you’ve not read any of The Sacred Women’s Circle series you can easily see if you’d like to read them all by reading Book One Lily: The Dragon and The Great Horned Owl.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter:@JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB!