Nationalism & Identity: What’s all the hype about?


By Leslie Evans

Identity. It’s what makes us human. It’s what separates us from all of the other living beings on Earth. Our ability to classify, divide, include, label ourselves in regards to how we look, where we’re from, and who we are. Perhaps one of the fundamental markers of human identity is being able to claim a home or place of belonging. Nationalism incites a sense of pride for most people, a lifelong pledge of loyalty and an enduring source of self-importance.

The quizzical thing about identity, nationalism in particular, is that it is often-times out of a person’s control. One cannot choose where he or she is born nor raised. A person does not choose his or her race. Someone doesn’t necessarily choose to belong to a certain religious affiliation (although later in life a person may decide to abandon these religious views or change beliefs, much to the detriment and shock of the family and community). However, it is these factors, race, culture, religion, which are so crucial to forming someone’s identity.

In these contentious times, rife with environmental uncertainty, economic instability, political inadequacy (namely, concerning the United States), and global upheaval on all these fronts, questions of national identity have yet again made their way to centre stage. Usually it is during times of war in which nationalism becomes a hot topic. During the World Wars, the British were proud to display their loyalty to The Queen. Similarly, in this time American patriotism began to really pick up steam. Collectively, Americans have always been a very proud people; Unabashed in flaunting their affinity for the red, white, and blue.

I’ve spent roughly ninety-percent of my life living in the States. I have an unmistakeable American accent when I speak. I know all of the slang and lingo. I am fully aware of the social and cultural cues and oddities (such as saying, “we should hangout sometime” is really a formal and politer way of indicating that no, you will not be hanging out anytime soon). I attended grade school in the States and received my Undergrad education at a public state college. Anyone reading this account would certainly proclaim that I am undoubtedly American. Yet, whenever I find myself waiting in line at passport control I have a choice between my American and German passports.

I belong to two separate nationalities; Germany, the country of my birth, and America, where I was educated and raised. Two identities which seem diametrically opposed: showy winners and silent losers. While I haven’t lived in Germany since moving to the U.S. at two and half years old, I will be relocating to Bavaria next week. Having spent no more than a couple of weeks at a time in Germany for holiday, I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for me. While I feel excited, a sense of trepidation is beginning to develop.

I have never lived in a country where I did not speak the language. As much as I hate to admit, and while it is a bit embarrassing, I do not speak fluent German. I understand it for the most part and enjoy watching local TV shows and dubbed movies. Regrettably, my German mother never encouraged much German speaking in our house. I don’t blame her as my father is American, thus making our home mostly an English-speaking home. Whenever I would visit friends and family in Germany, most conversations would take place in English as European school systems are much better at preparing youth for a globalised, interconnected world. This move should be an interesting endeavour, to say the least. On a positive note, the German government will be paying for me to take language courses. In the coming months, I should be able to not fumble my way through the Bavarian countryside in broken sentences, mismatched articles (who knows where “der” “die” and “das” go anyway?!) and unconjugated verbs.

As a dual-citizen, you grow up with a connection to two identities. When watching the World Cup, for example, my brother and I would always root for the German team. Whenever the Olympic Games took place, seeing either an American or German on the podium would make me happy, not necessarily proud, but happy. Yet, having a background that is different from the norm does sometimes set one up for backlash. During a particular Open House evening in elementary school, when my classmates heard my mother’s accent they asked where she was from. When they found out she was German I spent the rest of the second grade hearing childish jokes like, “you’ve got germs cuz you’re from GERM-any.” Eventually, when we reached the age where we were taught World History, I felt the gaze of the class as we learned about the horrors of the Nazis. I wouldn’t necessarily consider this as bullying, it never really bothered me. I didn’t feel hurt or ostracised. For the most part, Americans like the Germans. Almost like a national pastime, Americans love to tell anyone who will listen all about their ancestry… “Well, you see, my great-great-great-grandaddy was German and his last name was Mueller!” Ironically, it’s like a badge of honour for most Americans to claim their German lineage.

When answering the famous question, “do you consider yourself more German or American?” The answer is equivocally, “neither.” I am a person. I don’t feel the need to tie myself to arbitrary feelings of pride or loyalty. Personally, I feel as though all governments possess some inherent level of corruption and secrecy. Politicians, regardless of national affiliation, will always be self-serving in the end and disregard/ignore the pleas and wants from his or her constituents. Such is the nature of politics. From a cultural perspective, however, I find many aspects of both the American and German cultures to be endearing. I love the Bavarian Christmas traditions. I love (and miss) the food and family-fun of Thanksgiving in America. America’s love of hip-hop and rap is more appealing than the German’s love of 80’s techno. I appreciate how the Germans care more for nature and spend more time outdoors, go hiking, tend to their gardens, and actively recycle their rubbish.

And while the Americans may point the finger and laugh that the Germans essentially caused and brilliantly lost two World Wars (oh yeah, and don’t forget how evil Hitler was or how bad the Holocaust was), it can be easy to forget that EVERY nation has blemishes on its history. The genocide of the Native Americans, the unprovoked military invasions into numerous countries worldwide, the poisoning of its own citizens through lead-tarnished water supplies, are just a bit of the negative aspects of American history which are turned a blind eye to. How easy it is to forget one’s own shortcomings when you’re busy looking at other’s downfalls.

Enough with the tit-for-tat showdown. As a dual-citizen, I am ready to uncover the relatively unknown side of myself, the neglected German half. Perhaps living in the place of my birth will help me discover aspects of myself I never knew existed. Will I pick up a newfound appreciation for hiking? Will I thoroughly enjoy sorting through recycling? Do I secretly love cheesy 80’s electro music? Time will tell.



As countries and subsequent governments in the western world are now beginning to turn their attention to cannabis and the potential legalisation of this plant for medicinal and recreational purposes, one marijuana-derived product is already making waves in the vaping industry.

CBD oil has become a popular product on Irish vape shop shelves since its legalisation in early 2017. Since its introduction into the market, vape shops and health stores alike have seen a surge in sales of this once-illegal substance. CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant yet is supposedly said to deliver exceptional therapeutic health benefits. Unlike its high-inducing counterpart THC, CBD does not produce any euphoric high or stoned feeling (a comprehensive article on breaks down the scientific difference between the two compounds). Based off a quick internet search, proponents of CBD oil boast that it can be used to treat a wide array of ills ranging from anxiety to chronic pain. An in-depth article written by notes that this proclaimed miracle product has also been known to:

Reduce inflammation

Relieve multiple sclerosis symptoms

Treat symptoms of schizophrenia

Alleviate feelings of nausea and increase appetite

Treat depression

…and much more!

While CBD may be used topically (i.e. directly applied to the skin/affected area of the body), orally ingested as a tincture or capsule, the benefits of CBD can be gained easily and effectively through vaping. Wanting to see what all the buzz is about, I purchased a 10mL bottle of 100-milligram strength blueberry flavoured CBD e-liquid. Conveniently, this product can be used in place of traditional nicotine e-liquids and simply inserted into the e-cigarette’s tank.

Although I’ve only been using this product for a week, I’ve noticed that I after a few hits of CBD oil I feel laid back. My once anxious mind becomes more mellow and I can approach a task or problem with a calmer, more level-headed perspective.  Its effects are subtle and soothing, not like the sudden impact of a joint toke (after all, CBD is non-psychoactive). The blueberry flavour is not overpowering, reminds me of the lingering taste after eating a blueberry muffin. While one doesn’t experience a high nor stoned feeling after vaping this product, I do notice that I become more relaxed and, for lack of a better word, chill.

As I thankfully do not suffer from any serious chronic health conditions, I cannot personally attest to CBD’s pain alleviating qualities. Perhaps, it could be used the next time I have a migraine (I’ll report back if/when this happens). Yet, countless online web reviews of CBD oil products show that a majority of its users have found much needed relief in treating their specific ailments. The common consensus is that CBD oil has had a profound positive effect in most of its users lives. Those dealing with extreme social anxiety marvel as to how, after using CBD oil, they are now able to cope easily in social situations and no longer face nervousness or panic attacks. I also found several reviews from people suffering with severe chronic pain who were prescribed serious pain meds such as OxyContin but switched to CBD oil as it provided the same, if not better, relief without the devastating side effects.

Although I am not a doctor and am in no way qualified to taut CBD oil as a miracle drug, I find these reviews to be very promising. It is nice to see nature being used on a broader scale to help treat various medical issues. There’s something to be said about the incorporation of holistic approaches to healthcare.

Having had nothing but a pleasant experience from using CBD oil, I’ll probably up the ante and try out the 200-milligram strength whenever I’m ready to purchase a new bottle.


Honesty is the best policy.. but can I be honest with myself?

Abstaining from alcohol…Can I finally do it {for real} this time?

Booze. [bewwwww-z]

It’s everywhere. Seriously. Living in Ireland where there’s no shortage of pubs, drinking alcohol is seemingly engrained in the culture. A pint of Murphy’s is the Irish equivalent to a slice of wholesome, humble cherry pie. Not to knock on the Irish and their love of a hearty pint, Americans also share an affinity for alcohol. Clubs and bars in Houston are always thriving on the weekends, teeming with a slew of anxious, over-worked young adults ready to let loose and forget about the pressures of another busy week. Admittedly, I was one of those avid partiers, going out every weekend.. Every. Single. Weekend.

How it started

My history with alcohol began like most people’s. I never drank in high school. Being an overly-conscious good-girl/nerd who was focused on the important things in life like my grades, my nerdy friends, and maintaining a trim physique, drinking alcohol never interested me. However, during my freshman year of University I was introduced to an entirely new social setting. Attending a school in a large metropolis, far from the watchful gaze of my parents, I ended up befriending fun, crazy, wild, carefree people who also lived in my dormitory. I admired their zest for life, the way they confidently navigated their way through the nightclubs I had just been introduced to… I also watched in wonder as they showed off their fake ID’s and detailed the various ways they were able to purchase alcohol.

I learned a lot more besides academics in my first year of college. My new friends introduced me to the world of heavy partying… From Thursday night (our favorite nightclub hosted Ladies Night every Thursday) to Sunday night, most of week was a blur. Blasting techno in our dorm rooms, we took shots of Tito’s vodka, using Sprite we had purchased with our student cards as chasers. Only when we were all properly sauced up would we venture to a downtown club or bar. Even though we were all underage at the time, we never had issues being let into these drinking establishments. The world is really your oyster when you’re young, pretty, and carefree (dumb).

In hindsight, I am amazed and grateful that no one was ever busted for a DWI or involved in an alcohol-related traffic incident. Seriously. These booze-filled nighttime outings occurred far too often than I care to admit. And although I was never the one who was driving, especially after I had been drinking, there were plenty of instances when I was a passenger of a highly impaired drunk driver. I really have to give it up to my guardian angels because they really worked their asses off for me during those wild, formative freshman nights.

All that boozing wasn’t free from consequence, however. I came to find out how much my body hated me, especially after subjecting it to copious amounts of sugary, cheap drinks. My hangovers were brutal. After a wild night out, I would find myself barely clinging to life. My head was pounding, a headache so severe that it felt as though a miniature demon lived in my brain. I felt so nauseous that I couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. On days that I found myself really hungover, I physically could not leave my bed unless it was to throw up. Apologies for the graphic nature of this retelling but the harsh reality is that there truly exists a not-so-glamourous side to drinking, despite what the Ciroc ads want you to think.






Despite how shitty I felt, I continued to drink. It was a social activity. And in college, no one is drinking water of tea at a party. I enjoyed the party scene, I liked being around fun people who I believed really liked me. I loved the feeling of being popular as I had never really considered myself popular in the past.

I learned various stealth techniques of smuggling alcohol into prohibited locations, from the basic (i.e. taking a vodka-filled water bottle into a nightclub) to the more complex (using food coloring to dye an entire handle of tequila a fluorescent aquamarine hue in order to sneak it onto a cruise ship using a Listerine bottle). In retrospect, I shudder to think of how bougie all that behavior was. It’s not as though I truly needed to drink… It’s not like I couldn’t live without alcohol. I never had the urge to consume it on a daily basis. For me, I guess, alcohol was a crutch for me to feel more confident, a way to get through social situations… As a naturally outgoing and fun person (I can crack a joke every now and again), feeling tipsy/drunk made me even more carefree and act even crazier. With a glass of vodka soda in hand I felt unstoppable and untouchable. Nothing mattered in life except that particular moment. The throbbing pulse of dance music. The sea of beautiful faces lined up in the queue actively trying to meet the bartender’s gaze so that another round of shots could be ordered. I lived for the weekend and alcohol was a constant weekend companion throughout my undergrad years, giving me a (false) sense of confidence and coolness.

After graduating, I moved back home with my parents while searching for a job (one which would afford me my own apartment, essentially). Away from the party scene, I rediscovered my love for nature and sport. I regularly visited my local gym and spent almost every evening walking through the woods. I lost weight effortlessly. I felt stronger and leaner. The biggest change, however, was emotionally. For the first time in a while I experienced a zen-like inner peace which I never realized I had been missing.

No escaping

Eventually, I landed my first “big girl job” and found myself working in a typical office environment for a large corporation. I had taken the job with the best intentions of having it develop into a long, respectable career. Much to my surprise, my work environment turned out to be anything but typical.

As I worked in marketing, it was common and expected to attend various social and business networking events. I had preconceived notions that business people are professionals and would never openly showcase wild drinking behavior.. I was mistaken. Every networking event seemed like an excuse to booze. Managers, VP’s, [insert prestigious label here] engaged in drinking unfathomable amounts of booze, even during daytime functions. The particular team I worked with even had the reputation of being the wildest partiers in the industry. This title was well earned as the kitchen in our office was always stocked with Miller Lite, bottles of wine, and even vodka in the freezer. On Friday afternoons we would start the weekend early, mixing up Micheladas and drinking at our desks. If my boss was in a good mood, she’d whip up some mimosas (see photo below). Occasionally, we would all meet up at a strip club for a boozy lunch… I’m not kidding. At times I had to make sure I was sober enough to drive home after work.

You may be reading this and think to yourself, “Hell, sounds like a fun place to work! I wish I had that job.” While I did have a lot of fun, I knew that this company did not possess the qualities of a reputable, long-lasting enterprise. I was right, as the company eventually was purchased by a competitor and we all found ourselves out of a job. The party had ended.

From denial to acceptance

My time working in the alcohol-obsessed office really skewed my reality a bit. As I had moved out of parents’ house and was once again living in the city, I embraced the party scene once more, with even more fervor. Now being a working young-adult, as were all of my friends, going bar hopping was a normal activity. I felt as though this is what I should be doing. Everyone my age goes out. I would tell myself. And then I would spend yet another Sunday morning, dying in my bed from another hangover. Miserable. And then sheepishly regretting my actions from the night before. I shouldn’t have pre-gamed so hard. I should have just stuck with beer. Why did I have to take that tequila shot? Okay, those two tequila shots? And as I would spend the next 6+ hours of the day vomiting up my insides I promised myself that I would never drink again. However, true to form, it was another weak pledge I had made to myself… I would go right back into the going-out routine, drinking excessively, waking up hungover, cursing myself and vowing to stop. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

As I write all of this down now, I realize that I am confronting this issue honestly and blatantly. I have been putting off this self-intervention of sorts for far too long. Somehow we believe that an alcoholic is easy to point out: a disheveled mess of person, fumbling around in a dirty house searching for a fifth of the nastiest liquor just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. Or maybe, some people picture an alcoholic as someone who has to drink every single day. With those generalizations in mind it is easy to see how one may rationalize one’s own behavior around booze, or any substance for that matter. And while I wouldn’t consider myself as someone in desperate need of AA or the like, I have to come clean to myself.. I’m getting older and it’s time to, finally, face an uncomfortable truth about myself that I’ve been avoiding/unwilling to admit: alcohol is NOT my friend.

I have to ask myself: Can I be a person worthy of my own respect? I think back to the last time I truly felt content with who I was as I person and it has been far too long ago. As I consciously choose to and work towards living a life free from booze, I hope to uncover what truly brings me joy, excitement, and confidence.

Cheers to the future. *raises a teacup

My name is Leslie and, after reviewing my long, complicated relationship with alcohol, have decided that a break-up is for the best.

Sag Season

The season of Sagittarius is upon us. From November 21 until December 21, the outwardly thinking and global spirit of Sag encourages us to put a focus on building social connections, finding what truly inspires us, and finding ways of making our voices heard. All of these attributes perfectly coincide with the social and communal holiday season. As we approach Christmas, think of ways to share the loving and giving spirit of Yuletide.

My boyfriend, Denis, and I have answered the call of charity by opening our home to a foster dog. Foxy, an adorable little Cojack with bright, almond-shaped eyes and ridiculously short legs, has been such a lovely addition to our home. At six years old, Foxy was given up by his original family (for reasons unbeknownst to us) and thrust into an overly-crowded and very busy local animal shelter. Being unaccustomed to life outside of a loving home, this little guy was confused and scared, to say the least.

After seeing his mug on Facebook, I reached out to the shelter to see what we could do. Less than an hour later we had a dog and what little belongs he had (a leash and a bag of kibble). While we cannot commit to keeping Foxy indefinitely, becoming his foster pet parents has been such a gift. We are delighted to see him transition from a scared, confused pup to a vibrant little guy with such a loving and affectionate disposition. With plenty of fireside cuddles, neighborhood strolls, and cheeky treats of Black Forest ham (only the best for Foxy), Denis and I are happy to show Foxy what a loving household is all about.

This Sag season, find ways to contribute or give back to your community or a cause you feel strongly about. Any generous gesture, no matter how big or small, will make a difference. Despite living a world where we are bombarded with bad news and depressing headlines, you can be a source of light and a beacon of positivity.




Spiritual circle

Before moving to Ireland, I had no clue just how popular and ubiquitous spirituality and metaphysical studies are here. Having begun a spiritual journey of everything from astrology, crystals, reiki, and so forth when I was back in Texas, I was hopeful that I would at least find perhaps a few people with similar interests.

Cork City boasts a lovely little metaphysical shop called Dervish. After a few shopping trips, I built up the courage to chat with the friendly woman behind the counter. I asked if she knew of any spiritual development groups and she immediately showed me the weekly schedule. Apparently, there were classes hosted every evening, everything from spirituality for beginners, intro to Shamanism, and a psychic and mediumship development circle. Intrigued, I signed up for the psychic circle classes hosted every Wednesday evening. Not really knowing what to expect I was just excited by the prospect of being around psychics and intuitives.

Probably the most common misconception of psychic circles. No, we do not perform seances! We are only working in the light. 

I’ve been attending this weekly class for over one month now, and I am delighted to report that it has opened the door to so many wonderful gifts and opportunities. The class is hosted by renowned Kinsale-based psychic medium Norah Desmond. Each week, approximately eight of us ( a mixture of men and women) meet at the top floor of the Dervish shop and practice honing in on our intuitive abilities. Norah, being the skilled and talented teacher that she is, guides us into strengthening all “our clairs”:

Clairvoyance: clear seeing

This is the most common way psychics, and intuitives retrieve their information. Typically, images are “seen” through the third eye/mind’s eye. This process is very similar to a daydream. When connecting to the spirit world, one may see visions about the past, present, or future. Some visions may come across very strongly and vividly while one may only see glimpses or flashes of a visual. Through active practice and working to develop one’s clairvoyance, the visions will become stronger. Personally, since attending the psychic development classes, I’ve noticed a tremendous increase in lucid dreaming. Maybe there’s something to be said about tapping into one’s third eye.

Clairaudience: clear hearing

Ever hear that voice in your head? Sometimes, it’ll say something to the effect of “turn right!” while you’re driving down the road. You can’t explain why you heard it, but the sound plays in your head. This is an intuitive skill known as clairaudience. One may hear voices, various sounds, or music. Sound is a great tool that spirit uses to communicate to us.

Clairsentience: clear feeling

Ever experience a strong “gut feeling” that overwhelms you? For instance, you might be walking along a dark, empty street at night and feel unsafe, fearful, or worried. Similarly, you might walk past a stranger and for no clear reason, they give off a bad vibe and give you the creeps! This is your intuition’s way of communicating with you to keep you out of harm’s way. In a psychic sense, developing one’s clairsentience means being able to connect to the feelings experienced by spirit. When in the presence of a spirit or energy from behind the veil, the sensations are unmistakable. Being aware of the feelings which arise within you which will improve your psychic abilities.

Clairalience: clear smelling

Gifted mediums and intuitives can utilize all their senses when connecting with spirit. This holds true for the sense of smell. For example, smelling the scent of tobacco smoke may indicate that a spirit is present which enjoyed smoking a tobacco pipe while he was alive on earth. Pungent smells, either a particular perfume or flowers, indicate an unmistakable connection to particular spirits which are trying to come forward. As the saying goes, “the nose knows!” Clairalience is a skill I would love to strengthen.

Clairgustance: clear tasting

Ever daydream about eating something you’re craving, say a cheeseburger with fries, and you can almost taste it in your mouth? This experience can also occur on a psychic level when spirit tries to communicate with us. Often, a particular taste is associated with a memory which has a powerful meaning. Recently, I had a psychic medium connect with my grandmother, and she said she had an overwhelming taste of mint and herbs in her mouth. Oddly enough, my grandmother was a big-time fan of Ricola herb candies, or as she called them, “bom boms.”

Claircognizance: clear knowing

This occurs when you suddenly know people or events in which you normally would not have knowledge about. Spirit comes through to us and leaves us with a premonition about a future event which requires faith to trust this message. Claircognizance gives us knowing which is often inexplicable and is up to us to heed the message or not.

Before beginning the mediumship development exercises, each class starts off with a deep meditation to open our chakras and connect with spirit and Source energy. This is one of my favorite times of the week because it allows me to truly escape and encourages a stronger connection to my spirit within. I have also utilized the meditation techniques learned in class to my daily life. I now try to find at least ten minutes a day to silently retreat and meditated.

Besides learning great psychic exercises, I’ve met so many wonderful like-minded people. It is so nice to spend time with kindred spirits. I have learned that my interests in spiritual development are shared by others, which is awesome! Furthermore, I was asked to be the chairperson for the Centre of Spirit’s monthly Divine Service which is held at the Metropole Hotel. Last week I hosted my first event, and it was a lovely occasion. I met so many talented and inspiring people and enjoyed in-depth and stimulating discussions. I am very much looking forward to next month’s service.

If the psychic development circle has taught me anything, it is that there is always something new to discover. We are students in this life, and we never stop growing and learning.


The History of Halloween

One of the most beloved holidays of the year, Halloween is usually a festive time enjoyed by millions around the globe complete with fun costumes, spooky tales, and the consumption of copious amounts of candy. However, the true origins of this tradition remain a mystery to most.

Halloween has its roots in Celtic tradition dating back over two thousand years to the festival known as Samhain. The people of ancient Celtic Ireland believed that the veil between the living world and the spirit world was thinnest during this time of year, thus allowing easier contact between the living and the dead. Deceased loved ones and ancestors were invited to return to the home to visit with living family members while malevolent spirits were warded off. Many believed that by wearing disguises, costumes, and masks, unwanted/harmful spirits were kept at bay. This is how the tradition of dressing up for Halloween has remained with us throughout the ages. Granted, I doubt an evil spirit would be warded off by someone dressed up as a sexy cat or Baywatch lifeguard.

In pagan tradition, Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the new one, similar to New Year’s Eve. As explained by

The perceptible, and apparent, decline in the strength of the sun at this time of year was a source of anxiety for early man and the lighting of the Winter Fires here symbolised mans attempt to assist the sun on its journey across the skies. Fire is the earthly counterpart of the sun and is a powerful and appropriate symbol to express man’s helplessness in the face of the overwhelming sense of the decay of nature as the winter sets in.

Now the sun has descended into the realm of the underworld, the forces of the underworld were in the ascendency. The lord of the underworld, unfettered from the control of the sun, now walked the earth and with him travelled all those other creatures from the abode of the dead. Ghosts, fairies and a host of other non-descript creatures went with him. The Lord of the Dead in Celtic mythology can be identified as Donn.

The Psychic Teachers discuss The Thinning of the Veil in this week’s podcast. Deb, a practicing pagan, outlines her traditions for this holiday, including hosting a silent supper (“dumb supper”-where “dumb” refers to being silent) in which food is served to loved ones in the spirit world. This tradition is believed to honor those who have crossed over.

Do you notice the thinning of the veil during this time of year?

Awakening Your Third Eye

On this week’s episode, the Deb and Samantha discuss various techniques to tap into and open the third eye chakra- the space between the two eyebrows in the center of the forehead which is responsible for intuition and mediumship (this article also provides great methods). I found this discussion to be especially helpful as I am actively working on strengthening my psychic “muscle.”






COTW: Lapis Lazuli

Dating as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, this crystal was highly coveted as it promotes serenity while strengthening intuition. Usually a deep dark blue color with a hint of golden specks, Lapis Lazuli is the quintessential third eye chakra opener. Not only does this stone assist with clairvoyance, it resonates with the throat chakra and assists in heightening clairaudience as well. Because of it’s strong metaphysical properties, lapis aids in psychic work, promotes vivid, prophetic dreams, and enhances spiritual powers.

Meditating with lapis lazuli can assist you in uncovering your true purpose by stimulating your ability to intuitively read yourself. It helps you take charge of your life by revealing truths and underlying issues. This crystal also encourages self-expression, therefor may aid in releasing anger and other negative emotions which may be blocking your throat chakra.

AOTW: Wolf

Wolf represents the teacher as it is deeply connected to the unconscious and psychic wisdom. Wolf is also tied to moon energy. Those that are drawn to wolf energy and symbology are teachers in some capacity or are called to be teachers. Wolf also reminds us to be open to learn and to be the teacher in our own life. We are also reminded to seek out solitude and space just to be with our own company so that we may delve more deeply into the mysteries of life and ourselves.

The sixth chakra, third eye (aka brow chakra, ajna chakra, or guru chakra), is located directly between the two eye brows. It is from here that we transcend our duality, the door or gateway into the universe and “all that is.” It is connected to the pineal gland which rules sleep/wake cycles and melatonin production. To keep the pineal gland healthy it needs a balance of sunlight and complete darkness. This can be achieved by spending time outdoors while the sun is out, ideally being in sunlight for ten minutes or so (easier said than done, especially since I live in Ireland!) and sleeping in complete darkness (yay blackout curtains!).

The book of the week is The Definitive Guide to Increasing Your Awareness by Penney Peirce. You can download an audible version of this book using a free trial through




The Four Types of Empaths

COTW: Covellite

Working with covellite helps you connect to your Higher Self and find ways to transform your dreams into reality. This would be an ideal stone to incorporate into a crystal grid, especially with an intention of manifestation.

A powerful stone, covellite strengthens psychic ability and intuition as it opens and awakens the Third Eye chakra. It is said to increase clairvoyance, aid in astral travel, and promote lucid dreaming. Also known as the Medium’s Stone, covellite can help one connect to spirits and energy “behind the veil.”

Before diving into what the ladies notes as the four main types of empaths, it’s important to recognize the characteristic and traits often experienced by empaths (and determine if you are an empath as well):

4 types of Empaths:

Nature empath

A nature empath is someone who is sensitive to the natural world around them. They may feel drawn to certain areas, either a beach or mountains for example and feel as though their energy is heightened by being in these particular places. Nature empaths generally feel more at peace and balanced when connecting to the natural environment. It is not unusual for these people to seek out alone time outside in order to “recharge” or reconnect. Grounding, by walking barefoot on a grassy surface for instance, is a wonderful technique for nature empaths to balance their energies, especially if they have been stuck indoors in or a city for too long.

Animal empath

Have you ever known someone who was drawn to animals and animals always seemed to be drawn to him or her? Does it seem as though this person is able to speak to animals? These are common occurrences for animal empaths.

Physical empath

A physical empath can physical feel within their own bodies the aches and pains of those close to them. For example, if a coworker is complaining of a headache, an empath may begin to develop a headache. This phenomena is also prevalent in many mediums who may feel a physical pain from a spirit trying to relay a message of an illness or the manner in which he/she passed on.

Emotional/Intuitive empath

Being emotionally or intuitively empathic is very common among highly spiritual and enlightened individuals. By having trained and developed one’s intuitive abilities (by opening the 7 chakras, for example) allows one to be highly sensitive to the auric energy of those around them. While it may be comforting to be able to read and identify the emotions of others, it is imperative to prevent taking on too many negative emotions from others. As empaths are often predisposed to codependency as a way of always helping others, it is crucial to recognize when the helping transitions into being taken advantage of or victimized (which often happens when an empath is near/close to a narcissistic or egomaniac).

The breakdown before the breakthrough

Out of curiosity: 

Does one truly have to go through a dark night of the soul in order to grow?

Is change really that painful? 

So often in life, we have to work up the courage to be our own champion. Never have I felt that more than now. I guess you could say I’ve lead a pretty easy, sheltered life. Some may even say spoiled. I grew up in a tight-knit, loving family. I did well in school, got the high marks, finished Uni, and got a decent job.

I basically “gave it all away” when I packed up and moved to Ireland, leaving everything I knew behind, including a teaching job which I felt gave my life meaning. Within me, I knew that moving away and furthering my education was the right thing to do at that time. Yet, a year later, a feeling of regret lingers in my chest along with the proverbial “Did I do the right thing?” question floating around in my mind..

Regret is not an empowering feeling to say the least. I blame myself for being silly enough to throw the comforts of a stable job away, to move to a country where I feel like an outsider. And yes, at times I do feel lonely and homesick, especially when the sun doesn’t appear for days on end and I long for a few moments of Houston’s heat and humidity.

Last night, after spending an entire day indoors because of Hurricane Ophelia, my boyfriend and I were preparing for bed. He looked over and asked:

Is everything okay?

Me: Yeah, why?

Him: You honestly just seem a little down recently.

Me: I guess it’s just who I am. 

We ended up staying up the entire night talking (and me crying like a sap into a cup of tea). Understandably, he was concerned by my low mood and, in typical boyfriend form, tried to come up with ways to solve it. Perhaps I was feeling sad because I was stir crazy from staying in the house for so long because of bad weather. Maybe the lack of a “normal” 9 to 5 has me feeling unimportant. Or maybe, the metaphorical elephant in the room was my loss of direction in my life and feeling as though I have nothing to show for myself. Quite a heavy discussion topic for a Monday night, but my rock of a boyfriend gave me the chance to explain myself completely.

The truth is: The self-respect I’m so desperately searching for will not appear from outside sources. I cannot make other people, especially my boyfriend, responsible for my happiness. Additionally, I cannot let my memories of the past occupy too much headspace. As the saying goes, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Having spent so long comparing my life in Ireland now to what I had, did, etc. in Texas stole any chance I had on being content.

*Que the messy, ugly, emotional breakdown*

I’m shedding my perception of what makes me who I am. Without the labels (i.e. student, teacher, etc.) used to describe myself, I am left to define myself in new terms which is both liberating and terrifying. I’ve always had opportunities presented to me. I always knew my place, the role I had to play, the tasks I had to accomplish. Now I’m left with a blank page in front of me. Where do I go next? What should I do??

Each day is a chance to move forward. Though I may not have the clearest picture of where I hope to end up, fulfilling goals each day and being open to challenge myself are ways to fulfill my need for self-approval and dignity.

So, to answer the questions presented earlier:

Does one truly have to go through a dark night of the soul in order to grow? 


Is change really that painful? 


In closing, I am glad I shared my sadness and worries with my partner, and now I guess, the Internet community. Each day may be different, my mood may shift, yet I have to always remember that I have to experience the pain of uncertainty in order to grow and reach my full potential.



Unsolved Mystery Show: Exploring Hy Brasil

This week’s episode focuses on strange phenomena resulting from extraterrestrial encounters and the mystifying “lost island” of Hy Brasil off the Irish coast. This subject matter is always very compelling as with most paranormal and spiritual topics, lost worlds and civilizations are always shrouded in mystery.

COTW: Labradorite (“The Bringer of Light”)

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this crystal. Upon first glance, the stone appears to be plain black in color. When light hits it, however, an enchanting iridescent blue color emerges.

Judy Hall, the reigning expert on the metaphysical properties of crystals, labradorite should be the ideal stone (either worn or carried) for intuitives and psychics as it has the ability to protect energy by strengthening one’s aura while simultaneously allowing energy to be open to receiving new information. This stone can powerfully raise our vibrations, enabling us to better connect with the metaphysical realm.

Additionally, labradorite is known to bring healing and comfort to empaths and is a great stone to use when overcoming pain from past lives. Meditating with a piece of labradorite on the third eye is always said to be a powerful experience. Working with labradorite can also:

  • assist with astral work
  • stimulates intuition and psychic gifts
  • helps bring messages from the unconscious to the surface
  • banishes insecurities
  • helps remove people’s projections that have been imprinted on your aura
  • bring positive, fun energy into the home
  • aid in dealing with changes in the workplace
  • inspire fiction writers, play writes, screenwriters, composers or anyone in the creative arts
  • reconnect psychics to their intuitive gifts and abilities
  • sleeping with labradorite under one’s pillow is said to bring about creative dreams

Labradorite can be properly cleansed and recharged when there is a rainbow in the sky. How cool is that?

AOTW: Bat (The birth of the old self and the rebirth of the new)

The cute and spooky quintessential October animal, bat, represents the concept of rebirth. The bat symbolizes being able to release and let go of old emotions, anger, resentments, past hurts, disappointments, etc. Seeing a bat in real life or an image of a bat delivers a reminder to release any negative emotions and feelings which do not serve in your best interest. Grow and become your future. 

While it may not be wise to get close to a wild bat, these bat wings would be the perfect costume for your pet. Perhaps a “cat-bat” can channel the same energies of rebirth and personal growth. In the very least, dressing up your pet in an adorable costume will bring a smile to your face.

Deb and Samantha then go on to tell the story of a possible extraterrestrial encounter in 1980. I encourage you to take the time to listen to this incredibly interesting story for yourself! If you have the slightest interest in UFOs or aliens (ancient astronaut theorists unite!), you will thoroughly enjoy this episode.

The book of the week is Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds by Frank Joseph. You can download an audible version of this book using a free trial through