Celebrate Cats

World Cat Day – August 8

It’s World Cat Day, also known as International Cat Day, and we’re celebrating our beloved felines worldwide.

Cats In Our Lives

In this article World Cat Day: When, how and why cats enslaved humanity, we learn how African wildcats came to us through the Fertile Crescent.

The first domestic cats appeared 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent during the debut of the Neolithic Era. As agricultural societies flourished, so did the rodents that feasted in grain stores.

Where prey gather, predators will flock. And in the case of the rodents, the African wildcat came to terrorise them. The wildcats were fast and fierce, devouring the rats with ease.

Today, most pet cats claim descent from the Egyptian or the Near Eastern lineage of the African wildcat.

Bast, Egyptian God

In ancient Egyptian times, a cat god called Bast (also known as Bastet) was celebrated.

Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women’s secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth.
She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women and children.
She was the daughter of the sun god Ra and is associated with the concept of the Eye of Ra (the all-seeing eye).

Homes Filled With Feline Love

Of course, if you live with cats, you know that every day is World Cat Day. They fill our homes with love.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) who live with cats, every time we touch our felines we are accessing universal energy. It’s a wonderful exchange of healing love between you and your pets. Using this technique allows you to support your cat at deeper levels of healing and balancing.

Mystical Cats

The late Terry Pratchett once said, “In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

Let’s hope they never forget their deity roots. Here’s to our mystical, magical cats!

Happy Thanksgiving Day

A Day For A Feast

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA. A time for family and friends to gather for a Thanksgiving meal and to share in the abundance and generosity of life.

A Meal From The Past

Thanksgiving is a time of feasting – harkening back to 1621 when Native Americans and Pilgrims shared in a festival that celebrated a successful corn harvest.

Though turkey was consumed on that first Thanksgiving, much of what we have to eat today was not on the menu. Cranberry sauce would not have been there. The sugar sacks the Pilgrims brought with them were depleted by then and cooks didn’t start boiling cranberries with sugar until about 50 years later.

Potatoes, sweet or white, were not consumed at the time, but turnips might have made their way to the table. Without flour or butter, the settlers couldn’t make a pie crust and they hadn’t constructed an oven for baking yet. Cooking was done over an open fire or in hot ashes.

One item frequently off our Thanksgiving menu is seafood, but mussels were abundant in New England and it’s likely the colonists included them in their feast.

On The Menu

For Thanksgiving in the United States, the dinner table will be laden with pumpkin and pecan pies, green bean casserole with fried onions sprinkled over it, candied-yams casserole with toasted marshmallows on top, cranberry sauce and the ubiquitous roasted turkey.

Some Call It Stuffing, Some Call It Dressing

Seasoned bread cubes combined with celery, onions and carrot are part of the Thanksgiving menu.

Some like corn bread stuffing, while others prefer a plain bread stuffing. Some put the stuffing in the turkey, others prefer to bake it separately. Still others eschew the whole stuffing/dressing idea all together feeling that there are enough carbohydrates in the dinner rolls and mashed potatoes.

It’s called stuffing by most, but some call it dressing and others use both terms interchangeably. It can be argued that it’s called stuffing if it’s stuffed inside the turkey, and dressing if it’s baked in its own dish. But, these are only style points. It all goes with the turkey.

With Berries Or Without

Some like cranberry sauce smooth and jellied and others like it with berries. Cranberry sauce is there to cut the richness of the other main-meal foods. Some like their cranberry sauce straight out of the can to include the little ridges left from the can, others like it homemade.

Pie For Thanksgiving

Every family has its own variations on a theme – some prefer sweet potato pie over pumpkin pie. Some like to toss in an apple pie. Some choose not to debate it and include all three pies for dessert. Pecan pie is a favorite. Pies dominate over cakes for this holiday.

Time To Eat

Then, there’s a debate on how to eat it. Some ascribe to the notion that the food is best enjoyed by getting a bit of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce on your fork… all for just one mouthful. Others believe each bite should be consumed individually and thoroughly enjoyed.

Still others prefer to remain vegetarian and celebrate Thanksgiving with all the sides and skip the turkey!

However you enjoy your feast, it’s a time to give thanks for all we have.

Whether you are with a lot of family, just a few family members, or by yourself, let gratitude pour into your heart. Gratitude for this very bite of food.

Happy Thanksgiving.

National Coffee Day

Let’s Celebrate Coffee

Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.
— Thomas Jefferson

Everything has its day and coffee is no exception. National Coffee Day is September 29 and is celebrated in the United States.

It’s not as if every day isn’t coffee day, but hey, it’s fun to actually call it out loud and celebrate this dark brew that comforts us.

After all, we didn’t always have coffee.

Introduction Of Coffee

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy.
— History of Coffee

Coffee spread throughout Europe, dripping its way into Italy, France, Germany and England. Coffee began to replace the common breakfast drink beverages of the time — beer and wine. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol started the day alert and energized, and the quality of their work was notably improved.

The Birth Of The Coffeehouse

Coffeehouses soon sprang up all over Europe and, across the lands, they became a platform for people from all walks of life, especially artists and students, to come together and chat.

In The Netherlands, the Dutch were initially more interested in coffee as a trade commodity since they cultivated coffee in their colonies. However, in the 1660s, the Dutch coffeehouse grew in popularity and took on a decidedly unique style of rich décor and lush gardens. These coffeehouses were located in the financial districts of Dutch cities and thus, were places where merchants and financiers conducted business meetings.

In the 1680s, the Dutch introduced coffee to Scandinavia. Today, this far northern region has the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world.

In England, London coffeehouses became an integral part of social culture by 1660. People nicknamed coffeehouses Penny Universities due to the entrance fee of one penny and all the writers, artists, poets, lawyers and politicians who patronized them. Customers benefited from more than just hot steaming cups of coffee, they shared in the intellectual conversation that swirled around them.

Originally called The Turk’s Head, the Jamaica Wine House was one of London’s first coffeehouses. It opened between 1650 and 1652.

In North America, coffee traveled across the ocean blue in 1668. The first coffeehouse that opened in New York in 1696 was called The King’s Arms. Coffeehouses were not for the literature scene, because the early colonists had no professional writers of note.

Instead, for New Yorkers, the coffeehouse served as a civic forum, a meeting place for merchants and politicians. The long halls served as a gathering place for general assembly and council meetings. Colonists sometimes held court trials in the assembly rooms of early coffeehouses.

Imagine slipping back in history, to a time when people are trying their first cup of coffee in Europe. A hot, bitter brew slightly burns your lips, slides down your throat and warms you from the inside out.

You might have marveled at its exotic flavor and wanted another cup. Perhaps you worried that it was a dark magic that gave you a boost in energy. How would you have pictured this strange, black liquid if you lived in the 1600s?

Light Up Your Coffee

Whether you’re drinking coffee in a coffeehouse or at home, warm or cold, as a student of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) you can add a dash of light to your magical brew.

If you studied The First Degree of The Radiant Technique®, you can hold your coffee beans in your hands, whole or ground, while in the bag. Let radiant energy infuse their own natural life energy, the bag doesn’t inhibit universal energy. The same applies when holding your coffee cup. Place one hand in your heart while you take a sip.

For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you are able to direct energy to where the coffee beans grew, to the people who brought you the coffee, or to the coffee itself while its brewing. If you enjoy history, you can direct radiant energy to the long journey of coffee as it was introduced around the world.

And, a cosmic symbol in your coffee cup is great way to start your day.

May you enjoy your coffee today, and every day.


Evensong At St George's Chapel

Windsor Castle And St George's Chapel

When you visit Windsor Castle, a must see is St George's Chapel. As a place of worship, it serves The Royal Family and the local community with church services. It also provides a venue for marriages (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married here) and funerals as well as ceremonies that include The Order of the Garter.

The beauty of St George's Chapel lies in its Gothic architecture, Perpendicular Gothic style to be exact. Construction started in 1475 and was completed by Henry the VIII in 1528.

Perpendicular Gothic is the “phase of late Gothic architecture in England roughly parallel in time to the French Flamboyant style. The style, concerned with creating rich visual effects through decoration, was characterized by a predominance of vertical lines in stone window tracery, enlargement of windows to great proportions, and conversion of the interior stories into a single unified vertical expanse.
— The Royal Family

The Chapel Of Royals

The Chapel holds in its heart a number of Kings and Queens who have come before. Ten former Sovereigns are buried in St. George’s Chapel, notable among them, Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII and George V.

Connected to the Chapel is a Memorial Chapel (built in 1969, the only structural addition since the 1500s). The Memorial Chapel annex contains King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) who is interred alongside his beloved wife, the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother), and Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth's sister). Funerals also take place at St George's Chapel. A list of burials and funerals can be found here.

St. George’s Chapel is a place of worship for The Queen and the Royal Family as well as a church serving the local community, built by kings, shaped by the history of the Royal Family.
— The Royal Family

Worship Service

If you're seeing St George's Chapel during the busy summer months, you will be sharing it with throngs of hot, sweaty tourists rolling through the aisles in never-ending waves of jostling humans. The crowds keep on coming.

As in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle, no photos are allowed inside The Chapel, so you'll find yourself craning your neck, trying to imprint the details into your memory. Eventually, you'll be swept along the waves of tourists. 

To fully appreciate St George's Chapel, I recommend attending a service to get in touch with The Chapel's true purpose and function – a place of worship.

During a service, the crowds are dispersed and the weight of the throngs is lifted. The aisles stand clear and welcoming. The Chapel offers a refuge of healing calm, dignity. The secrets of history beckon.


I attended Evensong (Evening Service) at St George's Chapel in July. The welcoming priest pointed to a carved stall that I could claim as my own during the service. A dark pew from hundreds of years ago enfolded me in its smooth, worn wood. I tucked into my seat and surveyed the richness of the Chapel.

Gone were the tourists traipsing around. The Chapel now belonged to us, those who had a purpose there, as worshipper, chorister, or priest.

From the corner of my eye, I could sense the phantoms and wisps of humanity as they paraded through the aisles and settled in the carved stalls.

The molecules of breath of all the people who came before, who also sat in these same seats, swirled around me. Within the breath, we were all held in a co-existance. Inhale, all the forgotten details of our individual lives; exhale, the collective memory of the whole of humanity.

Visiting Choir

The service was blessed with a visiting choir, The Choir of St Mary's, Warwick. Here is their program.

- Preces & Responses:
Richard Shephard Psalm 4

- Canticles:
Orlando Gibbons Short Service

- Anthem:
Charles Villiers Stanford Beati quorum via

Scriptures were read, The Apostles' Creed was recited, resounding tones from the organ filled the Chapel – as it had been done for centuries. 

History unfurled its banner before us.

Attending A Service

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can attend a Chapel service whether you consider yourself to be Christian or not. It's possible to participate in your heart as you listen to the words and music. TRT® hands-on placed in your heart allows you to listen, sing and speak from your heart.

Sitting in the Chapel during a service, gives you a chance to drink in all the history. As a student of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to people or historical events. You can direct energy to the Chapel and the people in attendance, deepening your participation.

Enjoy your visit to St George's Chapel.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at St George's Chapel


First photo by Aurelien Guichard 


The Life Of Julian Of Norwich

All Shall Be Well

In the blog post All Shall Be Well, we were introduced to Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic and writer from 14th century England.

Intrigued by her story, that she was likely the first woman to write in English, we launched a search into this remarkable woman. Various books about Julian are available, especially books that present her writings, but to delve into the person behind the mystic, here’s a book of historical fiction:

 Julian's Cell - An earthy story of Juiian of Norwich

Julian's Cell

Like a master weaver, author Joseph Milton spins fiction with the threads of factual events to create a colorful tapestry of story-telling.

Set in the late 1300s of England, Milton brings together the smells, sights and emotions of medieval life such as the pungent stench of urine from the tannery shop and the heavy smell of wet wool in the woolen shop.

The author presents the daily struggle to stay alive in a time far-removed from our own. War, pestilence, famine and plague weighed heavy in the air and people breathed it in with every step they took.

Milton displays a kaleidoscope of colors of medieval life in the 1300s. He conveys powerful emotions of that era and makes medieval situations recognizable and understandable. Although daily life details vary from today, our human fears, tears and joy remain quite the same.

Without access to formal education as a child, Julian was considered to be an unlettered laywoman. Milton offers an idea of how she taught herself to read and write: a painstaking, letter-by-letter process pouring over books in both Latin and English. 

Finding God’s Love

Death took no holidays in medieval life. The specter of death lurked around every corner and strolled with calm insolence in the village square. Infant and child mortality ravaged everyone, from the lowest peasant to the highest monarch. The plague wiped out entire families. (Forty to 50% of the European population died.) No one was left untouched by mortal suffering. 

People of that era looked around and believed the world was coming to an end. 600 years later, we marvel at Julian's writings of mysticism and wonder that she had the realization that love is at the center of all that is.

In spite of all she witnessed in the world, Julian would go on to write her brave words:

All shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
— Julian of Norwich

For Julian to find God's universal love in such a harsh and violent world is indeed remarkable. Julian shared an insight she had from a humble hazelnut:

God showed me something small, round and frail, like this hazelnut. And I wondered why I was seeing this. Then an answer came. There weren’t words, but I understood why I was looking at such a tiny thing.

It is all that is made. Everything is there in this tiny creation that could crumble into nothing so easily. But I knew it would last, because God loves it. It has its life, its being through the love of God.

God made it. God loves it. And God keeps it.

You and I are part of that creation. Just like this hazelnut, God is our maker, our lover, our keeper. But we can never really know what that means until we are united with God the way this hazelnut is part of God.

That is why we are created. To be one with God.
— Julian's Cell

Milton captures Julian's journey from humble peasant to anchoress, from human to saint, while remaining in touch with the humanity that housed her soul.

Touching Lives In History

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we can get in touch with people of history through use of TRT®.

Students of The First Degree and The Second Degree of TRT® can apply TRT® hands-on while reading her writings, or a book about her, and experience her story with more light. They can also have a meditation focusing on Julian of Norwich herself, or a specific passage from her writings.

Students of The Second Degree of TRT® can direct radiant energy to Julian, or the time period she lived in. It helps us to expand our awareness and understanding.

If you like historical fiction, Julian's Cell will educate and delight.

All Shall Be Well

Introduction To Julian Of Norwich

Julian of Norwich is recognized as one of England's most important mystics. 

Let's jump back in time to meet this remarkable woman.

But all shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing
shall be well !
— Julian of Norwich

A baby girl was born ln England in 1342. Because little was recorded for average folks during that time in history, we don't even know her given birth name.

Julian's name is taken from the Church of St. Julian in Norwich where she lived as an anchoress for most of her life.

Life In The 14th Century

Julian lived in England in the 14th century during the turbulent Middle Ages, a time fraught with plague, famine and war. 

  • In 1337, England and France started the Hundred Year's War for supremacy over Europe.

  • In 1347, the Black Death swept across all of Europe, including England, and wiped out nearly 40% to 50% of the entire population.

  • In 1399, Richard II became the new King of England.


A Book In English Written By A Woman

Many people write books today. They plop themselves down in front of a computer and start typing away. Books pop out with hardcovers and as paperbacks or, now-a-days, in a digital format. There is a plethora of books written in English. 

But, how would you go about writing a book in the 14th century? 

Julian of Norwich managed to do just that.

Her text is believed to be the earliest surviving book in the English language written by a woman. Known as Revelations of Divine Love, it's a combination of The Short Text and The Long Text and consists of 86 chapters and about 63,500 words.

During this time in English history, laywomen were usually not educated. They didn't read, much less write anything, and they certainly didn't write in the spoken language of the day. Written documents of the Church were predominatly in Latin.

Equally astonishing, it's possible that in the beginning, Julian taught herself to read and write in both Latin and English.

Life As An Anchoress

An anchorite, or anchoress (female), is "one who retires from the world."

A person withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic life. They would have a permanent enclosure in a cell attached to church. 

This goes beyond the tiny-house phenomena of today. These cells (called an anchorhold) were often no more than 12 to 15 ft square and once the anchorite entered the minuscule space, the only way they could leave would be upon their death. They were attended by a maid who would bring them food and dispose of their bodily waste by means of a chamber pot.

The anchoritic life became widespread during the early and high Middle Ages and a large number of them were in England.

In the post Locked up forever in the wall of a church, we read:

By Julian’s day, the retirement of an anchoress into her cell had become a formal rite in the church. An anchorhold was attached to a church, it had no doors and the inhabitant was formally enclosed by the bishop.

The rite actually involved receiving the sacraments of the dying and reading of the Office of the Dead over her as she was bricked up in her cell.

Some anchoresses were enclosed with open graves in their cells, so that they might meditate upon their mortality. When they died, the windows to their cells were simply closed and sealed.

Anchorites would spend their days in prayer, viewing the altar, hearing Mass and receiving the Eucharist through a small, shuttered window in their cell. They would also provide spiritual advice and counsel to visitors through the window.

Julian of Norwich became an anchoress around the age of 30, after the loss of her family and following a severe illness wherein she experienced spiritual visions.

Her writings created a lasting impression on Christian spirituality. Her mystic expression continues to touch people's lives, even 600 years later.

God Is Love And Love Is God

The prominent theme in Julian's writings was her experience that God is Love.

That she could write of a loving God was no small feat in this rough time of history. As a young child, Julian witnessed the death of numerous villagers and members of her natal family. Later, she would lose her own two children and her husband to the plague.

Even the Church tended to view God as a stern and implacable task master. God was easily displeased and only accessed through the intermediary person of a priest. God was viewed as being aloof as he sat on high peering down on us. 

To say God is Love, given her personal circumstances as well as the prevailing thought of her time is noteworthy. For Julian, God expressed in spirit as both our mother and father and she spoke of experiencing a deep and profound love, personally, without the need of an intermediary. She wrote of God's love in terms of joy and compassion.

Would you know our Lord’s meaning in all this?
Learn it well.
Love was the meaning.
Who showed it you? Love.
What did God show you? Love.
Why did God show it to you? For love.
Hold fast to this and you shall learn and know more about love,
but you shall never learn anything except love from God.
So I was taught that love was our Lord’s meaning.
And I saw full surely that before ever God made us,
God loved us.

For part of the time she resided in her cell, Julian had a cat as a companion and is often depicted in drawings with her feline friend.

In the Anglican and Lutheran churches, Julian's Feast Day is celebrated on May 8.

The Roman Catholic Church honors her on May 13.

And all of us can celebrate her life any day.


Bake Your Election Day Cake

Election Day Is Nigh

National and midterm elections in the United States take place every two years.

Some people are glued to their television sets to follow minute-by-minute results.

Others, to avoid the stress of it all, keep their tv sets off and check the results once the drama is all over.

Take A Stroll Into The Past

If we were whisked back to colonial times, we'd find ourselves busy preparing our Election Cakes. In early America, Election Day was an important celebration, second only to Thanksgiving.

Our Puritan ancestors did not acknowledge the religious holidays of Christmas or Easter, believing they were too connected to Papist idolatry. Furthermore, to say that religious, "holy days" existed implied that other days of the year were not holy which was not acceptable to them.

Election Day, therefore, provided a rare chance to celebrate in high fashion. Parades filled the streets. People came to town from outlying areas and everyone fêted the day with religious ceremonies, dancing balls and fine food.

Election Cake Old World Recipe

I found an official Election Cake recipe from 1796. With these quantities, you’d have a lot of cake.

Election Cake:
30 quarts of flour
10 pounds butter
14 pounds sugar
12 pounds raisins
3 dozen eggs
one pint wine
one quart brandy
4 ounces cinnamon
4 ounces fine colander seed
3 ounces ground alspice
Prunes and currants

Wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast;
the next morning work the butter and sugar together for half an hour, which will render the cake much lighter and whiter; when it has rise, light work in every other ingredient except the prunes, which work in when going into the oven.
— Simmons, American Cookery, 1796

Cakes of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were typically produced through soaking or sour leavening, not unlike sourdough breads. This traditional method of soaking flour in sour milk or leavening dough with sourdough starter optimized nourishment received from these foods. In a time without mass-market refrigerators, it also made use of sour milk that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Election Cakes were filled with healthy, wholesome fats such as butter and fresh eggs. The added alcohol helped with preservation of the cake. The dried fruits made it similar to our infamous fruit cakes of Christmas.

Get Out And Vote

Election Day Cakes were also a way to entice people (in the beginning, men with property) to come out and vote. They could vote and receive a slice of delectable cake. Later on, it was even a bit of a bribe to vote straight down a ticket.

Cake sustained not only the voters, but the people counting all the votes late into the night.

Vintage Election Cake For Today

We can bring the past into our present by baking our own version of an Election Cake.

What better way to celebrate or soothe your disappointment than with cake? 

If you'd like to try a modern-day version of Election Cake, here is a recipe. It has a yeast mixture that harkens back to our historical Election Cakes.

Election Cake Revival

Voting is a remarkable aspect of our heritage in the United States. With the passing of the decades, people have tended to become blasé about this privilege. Others hold the stance that you can't complain about elected officials if you didn't vote. 

How fun to honor our history of voting with a present-day revival of Election Day Cakes. We could be creative and celebrate with any cake of our choice.

Here's a bundt cake from Martha Stewart that makes a great Election Day Cake. No yeast mixture is needed. This Kentucky Bourbon Brown Butter Cake would hit the spot, whatever the voting outcome.

Baking Cake With TRT®

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can use TRT® hands-on when they are baking, with the ingredients before mixing and with themselves prior to starting a recipe. 

It's also fun for students of The Second Degree of TRT® to direct energy to our history as we learn more about the past – where we've been and how that connects to where we are going. It's your own discovery process.

Celebrate your right, and privilege, to vote.

Cake brings all of us together on this wonderful day of our democratic process. Go forth and bake your cake.

See you on Election Day.