“ADVENTURING AGAIN AT ANGEL LIGHT BOOKS” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Nov. 19-25, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Nov. 19-25, 2014

It was the third Sunday of November. Per Angel Light Books and Gifts Store tradition, the third Sunday of the month is when the Angel Light Metaphysical Fair is held. The Angel Light Store, located in Berkeley, is “your one stop store for all your Metaphysical needs,” like their business card states. I would have to agree. The Angellightstore.com business card has a color picture of the Archangel Chamuel (the archangel of peaceful relationships/love), as well as the important data like the address: 3347 MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94703; the phone number: (510) 985-1600; and the email: info@angellightstore.com. I think that when you read further, at one point you will feel the urge to at least check out their online store, or maybe even the Angel Light School of Metaphysics which offers certifications and courses in the psychic and healing arts in-house or online. If you’re curious, please check it out: http://www.angellightschool.com

I already wrote a column about this book store in the May 28-June 3, 2014 issue of the Manila Mail, but here’s an update. Let’s go back to the Angel Light Metaphysical Fair to which I recently went and which regularly happens on the third Sunday of the month. There were a couple of readers present: Ms. Eloise Hill and Ms. Helena Mazzariello, as well as a Reiki Master, Ms. Catherine Walters who gives free Reiki sessions. During these fairs, a 15-minute reading only costs $20 which I think is very reasonable considering that these effective and experienced professionals charge a much higher price during regular individual sessions with them. You can check out all their offerings on their respective websites: Candle Stone Tarot (www.eloisehill.net), http://www.spiritinjoy.com (Ms. Helena Mazzariello), and http://www.guidedchange.com (Ms. Catherine Walters).

This is my first time to go to one of this store’s fairs and I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. There were times during the sessions that I felt I’ve spaced out and missed hearing some important points that these readers wanted to get across to me, but as Ms. Cathy told me later, “It doesn’t matter. What your conscious mind may miss, your subconscious mind retains.”

My first 15-minute session was with Ms. Eloise Hill. She is a writer, psychic (clairaudient/clairvoyant/clairsentient), and tarot reader. She was an acute-care nurse for a number of years before deciding to write and nurture her more intuitive side. She is the author of a couple of the Eileen McGrath Tarot Series of mystery books, “Eight of Pentacles” and “The Queen of the Barley Moon,” now available at Amazon. She also teaches individual classes and courses on Thoth Tarot 101, Divination 101 (rune-casting, tea-leaf reading, and palm reading), Wicca 101, Chakras 101, and Astral Projection. She hosts the Psychic/Tarot Faire at Angel Light every first Saturday of the month. For my reading, I chose for her to do a tarot reading for me. Ms. Eloise uses the Thoth deck so I’m not quite familiar with the imagery since I work with the traditional Rider-Waite deck myself. But hey, I was there with a mindset to learn new things and expand my grasp of the metaphysical, after all. The points I would like to share with you from Ms. Eloise’s sessions are: 1. It looks like the next 3-6 years would be more favorable for me. 2. I must learn not to “over-give,” but to balance giving and receiving. 3. I will be reconnecting with my strengths, and will have the strength to let go of habits or mindsets that do not serve me anymore. (Quitting smoking, anyone? More exercise and less food intake, maybe? Charging for my readings instead of giving them away for free most of the time?)

Next, I had a psychic reading and aura cleansing with Ms. Helena Mazzariello. She is an artist, clairvoyant, healer, and teacher. Among the readings she offers are: clairvoyant, past life, aura/chakra, Ascended Master, pet, house healings, Akashic records, plus female energy tune-ups, substance addiction healings and deprogrammings. She told me that the aura around me is a distinct shade of blue (she didn’t know it was my favorite color) with a bit of red thrown in, which is good for action and assertiveness. She taught me how to ground myself from the very top of my head (crown chakra), down to my feet, and way, way down below the earth where I must let go of these certain brown-colored “depressed” energy that’s not even my own. Upon reflection, I do admit that in the course of my listening with compassion to other people like my tarot clients or my friends, sometimes I tend to feel their pain too much and end up feeling depleted and sad myself. Now Ms. Helena tells me that there is a way to shield ourselves from other people’s energy, to establish some boundaries, and to ground ourselves. She asked me, “Do you meditate?” I answered honestly: no. Ever the optimistic one, she told me of one very simple and effective type of meditation: the shower meditation. Yes, take a shower! The water sluices down from the top of your head and the water, carrying all the negative energy, goes down the drain and deep into the earth. Cleanse your aura, take a showah, right? (Grin.)

Finally, I sampled the free Reiki session offered by Ms. Catherine Walters. Ms. Cathy, aside from being a Reiki Master, is also a clinical hypnotherapist. She began the session by giving me an orientation about what Reiki is, especially what it means: “rei” means universal, and “ki” means energy (also called “chi”). In effect, Reiki is the universal energy all around us, and Ms. Cathy is quick to qualify that she is just the conduit. During the actual session itself, I was seated in a swivel chair with Ms. Cathy standing behind me with her hands on my shoulders, explaining that although the hands can be placed anywhere, she chose the shoulders for their proximity to the heart. She began to speak about energy and healing while her hands were on my shoulders. Later on, I told her honestly that at some point I must have spaced out because although I was hearing her voice, I couldn’t understand what was being said. That prompted her remark about our subconscious catching it anyway if our conscious mind ever missed anything. We discussed gratitude and appreciation (there is a difference, she said) and how to make my crown chakra (masculine) work with my throat and heart chakras (feminine). They must work together, not just one or the other, and she said that I would reach a lot of like-minded people through the written word.

As for the owner of Angel Light, Ms. Valencia Chan, here’s her bio from the Instructors tab of the School website: “Valencia has owned and operated Angel Light Books and Gifts since 1989. An avid metaphysician, she has studied in depth topics including astrology, tarot, crystals, and feng shui. She received her certification in astrology in 1987 from Experience Astrology in San Francisco and for Feng Shui in 1996 from Feng Shui Design in Grass Valley. Being Chinese, feng shui has always been an integral part of her culture. Her knowledge of crystals includes attending workshops from various teachers, studying from an extensive library of books and most of all from her personal experience of selling and giving away thousands of stones over the years. “I’m always amazed at how the perfect stone will find its way to the person who would most benefit from its power.” Valencia teaches How to Read the Rider Waite Tarot Cards, Astrology 101, Feng Shui 101, Crystal Awareness, Stones Awareness, and Chakra Awareness.” There are more classes, fairs, and special events scheduled in the near future. The store’s website is quite updated so please check it out for the details, and the gracious Ms. Valencia is always just a phone call away. I definitely had a great time at the Fair and will come again one of these days! (pilipinasblitz@gmail.com)

“LIVING IN HARMONY WITH THE EVER-CHANGING MOON” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Nov. 5-11, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Nov. 5-11, 2014


Practicum time!!! For those among my readers who may have more than a passing interest in astrology, we have now a fitting time interval in which to observe the effects of the Moon on our consciousness.
We will now pose our astrological question as: Given that the Moon entered the sign of Aries on November 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM PST, and given that the Moon moves sign-per-sign through the zodiac from Aries through Pisces approximately every 2 ½ days, journalize your impressions on how the Moon in each sign affected you, either positively or negatively. When were you inspired to action? When were you inhibited into inactivity? It may be helpful, in your journal, to distinguish your personal observations among the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of your life.

We have the whole month of November to make our observations and write in our personal astrological journal. The purpose of this activity is to consciously align our energies with the movements of the Moon so that when it makes its rounds among the zodiac signs again, we will have a better idea about which periods energize or enervate us, which types of activities are appropriate for you personally when the Moon is in a particular sign, when to push forward or when to pull back.

For instance, based on my personal experience, no matter what sign the Moon is in during a Full Moon and even if I’m not aware that there’s a full moon on a certain night, I always find it difficult to fall asleep, as in: I’m tossing and turning, asking myself why I can’t sleep, and then I take a look outside past the blinds on my window… duh! When I see the full moon up there, I wonder no more. Another observation I have is that when the Moon is in Pisces, I easily get tired and emotional. In my birth chart, I have my Moon in 18 degrees Pisces so you could imagine the effects gradually reaching a crescendo as the transiting Moon touches upon the exact degree of my natal Moon. I find myself most energized when the Moon is in Taurus, and the explanation I could give you is that my natal Venus, Saturn, and Mars are in – yes, 1, 8, and 19 degrees Taurus, respectively. Apparently, the effect on me as the transiting Moon touches these planets one after another in that order in my chart is to galvanize me into positive feelings and productive activities. But you know what? It’s all a cycle so after the buildup and crescendo, the influence gradually wanes, and then the cycle begins again.

The purpose of this journal of observations is for us to discover correspondences between the journey of our lives and the journey of the Moon, taking note of our personal best or worst times, activity or rest times, alone or socialization times – the list is practically endless as you identify which life activities you prioritize during which times. There are other planetary influences, of course, but we will start with the Moon’s symbolic effects since it’s the fastest-moving luminary and your reaction to the Moon’s move from one sign to another may be easily observed and recorded. Mark your calendars with the following changes. For the month of November 2014, here’s the sequence of the Moon’s movements across the signs (times are Pacific Standard Time):

Moon moves into Aries-Nov. 3 (Mon)-10:53 am
Into Taurus-Nov. 5 (Wed) – 1:33 pm (Note: Full Moon Nov. 6)
Into Gemini-Nov. 7 (Fri) – 5:45 pm
Into Cancer-Nov. 10 (Mon) – 0:38 am
Into Leo-Nov. 12 (Wed) – 10:44 am
Into Virgo-Nov. 14 (Fri) – 11:08 pm
Into Libra-Nov. 17 (Mon) – 11:30 am
Into Scorpio-Nov. (Wed) – 9:31 pm
Into Sagittarius-Nov. 22 (Sat) – 4:19 am (also the day of the New Moon in Sagittarius)
Into Capricorn-Nov. 24 (Mon) – 8:31 am
Into Aquarius-Nov. 26 (Wed) – 11:23 am
Into Pisces-Nov. 28 (Fri) – 2:03 pm

Here are some brief descriptions of the Moon through the Signs, excerpted from “Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide 2014 – an astrological week-at-a-glance engagement calendar” (a handy scheduler with good-to-know articles, ephemeris, and other supplementary information):

MOON THROUGH THE SIGNS (Reference: “Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide 2014)

Moon in Aries – key phrase: “I am,” enthusiasm, ambition, energetic activity; good time for beginning projects and for instigating change; watch out for temper flare-ups and selfishness; be mindful of the rights of others; Aries rules the head; people may be more susceptible to head injuries.

Moon in Taurus – key phrase: “I have,” people tend to be very cautious and unchanging; tendency to be bull-headed, stubborn; a feeling that it is necessary to protect the status quo or what one already has; need for financial and material security is strong; take time to continue or conclude projects already started; Taurus is ruled by Venus so this would be a good time to enjoy and appreciate the earthly beauty that surrounds us; Taurus rules the throat.

Moon in Gemini – people may never make up their minds; may see both sides of everything; feel more adaptable, changeable, talkative; a time for communication; a good time to write, take care of tasks that resemble mathematical puzzles, make speeches, just let your ideas fly through the clouds; emphasis on mind games and intellectual pursuits rather than practical concerns; people begin to feel restless; an inclination to rationalize emotions; Gemini rules the lungs, arms, hands, and nervous system.

Moon in Cancer – Cancer is ruled by the Moon, so lunar influences are strongest and most easily expressed when focused through this sign. The Moon greatly influences the personality, the subconscious, the emotions, and molds instinctual behavior. Intense emotions, great sensitivity; take care not to wound or be wounded emotionally; people will be passive, easy-going, sentimental, loving, nurturing; it’s easy to overeat, good time for creating life and for growth; Cancer rules the breasts and stomach.

Moon in Leo – People need romance, affection, recognition; the desire to be admired and appreciated can be so strong that it may result in especially dramatic behavior; Leo ruled by the Sun: a time of ambition, independence, leadership; people may refuse to recognize limitations; a time for enjoyment and warmth; a time to show kindness and generosity to others; Leo rules the heart and the upper spine.

Moon in Virgo – A good time for intellectual pursuits requiring critical detail rather than innovative creativity; a good time for taking care of any matter requiring painstaking attention; people may become shy, retiring, discriminating, fastidious, and even overly critical at times; concerns about food and health; feel the urge to clean up their homes, which is a good way to channel Virgo energy; Virgo rules the intestines and the powers of assimilation.

Moon in Libra – People have a strong sensitivity to and attraction for others; search for harmony and balance; teamwork; a good time to form partnerships of all kinds – friendships, marriage, business; a friendly, tolerant nature and a desire to beautify; a lovely time for a social gathering; Libra rules the kidneys and the lower back.

Moon in Scorpio – People often become aggressive, critical, impatient, and moody; there is a marked increase of intensity, as heightened sensitivity to personal offenses and insults; suspicious, secretive nature; avoid social complications; beware of jealousy; remember to forgive and forget; be cautious interacting with the opposite sex; this could be a good time for an intense merging with another on a deep emotional level; Scorpio rules the generative system, reproductive system and the lower spine (sacrum); The Moon in Scorpio is a very bad time for surgical operations of any kind.

Moon in Sagittarius – Idealistic feeling, a sense of discontinuity, restlessness, desire for sports and adventures, a love for of change and motion, and the itch to travel; people will be warm and friendly, likely feel spontaneous, intuitive (even prophetic at times), easily animated; tendency toward superficial enthusiasm; strong need for independence and unable to endure restrictions; good time for learning, publishing, lecturing, and other intellectual activities; Sagittarius rules the thighs and the hips.

Moon in Capricorn – A time of material ambition and an awareness of work and duty; in the search for status and financial security, people might become insensitive, even unsympathetically cruel, but from selfish necessity rather than animosity; pessimism or negativity to creep in; generally while the Moon is in Capricorn, energy is sluggish; a time for diligently applying yourself to tasks while living solely in the present; Capricorn rules the knees, teeth, bones, and skin.

Moon in Aquarius – Public affairs become more important as there is an interest in the welfare of others in a social sense; people tend to be very friendly but in an impersonal manner; desire for freedom and a love for the innovative and unconventional; freedom in expressing thoughts and personal uniqueness; demanding the freedom to come and go without restrictions; Aquarius rules the ankles, the circulation, the electrical forces in the body and nervous system.

Moon in Pisces – Inclination toward psychic impressions; imagination is strong; heightened sensitivity to music and other intangible forces; tendencies are to be emotional, spiritual, self-sacrificing; can create feelings of vulnerability, drifting into withdrawal as an emotional protection; people may feel passive, sentimental, gentle, kind, cheerful, but too easily discouraged; may experience stirrings of memories or insights into the spiritual meaning of current situations during this time; Pisces rules the feet.

At the end of November, perhaps we can compare notes about what we thought of, felt, and experienced as the Moon stayed for 2 1/2 days in a sign before moving on to the next. I really encourage you to keep a journal and write your daily impressions. Please note that just because it says here, for example, energy is sluggish in general while the Moon is in Capricorn, that you have to agree without testing it out yourself. You may actually be more energetic when the Moon is in Capricorn. So note down your personal experiences in your journal and later, we will find an explanation. For now, the most important thing is to be aware of the Moon’s movement through the signs this month and writing in your journal. pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“How We Feel: The Moon As A Symbol In Astrology” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Sept 24-30, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 24-30, 2014


Most of us know our Sun signs. If you were born between March 21-April 19, for instance, you’re an Aries like me. If you were born between January 20-February 18, you’re an Aquarius. Depending on the date you were born, it’s easy to look up your Sun sign in the horoscope column of a newspaper. The 12 signs, Aries through Pisces, reflect the geocentric journey of the Sun around the Earth, month after month. We mark the start of a tropical/Western astrological year when the Sun enters zero degrees Aries. The Sun travels roughly one degree per day through 29 degrees Aries and moves on to zero degrees Taurus and so on. But you say that it’s the Earth that orbits the Sun. Then I say that astrology is a symbolic system that is Earth-centered because the ancients perceived the Sun, Moon, and the planets as the elements circling around the Earth and not vice versa, and then associating these celestial observations with happenings on personal lives or the lives of kings and nations. It’s a system that continues to work because it resonates with the powerful personal mythologies that animate us as individuals. Astrology is the language of our psyche and soma, spirit, mind and body, just like the ancients found correspondences between celestial movements and our mundane life on this plane.

While we may be quite familiar with our Sun sign, we may need an astrologer’s help to figure out our Moon sign. You would need to supply your complete birth data: date, time, city (and country) of birth. In Western astrology, the Sun describes a person’s basic character. Here are the key words for the signs: Aries-I AM, Taurus-I HAVE, Gemini-I THINK, Cancer-I FEEL, Leo-I WILL, Virgo-I ANALYZE, Libra-I BALANCE, Scorpio-I DESIRE, Sagittarius-I PERCEIVE, Capricorn-I USE, Aquarius-I KNOW, and Pisces-I BELIEVE ( Isabel M. Hickey, “Astrology, A Cosmic Science,” 1981). Viscerally feel the vibe of each sign, not just yours but the signs of people you know. Do the key words fit them, or is there something else you observe about them that makes them untypical of their Sun sign?

This is where a person’s Moon sign and Rising Sign/Ascendant come in. Let’s focus on the Moon. According to Isabel Hickey, one of the popularizers of spiritual astrology, the Sun is the greater light while the Moon is the lesser light which has no light of its own actually and thus must reflect the light of the Sun. As such, the Sun symbolizes the person’s basic “drive for significance, the will to do and to be,” while the Moon symbolizes “the subconscious, feelings, and receptivity (Hickey, 30-31).” Personally speaking, I have been noticing as I grow older that although my Sun sign is Aries (key words: “I am,” the leader, the courageous, the pioneer), my default operating system is based on my Moon in Pisces (“I believe”). I am much more laid-back than my assertive Aries Sun appears to stand for. Especially in times of stress, I fall back on Piscean negative tendencies like indulging (in sweets, in nicotine, etc.), wallowing in self-pity, or being passive. On the upside of Pisces, I do believe. Pisces are artistic people. Well, basically I write. That has always been true for me. Pisces have empathy. Well, I counsel friends and clients and practice self-care.

Therefore, when it comes to feelings, an astrologer like me zeroes in on the Moon in a client’s chart and what aspects (angular relationships) it makes with other planets in her chart. Moon is Mother, the nurturer, the caretaker. When we talk about the Moon and feelings, we can’t help but go back to the first ever interaction we have as we are born into the world: the bond between the mother and child. This mother-child relationship was the springboard for discussion in a workshop I attended recently at Fort Mason sponsored by the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) San Francisco Bay Area chapter. Paris-based astrologer and popular lecturer Lynn Bell held a full-day workshop on “The Moon and Dependency.” She illustrated the variation in dependency issues using natal charts of previous clients and the natal charts of some attendees who were willing to share their stories. The main point of the presentation is that, according to Ms. Bell, “The Moon creates loops that recreates the feelings of dependency until we find a way to resolve them.” Since other planets have their own symbolic meanings, Ms. Bell related some actual client stories with underlying themes in their charts like Moon-Uranus (lack recognition, push-pull, ambivalence), Moon-Neptune (selective memory, idealization), and Moon-Pluto (power struggles, the need to investigate). These pairs represent potentially tense aspects or angular relationships (conjunction/0 degrees, square/90 degrees, or opposition/180 degrees) between the Moon and the planets in the person’s chart. True enough, once the chart is projected onscreen as the attendee answers exploratory questions from Ms. Bell, we see where in the chart the feelings of isolation or maybe aggression come from, or how the native is turning the negatives into positives in her unique journey through her life. One attendee who agreed to share her chart as an example had a Moon in Taurus squaring her Pluto in Leo. In her experience, this translated into childhood memories of being left alone in her crib and a mother who was always weepy and depressed. She would bang her little body against the walls and cry as hard as she might with nobody picking her up at all. When she was 5 years old, she remembers listening outside the door to her mother’s bedroom and hearing her mother cry. She has a sister who is older than she is by 12 years and a brother who is 18 months younger than she is. She had always felt like “the child who isn’t there.” This participant grew up to be a peppy, cheery, and forceful personality who gets things done. She is now one of the foremost practitioners and teachers of astrology in the San Francisco Bay Area. Proof that yes, of course, one can overcome emotional trauma and turn one’s life around. In astrology, as is true with other aspects of our lives, of course there are some basic things we can do nothing about, realistically speaking. We thank the benevolent Universal Spirit, therefore, for dependencies and other issues that we can work on and improve.

Ms. Bell also touched on the types of attachment: secure, ambivalent, anxious, and chaotic disorganized. With the exception of the first type, the other three are problematic, but these arise from the bonds from the earliest memory and have an increased chance of being carried over to adult relationships if the person has not yet resolved her issues. Towards the end of her talk, Ms. Bell reiterated that the Moon as a symbol has an “eternal return quality” like a well-worn groove that keeps being traversed over and over again. Moon is Mother. Moon is Memory. The Moon, she says, is like the dream that repeats again and again until it’s resolved and never comes back again.

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“Using The Tarot For Problem-Solving” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2014


In our English 1A class this summer, our professor asked the whole class what our respective passions are. I told my group mates Luis and Markus that mine are astrology, tarot, and metaphysics in general. I told them how I love the feeling of being able to inhabit that sacred circle with my client to counsel or simply to listen. I told them that it is my honor and privilege to be of help that way. All of that is true. Add to that my desire that my client leave the consulting session with renewed hope and a sense of wonder about the events in their life after seeing them in a different, more positive light, and I have the perfect formula for my personal passion, indeed.

However, as we know, there are segments of our society that are against the use of divination methods such as astrology and tarot for the following reasons: 1. Only God knows the future. 2. The Bible warns against soothsayers, especially in the last days (see the Book of Revelation). 3. Fortune-telling is like listening to angels and then predicting the future from angelic messages and this is haram (forbidden), as can be read from The Quran chapter 53-The Star (especially 53/38). (Technical note: That’s how we write chapter and verse from The Quran, so the previous numbers mean “chapter 53, verse 38.”) 4. Other people turn it into a fate-versus-free will issue and believe that they alone are the masters of their own fate. 5. Astrology can go hang, and the tarot, too, in their estimation. They simply do not believe in these things.

Well, you could say that I’m a tarot apologist, having used these cards to my clients’ satisfaction since 2004. My personal tarot story actually began during Christmas 2003, when I was still in the Philippines. With the usual Balikbayan Box from my parents and youngest sister living in Hayward, California came gifts and goodies of all sorts, of course, but included with all those great stuff is this large-ish red box addressed to no one. I was immediately drawn to it because the transparent hard plastic cover reveals what’s inside: “The Tarot – The Traditional Tarot Reinterpreted for the Modern World” by Adam Fronteras. I immediately thought that this, among others, is surely a gift to me of my youngest sister Edna, my benefactress and moral supporter from afar.

I appropriated the book-and-deck set for myself and started teaching myself the meanings of all the 78 cards. I found that writing down the meanings straight from the book and into my journal aided me a lot in retaining what I was trying to memorize. I read the cards for myself. I read for my relatives and friends. When enough people had been telling me months after their reading that “what I said” actually came true for them (more on this later), that’s when I decided that I could do this: read tarot for others, and that’s exactly what I did.

These days I prefer giving tarot readings rather than astrological readings, which requires more “prep time.” A tarot reading to me is more in-the-moment, more spontaneous, but no less helpful than an astrological reading, in which I have to ask the client for date/time/place of birth. Usually people don’t know what time they were born, so only an “approximate chart” could be done in the meantime. With a tarot reading, on the other hand, birth data is optional so my client and I can concentrate on: problem-solving.

Here are some facts that I know to be true about the tarot:
1. If you’ve been browsing through tarot books like “Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack, “Pictorial Key to the Tarot” by Arthur Edward Waite, or “Tarot for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation” by Mary K. Greer (all in my personal library), you will find out that these books designate the element of Air to the Suit of Swords and Fire to the Suit of Wands. Contrary to that, Adam Fronteras assigns Fire to the Suit of Swords because one needs fire to fashion this weapon, and he assigns Air to the Suit of Wands because its original material, wood, needs air to grow and thrive. Although Fronteras’ view is not the conventional one, I have followed his system from the very start and as I did more and more readings, his system made more and more sense. So the suits’ designations in my reading style are: Swords-Fire, Pentacles-Earth, Wands-Air, and Cups-Water.

2. Please do not be afraid of the Death card (XIII; the Scorpio card) or the Devil card (XV; the Capricorn card). The Death card is “NOT about physical death but more about transformation, the death of the old self and the birth of a new person (Fronteras).” When this card appears in the reading, one needs to regenerate and set new goals for herself. It is advisable to “welcome the changes – refuse them and they will be forced upon you.” On the other hand, the Devil card warns about getting too materialistic and being excessively under the influence of others. Like the Death card, this one is also about change, “the person can and should make changes in his/her life.” The Devil card may also indicate “excessive concern with sexual conquest” and as a card of temptation, it serves as a warning to the “seeker” or “querent” (what we formally call our clients).

3. The lowdown on “what I said came true”: If any of the seekers whom I have served are reading this, I hope you remember what I told you about this in my introductory spiel before or during the reading. The reading is totally about you! You’re the one who shuffled the tarot cards while thinking of a wish (remember?) so right from the outset, from that point on until the end of the reading at least, the tarot cards are yours. You’ve imbued them with your energy and if you were truly totally open, you were accessing your subconscious/spirit/whatever you want to call it so that you can contribute your share to the consultation. The ten cards you chose for the first part of the reading (there are 5 to 6 parts of the readings I give) are the choices of your Higher Self, which according to some is just another name for an Angel. In effect, your Higher Self=Angel was sending you messages through the cards that you pick from a face-down deck that you had just shuffled. That should be enough to baffle and mystify you. So therefore it’s NOT I who “said something that came true”: it was YOU, yes it’s you who made it happen! You manifested in physical reality what was already said and done first in the higher realms, the realm of God. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” right? One prays, one consults oracles trying to confirm a fervent hope, one prays some more, and if it’s God’s will, then it shall come to pass. As above, so below.

I have been told that because I have a mole on the right side of my upper lip directly under my right nostril, I am a “powerful psychic woman.” I tried to make sense of this remark because I don’t feel psychic at all vis-à-vis my clients saying, “Hey Bles, what you told me actually happened. How did you know what’s down the road?” How? Like I told you, I merely translate/interpret the cards that the seeker has chosen. He/she is also entitled to three questions answerable by Yes or No. We also read from the Spiritual Rx, Fairy Oracle, Angel Oracle, and Saint Raphael Healing Cards. For “audience participation,” I usually have the client write down his/her own affirmations and card meanings based on what was picked from each deck. After doing all of that, it is my hope that the client will come away feeling that some of her prayers have already been answered through the reading, or that she has been asking for a sign and a particular card turns up for her, or it may be one of those yes-no questions that finally settles some matter in her mind – it could be anything. The entire process gives me personal joy and fulfillment, knowing that I am helping my client, just being present with her, lending a listening ear or a giving a word of advice, when asked. Like I mentioned earlier, the sacred space enveloping the both of us, counselor and counselee, is what energizes the two of us into an insightful exploration of her dilemma. Tarot at its finest is not just about fortune-telling, and I do not have anything against fortune-telling. But I do feel that for those of us charged with using the tarot to actually help clients solve their problems through symbols and metaphors, then we have a serious responsibility indeed.

As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben had said, God bless his soul: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Please smile. Let me try an Oscar Wilde-ish quote of my own: “Think only with half of your mind and leave the other half for thinking about nothing at all.” —original quote by yours truly. Now please smile again. Abyssinia next week!


For comments, feedback and other stuff, email me at pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“Serafin Lanot and ‘A New Look at Astrology Through Filipino Eyes” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (August 20-26, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of August 20-26, 2014


The grand-daddy of all Filipino astrologers is definitely Mr. Serafin Lanot, born on August 21, 1913 in Boac, Marinduque province, Philippines, and died on September 22, 1993. A highly intelligent and multi-talented Leo with an Aries Moon and Sagittarius rising (Wow, all that fire!), Mr. Lanot was also a poet, essayist, editor, and organizer of groups devoted to the study of astrology in the Philippines especially in the 1980s. I have never met him personally but Mr. Lanot and I shared a connection nevertheless. How? You ask.

You see, when I was on summer vacation between my third and fourth year in high school (1986), I and a couple of my classmates at the Manila Science High School were chosen to participate in what was called the Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar (AJSS), the aim of which is to give high school juniors a head start on college readiness. Now the Ateneo de Manila is considered the best Catholic-Jesuit private school system in the country, and there’s always this rivalry between those who studied in the “pang-masa” University of the Philippines like me and my younger sister Cherry (number one daw ang U.P.) and those who studied at the more “elitist” Arr-ne-oww like my only brother Darwin (a graduate of the Physics-Computer Engineering double-major). My only point for elaborating thus is to describe to you the milieu as I was experiencing it then.

So, on with the explanation of my “connection” with Mr. Lanot: There I was, in one of the best libraries I have ever been to (believe me, at 15 years old and given my bookwormy nature, I know my libraries), and it was still the “card catalogue” system that’s in force then, and the first thing I gravitate to is the lone card under “astrology.” Making short work of jotting down the call number, I go to the shelves and locate – ta-dah! “A New Look at Astrology Through Filipino Eyes” by Serafin Lanot, copyright 1982. My hands shook the first time I held the book and flipped through the parchment-like pages. My mind was blown away by what he was proposing. Such a radical idea, I thought at that time (more on this later). At the time, since I didn’t have an Ateneo de Manila library card, my two options were either to photocopy parts of the book or write it out longhand in a notebook for the purpose. Guess what a middle-class high school junior chose? What I did was this: every single day, during lunch break from our AJSS academic subjects, I walked to the library, took the book from the shelf, and then copied the portions I found shockingly innovative into my dog-eared journal. One chapter at a time. I don’t think I finished copying down the entire book, but I was confident that I got the parts that were new to me and therefore worthy of further study.

So there. That was my magical connection with Mr. Lanot circa 1986. I felt less alone in my love for astrology, excited that someone of Mr. Lanot’s stature is writing about the subject. Looking back now, I’m impressed re: his stature because there was a time that under one presidency, Mr. Lanot was appointed to be the Director of Printing, a high government position.

So I’m asking rhetorically: He never hid his astrological interests despite holding a responsible public position, right? Well, bravo and good for him! Le Coeur d’Leon: the heart of a lion indeed! I could sure hear him roar back then through the vibrant ideas in the pages of his book!

Now just what are these revisionist ideas that Serafin Lanot espouses? First of all, back in one of the 1980s conventions of the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA), Mr. Lanot was the only Filipino invited to speak and he was even made a member of the AFA convention faculty that year. This is on the strength of the abovementioned astrology book, which was widely read not only in his home country and the United States, but in Europe as well. He presented his paper called “One World, One Astrology.” Here is what Ime Morales, in the blog “Astrology Friends Philippines,” documented:

“He wrote in that paper: ‘Now is the time for astrologers to assume the leadership in this fight for change, no longer as mere consultants and counselors to money changers and reactionary leaders, but as leaders themselves during this Age of Aquarius, assuming the mantle of seer and sage that both history and legend have thrust upon us. He went on to propose a “one world, one astrology” based on “reason, intuition and inspiration, to harmonize the opposing astrologist views held by East and West. East and West are merely dimensions of a circle, astrology must not forget that they constitute the whole sphere. They motivate each other and their values must be considered as complementary, not as oppositions. My view is that moon and sun should be given the same importance together and that interpretations of the horoscope should be holistic.”

As if proposing that the Sun and the Moon be given equal importance in the horoscope wasn’t wild enough, Mr. Lanot wanted to change the planet rulerships of the 12 signs of the zodiac by including the four asteroids, injecting much-needed female archetypes into the zodiac and ending male chauvinism in the same. The way Mr. Lanot explained it, we will now have 5 female planets (Venus, joined by the asteroids Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta), 5 male planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto), and a couple of hermaphroditic planets (Mercury and Uranus to represent what he called then as “homosexuals” or “the third sex” but what whose designation we will now update as the LGBT community. He said that there are now enough astronomical discoveries such that we can proceed to assign a single planet exclusively for one sign without any duplication.

The Rulers of Lanot’s Proposed Zodiac
Aries – Mars
Taurus – Ceres instead of Venus
Gemini – Mercury
Cancer – Juno
Leo – Jupiter
Virgo – Vesta
Libra – Venus
Scorpio – Pluto
Sagittarius – Pallas
Capricorn – Saturn
Aquarius – Uranus
Pisces – Neptune

A New Look at Astrology nookIf you come think of it and if we really know our mythology and symbolism, we may find ourselves actually agreeing to some extent about Mr. Lanot’s ideas. Last year, Astrology Friends Philippines headed by renowned financial astrologer Resti H. Santiago celebrated the Centennial of Mr. Lanot’s life and works. I pay tribute to Mr. Lanot now on his birth month and thank him for invisibly guiding my hand when I was 15 years old through his awe-inspiring book, “A New Look at Astrology Through Filipino Eyes.” Maraming salamat po, Ka Serafin!

“Astrologer Christopher Renstrom, Saturn, and the Fangirl” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (August 6-12, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of August 6-12, 2014


It all happened one Saturday afternoon.

If you’ve been following this column more or less, then you know how much in awe I am of astrologer Christopher Renstrom and hence, yes, I am the “fangirl” in this column’s title. Christopher writes the daily horoscopes for the San Francisco Chronicle (replacing Jeanne Dixon) as well as for SFGate.com. He is also the astrologer for “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger via sheknows.com, as well as the force behind rulingplanets.com, a subscription-based online astrological magazine and advice source. He is also the author of the book “Ruling Planets” which assigns a specific planet to “rule” each of the 12 Western zodiac signs and then explains how all of that goes. He also developed “Ask the Astrologer” for MyLifetimeTV.com. In short, Christopher Renstrom, 53, is definitely a “young astrologer” who has an impressive track record due to his hard work, media savvy, and super-charming personality. I tell you, you should meet Christopher in person. Such a humble man oozing with sweetness and light.

I suppose I should start backtracking a bit because I’d like to explain why I always describe Christopher in superlatives. You see, back in 2008, I wrote a horoscope column for this newspaper, which was actually a dream come true for me since I have always wanted to marry my love for writing with my passion for astrology. However, I still needed pointers in both style and content, and it is to Christopher’s column in the SF Chronicle that I primarily turned to. I read not just what it says for my sign Aries, but for the 11 other signs as well, marveling at his equal parts seriousness and sense of humor. Last year, during a half-day workshop conducted by another speaker, he was in the audience. I sought him out during a break and shyly asked if I can take a picture with him. All smiles and accommodation, Christopher joined me in a selfie. I’ll never forget that moment. Encounter number two was during this year’s Intl. Astrology Day (IAD) conference, when I was manning the registration desk and smiled brightly at him. He said that he remembers me and to send him a copy of our photo together. Needless to say, I was charmed and floored (OK, pick me up from the floor now). Then with this latest Saturnian encounter (I’ll explain later),can you imagine now how elated I am because someone I just admired from afar was for one afternoon to evening just within 5-10 feet of my personal space?! I’m freaking out like any awestruck fan – Christopher Renstrom is an astrological rock star!

Christopher was born in Palo Alto, CA on Dec. 23 – a Capricorn. Then who better to speak on things Saturnian than a son of Saturn himself? In Western astrology, Saturn is known as the ruling planet of Capricorn and Aquarius, in much the same way as Mars rules Aries, for example, or like the Moon rules Cancer. Yes, I admit, this is fascinating stuff to me and it has been ever since I read my first astrology book – “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs” – when I was 11 years old. Anyway, back to Christopher: he’s now based in Salt Lake City, Utah and visits the SF Bay Area every now and then to deliver lectures and conduct workshops. For the San Francisco Astrological Society (SFAS), he presented on “Thund’rous Portents” (Saturn in the context of American history, etc.) on the last Thursday of the month, which is when SFAS usually holds its monthly lectures.

For the National Council for Geocosmic Research-San Francisco (NCGR-SF) Bay Area Chapter, in which I’m serving as one of the Board members, Christopher held a half-day afternoon workshop on “Saturn: A Newer Look at an Older Devil” which, at least in title, is a nod to noted astrologer Liz Greene’s book, “Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil.” Nonetheless, Christopher weaves his tale of Saturn/Kronos from the very beginning: suffice it to say that there were a lot of devouring of children and castration going on at the start. Whew, sometimes mythology is heavy, man. Other visual images he presented were those of Captain Hook (to symbolize being chased by time, among other reasons), Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet where the actor is shown holding the skull of his best friend (Saturn as the planet of predicaments/dilemmas), Tiny Tim of “The Christmas Carol” (Saturn ruling charity), and Richard Nixon (Saturn as the planet of fear). He also presents what he calls “Saturn parables” like the story of Job, “The Christmas Carol,” Oedipus Rex, the temptation of Christ (Saturn = the devil), and Ceres/Demeter reacting by withholding bounty (a Saturnian reaction) when Hades abducts he daughter Persephone into the Underworld. Christopher quotes from original sources as much as possible, including Ovid, Middle Eastern writers, and James Hilton, author of the 1932 novel “The Lost Horizon.”

He also mentions some children of Saturn who comprise those whose signs are either Aquarius and Capricorn: Oprah Winfrey, Christie Brinkley (still beautiful and sexy at 60 – proof of the reverse-aging Saturnian principle: “they look old when they’re young and young when they’re old”), Betty White, and Dame Maggie Smith (Prof. Minerva McGonagall in the “Harry Potter” series and also of “Downton Abbey”).

In conclusion, here’s what we took away from Christopher Renstrom’s lecture about the characteristics of Saturn as a god and what it stands for in individual lives and the collective:
1. Saturn is the god of denial as a survival mechanism.
2. Saturn imparts hindsight.
3. Saturn urges us into resistance to the workaday world by resting on the Shavat/Sabbath. Like Christopher said, “People guard their money but they don’t guard their time,” that he points out is more important.
4. Saturn teaches us through tedium and our response to testing.
5. Saturn helps us get to the bottom of the truth. Truth (Veritas) is the daughter of Time (Kronos/Saturn) and the mother of Virtue.
6. Saturn rules doubt, and doubt is good because then you are motivated to seek the truth (see above).
7. Saturn is the god of irony, the journey through the predicament, paradox, and dilemma.
8. Saturn teaches us life in this world: there is both a dark side and a triumphant side.
9. Saturn remembers, i.e., rules memory.
10. You may not get what you want with Saturn, but you will create an extraordinary life, but an extraordinary life that you may not recognize.

So where is Saturn in your birth chart? Would you like to know how Saturn’s current transit in the sign of Scorpio will affect you? Maybe you’re inclined to consult an astrologer. Well, look no further. I am a professional astrologer who has been interpreting birth charts for hundreds of satisfied clients since 2001. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency — ooops! Wrong spiel. Please call or email me. I’ll be waiting for you. Check it out: http://facebook.com/pilipinasblitzforever.org

***********Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“Adventuring at the Angel Light Books” – in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (May 28-June 3, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of May 28-June 3, 2014
I was told to close my eyes and then choose one stone from a basket full of them. I open my eyes to see the unfamiliar green-red polished stone that I turned up. I was told that it was a “ruby-fuchsite,” which apparently means that I’m healing past traumas in relationships and that I should be quite ready to receive more guidance about this soon. I leave the place calm and excited at the same time.
Maybe a little rewind button needs to be pressed at this point. The place I’m talking about is Angel Light Books and Gifts (www.angellightbooks.com) at 3347 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94703-2720. I have browsed through the store a couple of times before but this was the first time that I ever bought something here. Because I was a first-time buyer, store owner Ms. Valencia Chan held out her basket of stones for me to pick from. It’s an Angel Light tradition to offer this free stone to first-time customers. I sure am glad that I picked out that ruby-fuchsite which now occupies a place in my pocket, nestled in its pouch. I’m glad because I picked such a beautiful stone in various shades of green with ruby red inclusions – so visually, this rock rocks! I’m also glad because I always welcome opportunities to learn something new. For instance, although I have heard of the ruby, I’ve never heard of the fuchsite. If our second-year class at the Manila Science High School ever discussed fuchsites during a certain Earth Science lesson, I must have been absent. That was School Year 1984-1985 (SY 1984-1985), my section was II-Dalton, and learning Earth Science under Mrs. Felicerta made me appreciate the workings of outer space. Beginning with the rating scale for the stars based on their temperature, from the newer blue stars at 30,000 Kelvin (K) like Spica, to the cooler red dwarfs like Proxima Centauri at 2,000 K, I remember my youthful fascination for stars, planets, and the Universe in general. Can you imagine how I utterly imbibe each and every episode of “Cosmos” these days? It’s the ultimate mind trip!
Coming back down again to the realm of the body, why don’t we examine the correspondence between crystals and stones and the chakras. There are seven chakras, starting from the 1. root or base (perineum) – physical energy and vitality, 2. Sacral (below navel) – creativity/sexual expression, 3. Solar plexus – personal power/fulfillment, 4. Heart – compassion/humanitarianism, 5. Throat – communication/self-expression, 6. Third Eye or Brow – higher intuition/psychic powers, and 7. Crown (top of head) – transmutation. Each of them acts like a self-opening valve filtering the “electrical current” of the Universal Life Force into the body (Reference: Simpson, Liz. “The Book of Crystal Healing,” 2005, pp. 68-69.) There are colors and crystals that are assigned to each of the seven chakras based on their vibratory rates. For instance, each chakra, from the root or base upward, is linked to the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

For the crystals most associated with each chakra, Simpson’s book lists the following: 1. Root or Base (perineum) – agate, bloodstone, tiger’s eye, and hematite, 2. Sacral (below navel) – moonstone, tiger’s eye, citrine, carnelian, 3. Solar Plexus – citrine, rose quartz, aventurine quartz, malachite, 4. Heart – jade, aventurine quartz, watermelon tourmaline, rose quartz, 5. Throat – aquamarine, lapis lazuli, turquoise, celestite, 6. Third Eye or Brow – amethyst, fluorite, lapis lazuli, sodalite, and 7. Crown (top of head) – amethyst, celestite, jade, rock crystal (clear quartz).
For crystal bodywork, in which the crystals are placed on the chakras, choose the right crystals for your needs, cleanse them, and meditate to achieve a peaceful frame of mind. For problems directly corresponding to their physical locations, place the crystal over the appropriate chakra (Simpson, p. 69).
When my clients express a certain need during the consultation, I loan the appropriate crystal in my collection. I ask the client to cleanse the crystal first before using it for meditation or healing. Of course the next question is: How does one cleanse a crystal?
Well, there are many ways to cleanse a crystal, but please understand that cleansing is not a physical process but a spiritual ritual (Simpson, p. 52). Since crystals absorb and then retransmit all energies with which they come in contact, it makes sense to return it to a neutral state before using it again. Here are some cleansing and tuning rituals that you can perform. Use your intuition as to what process is appropriate for your crystal/s.
1. Thought visualization: Imagine a bright star pouring pure white light through an opening in the top of your head. Guide it down through your body sensing it being cleansed. Feel negative energies draining out of your feet. Now dedicate the crystal; “I dedicate this crystal to love and for the universal benefit of all.”
2. Sunlight: Light is the essential currency of crystal healing, so re-energize your water-cleansed stones in sunlight for 24 hours before dedicating them.
3. Running Water: Cleanse your crystals by holding them under running water, such as an ordinary bathroom tap. As you do so, think about a beautiful waterfall you have seen or visited. Or imagine the waves lapping over your crystal on a tropical beach.

4. Earth Burial: Crystals have come from the earth. If you feel they are safe enough you can bury your crystals in the ground (mark where you have left them). The earth has a natural, magnetic quality which will draw off negativity.
5. Amethyst bed: Crystal healers commonly use a large piece, or bed, of amethyst to cleanse several stones at once. Amethyst is said to transmute lower energies into the higher frequencies of both the spiritual and ethereal worlds, thereby transforming whatever is placed on it.
I will leave it up to you to research on other ways of cleansing your crystals, like smudging, using bells (resonating sound), or using a combination of crab apple Bach Flower Remedy and sea salt. In the realm of crystal healing, it is important to honor your intuition as much as you honor your logical side. For instance, the logical part of you takes care of the mental lists of which crystals correspond to which chakras, but it is your gut feeling that will tell you which stone “feels” right for the situation or ailment in question.

Ruby fuchsite (image courtesy of old-earth.com via Google Images)
Ruby fuchsite (image courtesy of old-earth.com via Google Images)

Now going back to where this journey started: at the Angel Light Books and Gifts in Berkeley with Ms. Valencia Chan, who was actually born on Valencia St. in San Francisco. If you visit the website, http://www.angellightbooks.com, you will find all manner of informative articles with photos, including the history of Angel Light Books, its teachers and practitioners, and the many classes and special weekend events and classes that it offers. Ms. Valencia invited me to attend the upcoming “Chakra Awareness” (June 8, 1-3 pm) and “Stones Awareness” (June 22, 1-3 pm) classes. If you are interested, please give Ms. Valencia a call at (510) 985-1600 on Mon-Sat,11 am-7 pm and Sundays, 12 noon-5 pm. Please RSVP and pre-register because space is limited. The fee per awareness class is $25. For the Chakra class, the chakra manual is included in the fee, while the fee for the Stones class includes 3 tumbled stones and a pouch. If you complete 3 classes: Stones, Chakra, and Crystal Awareness (this last class next meeting to be announced) and answer a questionnaire, you will receive a certification from the Angel Light School of Metaphysics.
The adventure at Angel Light Books and Gifts has begun and will now continue on. And may it harm none.

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com


“The Mother of All Mothers: Honoring Mortals and Goddesses” – in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (May 7-13, 2014)

Leaning in with my Mom, Mrs. Aida Ragasa Carmona
Leaning in with my Mom, Mrs. Aida Ragasa Carmona
All smiles! My parents, still together at 45 years and counting.
All smiles! My parents, still together at 45 years and counting.

Pilipinasblitz Forever Bles Carmona For the week of May 7-13, 2014


First of all, we greet the most important woman in our lives on the second Sunday of May: Happy Mother’s Day!

A bit of nerdicity: in the olden days of its origin, there was a bit of a flap regarding the spelling of the holiday. Anna Jarvis insisted that it should be Mother’s Day (singular possessive), and her reasoning was that it was supposed to honor one mother of one family. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson adopted this spelling when he made the official declaration about Mother’s Day with Congressional backing in 1914. However, the other variations, Mothers’ Day (plural possessive) and Mothers Day (plural non-possessive) are also in use these days.

With that brief nod to this holiday’s origins, I would like to weave a narrative about motherhood, engaging our collective imagination and our strong feelings, whether of love or something else, toward our own mother and the mother-figures in our lives.

Let me start with my own mother: Mrs. Aida Ragasa Carmona. When I and my two younger sisters and one brother were still children living in the Philippines, my Mom worked three jobs to get us by, apart from our Dad’s average income. She taught English and speech and drama at the Manila Science High School in the mornings, taught college English at the Far Eastern University, and then she would rush to Broadcast City for their overnight “Flordeluna” tapings, where she played the role of “Aling Atang.”  Looking back on it now, my Mom attributes her almost “super-human” energy to the fact that she was young and it was all an adventure for her. Although she admits that her salary from her Flordeluna role was the one that got us through grade school and high school, she was also frequently called for location shoots for various bit roles in films, where she usually played maid or teacher roles. She has worked with the crème de la crème of Philippine cinema in the 1980s: Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and Mike De Leon among directors, and many popular stars of that era, among which she singles out Ms. Tita Duran as approachable (not “pa-importante”) and down-to-earth. Ms. Duran and my Mom became fast friends during those times. Among the younger set, she fondly remembers Ms. Lorna Tolentino who, when my Mom said out loud that she was craving for Skyflakes, Ms. LT asked her “alalay” to go outside the exclusive village where they were taping (therefore no “sari-sari” stores inside) and buy the crackers for my Mom, a whole box of Skyflakes! From my most impressionable years and up until now, my Mom is truly my source of strength and er, showbiz “chismis.” (Just kidding, Mom. You know I love you.) Happy Mother’s Day po sa inyo!

Here’s a shout-out to all the mothers out there: the real ones like you, who have to juggle home and career, who stay home and care for your children while your partner goes to work, who takes care of your pets as a mother to them, and every other variation of “Mother” onto which you put on your resplendent diadem. This tribute is for all kinds of mothers out there.

This is for Santa Monica of Hippo, who spent 30 years praying for her dissolute son. We know him now as Saint Augustine, a very influential Doctor of the Catholic Church. Saint Monica is the patron saint of three places: Manaoag, Pangasinan and Don Galo, Parañaque in the Philippines and Santa Monica, California. She is the one to turn to for help with difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of (verbal) abuse, and conversion of relatives.

This is for the late Philippine President Corazon Aquino, whom I’ve had the honor to meet face-to-face at Malacañang Palace in 1987 because I won first place in a national poetry competition about the first anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. She personally handed me and my fellow category winners our individual Cory Dolls. Pres. Cory Aquino became the Mother of the Nation during those uncertain times and her ascension to the Presidency marked the precarious transition from martial law to democracy.

This is for the Greek goddesses Gaea, mother of the Titans, and Demeter, patroness of agriculture and fertility. Gaea had the most terrible husband, Ouranos, who swallowed all his children and yet she endured to seek revenge later on. Demeter, in her grief when Hades lured her beloved daughter Persephone down into his Underworld, forgot being selfless for a while and brought on widespread draught and famine to mythical Greece. Such was Demeter’s love for her daughter. (If you Google the rest of the story, bonus points for you.)

This is for a couple of my Manila Science High School classmates, NMC and MGO, respectively, who as mothers of special children face unique challenges and yet rise to the occasion every single day out of their love for their respective children. Their serene countenances, grace under pressure, and true thankfulness to their God make me admire the families they have built with their husbands and children. In relation to this, I also salute the mother of my adult Literacy Plus learner. Her name is Sue. She expertly handles my learner’s wheelchair. My learner is a Korean-American man in his early 30s who was born with cerebral palsy. She patiently loads up my learner onto their specially constructed van and drives him over from their house three cities away to the Hayward Public Library every Friday. That’s where her son and I have our tutoring session for a couple of hours. She patiently waits for our session to finish by doing errands or browsing through books and audiotapes, deciding which ones to borrow. She is in tune with my learner’s moods, knowing when he is energetic and when he’s had enough.  In short, Sue is one of the most palpable examples to me of motherly devotion to her son. My learner may have been born with certain deficiencies but with a mother like Sue, he is clearly blessed in abundance. Sue’s dedication to her son’s wellbeing is admirable and worthy of emulation.

Clearly, there can be no higher love than a mother’s love. My Catholic parents would probably want me to mention the mother of all mothers in their religion: Saint Mary or Mother Mary. For those among you who are familiar with Christianity and/or Catholicism, the example of Mama Mary in caring for her son, Jesus Christ, is all over your Bible and traditions. From Jesus’ immaculate conception until his death and resurrection, his mother, Mary, remained loving and faithful. When I was younger and I was required to memorize the entire Rosary, I especially liked the looong Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary because her many titles are so evocative, for example: Mother of Our Savior, Tower of Ivory, Virgin Undefiled, Mirror of Justice, Queen of Angels, Mystical Rose, and so on. I don’t pray the Rosary anymore, but I have never stopped praying in my own fashion.

Lastly, this tribute is for three of my friends: one Latina and a couple of Filipinas, who have long been wanting to be mothers but so far have not yet been blessed by a child. If anyone deserves to be mothers because of the love and strength they carry in their hearts, it is these three by sheer virtue of their goodness and grace. I’ve been praying for each of them but they don’t know it. Well, JCL, LPP, and PIL, here I am going on record: May God and Goddess grant you the child you know you should birth into this world. When our prayers have been answered at last, may you love your respective children as only a true-blue mother could. Happy Mothers Day! It is plural, non-possessive, and can be shared by all!

********** Contact Bles Carmona for personal readings at pilipinasblitz@gmail.com, via Facebook at http://facebook.com/pilipinasblitzforever.org, or follow her on Twitter@BlesildaCarmona.

What are the basic building blocks of astrology? (Part 2) in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Mar. 12-18, 2014)

color natal chart

(Image courtesy of http://www.chimachine4u.com c/o Google Images)


Last week was the first installment of our discussion of the basic building blocks of astrology where I shared some keywords for the planets and signs. Remember that planetary keywords are usually nouns while zodiac sign keywords are usually adjectives. We will now discuss houses, the 12 divisions of the pie which is the natal chart, each house governing various areas of life. We will also discuss the aspects or the angular relationships among two or more planets by longitude.


1st: Personality, character, personal image, appearance, the self

2nd: Personal finance, possessions, material values, the ability to make money

3rd: Communications, thoughts and ideas, short trips, mental attitude

4th: Early home life, heritage, the foundation of security

5th: Creative self-expressions, games, flirting, love affairs, children, business speculation

6th: Health and healing, personal habits and hygiene, service to others, cooperation with co-workers

7th: Marriage, partnerships, committed relationships

8th: Other people’s money, inheritances, lawsuits, investments, powerful associates, sex

9th: Religion, philosophy, long journeys, higher education, searching for the meaning of life

10th: Public image, occupations, reputation, status

11th: Goals in life, friends, group associations

12th: Hidden wisdom, meditation, psychological outlook, hypnotherapy


CONJUNCTION (0°) – prominence, intensity

TRINE (120°) – easy luck

SEXTILE (60°) – opportunity and luck through action

SQUARE (45°) – obstacles

OPPOSITION (180°) – contrast, awareness

SEMI-SEXTILE (30°) – cooperation

SEMI-SQUARE (45°) – friction

SESQUI-SQUARE (135°) – agitation

INCONJUNCT or QUINCUNX (150°) – growth

Now, remembering last week’s keywords for the planets and signs, and then learning today’s keywords for the houses and aspects, can we now attempt to make sense of the astrological sentence I submitted for decoding last week? “My Sun is in Aries in the 8th house opposing my Uranus in Libra in the 2nd house.” This can be found in my own chart.  But what does this mean?

This could mean that this person’s inner essence (Sun) is energetic and fiery (Aries), expressed mostly in handling other people’s resources (8th house). In contrast (opposition, 180 degrees), her independence (Uranus) is graceful and social (Libra), and this may help her discover ways of earning money (2nd house). Really, there are a lot of possible interpretations and the only one that will make sense to an astrology student like you and me is if we corroborate what we read from the chart with our actual lives and personal traits. It’s not all in there in your chart or your client’s chart. If you’re reading your own chart, then it helps to be self-aware. If you are reading someone else’s, then put the actual client first by establishing rapport and building trust before you even discuss your findings.

Back in the year 2000, I drew natal charts by hand, imprecise though they were, aided by the planet tables which can be found at the back of the book, “Linda Goodman’s Relationship Signs” (NY:Bantam, 1998). The references I used to collect keywords are Noel Tyl’s “Communicating the Horoscope” (MN: Llewellyn, 1995) and William Hewitt’s “Astrology for Beginners” (MN: Llewellyn, 1991). Another book that I find helpful is “How to Read Your Astrological Chart: Aspects of the Cosmic Puzzle” by Donna Cunningham (ME: Samuel Weiser, 1999). These resources will help beginners get a fuller grasp of their own natal chart. No one can be the ultimate expert on a chart except the one that owns it because he/she is the one actually living it: the potentials, the pitfalls, the strengths, the challenges. Understanding your own natal chart gives you another tool toward understanding yourself.

Contact Bles Carmona at pilipinasblitz@gmail.com, via Facebook at http://facebook.com/pilipinasblitzforever.org, or follow her on Twitter@BlesildaCarmona.




What are the basic building blocks of astrology? (Part 1) in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Mar. 5-11, 2014)

solar system(Image courtesy of wellsave.com/ Google Images)


Last week, I gave you a glimpse on how we will celebrate International Astrology Day (IAD) 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area this coming March 22-23. This week, let’s continue exploring the vast subject of astrology. If, like me, you are fascinated by this topic, I hope that you don’t get intimidated when for example you browse through a book on astrology in the library or a book store and nothing means anything to you. Don’t panic. We all have to start somewhere, and the logical place to start is with the building blocks of astrology.

What are they? The planets, the signs, the houses, and the aspects.

I believe that familiarizing ourselves with the key words for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects will help us understand the elements in our own birth chart (also called a natal chart). If we understand these elements, then our entire chart becomes an exciting roadmap to our self-understanding. With what gifts, potentials, and strengths are we born? How do we make the best use of these? What weaknesses must we try to overcome?

For instance, what are we to make of this statement: “My Sun is in Aries in the 8th house opposing my Uranus in Libra in the 2nd house”? By the way, that’s an actual observation from my natal chart.         That statement may sound bewildering to you now, but by the end of this 2-part column, I hope that you will begin your attempt to put together some statements of your own based on your own birth chart. For a free rendering of your natal chart, I highly recommend going to www.astro.com, which I have been using for quite a long time now. It’s also a great website for learning the basics of astrology and beyond. My suggestion is for you to study the glyphs (symbols) for the planets, signs, and aspects, since this will help you figure out all those squiggly lines and doodles populating your chart. The houses are numbered plainly from 1-12 in a counterclockwise direction. The two axes bisecting the chart are the MC-IC axis (Medium Coeli/midheaven-Imum Coeli/nadir) and the AC-DC axis (ascendant-descendant). All these will make sense to you when you print out your natal chart and really begin to study it.

Now, how can we make useful analogies between the English language and the language of astrology? I’ve read many sources that liken planet keywords to nouns and sign keywords to adjectives. House keywords describe areas of life while aspect keywords describe relationships among planetary energies, whether easy or challenging. May I now present to you some keywords for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects, respectively. Since this is by no means an exhaustive list, I encourage you to come up with your own associations.


SUN: Inner essence, nature, ego, individual, consciousness, purpose, center, light, creativity, spirit, life, vitality, nucleus, being, intention, will power, Apollo

MOON: Emotions, unconscious, soul, reflection, fertility, mother, memories, feelings, moods, sensitivity, Isis

MERCURY: Communication, intelligence, thoughts, reason, logic, ideas, speech, observation, conscious mind, the winged messenger, Hermes

VENUS: Love, femininity, beauty, art, harmony, romance, refinement, the senses, gentleness, sensuality, Aphrodite

MARS: Energy, force, action, stress, anger, masculinity, sexual drive, the warrior

JUPITER: Confidence, abundance, aspirations, generosity, autonomy, indulgence, excess, opportunity, humanity, success, philosophy, Santa Claus, Zeus, a sense of humor

SATURN: Responsibility, structure, restriction, ability, duty, authority, stamina, determination, accomplishment, limitations, patience, reality, karma, discipline, maturity, caution, boundaries, ambition, Father Time, Kronos

URANUS: Surprise, freedom, chaos, independence, change, eccentricity, originality, release, intuition, electricity, the humanitarian, the rebel

NEPTUNE: Spirituality, visionary, psyche, dreamer, wisdom, addictions, drugs and alcohol, co-dependence, meditation, fantasy, illusion, rose-colored glasses, devotion, guilt, escape, Poseidon, angels, God, Goddess

PLUTO: Power, transmutation, evolution, death and rebirth, control, purification, elimination, the Phoenix, Shiva, Hades


ARIES: Energetic, fiery, aggressive, courageous, assertive, angry, self-centered, impulsive, brave, dynamic

TAURUS: Stable, earthy, sensual, dependable, stubborn, persevering, conservative, material, needs security, determined, strong, sophisticated, loyal, luxurious, practical

GEMINI: Enthusiastic, airy, versatile, nervous, independent, intelligent, talkative, flirtatious, quick, positive, unstable, restless, curious, child-like, clever

CANCER: Nurturing, watery, protective, emotional, family-oriented, moody, sensitive, sentimental, affectionate

LEO: Proud, fiery, generous, flashy, entertaining, powerful, arrogant, grandiose, egocentric, dramatic, dictatorial, noble

VIRGO: Earth mother, meticulous, linear, critical, analytical, productive, efficient, shy, caring, dedicated, vulnerable, problem-solving, computer-like, intelligent

LIBRA: Artistic, airy, social, graceful, beautiful, charming, indecisive, submissive, slick, diplomatic, refined, sympathetic, romantic

SCORPIO: Private, watery, deep, decisive, questioning, curious, jealous, sexual, manipulative, intense, psychic, healing, passionate, powerful

SAGITTARIUS: Independent, fiery, philosophical, futuristic, demanding, undaunting, impatient,  cultural, expansive, straightforward

CAPRICORN: Cautious, earthbound, unyielding, ambitious, authoritative, tenacious, responsible, accomplished

AQUARIUS: Rebellious, airy, open-minded, revolutionary, scattered, unpredictable, cause-oriented, aloof, fanatic, impractical, humanitarian

PISCES: Empathetic, watery, extremely sensitive, abandoned, fearful, inspired, whimsical, fanciful, spiritual, spacey, creative, gentle, confused, kind

We will continue our discussion on the building blocks of astrology next week when we tackle the keywords for the houses and aspects. #