What Does Sacred Geometry have to do with Your Body?

I’m not an expert in sacred geometry but I am fascinated by the fact that certain complex mathematical patterns appear repeatedly in nature. They arise in plant life, animal behavior and insect patterns as if by magic.

Now, I’m not one to claim that aliens constructed the pyramids, or that the medieval cathedrals are the work of the Illuminati, but one does have to admit that the idea that nature incorporates certain mathematical sequences into it’s creations is fascinating. It’s no surprise that the phenomenon has fascinated occultists and conspiracy theorists. 

If you happen to have Netflix or access to Amazon Video you can watch a great documentary on sacred geometry called: The Code.

For the purpose of this post I will give a brief, Wikipedia explanation of the phenomenon. Wikipedia explains: 

A Nautilus Shell

“The study of sacred geometry has its roots in the study of nature, and the mathematical principles at work therein.[4] [ … ] for example, the chambered nautilus grows at a constant rate and so its shell forms a logarithmic spiral to accommodate that growth without changing shape.

Also, honeybees construct hexagonal cells to hold their honey. These and other correspondences are [ … ] considered to be further proof of the natural significance of geometric forms.”

Throughout time, scientists, religious figures artist and philosophers have studied sacred geometry in the belief that some great mystery lay within these natural mathematics. 

Medieval Cathedrals often incorporated sacred geometry into their architecture. Egyptian art also puts a heavy emphasis on geometric forms (the pyramids being an obvious example) and their grasp of mathematics has long been considered “mystical” in it’s sophistication. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawings were his attempt to incorporate the principals of sacred geometry into a depiction of the ideal the human body. 

Ideal Body Proportions

Symmetry has long been considered a desirable trait in human features. Studies have shown that even infants are more attracted to symmetrical faces than non-symmetrical ones.

Also, although the “ideal” body changes over time, a low waist-to-hip ratio has been related to attractiveness across time and culture. 

According to Wikipedia: “research shows that a waist-hip ration (WHR) for a female very strongly correlates to the perception of attractiveness. […] Women with a 0.7 WHR (waist circumference that is 70% of the hip) are rated more attractive by men in various cultures” 

The article goes on to state that Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and the Venus de Milo all share this magic ratio. This number has been associated with fertility (for perhaps it indicates a more fertile woman) and also with health. 

if you are wondering how to calculate your own ration your own waist to hip ratio, I recommend this article from healthline.com:  https://www.healthline.com/health/waist-to-hip-ratio

It is also helpful to remember that while the underlying math may remain constant, the desirable shape and weight of women changes throughout time and is different across cultures.

Furthermore, although I stated earlier that humans generally find symmetrical faces more attractive than less symmetrical ones, when presented with a perfectly symmetrical face (which has to be generated by a computer) people actually have a negative reaction. They find it cold and inhuman-essentially, creepy. 

I think that the quickest route to attaining an “ideal” body is through health, which theoretically gets the body closest to functioning the way that nature intended it to. If nature is powerful and mystical enough to create a perfectly geometric nautilus shell, than optimizing your own physical system is sure to bring you closer to the ideal.

I hope to bring you more info on this subject, and how you can make body geometry work for you as this blog unfolds. Have a magical day! 

The Four Seasons of Your Monthly Cycle- Fall

In a previous post I discussed the book Four Seasons in Four Weeks by Suzanne Mathis McQueen. In her book McQueen offers some valuable insights into the female cycle and provides tips for working with your cycle, rather than against it. 

In that post, I promised to explore her ideas more in depth and so will begin with her discussion of what she considers the first week of your monthly cycle “fall.” It is during this week that menstruation occurs. 

According to McQueen, this week, symbolically is like fall. In the fall the trees shed their leaves and shed what is no longer needed. Likewise, during this week, women shed the uterine lining that has not been used to facilitate a pregnancy. If you are not pregnant, that lining is no longer needed and it is time for your body to let go of it. 

How else is this week like the fall season? It may be the time you find yourself retreating in-doors to take time for yourself. McQueen emphasizes that it is very important to rest at this time. She also states that it is a time of “meditative, visionary and artistic energy” so you might find it beneficial to work on projects that express your creativity, or intuition…or both. 

A great activity is one I learned from the Artist Way series by Julia Cameron. You grab yourself a poster board and some magazines, and a glue-stick and prepare to make a collage. This is a different process than creating a vision board, which is one in which you are very deliberate about the pictures you choose. In this instance you may want to light some incense and put on some meditative music. Before you begin you ask the universe or a higher power a question. Perhaps it is a specific question about how you might make more money or what is going on in your relationship. You can also ask more generally, “what do I need to know about my life right now?” and then set to work. 

As you pour through magazines and tear out pictures, don’t think very much about what you are attracted to. The idea is not to pick the perfect images, but to let yourself tear and glue uncensored. When you are are done, you will know it, and can step back to see what you’ve created. Chances are, it is something that will surprise you, and give you some insight into your life, or your area of inquiry, that you hadn’t thought of before. It’s a wonderful exercise, and when I do it I find that during a certain time of month I’m more intuitive and perhaps more inclined to shut off the phone, pull the shades and just, generally take time for myself. 

In thinking about the week of your period in this way, as a magical time to connect with your artistic ability and psychic intuition you may find that you actually look forward to this incredible visionary time. It can be an empowering time for women to connect with their feminine powers. What, after all is more feminine than a menstrual cycle? 

If you have any other rituals or advice for this time of the month, please do share below. 

Have a magical day! 

A Woman’s Rhythm

Today begins my exploration of patterns, natural rhythms, cycles, seasons and phases. I am inspired by the book: 
4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Awakening the Power, Wisdom, and Beauty in Every Woman’s Nature by Suzanne Mathis McQueen.

In her wonderful book, McQueen studies the patterns of the feminine monthly cycle. Without giving too much away just yet, I will say that she provides her readers with a a blueprint for how to make the most of these phases. Her belief is that understanding them deeply and working with (rather than against) their own cycle will enhance women’s lives.

Most women can easily recognize how their body changes during certain times of the month. Swelling from water weight-gain, feeling hot or cold, and feeling hungry are all symptoms of a woman’s hormonal cycle. Much of what we read or hear about this cycle is negative. The internet is full of images of women writhing in pain from cramps, and articles about how to survive the terrible inconvenience of a monthly period.

Could there be an upside, however? Are there benefits to each phases of this cycle? Can we use our cycle make our lives more productive? Can understanding our own hormonal patterns make our bodies more healthy and beautiful? 

McQueen says yes, and uses the analogy of the 4 seasons to explain how each week of a woman’s monthly cycle changes her desires and priorities. During the winter phase, for example a woman may feel like hibernating, being alone, and taking time for introspection. During the Spring phase, they may feel beautiful, outgoing and expressive. 

I deeply resonated with McQueen’s analogy and found it helpful to acknowledge these phases. 

In a future post I will get more into Mcqueen’s explanation of her  4 seasons analogy and how it can help you understand your body, energy and attractiveness in accordance with your monthly cycle. I also want to explore the incredible potential present in the idea that cycles, seasons, phases and patterns can affect the body, and how understanding them can can enhance health, well-being, and attractiveness.

Have a magical day! 

Magic Eating: The French Way

In a previous post I discussed the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink. Wansink is a  food researcher who explores why subtle factors in our environment can enchant us to eat more than we really need. 

As I read through his advice I noticed a parallel between Wansink’s eating recommendations and the dietary habits of the French.

For years the French have been singled out for their magical ability to eat cheese, drink wine and enjoy 4-course meals while maintaining a slender physique. What I’ve read of French eating habits leads me to believe that their food lifestyle has a large role to play in their thinness.

Below is a short list of tips for enchanting your food habits so that you can loose weight more easily. These tips are adapted from Wansink’s advice in Mindless Eating and author Jennifer L. Scott’s writings on the French lifestyle in her book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned While Living in Paris.

  1. Avoid the Spell of Snacks 

As Jennifer L. Scott Observes in Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned While Living in Paris, the French do not snack. Instead, food is primarily eaten at the table during set mealtimes, or seated in a local cafe. Eating time for the French is free from the distractions that TV, books or magazines provide. It is a special time to connect with others and enjoy life’s pleasures. 

The French do not eat on the go, or drive their cars with a sandwich in hand. When it comes to food, the French focus.

According to Wansink’s Mindless Eating, distraction is a powerful reason that people overeat. “People who watch a lot of TV are more likely to be overweight than people who don’t,” he writes (102).  “Both children and adults tend to snack more when watching television, and they do so even if they are not physically hungry. [ … ] The more we focus on what we’re watching, the more we end up forgetting how much we’ve eaten.” (103)

Anti-Snacking Spell

If you make an effort to eat only while sitting at the dinner table, you may be able to curbing a snacking habit. Another trick would be to resolve to eat only at set mealtimes, and never on the go.

If you simply cannot do without snacking, that is fine. Switching to fruit and vegetable snacks rather than potato chips or cookies will cut down on your calories massively. Grapes and baby carrots can make great TV-watching snack.

Avoid the Spell of Sight 

According to Wansink, people are enchanted by the “See Food Trap,” (78). In other words, if people see food, they will eat it!

Let’s say, for example, that a candy dish full of Hershey’s kisses in within sight of your desk. You will eat a lot more of them during the day than if the bowl is out of sight, or requires a short walk to get to.  If the bowl is within arm’s reach, the chocolate kiss will be in your mouth before you even have time to question whether or not you really want one. 

Anti-Sight Spell

Arrange cabinets and refrigerators so that healthier foods are more visible than questionable ones.  Don’t leave cereal boxes or cookie jars out where you can see them.

Having a fruit bowl visible is actually an indicator of a lower weight, so fruits and vegetables are something you would want to see on a daily basis. An elegant bowl full of colorful fruit may inspire you to eat more healthily throughout the day. 

Enchant your Table Settings to cut down on Mindless Eating

According to .Jennifer L. Scott, the French make a big production out of their meals. They eat on elegant dishes and pay attention to the notes and flavors of the food before them. They also take longer to eat.

Since it takes a least 20 minutes for a feeling of fullness to reach the brain, eating slowly can give you more time to process the quality and quantity of the food before you. It’s hard to stop eating when you are full when you are rushed to clear your plate in under 20 minutes. Add to this time-crunch the host of distractions that face American’s while eating (working, reading, watching tv, driving) and you have a recipe for over-eating. 

According to Wansink, the French stop eating when they experience a feeling of fullness, while Americans stop eating once their plate has been cleared (53).

Wansink also recommends switching to smaller-size dishes in order to increase your feeling of satisfaction. If you fill up a small dish with food and eat slowly, chances are you will feel full by the time you get to the end of it. On the other hand, if you fill up a large plate with food and become distracted, you can easily eat twice the amount of calories without even realizing it. 

Composition of white wine, grapes, different cheeses and two strawberries

Jennifer L. Scott also encourages people to add elegance to their meal times. Beautiful dishes and cloth napkins may heighten your enjoyment of the meal and signal your body that now is the time to slow down and savor the food before you. 

Bewitch your Brain

A core belief in Wansink’s book is that diets don’t work. There is a ton of research to support this fact, but the basic understanding is this: if you deprive yourself of certain foods both your mind and body will fight against you. Eventually, you find yourself unable to hold on to the reigns of whatever eating plan you were on and begin to eat excess calories again. 

Anyone who has ever dieted knows exactly what I’m talking about. The diet that works great in the short term eventually becomes an uphill battle.

Wansink suggests not dieting, but rather, “re-engineering your food life so that you can eat what you want without guilt and without gaining weight. It’s about re-engineering your food life so that it is enjoyable and mindful.” (10)

The tips above are an example of food re-engineering. I also think that the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program does a good job of this. The new program aims to offer you as much variety and quantity of food as possible so that you don’t feel deprived. At the same time, it re-organizes your food choices so that you loose weight, slowly over time.

I started the program about 4 month’s ago and speak to a weight-loss coach by phone every other week. She is constantly reminding me that the new program is not a “diet.” In fact, a cornerstone of the new plan is that you shouldn’t never let yourself feel deprived. In the 4 months I’ve been on it I’ve lost 14 pounds, all while feeling satisfied and excited about food! 

The French do not deprive themselves of good cheese, good wine or good bread. Instead they focus on the quality of the food, the flavors and the pleasure of it.  A the same time, they structure their meals so that they aren’t eating all day, but rather at set meal times, at a table. 

There are many more factors that affect weight loss, of course, but a few magic tricks couldn’t hurt! Good luck on your journey! 

Have a magical day! 

Food Enchantment: Why We Eat The Way We Do

Can the arrangement of your dinner table, the types of plates you use, or the names you give to what you eat have a magical effect on your waistline?

In the book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D, the author says yes: we often eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Our surroundings cast a spell on our subconscious mind, and influence our food choices. He writes:

“We overeat not because of hunger, but because of family and friends packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.” ( 1)

In his book Wansink uses his background in marketing to explain the multitude of ways your environment can trigger you to eat more than you intend.

Though Wansink has recently been called to the carpet for fudging the data on some of his scientific studies, I found myself relating to many of the food traps he describes.

One such food trap is the “health halo.” Basically, if a person perceives a food to be healthy, they will eat more of it than they intend to. You might choose to eat a sandwich from Subway rather than a burger at McDonald’s, for example. Once you get to Subway, however, the idea that you are making a healthy choice might encourage you to add chips and a cookie to your order. Eventually, you will leave having eaten nearly as much or even more than you would have at a “less healthy” food-chain.

Another factor can be the type of music played in the background while you eat. Slow, calming music can cause you to linger at the table and eat more slowly, while fast, hi-energy music will encourage you to eat more quickly.

Wansink offers tips for avoiding the food traps that can cause you to overeat. He asserts that eating from a smaller dish will make you feel more full and keep you from taking in unnecessary calories. Drinking from a tall, slender glass will have the same effect of encouraging you to drink less.

He also asserts that having a fruit bowl on the table is a predictor of a lower weight, as those who have fruit bowls visible in their houses weigh less than people who don’t.

Many of Wansink’s tips coincide with reading I’ve done on the French Diet. For years, authors have explored why the French do not gain weight like American’s do, despite eating quite a lot of butter, bread and cheese. According to Wansink, the French are much better at paying attention to their body and can easily recognize when they are feeling full. I think there is more to it than that, and will discuss french eating habits in my next post:  Mindful Eating, The French Way.

Have a magical day!

The Magic of Hospitality

I experienced my first tarot reading a year or so after graduating from college. I was working at a small bookstore at the time and had never in my life experienced a reading with a real tarot card diviner.

I’d always had a fantasy about stumbling across a mysterious shop one day and receiving and a life changing message from a gypsy woman, but nothing like that had ever happened to me. Instead I heard tales from friends about “sham” readings they experienced and regretted paying for. Usually  the reader got their life story completely wrong or the reader gave them terrible advice.

One work day at the bookstore, however, a part-time co-worker approached me  and said that he was a student in tarot and astrology. In a non-creepy way he explained that his intuition had guided him to give me a reading. He even offered me a special discount!

Robert, the tarot reader and part-time bookstore employee, was a far cry from the gypsy tarot-woman I imagined would give me my first reading. Instead he was a just a well-mannered nice guy. For the discounted-rate he said he would charge me, I was happy to hear what he had to say!

Even though Robert was the furthest thing from scary, first tarot readings can be very intimidating. That day, as I walked up to his house I felt my adrenaline start to spike. I’m not really sure what I was afraid of…but the newness of the experience hit me all at once as I stood on his doorstep.

After a couple of knocks, Robert answered the door. Stepping inside his home. I was instantly surprised. The interior wasn’t at all what I had imagined from a tarot reader. There were no crystal balls or mysterious objects cluttering the tables and bookshelves. Instead, the little house was impeccably clean and tidy. Light poured down from a skylight in the kitchen, and the unvarnished wood furniture gave giving the place a feeling of warmth and purity.

I will never forget the smell that wafted from the kitchen as Robert pulled a tray of cardamom-seed cookies out of the oven. He arranged them on a blue plate and set them in the center of the wood table where my reading was to be held.

As I sat down to eat the delicious cookies, I realized how terrified I had been walking into this new experience. Now his hospitality had transformed my terror into pure gratitude. I felt safe and cared for. I still remember the anise-seed cookies as being some of the best I’ve ever eaten.

Without going into deep detail I will say that the reading was very powerful and moving for me. Perhaps more importantly, it sparked my interest in tarot and I would later go on to study the cards myself!

Looking back at that experience I am grateful for what it brought to my life. As grateful as I am for the pearls of wisdom Robert offered me that day however, I am just as grateful for the spell he created with his hospitality.

Looking back I realized that Robert’s magic was not just about his tarot or astrology skills, but in the way he controlled the energy of his house, the way he kept it de-cluttered and clean, and the hospitality he showed me by baking those  amazing cookies! His magic spell took my nervous, adrenaline-fueled self and made it feel safe and peaceful.

This is a similar spell to the one cast by Cassie on the Hallmark series The Good Witch. When passersby enter her charming little bookshop the decor pulls them in and encourages them to let down their guard. Once their guard is down Cassie is able to determine what they are really seeking, and to help them find the remedy they need.

If you haven’t watched The Good Witch, I highly recommend it for hospitality inspiration.  It is available on Netflix and HERE on Amazon.

Have a magical day!

 

The Magical History of Perfume

A few years ago I read the book: Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume by Mandy Aftel. What I loved most about this little book was how well-written and descriptive it was. Aftel writes about scent in such beautiful language, that the book itself begins to take on a magic quality.

This is fitting for the subject matter, which includes a catalog of the history of perfume. Aftel describes the magical/spiritual significance scent has held for humans throughout time.

“From earliest times,” Aftel writes, “people have taken pleasure in rubbing fragrant substances into their skin. Timeless and universal, scent has been a force in ritual, medicine, myth and conquest. Perfume has helped people to pray, to heal to make love and war, to prepare for death, to create.” (1)

Aftel also makes connections between perfumers and alchemists; old world magicians and scientists who aimed to transform “physical matter into divine essence.” (1)

My first experiences with perfume as a child were unexceptional, though the idea of perfume attracted me very much.  The curved glass bottles looked like magic potions.

Expensive perfumes were also one of the fancier presents my Dad would give mom at Christmas time. In my childhood mind perfume appeared to be a valuable, feminine possession.

Sadly, the kiddie perfume and department store samples I came across as a girl failed to impress. I’d spritz them on imagining the powerful allure they would give me, only find myself coughing, or with a headache several minutes later.

In her historical analysis of scent, Aftel describes the commercialization of perfume with the introduction of synthetics. These new chemicals changed the chemistry of the perfume significantly and, I believe, sucked the magic right out of them.

Fortunately, Aftel writes, “The popularity of aromatherapy has introduced a new generation to natural essences of excellent quality and has made these materials widely available for purchase” (2).

 My foray into the luxurious world of scent did not begin until a few years ago, when I discovered essential oils quite by accident. My experience with the oils since that day, Has been nothing short of magical. I will detail this experience in another post.

Have a magical day!

Beauty Rituals of Ancient Egypt

 

Recently I visited the Natural History museum in Houston, TX and found myself moving slowly through the Egypt exhibit. I was stunned by the artistry that the Egyptians threaded through all of their creations.

The sarcophagi, painted with a unique mix of colors and symbols, seemed to to contain a magic power. The artifacts that had been placed in the ancient burial tombs had a craftsmanship that you rarely see among the everyday objects of our time.

Sadigh Gallery’s Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Jar | Carved from a single piece of limestone, this jar was used to store kohl, an ancient form of eye cosmetic.

I was drawn to the displays of pots, bowls and jars that would have contained cosmetics and toiletries. It became clear that the daily act of caring for and beautifying the body was a sacred ritual for the ancient Egyptians.

I was reminded of an article that I had read long ago by Judith Illes called Beauty Secrets of Ancient Egypt. In the article Illes writes: “For the ancient Egyptians, beauty, magic and medicine were inseparable.” Taking care of and adorning one’s body was, for the Ancient Egyptians, a magical act.

Music, affirmations and burning incense are just a few ways to transform your daily routine into a magical event…especially if they inspire you. There are many books circulating now about creating your own magic beauty rituals. As I delve more into the significance of such rituals, and how they may help you attain your beauty goals I will continue to post my findings. 

Have a magical day! 

About the Beauty Spell

I think I’ve always been searching for magic. When I was younger I looked for it in books and fairy-tales, and felt it during the quiet moments when I found myself alone in nature.

There seemed to be some mystical quality present within the leaves of the trees and among the flowers that sprung up from the soil. Nature always felt magical to me and it still does.

It wasn’t until later in life that I began to wonder if the magic I read about in books and fairy-tales could actually work. I wondered if it was possible to harness the energy that I felt from the plants and trees and use it to influence my surroundings.

Mostly I wondered if magic could be used for self-improvement.

Some of the best advice on magic I ever received was from blogger and astrologer, Mystic Medusa. Though I can’t remember her exact words, she explained that one of the most potent magic spells in existence is the simple act of cleaning your house. Cleaning your house with intention can bring luck, cleanse your spirit and even change your life.

The notion that magic could be present in the simple, often mundane tasks of everyday life really struck me.

What I have come to learn is that magic has everything to do with adding intention to your daily life. When you put intention behind your actions, you are casting a spell. Your emotions have  a magical vibration, and the words you utter connect you with the universe, and bringing forth your future.

My goal is to present easy tools for using this everyday magic to create beauty in your life. This can be your own physical beauty, spiritual beauty, or even the beauty of your living space and relationships.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you have a magical day!

-Jess