Barbara Thomas

Glimpse Into Another Reality


Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on October 1st, 2017 § 5 comments

Reminder from Mano: Be aware of the seasons and live vibrantly with gratitude for Mother Nature’s bounty, the generosity and beauty of each season. Savor the flavor of cherries in spring, watermelon in summer, apples in autumn. Enjoy the first bulbs of spring, the leaves that turn in the fall, the winter storm, and summer vacation. For all of your conscious relating with us, we give you the gift of a grateful heart.

Painting by Barbara Thomas

For several years Steven Odell lived on Barbara’s land, and one of his fine contributions was to build a tea garden and hold tea ceremony, Chinese style, for many different people. A couple of friends and I shared this ceremony with Steven and Barbara one Sunday morning and then spent most of our drive back to Nevada City remembering the stories we’d heard and shared—including stories of the puehr forests in China and the elementals that helped tend these great and ancient tea forests. Steven has now moved away, but tea has filtered its way into the land. Barbara has a subscription to “Global Tea Hut” which brings a beautiful magazine and sampling of tea each month, and at her birthday party the ceremonial cup of tea her friends Phoenix and Cyndi presented to her moved her to tears.

As my trust in the elemental and angelic world swells through practice and more consistent attention, another of Steven’s interests shows up to help out. In his introduction to Barbara’s nearly completed book, Living with the Spirits of the Land: A Council of Gnomes Project, Steven introduces (to me, anyway) cryptozoology, an off-shoot scientific discipline that studies “beings unseen by common means.” We’ve devoted the blog to Steven’s essay, as the first of several previews to the book.


by Steven Odell

It is everywhere apparent that we as the human species must radically change the way we live in order to come into greater harmony with ourselves and the natural world. How do we do this when the odds seem so stacked? Where must we go to actualize change within ourselves in the face of so much calling out for it? What guidance might we find when we seek answers to the challenging questions of our time? The greatest potential for illumination might arise from the most unlikely place, a small, off-shoot scientific discipline called cryptozoology. Conventional definitions call it “the study of extinct, endangered or mythical creatures,” or closer but still not quite right as “the study of beings as yet unproven by science.” The definition, however, that really drives home the point of cryptozoology might be “the study of beings unseen by common means.” It is the first discipline to take oral history of the unexplained into account as a form of truth.

In believing the unfathomable of another’s experience we serve as a bridge for that person’s experience to become real, tangible, and grounded in a greater shared reality of what’s possible. This is the gift of allowing cryptozoology to be what it could truly become—a scientific discipline that experiences unseen beings through oral account and catalogs the potentiality for the existence of these beings and their realms as truth. A willingness to believe is the key to it all.

They are and have always been here all around us as our intimate allies: the elves, fairies, gnomes, devas, elementals, and angels. They need us to believe in them, in ourselves, in order for them to participate in any of the guidance for which we have been asking. Theirs is a participatory art. Our eyes, our hearts, and our minds are the portals through which all of the unseen can converge and emerge from that participation. If you listen carefully enough, their voices are calling.

It is in this nature of belief as a bridge for the unseen to cross through us into our world that we may begin to access the empathy in our hearts and witness the stories in this Council of Gnomes Project by Barbara Thomas. It is through Barbara’s willingness to work with these gnomes and share their knowledge that we are fortunate enough to have their help in remembering how to become the heaven-on-earth stewards we were always born to be.


Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on September 1st, 2017 § 9 comments

Reminder from Mano: Live life abundantly in relationship with nature, recognizing the elemental beings and angels when you feel the freshness of ocean, lake, stream, rain, or snow.

Guardian Angel by B. Thomas

Divine Feminine by B.Thomas











Celebration by B. Thomas












If, as Charles Eisenstein proposes, revitalized ritual is “alive, evolving out of the moment, expanding your awareness even to dimensions you may think you don’t know, calling to it those who will hold the space”, then Barbara’s early August 90th birthday celebration in the amphitheater was a beautiful illustration. The sun filtered through the redwoods and madrones, bubbles floated, feet danced on earth, hands joined, flowers lent their juices to painting, tea cups lifted ceremoniously in a sheltered alcove, and cherished family and friends, old and young, met, shared, and discovered one another. Here Barbara describes the serendipity and consciousness behind this creation.



Early this year my family informed me that they wanted to give me a “surprise” birthday party to celebrate my 90 years on the planet. They had wanted to do this for my 80th and 85th birthdays, but I really did not want it. So the big surprise, for me and for them, was that I loved the idea.

Immediately I started watching my Council of Gnomes send a flow of ideas through my mind and heart about how to celebrate with my friends.

One granddaughter suggested potluck food. I immediately knew “no, I want to share the food I love with my friends.” And so I decided to order party trays from Gale’s, our wonderful local bakery and delicatessen. My daughter-in-law Donna offered to take responsibility for the ordering and pick-up. When she saw how many different trays I had in mind, she suggested that because everyone would want to taste everything, fewer choices with lots of each would simplify and still fill everyone up. I chose mushroom turnovers, savory cream puffs, cheese platter, tea sandwiches, and a devilish, delicious super chocolate cake, with fresh strawberries for those who don’t eat sugar or chocolate.

The council planned the event with me, offering wonderful, inspired, and ingenious ideas. We had the party in the amphitheater so that all could be blessed by its angels and the spirits of the Land. More than 70 dear friends from near and far gathered to “Celebrate Barbara”. They parked their cars in my neighbor’s lot and my son-in-law Jeff shuttled them into the amphitheater. This alone was a satisfying birthday present, as I sat on my stool greeting each guest with a hug and an angel card. Near me was a memorial table with a candle and picture of my husband Jim and daughter Anne who now live in the heavenly realms. I wanted them to be present for my big celebration.

It was my delight to share things I love. Friends loaned me eight 10-foot-long banners that swayed in the breeze from 20-foot poles, adding a stunning dimension. My son Peter, with his wife Donna and three members of their local Ben Lomond band (Ben Lonesome and the Highway Niners), played music to greet everyone as they arrived. I asked each person to introduce themselves to three people they didn’t know and find out how they had met me—an easy way for people to feel free to interact with strangers. My friend Nita had a “station” with a large white paper and flowers to give people the chance to experience painting with flowers, rubbing them on the paper to experience the magic transfer of color from flower to paper. My heart sang with joy when I glanced over and saw my three-year-old granddaughter Willow crawling onto the large white paper, intensely creating a trail of geranium marks as she moved. I adore bubbles and have a number of 8-inch diameter bubble wands, which were available for the little children and for the child-within-the-adults that also love bubbles. My great-grandson Neil, 18 months old, was wet from head to toe as he splashed bubble juice all over as he played at making bubbles.

My friends Cyndi and Phoenix served tea in the enchanting and magical setting behind two madrone trees at the edge of the forest, welcoming people to sit on pillows and sip exquisite Chinese tea from delicate 1-inch cups. I always experience a magical transformation when I sit on the floor sipping tea for an hour or more with friends. Often little poems run through my altered mind, like “God in you, God in me, God in the heavens, God in the tea”.

I created a children’s area by placing benches around a blanket in the middle of the amphitheater. On the blanket were blocks and a basket of trolls my children once played with. One of the visions I had held in my heart when planning my party was fulfilled as the two circle dances surrounded the children’s play area, where the children all sat playing with the troll dolls. Jim and I offered circle dance in the amphitheater monthly for nearly 20 years.

I introduced my family—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—and asked them to share an early memory of being with me. I loved discovering just what memories they chose. Before we had cake, I shared the story of how Jim and I were guided and blessed to become the owners and caretakers of the amphitheater. It is a wonderful and magical story. Long ago, after visiting the amphitheater, a friend called me the guardian of angels.

I don’t enjoy the traditional birthday song, which can be heavy and dull, so I introduced a lively tune that carried my theme of Celebration:
Oh Barbara, celebrate Barbara,
Sing it with an open and joyful heart.
Oh Barbara, celebrate Barbara,
Sing it with an open heart!

An inspired idea from the gnome council was to gift my guests with their choice of prints I had created years earlier to sell through stores. I would like to offer you, my readers, this same gift. The three prints to choose from appear above, and here.

Let me know which one you want, your address, and $10 to cover shipping and postage. If possible please include your address on a mailing label so it can simply be put on the package.

Barbara Thomas
11737 Alba Rd
Ben Lomond, CA 95005

You can also order via Paypal. Please send $10 and be sure to include your address and mention which print you want, in the note field.

I live in gratitude for this monthly opportunity to share the things I love with all of you, as Mano, Mary Jane, and I collaborate to share experiences and teachings from the Council of Gnomes.



Oracles Abound

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on August 1st, 2017 § 3 comments

Reminder from Mano: When you arrive at all events bring your energy into total presence. Ask, “How may I serve the people, the angels, nature, Spirit? When you leave say goodbye personally to people. Withdraw your energy from the place and ask for blessings on all people, nature and angels who were there.

Painting by Barbara Thomas


After last month’s blog on oracles, particularly Barbara’s experience with learning to use and trust the pendulum, I began to get the itch to reconnect with one of my earlier oracle consultants, the alchemy stones. Back in 2005 I did a course at Rudolf Steiner College that had a big alchemy component, and directly following that course I spent a few months in Hawaii. In a tiny used bookshop on the Big Island I came across this set of alchemy stones, with a guide, and for several years used them regularly. Late one night I tracked them down and very reverently pulled a stone from the bag. As I felt the cool, smooth surface with only one tiny indentation on it, I immediately knew what it was—the one stone I hate but that also makes me laugh at myself. The Puffer. This is the careless naive alchemy-pretender, full of hot air and motivated primarily by the desire to get rich quick. His laboratory is a shambles and he “struggles in chaos, unaware of the clarity of alchemy’s higher path.” In a day or two I tried again, and I had already moved up to the Initiate, following my nature-guided path and trusting my experience to guide me. Both of these signs apply—the Puffer reminding me to live in humility, always, and the Initiate reminding me to stay in my own story and trust each step as it opens itself to me.

Barbara is always quick to laugh at herself and to take responsibility for her part in creating her reality. The oracles she writes about are “signs along the highway” that help her keep her head straight and her heart aligned.

The Tarot Cards
Another Council of Gnomes project that I now see was designed to further my work with oracles—as one more way they could connect, teach, and guide me—involved the Tarot. I first heard of the Tarot cards from my friend Brooks when I lived in La Canada. She once did a short reading for me in which the Fool came up as the one guiding my life. I now associate the Fool card with the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, who was near-sighted and absent-minded but nevertheless always came through unscathed. He might step off of a skyscraper into open space, only to step into the empty spot on a two-seater, open-cockpit airplane that was flying by at just the right moment. I can relate to Mr. Magoo’s adventure when I acknowledge the constant and consistent guidance, opportunities, and people the Council brings into my life.

 I connected with Pamela Eakins’ book Tarot of the Spirit when I was doing research on the four elements. I saw that she was brilliant and had more information than I had seen in any other Tarot book. She offered a year-long course of monthly Tarot classes (called “The Fool’s Journey”), which I very much wanted to take. However, the class was in Half Moon Bay and the commitment seemed impossible during this time when Jim and I were traveling and away from the mountain so much of the time. Two months after Jim died I heard that Pamela was going to do this class in Santa Cruz, the first time in 21 years she offered it away from her home. I enrolled immediately and loved the teachings and the teacher, feeling as if I had come home to a dimension of myself that had been dormant for eons. To be able to involve myself in this amazing, all-encompassing study during the time I was adjusting to Jim’s death was a huge blessing. With my daily homework and meditations, study filled the hours I would have spent with Jim.

 At the end of the year Pamela announced that she would be offering a deeper study of the Tarot at her home near Half Moon Bay. Diana Hobson and I made this journey every month for three years. I loved driving along the barren California coast, watching the seasonal changes, the wildflowers, birds, and storms over the sea, while relishing the magical and marvelous conversations that always developed with Diana. (Adding to the pleasure of the trip was my personal commitment never to drive by the Swanton Strawberry Farm food stand without stopping for fresh strawberry shortcake.) Pamela is an amazing, articulate teacher, and I admired and appreciated the group of women who gathered for her classes. Our theme was “Becoming a Woman of Power”, and by connecting with the energies of each season and developing my artistic abilities through the daily assignments, I was able to focus and articulate much more precisely what I am doing and what my life is about.

 In one of these daily workings I stopped complaining to myself about all the work I had to do now that Jim was gone, and I moved instead into self-empowerment. I am privileged and blessed to live in the heart of the redwood forest where I manage 12 acres of land and a small retreat house. I open my home, studio, and land for people to come live with me for three days and explore creativity and the magic of this place. In the land’s natural amphitheater space I can cross the veil between worlds and receive guidance from angels and elementals who live on this land and involve themselves with my writing, my painting, and my life.

 Oracles Abound
In addition to the two divination tools—pendulum and Tarot—which I use daily, I cherish others. A few years after moving to the mountain I started studying with an amazing mystic and astrologer, Ellias Lonsdale. Every Monday night (when I was home) I drove through the mountains to his little cottage in Bonny Doon. It is only in this writing that I realize I have used my astrological readings with Ellias as an oracle. On each reading, my request for focus has always been the same: “Tell me what the stars are doing in my life right now.” Over and over the information Ellias presented explained what was going on in my inner and outer life. It gave me clarity, comfort, and direction, mostly by reassuring me: You are on the right track, keep going. My connection with Mano, the Council, the angels, and Mother Earth were all seen and named in the stars, and to add to the meaning he could offer, Ellias worked with the conscious beings in the world of Faerie. We have now worked together for more than 20 years and I have done at least 50 readings. I am eternally grateful for the Council’s guiding me to Ellias—the one person I have found who, as a result of his own work with the beings of Faerie, could understand, support, and encourage me to follow my guidance and continue venturing into this other world with confidence and trust in the larger picture. I want to acknowledge with wonder and appreciation how often the Council arranges for things to be so convenient. Imagine the wonder that Ellias only lived a couple of miles from my home in the remote heart of the redwood forest.

 Another revelation came through my studies with Pamela Eakins and served to name and guide the next phase of my life. This awareness made the pieces of my life fall into place and made everything ok. It is ok to be different, to be guided by a gnome, to work with oracles, to work with a household of small elementals, to be me, to let the Real Barbara Thomas step forward.

 Finally I see that one of my most trusted and treasured guidance signs—the “deep involuntary breath—can also be named “oracle”. The Radiant Rose Academy teaches that when a deep involuntary breath moves through my body it is the action of the Holy Spirit bringing awareness that what I have just heard, or thought, is truth. In my notebooks I always designate this occurrence with “.db.”








Oracles at Work

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on July 1st, 2017 § 3 comments

Reminder from Mano:  “As you walk the earth, enrich your experience by sending blessings. See your feet radiating love into the earth with every step, leaving footprints of love and light wherever you go.”

Painting by Barbara Thomas

What an interesting conversation it would be to share with a group all of the oracle, or oracle-like tools we have used to guide us in our lifetimes—how we found them, how long we used them, and how they lived in us. For myself, the I Ching caught my attention in the early 1970s, and later in that decade, while living in Italy, I discovered and delighted in D. H. Lawrence’s small book Etruscan Tombs. He posed the Etruscans—unnerving their enemies by dancing into battle playing double flutes, then banqueting in sumptuous reclining ease—as living at the height of aliveness, in intimate touch with the mysteries, “gay and quick” with vibrant energy. I was in love with them, and with Lawrence’s intoxication with them, no matter whether he was completely accurate. The paintings in the Tarquinian tombs show the augurers with their divination tools, and I have, through the years, held close Lawrence’s commentary on this kind of knowledge-seeking, partly because it seemed so ecumenical.

“The science of augury, Lawrence says (in 1932), “certainly was no exact science. But it was as exact as our sciences of psychology or political economy. And the augurs were as clever as our politicians, who also must practice divination, if ever they are to do anything worth the name. There is no other way when you are dealing with life. And if you live by the cosmos, you look in the cosmos for your clue. If you live by a personal god, you pray to him. If you are rational you think things over. But it all amounts to the same thing in the end. Prayer, or thought, or studying the stars, or watching the flight of birds, or studying the entrails of the sacrifice, it is all the same process, ultimately: of divination. All it depends on is the amount of true, sincere, religious concentration you can bring to bear on your object. An act of pure attention, if you are capable of it, will bring its own answer. And you choose that object to concentrate upon which will best focus your consciousness. Every real discovery made, every serious and significant decision ever reached, was reached and made by divination. The soul stirs, and makes an act of pure attention, and that is a discovery. . . . As soon as there is any pretense of infallibility, and pure scientific calculation, the whole thing becomes a fraud and a jugglery.”

Last month’s blog on ritual, plus the revelatory process of combing through her life experience to complete her Council of Gnomes book, has led Barbara to flesh out her own contribution to oracle wisdom and consciousness. She recently wrote the following.

It is my belief and experience that everyone on the spiritual path needs an oracle—an outside source of information that gives guidance and answers to specific questions, or a new perception and clarity on what is happening in daily life. Ancient cultures created a way of divination to discern the will of the divine. I have used many oracles over the years, like the I Ching, angel cards, or the Bible. Jim used the runes. I have finally settled on, and learned to trust, the Tarot and the pendulum.

 The Pendulum
My first try in using the pendulum for information was a complete failure—and perhaps a hidden blessing. In the early 1960s I accompanied Jim to Phoenix, Arizona for a business conference. I wanted to use the car while he was in his meetings and when I couldn’t find the car keys decided to ask the pendulum whether Jim had them with him or if they were in the room. I got the answer that Jim had them. When he came back and told me they were in the drawer, I felt betrayed and did not use the pendulum again, because, I said, it had lied.

 A decade later, while living at Findhorn, I took a workshop with Marko Pogacnik, a Slovenian sculptor and geomancer who uses a fascinating process to create installations with huge stones in parks and public spaces. He goes to the site, aligns with the land, then uses a pendulum to determine where the installation wants to be placed. He goes to the quarry and has the pendulum direct him to the stone that wants to be used in the sculpture. Back at the site, the pendulum shows him the exact direction the stone wants to be facing in the chosen location.

 The workshop was set in the huge garden at Newbold House, a small community within the larger Findhorn Foundation. We were to find a stone and ask, “Do you want to be moved?” Next we were to observe whether the pendulum moved in a yes or no direction (which had already been established). My second rock responded that it wanted to be moved. When I asked the rock to direct me to its new location I felt the pendulum move in small straight-forward jerky movements. Then it changed direction and made short movements to the right. As I turned my footsteps to the right it went straight again, and then in a few more feet it went in a circle. The circling told me I was in the right spot. Now I needed to know which side was to be up and how it was to be turned. When the rock was in its chosen all-around right place, the pendulum went in a circle. I became a believer and have used the pendulum as a clear guide ever since. The pendulum had not lied to me in my first and only attempt; I was simply ignorant and, I would say, arrogant. I had not taken time to gain trust in the process.

 I use anything on a string as a pendulum. Right now I am using a beach rock with a hole and dental floss for the string. When desperate for guidance, I have often used my car keys, and once I used my shoe, holding it by the shoe string. I always start by aligning with my higher discerning intelligence, asking for clarity. Then I talk to the pendulum to embrace it as a tool for consciousness, and I ask it to give me a yes answer, and then a no answer, to be sure we are in agreement about its response. Anytime I feel things getting “fuzzy”, I stop working and come back later to continue the questioning.

More to Come
In August we’ll do a blog on the Tarot and other oracles Barbara has used and how she has honed her attention to find trusted guidance. I have seen her use body gestures as a pendulum and heard her reflect on how a series of breakdowns in the daily running of things can be a useful oracle, reminding her to get herself back into balance. As usual, her process of acting, reflecting, consulting, and feeling her way enlarges and enriches the picture.




Living Ritual

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on June 1st, 2017 § 1 comment

Reminder from Mano: You are never alone. You are never to work alone. Always ask the wise ones of the earth before you do a major activity. They can see the larger picture and the flow of energies.

Painting by Barbara Thomas

When a melanoma once appears somewhere else in the body—when it metastasizes—it alerts its human host that it may turn up anywhere at all . . . in an organ, a lymph node, a muscle, the soft tissue of a breast. These migrational possibilities are way too complex to track or anticipate, and the malady thus becomes more like a disturbance in the field than a target with a bullseye solution. This being my current health picture, I find myself searching out a whole-systems approach, indeed, a ritual.

I have been imagining a way to summon all the potential melanoma cells and give them assignments outside my body, or, if I can manifest the courage and the true conviction, to let them know, decisively, that I have learned the lesson they were bringing and that they can disappear. I had a grand inspiration for the ritual, which had to do with calling all the melanoma cells, or tempted ones, into the vortex of a biodynamic stir. Then, because a biodynamic stir is for a certain purpose and I would be altering it and turning it to something new, I became confused in the details. Now I am turning the search for a ritual into a ritual of its own, each evening asking, “How can I honorably manifest this idea?”, and then listening and watching for guidance.

I am not too concerned with the difference between a ritual, an oracle, or even a habit, though for me a ritual does need to have a transcendental, spirit element. Barbara is essentially in agreement, I think, when she reflects that “a ritual is a repeated action that has been given specific meaning to bring depth, substance, and deeper meaning to life.” She writes, “In a class I attended for a year or so, the teacher’s suggestion to a student who complained about being ‘stuck’ was for him to put a stone on his altar to represent the situation he was speaking of. Then, with conscious intention, he was to turn the stone in a different direction each day, to free the trapped energy. .db.”

The “.db.” symbol in Barbara’s writing always indicates “deep involuntary breath,” and when I see it I know she has dropped into her truth. It makes me pause, too, and drop into mine. It seems to me to be one of those practical, helper rituals, small but invaluable, that keep us alive to our paths, to the rhythms of the day, to our core strength. Barbara’s feeling is that “the deep involuntary breath is more an oracle than a ritual, since it is not something that I do, but that the Holy Spirit does in me to speak to me.” For her, “a daily ritual gives an anchor to ordinary life, expanding my consciousness to include the spiritual dimension. I often transform certain every day jobs into a ritual by assigning them a deeper meaning. I like to call this  ‘practical magic’. For instance, when I wash the windows I can call it clearing my vision, or giving me insight into a situation. Washing dishes can be named ‘creating order in my house and life’.”

“Soon after Jim died,” Barbara recalls, “I created an altar on a small table in the center of the house. I passed it every time I went anywhere in the house. I lit a candle each morning and let it burn all day in front of the Black Madonna, which I have named Mother Earth. This ritual became a member of my family, one that blessed me each time I walked past Mother Earth and saw the candle. It filled some of the vacant space in my heart as I adjusted to my new life.”

“I have fine tuned a morning ritual that connects me with Mano, Rama, and anyone from my Council who has guidance for that day. It is formed around drawing three Tarot cards. I record on the computer my interpretation of the cards’ meaning, then create a conversation for a deeper understanding that always gives me the larger picture. I have used the ‘Tarot of the Spirit’ deck daily for more than 10 years. The individual cards now have specific meaning for my personal life.  For example, when the Empress comes up I know it is a call to go to the amphitheater that day. This ritual gives a stability and constant alignment with the angels and elementals that guide my life.”

Along these “small ritual” lines, Mano says, “perfect protocol when relating with nature is to say hello and thank you—a sign that you have remembered to open your consciousness and heart to our presence.” This speaks to the importance of preparing conscious space, with the meditation, the small action, the candle or chant signaling: Here we go into another day. I am ready. I dedicate myself.

Larger, more elaborate, rituals seem to me to focus on the rhythms of the year, such as the solstices or holidays, or on the big events of weddings, births, funerals. Barbara also writes of rituals that have come to her for a particular purpose or period of time, and of rituals the elementals have performed in her honor or to encourage her.

“On the morning of my 88th birthday,” she says, “I was given a gift, an experience, an intervention, and a teaching. I went to the amphitheater early in the morning to greet the Beings of the Land and lie down to feel the earth enter my body. Soon I became aware of a line of spirit beings walking in a circle around me. They walked a figure 8 around my body, continuing to make a second figure 8 using the bottom circle of the first eight to be the top of the second. They walked this path a couple of times. Next they pulled the third circle up to blend with the second circle, then pulled the second to blend with the first. At this point I became aware of a teaching: They started with two 8s naming my 88th birthday and then pulled the circles up until I had one circle, a zero, or nothing. At this point they informed me: “From now on you are not to think of age. People have fixed ideas of what an elder is capable of. We do not want their limiting thought forms to interfere with the process we are working within you.”

The fluid way Barbara dedicates herself to all of these rituals arises organically, I believe, from the training she long ago committed herself to, of listening to the beings of nature and the songs of the angels. “I have learned that if I don’t do a ritual regularly, faithfully, once it has been established,” she cautions, “it is hard to get back into the daily practice again. It is like a cord has been severed and does not just automatically fit together again. Thus I can lose that particular connection with the expanded life.”

Turning to the practicality of the moment, in Barbara’s feedback to the first draft of this blog she writes, “As I read your draft I feel it needs more ‘heart energy’. Perhaps you can think of a ritual? That reminds me of something I often do . . .and often forget . . . which can be called a ritual. Before I write a letter I move into my heart and pour love into the words, onto the page, to the person or subject I am focusing on, to give it more ‘heart energy’. By naming it a ritual I wonder if the love will come up automatically when I start to write—if the ritual’s name will automatically alert the angels and elementals to come and fulfill the energy. Does ritual automatically alert spirit? .db.”

I believe this working activity of ritual is akin to Charles Eisenstein’s discussion of a new way to see this creative process (see his recent podcast, “Reinventing Ritual”). He brings the ritual into being-hood: “The ritual itself is alive and is calling to it those who will hold the space. It is evolving out of the moment and is about expanding awareness, even including dimensions you may think you don’t know.”








Authentic Language

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on May 3rd, 2017 § 1 comment

Reminder from Mano: When eating a meal, give thanks to the carrot elementals, the broccoli elementals, etc.

NOTICE: Barbara will be a presenter at the Starseed Visionary Conference event in Santa Cruz, hosted by Narayani Gaia and Chief Elk Man, on May 13 & 14, 2017. If you cannot attend in person, you can still join the event Livestreaming online. LOCATION: 1119 PACIFIC AVE. 3RD FLOOR. SANTA CRUZ CA (above Logos, enter from Cedar Street side)



Since the spring of 2013 when Mano recommended to Barbara that I help create this blog, the three of us have had a remarkably smooth ride, with precious little conflict or disagreement. When that happens in my life, I know I’m meant to learn from the subtle rubs, the hard-to-grasp feeling blocks—the wisps of wisdom I’m pulling back from. The April blog’s focus on “I” messages coming from the heart and “you” messages from the intellect brings to mind one of these subtle issues. The most consistent correction, or adjustment, Barbara has made when she reads the blog draft is to gently point out when I use the universal “we”, as in “we’re all crazily busy these days”, so “we have trouble remembering to greet the flowers each morning.” She typically asks if I’m writing from my heart or from my head. I took to her point early on, since I’d just had a year when healers and others were consistently telling me that I think too much. But once in a while I felt rebellious, wanting to use the collective form because others might feel more included with the “we” and then connect more easily with the elemental world—a sort of bridge building idea. “This is a perfectly legitimate way of writing,” I would say to myself, and then I would change it. With the change would come one of those “deep involuntary breaths” of knowing I was moving closer to claiming my own feeling life.

One of Barbara’s early-on feedback notes was: “In the Conscious Living Program Jim and I taught many years ago we brought Authentic Language, which involves ‘I’ messages. These are more powerful and direct and people are left free to identify with them if they fit or feel right. ‘We’ is a generic term, for me a little fuzzy. I never know who the ‘we’ people speak of is supposed to be. You say, ‘Sometimes, along the way we are just moving one foot after the other when, suddenly, we receive a gift!’ With authentic language it would read: ‘Sometimes, along the way, I am just moving one foot after the other when, suddenly, I receive a gift.’ ”

These days I am learning about Living Room Conversations, which bring people of different persuasions, lifestyles, political views together in small groups to listen genuinely to each other. I wonder if these conversations might have grown in some way from the authentic-language impulse Barbara taught years ago. I learn to listen in the “walking in someone else’s shoes” way, to avoid judging, and when I contribute my piece with “I” messages I honor myself and the other.

I see, particularly with this cancer journey I am on, that I am always trying to act authentically out of my own story, to feel out . . . search out, the adjustments I am called to make within myself. Barbara’s notebooks are rich with her own efforts to learn these personal lessons, and I have always found seeds of hope and inspiration in the successes and lapses she faithfully documents.

During one Council of Gnomes session, one of the gnomes spoke to her about some judgmental thoughts she’d had about a friend who was worried about her own appearance. This dialogue, the gnome counseled, “needs to be turned to yourself and the care you take to look your best (deep involuntary breath)—to glorify Presence. I speak to this small point of attention,” the gnome continued, “because you are also careless about the cleanliness of your house. This is because your vision is blurry, but the carelessness brings discord into the Holy Temple of the Presence. This discord can occur in the body or in the home, as each is the temple of the God presence. And never think there is not enough time. You are being called to a mastery in which you create the time you need, to do what honors the Presence.”

Barbara recalls another time when she came to council upset about a relationship. The council said, “As we begin, stop and receive the in-filling of well being and love that we are directing to you. When you get caught in a nit about your friend you close yourself off from ‘the heart of a gnome.’ We cannot live in that claustrophobic atmosphere. Come to us and spend time with us. We work with the laws of endings and beginnings, destruction and rebirth. This is what you are in need of at this time with your friend. We need you to hold your vibrations at a consistently high level. The thoughts you’ve arrived with today are destructive to the work we do together. It is time to let this friend go; she is no longer relating to you. Also, watch your thinking and emotions and do not entertain the five harmful human habits: criticism, condemnation, judgment, blame, and gossip. Protect your mental and emotional body from runaway ego control and attempted kidnapping.”

The following reflection from Barbara is another of these sweet statements of realization and process.

I once discovered, when my life was young, that wherever I looked I could see a “need to, want to, have to”—always something to do for others. And hidden in my heart was a soft “want to” for myself. I gave the “need tos” priority when they involved others in my life, when they involved commitment to family, husband, work, promises made, intentions implied.

 Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. My commitment to others, now, comes and goes.  I used to get sick so I could stay in bed and do what I wanted without a word being said. Then I learned to be honest, to be a woman of truth, to honor myself, my spirit, my soul, my vitality, my youth. I learned to answer my inner being and say “no” to requests that take me from my own work—the work that only I can express.

 When I came from that mental place of being nice and doing for others the things they wanted me to do, I ended up being exhausted, brain dead, with no time for my own or for the responsibilities only I can accomplish. I lost peace of heart and body rest.

 After a long, long time finally l learned that what is best for me, and even for my family and friends, is to be able to say no—to find my truth within, to be honest and free, to abide deep within myself. I learned that when my actions are true, what I want turns out to be the same as what the other wants. Together we can build a process that works for both of us, in which both of our needs are met. Each of us comes from within. We each do our best. And joy of joy, my old pattern reverses.






Returning to the Heart of a Gnome

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on April 1st, 2017 § 5 comments

Reminder from Mano: When you light a candle, give thanks to the fire spirit.

Painting by Barbara Thomas

Painting by Barbara Thomas

Here (says Mary Jane) is a tiny story of my life. In mid-March a routine PET scan showed a small spot on my lung (probably a touch of pneumonia from The Cough) and another one on my breast near where last summer’s melanoma was removed. I can’t have surgery until the cough goes away, so I have come home to wait three weeks. What has slowly filled me is great happiness. My highest good, I realize, will be served by abandoning all my normal activities—study groups, meetings, shopping, errands—all but a little heart-required grandson time. I can burrow into my comforters, with candles and beautiful music, sleep, meditate, continue my healing wanderings into childhood and ancestry. The following days have been precious out-of-time ones. When I’m tempted to begin it all again, I tune into the place in my chest where the cough still waits in longing for some deeper kind of attention.

The poet David Whyte, in “Time Is a Season”, says: “To make friends with the hours is to come to know all the hidden correspondences inside our own bodies that match the richness and movement of life we see around us. The tragedy of constant scheduling in our work is its mechanical effect on the hours, and subsequently on our bodies, reducing the spectrum of our individual character and color to a gray sameness. Every hour left to itself has its mood and difference, a quality that should change us and re-create us according to its effect upon us. In many traditional cultures, a particular hour of the day is seen to have a personal, almost angelic presence, something that might be named—though only in hushed tones, and only in ways that reinforce its unknowingness. The Benedictine, Brother David Steindl-Rast, defines an angel as the eternal breaking into time, each particular breakthrough of the numinous utterly extraordinary and utterly itself. Time and each hour of time is a season, almost a personality, with its own annunciation, its own song, its whispering of what is to be born in us. Its appearance like a new conversation in which we are privileged to overhear ourselves participating.”

Recently Barbara has been creating a new book. She has long had a manuscript on the Council of Gnomes, and now, to complete it, she has placed herself in this all-embracing Time space to comb through her years of communications with the elementals and open to new revelations of her life’s work. From our emails and conversations, I would say that this review is bringing her great happiness, as she gives herself permission to simply be with her true self and true experience.

I understand, too, how I can live with a story about myself for many years, and then, with age, wisdom, added information, or necessity it comes to me again from a new angle and clicks into alignment with a greater, higher energy. The resonance refines itself; peace reigns. This arrival of peace, of truth, Barbara always describes as the deep involuntary breath (DIB). When it comes, she knows and trusts. She believes that everyone has some variation of the DIB, which of course doesn’t signify the end of the learning but is a trusted signpost along the way.

The September 2014 blog describes Barbara receiving the Heart of a Gnome from the council. Through her recent reviewing lens, with its added degree of accuracy, she describes the gift anew. “Today I woke up with thoughts about authentic language and ‘I’ messages—that ‘I’ messages come from the heart and ‘you’ messages from the head. And then, voila, Mano helped me remember the gift the council had given me of the Heart of a Gnome, a teaching I had forgotten about.”

She began connecting the “I” message work with the Heart of a Gnome gift. “The heart is authentic and speaks with ‘I’ messages. The heart is personal. It speaks the truth, what it knows and has experienced. The head speaks with ‘you’ messages. It is impersonal, full of opinions and other people’s stories, and it relates beliefs rather than knowing. I have experienced a rebel in my mind, versus a revealer in my heart. My mind acts out in rebellion against plans and purposes I am guided to do. My heart encourages truth through revelation in the action. Akasha’s teaching is that merely having the idea for something to happen will not bring its manifestation. It takes heart desire to fill the idea with substance. The heart is the action motivator. When I think about going to the amphitheater, my mind can easily talk me out of it. (It’s too cold, too late). When my heart wants to go, it happens. As for the Heart of a Gnome, “It is pure, it does not know duality, good and bad. It knows only perfection (‘good’, which to the gnome means ‘God’). It is innocent, like a child, trusting and kind. It is eager to do its best.”

Another revelation was that other helpers she has received in the past—the Joy Guide, the Green Heart, the fairy in her heart—carry the same energy as the Heart of a Gnome. “The Joy Guide was first given to me in 1970, during my first psychic reading. Later in the amphitheater I was told that I had been given a fairy in my heart. And then I received the Heart of a Gnome. I believe these are all different names for the same aspect of consciousness that lives in our heart. All of them have the same quality, the same being; it is the same being I now recognize as the experience of taking deep involuntary breaths when I think, hear, or speak truth. This being is also called the inner child, the innocent one. She is pure and holy and is a constant reminder to live with the truth of heart knowing rather than head knowledge.”

“I see this as such a beautiful gift. I never fully realized the depth of its meaning. As I work with the material for this book, I find that is true for so many things I have experienced and been told. Mano has used this past two months’ work to reveal so many truths in such a deep embrace. As Pamela Eakins has said, ‘Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.’ And as John Powell says, ‘To be honest and open and free, to let you see who I really am, takes the rawest kind of courage.’ ”



Pay Attention to the Entrance

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on March 1st, 2017 § 3 comments

Reminder from Mano: When possible, have your feet on the soil as you walk. When on concrete, see your feet going beneath, to the surface of the earth. Send love through your feet to the earth and through your eyes to all of nature around you.



Another admirable January event in Nevada City/Grass Valley (in addition to the Wild and Scenic Film Festival I mentioned last month) is the Food and Farm Conference. Among the local presenters was a mom I sometimes see at my grandson’s preschool, a beekeeper. I noticed she was on the conference program and mentioned to her that I was coming. She told me how scared she was, because she’s only been working with bees for 6 years and others have much more experience. She was staying up until midnight working on her power point presentation, worrying. And then she stopped abruptly and said: “But what I really want to tell people is to talk to the bees and listen to them. They have been around for thousands of years and know what we need to do to help them.” I laughed and told her I thought that would be a courageous thing to do.

The morning of her presentation in the high school library, the wild rain had slowed things down, the ceiling was dripping, and the tech guys were not able to project her power point. When she realized she was on her own, she visibly straightened up and began to speak from her heart. She didn’t just mention the talking-to-the-bees part, as she might have, possibly with a trace of embarrassment. She made it the framework for her entire talk, beginning with how the bees sing the world with the resonances of their constant humming— which summon the flowers to open and create life forces of well being. She wove in so much knowledge about natural beekeeping, including the need for responsible practices and interfacing with commercial beekeepers, that her expertise seemed to pave the way for, and merge seamlessly with, her deep, respectful relationship with the bees. Every morning she takes her tea to the hives and tells the bees about her life, what is happening and what she is thinking. “What kind of response do you receive in return?” I ask. Well, during the day she gets intuitions, she says, a sudden idea, an urge to call someone, a knowing that she needs to tend to something.

She has sung into place this other layer of reality with the bees, based on mimicking the way bees live in nature and on the folklore of beekeeping. The old beekeepers, for example, didn’t go into the hives (didn’t have the removable frames that would make this possible), so they had to have other ways to discern the health of the hive; they watched the entrance and learned to read bee behavior. This young beekeeper balances going into the hive with observing from the outside; she incorporates the old with the new and distinguishes between frantic out-of-health hives and those where the bees are organized and have their wits about them. It’s humbling—she lives in that space of humility and gratitude. She sometimes loses hives, and then, in the other direction, she discovers a swarm and thrills to the bees’ natural way of birthing the new hive.

This idea of learning to watch the entrance, the gateways, from outer to inner, to feel the pulses, pertains as well to working with the devas of the garden, the gnomes, and other nature spirits—with what’s under the earth, what’s inside the tree, and even what’s deep in our own cellular structure. I intuit my way through the membrane of consciousness, the imaginative and true journey, but I don’t have to reject the microscope, the magnifying lens, the thinking path. Working with the heart AND the intellect is a discipline worthy of my complete attention.

Barbara notes that the beekeeper’s way of receiving sudden knowing, through intuition, is the way Mano impresses her to action or to receive a teaching. “If I follow a sudden idea by writing it into the computer,” she says, “pages of teaching may follow.”

The elementals give constant encouragement, and Barbara documents it with the quickness and efficiency of modern technology (that is, her laptop). “When I once told my team I felt like I was slipping backward in my connection,” Barbara remembers, “Mano encouraged me not to fret over these lapses. ‘It is all part of the learning process,’ he said. ‘To fret and feel dissatisfied with yourself only depletes your energy. Move into self-love. This is a big project and shift, not only for you but for the collective. Love yourself and set intention for the desire of your heart. When you live in gratitude and appreciation the joy will follow. Just breathe love in and out and the rest will fall into place. We are ever here supporting this integrative process. Sit in silence, Barbara. We do not want to feed your mind. You know the answers. We want to feed your heart so you can connect with your passion for this work.’ ”

The Council of Gnomes also provides context for Barbara, bringing the old into alignment with the new. One day, several years ago, the council wanted to talk about her personal history, over lifetimes. “You were part of a wave of consciousness that came to the planet to bring forth a new consciousness. This energy came into the earth’s etheric in Lemurian times. After the flood it was decided that many would enter the earth physically, while others of us would remain in the etheric. We, the Council of Gnomes, have stayed in the etheric. You chose to enter the physical. We work with the consciousness of the planet as you work with the consciousness of humanity by specifically working with your own physical consciousness.” 

“The big experiment was to individualize, using your God consciousness of creativity to embody a form. You were to stay connected with the God source and the consciousness of Earth Mother, uniting the two as one—two sides of the whole, like Janus, the god who could see in both directions at the same time. You also, in this present time, walk in the physical world of personality while being overshadowed by your higher consciousness.” 

Barbara reflects on the wealth of information that has come to her over the years, “as my team and teachers try to give me the big picture, encouraging me to wake up. Each one of us who wakes up sends out an energy that will go out through human consciousness and assist others to wake up to their own connection with their guardians, guides, teachers, and soul. A major teaching is for me to live from the inside out and give up my old ways of living from the outside in, always thinking I know what would be good for others and trying to match my thinking to fit with their beliefs. The night my husband Jim died, as I went back to bed, I heard the inner voice say, ‘Will the real Barbara Thomas please step forward.’ I felt this as a challenge and an invitation. I accepted and now am led to share publicly my relationship with gnomes, angels, and the spirit beings on my land. I choose to live by what I know is true for me, a single individual. I don’t have to wonder if what I share is right for others; they will know.”



Moving Beyond Mind

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on February 1st, 2017 § 2 comments

Reminder from Mano: When you drink a glass of water, say thank you to the water elemental.

Painting by Barbara Thomas

Painting by Barbara Thomas

Each January Nevada City/Grass Valley hosts the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, with a rich offering of movies about the natural world, about people engaging in environmental and cultural innovation and preservation, about finding honorable ways of existing in this most interesting time. I have launched my own search, in these days, for people whose authenticity makes me feel alive and awake, who are unapologetic about their spiritual explorations, who can see and work and research different viewpoints and look for the underlying connections, who can say no without scorning and vilifying.

The prizewinner for me at this year’s festival was not a movie—though I saw plenty of inspiring ones—but a free event at a coffee house early one morning. A couple, Mark and Clare Dubois, led a session called “Moving Beyond Mind”, in which, separately and together, and with us attendees, they called into being a flow state of energy that was palpable and elevating and lasted for a long time. It was an exciting experiment.

Mark, a long-time river activist, set the tone of “learning through experimenting” with stories of his early days of river running and how he learned not to break paddles by resisting with strength and force but rather came to dance with the currents, to breathe with the river, to find the “through line” when faced with rapids and walls of water. “This is an incredibly sacred time we’re in,” he said; our collective wisdom is needed, and we’re all in the same boat.

Clare, who created, stated the challenge: “We’re in a colossal inherited momentum and need to understand how we got here on an energetic level. It involves shaming of the feminine, having intuition hammered out of our wild natures, being taught not to honor the sacred but to be consumers, and not learning to deal with pain. Trying to become sane can feel insane.” She also emphasized, however, that “the feminine side is not just woman; it’s the receptive side, attuned to listening, sitting in humility and receiving. This side is starting to receive a different intelligence. The doing side can then help figure out the solutions.”

The Dubois’ morning experiment involved contemplating with a partner the question “How can I find the through line?”—first from a purely intellectual mind space, and then from the heart. The meditation that followed focused on the heart space, and just as I began feeling a great tingling on my skin, and then an expansion first of my head and then the rest of my body, Clare verified the energy shift and then tracked it for the remainder of the gathering. I was gratified to feel myself as a data point in this exploration of awakening consciousness.

“We can create a much greater continuum,” Clare encouraged. “Our souls can be woven into a greater intelligence, to which we have access. We have no idea what we’re capable of.” In the face of fear, the safest response is to become “logged into infinite power” and to begin learning how to stay connected. “Fear, scarcity, and separation are the old; love and connection are the new.”

We must have both our masculine and feminine sides actively engaged, it’s clear to me, even if our personalities and our innate inclinations lean more to one side than the other. That balance is the experiment, the work. Barbara’s “Healing Burned Woman” story, dvd, and workshops all aim toward this, and she has been receiving and presenting it for many years. Now, with the great stirring from lethargy this presidential election has stimulated, with women (and many sympathetic, attuned men) meeting and marching en masse all over the world, perhaps the realization of balanced matriarchy and patriarchy is closer at hand, or at least ready for a renaissance. This awakening, this moving beyond mind, must be embued with Spirit if it is to stay true and avoid being entrapped by ego, by mere power. We know so well that revolutions are always tempted to become that which they’re striving to replace. To this end of maintaining balance and staying attuned to Spirit guidance, I would like, now, to turn to some of the practices and practical advice the nature spirits have given Barbara.

In the Council of Gnomes Barbara hears:
“We are here to ever remind you, as we promised we would—to assist in your waking up. We remain faithful to our commitment; you are now awake. The next step is for you to ‘get out of bed’ and move into life, the great work. Everything is in place. We would like you to be diligent about your agreements with your body elemental regarding keeping your body, mind, and spirit in alignment. Your ego is infiltrating. You can feel it by your thoughts of concern for your family. Be true to your own self and those you love will have the energy to be true to themselves and to ask for what they want.”

“Keeping each day clear and complete in itself, so you don’t have clean-up from yesterday waiting to be done today, will be of enormous help. We have given you companions to assist you in all you have to do. If your house is in order, there will be little to distract you. Putting things back where they belong, even if you are going to use them again soon, is the best plan.”

 “We have always appreciated working with you from the standpoint of your wanting to be healthy, and yet we realize how much time you have spent in the past protecting your body from fatigue, or fear of fatigue. This is no longer the way for you to work. ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ Ask when you go to bed at night for your body to wake invigorated and strong. Ask to be alert, alive, and radiant with life force. It is all a matter of Spirit, of how much Spirit is available and being fed to the body cells, to the elementals in the body, to the light sparks within the light body.”

 “When humans stopped taking responsibility for their life force functioning at 100%, the elementals of the earth had to give their life force to keep humans alive. This is no longer necessary as you move into increased consciousness. Start thinking in terms of the life force that comes through your body in movement. Your lungs breathe air, you drink water, you think. Each body, each element, has its ‘right of exchange’. As you breathe in the life force, you breathe out blessings of a human to nature. You give love and appreciation. This reciprocity enriches the elementals and you as well. It increases your life force and it expands their consciousness, because they now have received a conscious element from a human being. As a human, you are very important to the elementals.”

 “The key is always for you to be open and willing and to take the unfolding process one step at a time. There is a deeper unfolding beginning to occur now; we can only tell you that it has to do with the learning you are doing in the various mystery schools. We have brought you more than one path, more than one way to learn, so that you would not get stuck in one method but be open to the flow of ideas that come from without and from within. We bring you many facets to feed your many-faceted mind. The goal is to integrate and unite the different facets into a whole.”



What’s in a Name?

Presented by Mary Jane Di Piero on January 11th, 2017 § 2 comments

Mano reminder: Ask more. Ask more often. Ask more specifically.

Painting by Barbara Thomas

Painting by Barbara Thomas

















As my heart warms . . . breathing deepens, brain relaxes, spine straightens to align harmoniously with the flow of earth and cosmos. We all, I am sure, have these soft interludes, when we slide out of our logical brain and make way for magic. We fall in love, with other people but also with our dogs, our sports heroes, our music, our work, our gardens. We find ourselves longing to return to some beloved activity over and over again: fishing, hiking, sailing, walking in the rain. All sorts of passions take us by surprise and cause our hearts to lurch and then surrender. Balancing left-brain linear with right-brain intuitive— logical thinking with magical thinking—brings joy, creativity, laughter.

Does it matter how we name these qualitative (versus quantitative) resonances? My friend relates them, simply, to a love of life. When this blog was in its early months, she encouraged us “to invite people to be open to experiencing and being deeply touched by nature, and to present this invitation in different ways.” She observed that “when we cultivate relationship we find our own names. If ‘gnome’ doesn’t work, another word will.” Barbara says that when she first became aware of the spirits within nature she kept asking, “Who are you? What is your name?” One day the answer came: “Your teacher I am. Your teacher I will be. What name you call me matters not to me.”

But then the question comes to me: How graciously do I, do we, accept the names others choose? And how free do I leave them to share with me their spaces of the heart? What I find myself wishing for these days is a softening of mind-borders, with the acknowledgment of the emotional state—this “in love” state—being something I look for in the other, and recognize as something I know, no matter what this person is calling it or even how well hidden it is. It’s like in the novel (and movie), A Man Called Ove, when a band of neighbors gathers around the curmudgeon Ove, because, often enough, they catch glimpses of great kindness and decency beneath his gruffness.

I would also appreciate people giving gnomes and nature spirits the benefit of the doubt. Rudolf Steiner cautions against “unfounded disbelief,” and I always think it would be great if people did the exercises and experiments in the right-brained world before declaring them invalid and beyond proof. How could it hurt to talk to a tree or thank a rose for its beauty, particularly if one could manage to do it objectively, with a true spirit of inquiry and without a judgment blocking the energy?

Sometimes the bridge to understanding is just a matter of pursuing a conversation with patience and good will. I have a friend from high school—a former college coach—who reads this blog regularly and has made gallant attempts to understand what’s going on here. His “normal” self, however, occasionally worries about what he sees as my relentless pursuit of “something that does not exist.” He has called it weird and goofy, this cultivation of connection with unseen beings, but I think what really bothered him was his lack of certainty that I actually believed in this other world. When I assured him that I do, and that my spiritual strivings are way at the top of my life’s pursuits, he was ok with all of it and pleased that we could keep on being friends across all divides. Me too! Those are critical parts of the dialogue, really: trust and open hearts. And I regard the dialogue around differences as an important one.

Barbara says that she doesn’t pursue a conversation about her involvement with nature and the elementals if she doesn’t sense receptivity from the other. She intuitively knows when to offer an opening and doesn’t go further if the invitation remains unacknowledged. For example, a local contractor recently working in her house had a discernably nice energy. After observing that he had lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains for 20 years, she ventured to ask, “Have you ever experienced the elementals or angels in nature, or had special experiences?” He said that his first wife had been interested in those things, that they had done sweat lodges. He missed that world, he acknowledged.

Barbara continues: “When people immerse themselves in nature, they are in the realm of elementals and angels, with or without knowing it. The name you assign doesn’t matter; and church teaching has nothing to do with that special feeling of being in nature. I believe that everyone inwardly yearns for a feeling expression that’s not mental and that wakes them up to the things they love to do. Once while chatting with a friend as we sat on the ground at the base of a redwood tree, just as I felt the special feeling that comes from being in the forest, my friend said, ‘Barbara, I just saw the most amazing thing. That redwood tree just overshadowed you with a blessing.’ ”

Mano is always urging us to build relationships, at first just by speaking to the trees and flowers, saying hello and expressing appreciation. “What name you call me doesn’t matter to me; what’s important is for people to become aware of what happens in nature,” he says. Indeed, Barbara emphasizes, we couldn’t breathe, we couldn’t live, if it weren’t for nature. When we make a conscious connection and “keep coming back” to enhance it, we show our willingness to participate in the grand scheme of life. “When I step outside and pay attention, I feel the freshness of the air and am embraced in love and well-being. Then I stop and acknowledge that and just breathe it in, embracing Mother Nature’s darshan, her holy blessing. The wind brushing against my face is the blessing of the air element; all the elements are there.”




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  • Council of Gnomes Blog: A Collaboration

    After years of stimulating Barbara
    to wake up to the reality of the
    elemental beings that are the life
    force within the natural world of
    earth, air, fire, and water, Mano
    first introduced himself to her
    when she moved to the heart of
    a redwood forest. As she was
    walking through the forest he
    appeared within her imagination
    walking beside her. He spoke to
    her by putting his thoughts into
    her mind.

    Over the years this developed into
    Barbara’s recording of their con-
    versations into the computer as
    they occurred. Now, many years
    and hundreds of pages later, he
    is able to communicate with the
    larger world through “HIS” blog.

    Mano asked Barbara to invite Mary
    Jane to collaborate on his blog.
    Mary Jane has been exploring her
    own process of learning to trust
    and relate, incorporating Mano’s
    teaching in the process.

  • About Mano

    Mano portrait

    For the past 26 years
    Mano has been Barbara’s
    constant companion and
    daily teacher. He heralds
    the call for humans to
    wake up, remember, and
    return to interacting with
    the non-physical world of
    angel and elemental,
    expressing gratitude,
    love, and respect.

  • About Barbara

    Barbara portrait

    Barbara is an elder,
    an artist in Life, Color
    and Words. She is guided
    by a team of Lady Angels
    in charge of healing the
    Feminine in Women and
    Intuition in Men.

  • About Mary Jane

    Mary Jane portrait

    Mary Jane Di Piero is the
    author of the Blog. She is
    a retired Waldorf educator,
    a seeker and bridge-builder,
    a holder of paradox. After
    her many years as a technical
    and university press editor,
    she is now striving to
    shapeshift words into spirit.

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