This Years Best Books—For Each Astrology Sign!

The last couple of years have been confusing and stressful, so I’m here to help make your transition into 2023 clear and productive. I have thoroughly examined the next year’s astrological aspects, and I have a book recommendation for each Sun Sign. Hopefully, this book will give us all a head start into an exciting future.

Happy Birthday Capricorn! (December 22 – January 19) The crucial mindset for you in 2023 is transformation and change in your work, but from a creative home base. That’s why we are recommending ‘If You Could Live Anywhere: The Surprising importance of Place in a Work from Anywhere World’. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) Its time to stop dreaming of creating a podcast or YouTube channel, or ramping up your social media in general, because this is the year the stars align to do it. We suggest you get ‘The Art of Social Media’ by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick asap.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20) Your charm and charisma are off the charts in 2023, so to help channel this personal magic into money-making power, read ‘The Like Switch: An Ex FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People over’ by Jack Schafer PHD.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) This is your lucky year, but you must be willing to radically change the way you think about making money, and you need to be ready to move fast when you see opportunities. Read ‘Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life’ by Susan David.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) You’ve never really been a joiner, but now is not the year to go it alone—you need a fan base. Look around for organizations to join and groups be part of, maybe even do some public speaking. We suggest reading ‘Deliver Unforgettable Presentations: How to Speak To Be Remembered and Repeated, In Person, Online, And Onstage’ by Patricia Fripp, Darren Lacroix and Mark Brown, and get ready to wow them.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) You always like to think and talk your way through most things, so the idea of using mostly instinct to make decisions this year might seem crazy. That’s why we insist you read ‘The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work’ by Gary Klein. Let it be your guidebook in 2023.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22) Everyone loves Brene’ Brown, but her message is especially personal for you this year. That’s why her book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead’ should be your personal manual in 2023.

Leo (July 23 – August 22) This year expect an explosive career trajectory if you focus on creating a team. The book to help you with this is ‘The Partnership Economy: How Modern Businesses Find New Customers, Grow Revenue, and Deliver Exceptional Experiences’ by David A Yovanno

Virgo (August 23 – September 22) Your 2023 is about focusing on any ‘Other’ who might be significant. To help you, we recommend ’The Power of Two: How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships in Work and in Life’ by Rodd Wagner. Join forces and shine.

Libra (September 23 – October 22) This is your year to be money-smart and practical. ‘The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need’ by Andrew Tobias has been an investors guidebook since 1976, but the newly revised edition was released in 2022, just in time for your powerhouse invest-in-your-future year.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) Contrary to the usual obsessive/compulsive way you handle your life, we are going to suggest a book that might seem counter-intuitive—‘That Sounds Fun: The Joys of Being An Amateur, the Power of Falling in Love, and Why You Need a Hobby’ by Annie F Downs. Yes, it’s going to be that kind of year. You’re Welcome.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) You should be changing the way you work, make money, and even how you live day-to-day, and the changes need to be radical. That’s why we recommend ‘Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Your Life’, by Adam Markel, to ease the way. Be your usual brave self—you’re going to enjoy this.

Do you have a signature scent?

When I was in my twenties, a boyfriend gave me a bottle of ‘Le Must de Cartier’ perfume. I was too young to understand the concept of a ‘signature scent’ but I wore that scent everywhere. It smelled woodsy and spicy and exotic to me. He owned a jewelry store, so picking up a bottle of Cartier perfume was easy for him, but with the end of our relationship came the end of my pipeline to that particular perfume, and I had no practical reason for shopping in a jewelry store. My connection to that scent faded away. I think someone may have even commented to me that the smell reminded them of their grandmother. At the time I didn’t take it as a compliment.

This was before internet shopping became a thing.

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, my youngest daughter believed ‘Le Must’ was my signature scent. She had strong memories tied to it and to her childhood during the time I wore it and was determined to track it down. She remembered it was from Cartier and she stood in a Cartier jewelry store sniffing bottle after bottle until she recognized the distinctive musky scent of ‘Le Must’.

When I opened the birthday box and found that bottle, I sprayed some on my wrists and began to cry, not only because it triggered the memory of how much I loved that scent, but for the realization that my daughter always associated it to her mother and went through so much effort to find it for my birthday.

That’s how powerfully scent is connected to memory.

After that bottle was completely gone, I searched for its replacement everywhere, and it was hard to find. For a while it even felt discontinued so I scoured airport duty-free shops for bottles of Le Must. My husband brought home assorted Cartier perfumes from his overseas trips, but he never remembered the ‘Le Must’ part. I now have a beautiful collection of Cartier perfumes that I seldom wear. I just have no emotional response to them. They are not ‘Le Must’.

And, I think eliciting an emotional response is what perfumes aspire to do. When it happens, you know it.

I’ve since learned even Nordstrom carries Le Must now, so I began buying it for myself, as a treat when I’m very good. I hope one day my granddaughter will get a whiff of that scent and think of me the way her mother did, and that it elicits an emotional response in her too. Now I’d take that as a compliment.

“A Most Benevolent Outcome”

Recently while shopping for a quiet meditation audiobook to help me sleep, I happened on an odd title ‘The Gentle Way’ by Tom T. Moore. It’s stated premise was ‘Discover and strengthen your connections with guardian angels.’ It wasn’t really what I was looking for, but it was cheap and the narrators voice seemed soothing to my ear so I got it. In the book, however, the author does this one little thing that I really like, and I’m incorporating it into my life—his suggestion? Request ‘A most benevolent outcome’ on a daily basis.

He asks this in regard to parking places, personal one-on-one interactions and really, anything and any time where the positive results of something are desired but unknown. He believes he is requesting this benevolent outcome from his guardian angels and whether you believe or disbelieve in angels doesn’t seem to make a difference in the result. The one thing that does make a difference is your sincere desire and belief in the ‘benevolent outcome’.

To practice this you need to find a quiet space where you can make this request out loud. It goes like this: “I request a Most Benevolent Outcome for (fill in the blank). You can also add “. . . and may the benefit be more than I expect or anticipate.”


It’s a small, simple thing, and it doesn’t work if you don’t believe it. Believing it kicks the whole quantum physics aspect in. Remember the physics principle “The observer affects the experiment”? It’s like writing an invisible program for your encounter, feeling so rock-solid in your expectation of a ‘‘Benevolent” result that you become unconsciously motivated to affect the result, if not physically, then energetically.

Dissecting the meaning and roots of the word ‘‘benevolent’ using Miriam/Webster: “Benevolent” can be traced back to Latin bene, meaning “good,” and velle, meaning “to wish.” Good Wish!

Other descendants of “velle” in English include “volition” (“the act or power of making one’s choices or decisions”), “voluntary,” and the rare word velleity (meaning either “the lowest degree of volition” or “a slight wish or tendency”).

So, requesting a benevolent outcome can actually be considered a ‘‘Good Wish” for your life, for yourself. It’s a way of treating yourself kindly, wishing the best for yourself, and I love that. A benevolent outcome is always a ‘win/win’ and by requesting it you are choosing the highest path of and to joy.

We’ve all had a couple of hard years. Let’s give ourselves a few ‘benevolent outcomes’.

Just don’t forget to say “Thank you” when good things happen.

Musings on Tarot Decks — Dark Days Tarot

Musings on Tarot Decks—- Dark Days – Tarot –
I’ve never been a fan of black and white tarot decks, I’ll admit this right up front. Maybe because I’m a painter, color always plays a big part in my appreciation of the Tarot cards I’m working with. So, when my good friend Terry gifted me with this deck, I was surprised that I liked it. Here was an unusual deck I didn’t have. But black and white?  It goes to show you we can’t always judge by first appearances.
The Dark Days Tarot deck was created by by Wren McMurdo and Emily Mundy.

Wren McMurdo

(I love her tattoos!)

McMurdo says these square black-and-white tarot cards were inspired by the light and shadow of the moon, especially the dark days of the lunar cycle. 78 Tarot cards housed in a cute square box with a thick, square 180 page flip guidebook.

The deck I have is the first edition of this deck, originally released as a Kickstarter campaign in 2016. The newest releases have gilded edges and a glossy finish. The finish of my deck is flat, with no gilded edges.
One of my favorite things about this deck is the box. 

          I feel superficial saying this, but it is truly a great box. It feels good. It’s square, the bottom of the box is white with black illustrations of the Suits (half full wine glasses are Cups,Wands are flowering branches) all around the perimeter.The top is the reverse but illustrated with the moon and clouds instead. On the inside of the white bottom box are eleven (I counted) tiny birds. On the inside bottom of the dark box lid is a miniature moon. These are the details that make this deck special. The bottom of the box even has a ribbon that lifts the cards out of their cradle, an addition I always appreciate.

The Dark Days Tarot is an all black & white deck (with some gray). The Major Arcana cards all have a white background, while the Minor Arcana cards all have black backgrounds.The deck was originally released as a Kickstarter campaign back in late 2016 and the first decks started shipping out in early 2017. I am reviewing the 1st edition, the newest releases have gilded edges and a glossier finish to the cards.
There is a blog: blog is a simple website, but it does include a few tricks. One is an interesting quiz to do to determine our ‘Psychic Element”.

          You will also find a clever page where you can play with the cards virtually, move them around, and click on one for a description.

The ways in which the printing of this deck was carbon neutral is placed at the foot of the website.
What I like: I really like the way the cards were organized for packaging. It may seem like a small thing, but most Tarot decks are organized in the traditional order starting with The Major Arcana first. Then the Suits, one Suit at a time, in numerical order and from Ace to King.
The Dark Days Tarot breaks that tradition by beginning with -0-Fool, then all the Aces, then The -l-Magician, then all the Two’s, then the -ll- Priestess, etc. I love this, because It’s almost exactly how I teach my beginning Tarot workshops.

I think learning the number of each card in the Minor Arcana first makes reading the Tarot easier, so of course I’m impressed that the creators encourage the reader to address this as soon as the cellophane is removed. Easy information about each number is even in the guidebook:

  I really like the Eight of Pentacles.

It’s an image of a woman at a sewing machine creating pentagram after pentagram. This is such a great metaphor for the work it takes to get good at something.
I really like the Knight of Swords, too:

Many decks wrestle with the knight’s images—male or female? This card eliminates identification completely and the horses are obviously racing (or flying). It works.
Also, the cards are square. From the back you can’t tell which end is up at all, and they are meant to be read from all four directions. You can see the card pointing in a direction as a clue about the topic in question. Or, much like reading reversals in standard decks, each direction can mean you have to see this card or situation from a slightly different angle. It’s clever.
What I don’t like: The print is VERY small, stylized cursive. Even wearing reading glasses, the names of the Suit cards against their black background are almost impossible to read in anything but bright light. I like to play with spreads at night so unless I have all these cards memorized, this is problematic.

Also, this deck is very feminized, very ‘girlie’. No male images at all. This feels too much like a gimmick, or an affectation. Some women may live in or prefer a man-free world but I don’t, so that type of deck doesn’t work for me at all because it isn’t reflective of my life.
I think The Fool is disappointing.

It feels like it belongs in a comic book, especially the image of the baby.

The Layout: Here is the layout included in the Dark Days guidebook.

Basic, simple.
These ‘layouts’ live in the front of the guidebook along with some really good basic lessons in beginning Tarot, but I don’t see this deck as a beginning Tarot readers deck at all. It’s an interesting dichotomy.

So, there you are. An interesting novelty deck, but not one I’d use regularly.

How to Die Better

Last week I got an interesting request from a friend in Los Angeles. He’s a member of the Forbes Communication Council, and he was looking forward to participating in a conference called ‘How to Die Better—what happens when an experience architect decides to fix funerals’.

His request of me was apparently part of his homework:

“Hi Deborah, I’m participating in a virtual ‘Design Experience’ campfire discussion. I am to ask two people:

1. What would your funeral look like?

2. When people think of you after you’re gone, what do you want them to think?

Do you mind responding? I think you will have interesting perspectives.”

Well. I have been thinking a lot about death lately—who hasn’t? We are living in the epicenter of a worldwide pandemic, and people around me are still dying of other things as well.

I just lost an acquaintance to a rare and insidiously speedy form of cancer. She was too young to go, and it caught us all off guard. She was forced into the unthinkable position of having to plan the details of her own death. The words her partner wrote after her passing spoke of her loving and giving nature, how she was moved to help anyone in need, and how he never knew a kinder, more compassionate person. It was poignant, moving, and perfect.

Never once did he mention her worldly accomplishments, how many clients she worked with, how many hours a week she devoted to her job. That stuff seems so unimportant and trivial now, and those of us who knew her don’t even know or care about that part of her life. She was a beautiful soul and a joy to be around, that’s how she she will be remembered.

So of course this made me put a lot of thought into my friend’s question—how would I like my own passing to be handled? Just how would I like to be buried? And of course, the bigger, more important question—how do I want to be remembered after I’m gone?

The first question is easy for me to answer. My beautiful songstress friend Chrystabell and her mother Sunny inherited a graveyard in San Antonio and they’re embracing and promoting ‘Natural burials’. The body is shrouded in linen and placed directly in the ground–no embalming. I also want a tree planted directly over my grave, and a little stone bench placed under where branches will eventually shade it. Weird? Probably, but it’s what I want and it seems pretty simple.

Answering that other question is a bit more complicated—how do I wish to be remembered?

I don’t want my life to be remembered in terms of accomplishments, read like a resume in a strange, cold building by some person who didn’t even know me. I would rather be remembered for how I made people feel, and hopefully that feeling will be love. I’d like be remembered as someone who made things prettier, who put love into whatever I tried to do. And I’d like to be remembered as someone who really loved people, all kinds of people. I’d like to believe I made the people I came in contact with feel good and appreciated, valued—at least by me. I’d like to be remembered as someone who truly loved.

In a world like ours, where loving one another is at a premium, I think that must be the one truly important accomplishment.

Science = Magic?

“Magic is just science we don’t understand yet.” Arthur C Clark

Science seems to be in an uproar these days, with so many people refusing to believe basic science (like the Earth is round) and others fighting tooth and nail to hold on to straight science as we know it today, as if science isn’t a fluid thing.

Science isn’t perfect. Facts are tested and retested, and conclusions are reconsidered—this is the nature of science. So when I recently posted ‘Magic is simply science without an explanation yet’ on one social media platform, you would have thought I said the Earth was flat from the number of attacks this statement received.

Historically, conjuring tricks used scientific phenomena like magnetism and chemical reactions to wow uneducated crowds, and called it magic. Once those things became common knowledge, we no longer viewed them as magic because we learned the science behind them.

If you were suddenly plopped into Europe with an operational cell phone during the dark ages, the mob would have shaved your head and burned you at the stake as a witch.

Electricity and telephones are commonplace now, yet when they were first introduced a great majority of people were scared of them, called them evil, and refused to have anything to do with them. Most of those people, however, were older.

The younger crowd have always been early adopters of all the newest tech and still are. They accept what seems magical to the older generation and incorporate it into their world.

Science literally changes daily, as do scientific facts. When see we things that seem to us to appear to be ‘magic’ and call people who are exploring and researching those things names, believing they are duped, easily fooled or stupid, we are actually behaving in an ignorant way ourselves.

In science, facts change. All the time. Some ‘facts’ that have been tested using the methods we current have available will be disproven when we can test differently. It’s the way science works.

Just because we think something shouldn’t be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t. We have just too many instances of un-(scientifically) explained phenomena for us to continue to dig our heels in and refuse to accept them.

Einstein once famously wrote “There are two ways to go through life… Like nothing is magical, or like there is magic in everything.”

I prefer to believe that everything is magic. Some things just don’t have a scientific explanation . . . yet.

Grandmother Energy

I recently read an article written by an elderly woman, telling her story of becoming old. She talked about feeling invisible, about having no voice in society anymore, about feeling forgotten. This led me to wonder how we got to this point—where we are dismissive to those among us who have accumulated the most human experiences. When did we lose our appreciation for Grandmother Energy?

Our society often dismisses Grandmother Energy in favor of worshiping youth, and it is the worse for it. In many other societies the wisest among the group, the ones revered and consulted on all important issues, were/are the grandmothers. Grandmothers have seen the beginnings of things, then middles, then the endings of things, and they know how that cycle often plays out.

Grandmother Energy is powerful. It is ancient. It represents generations of women, feeding, nurturing, teaching, bringing new souls along with their wisdom. They are fonts of intelligence born of personal experience, observations over very, very long periods of time, and also lifetimes of watchng people. They understand human nature, sometimes too well, and their days of tolerating fools and foolish behavior are usually far behind them.

They are the possessors of an instinctual knowledge passed down from generations and generations and generations of grandmothers. They see things. They know things. They are very aware of their past mistakes and are reminded of them, especially when they see those around them making those same mistakes. They know when to speak up and when to hold their tongues. They speak their minds, but they can be depended upon to step in and help, and nurture, when they are needed.

So why am I talking about grandmothers? We women are inundated with ads for ‘age defying’ creams and made to feel guilty for aging, as if it’s a bad thing instead of the glorious gift to our communities we are becoming. Society at large throws shiny, sparkly, impossible-to-achieve goals at women. It’s almost as if our culture does everything possible to keep women busy with trivia, and it distracts us from the really important business of coming into our power.

Our job as we age is to help inspire, advise, and lead our communities to become stronger. Let us resist the distractions and take on the challenge of becoming wise women.

Let us embrace Grandmother Energy.

Our worlds are better for it.