Published on May 17, 2016 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 884

In my Witches of Griffin series that I am working on, the triplet sisters use crystals and stones to aid in their energy work.  My focus today is on the lodestone, which is a piece of magnetite or naturally magnetized mineral that can be used as a magnet.  Lodestones occur naturally and attract iron.  Magnetite is common in nature, while lodestones are more rare.  The magnetite of the stone must hold a certain composition and crystalline structure to be considered a lodestone.  If you suspend a lodestone by a string it will rotate until its magnetic field is aligned with the earth’s magnetic field.  Lodestones were discovered during ancient times and were used to create the first magnetic compasses.  The stones importance to navigation gave it the name lodestone, which means ‘leading stone.’  The stones are black or brownish-black in color with a metallic sheen, and a hardness level of 5.5-6.5.  Geologists question the process in which lodestones are created, since only a small amount of magnetite on earth is magnetized as lodestone.

The lodestone was mentioned in China and in the West in the first millennium B.C.  It was the Chinese who used the stone to create the first magnetic needle compass.  Although the stones were initially used for divination purposes, in the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, they were used for navigation.  The compass needle was magnetized by rubbing it against the lodestone, thus giving it the ability to show direction.  Lodestones were used before the compass.  The lodestone was suspended by a string, allowing it to turn and point north, which enabled the sailors to also learn the direction of the wind.  Another navigation method was to float the lodestone on a piece of wood in a bowl of water.  The stone will drift towards the north.  I remember reading that Chief Tecumseh of the Native American Shawnee used lodestones for direction.  Viking explorers were also said to make use of these stones.  Lodestones can be found all over the world and without their early discovery there is no telling how far the great explorers would have traveled.

Above is the first model of a known Chinese compass.  The spoon shaped compass was made of lodestone and placed on a cast bronze plate called a diviners board.  This board carried symbols referring to the constellations, with the circular center being heaven, and the square plate representing earth.  The handle of the lodestone spoon pointed south.  This divining board eventually became the first compass.

Magnetic lodestones were used for navigation, but they were also used in magical systems.  The lodestone is often used as a powerful amulet and believed to attract what you desire, whether this is a person or situation.  In Hoodoo and folk magic, the lodestone was used to attract money, and feeding the stone bits of iron shavings was believed to draw prosperity to you.  In love magic, two lodestones are used, one stone male and the other female. You gradually move the stones closer to each other while imagining them being the two people you want together.

Lodestones are also used in energy healing and can be placed on the body in various positions to align chakras and balance ying/yang energies.  Lodestones are said to have the ability to balance the hemispheres in the brain, by holding a lodestone in each hand.  They are believed to help a person enter a deep meditative state and can lesson grief, fear, confusion, and attachment.  It is considered a powerful psychic protection stone.  Lodestones carry a strong attracting and repelling ability on the spiritual and physical plane.  They hold a powerful vibration and connect the person using the stone to the earth, which is why it is considered an excellent tool for healers.  The stones aid to develop intuition, while carrying the potential to aid in helping asthma, liver problems, and anemia.  Lodestones have been used for navigation, amulets, and healing since ancient times.

A special thank you to: http://theinstitute.ieee.org/technology-focus/technology-history/a-history-of-the-magnetic-compass , https://www.originalbotanica.com/blog/bring-luck-and-prosperity-with-magnetic-lodestones/ , http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/magnetite.html , http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/othermagicspells/ss/What-Is-Lodestone.htm

The River Thames and Frost Fairs
Published on April 5, 2016 by LA Hilden | Views: 870

A Frost Fair was a celebration that took place on the River Thames.  Every so often the Regency people would suffer through a harsh winter that left the river frozen over.  When the tideway section of the Thames froze, people took to the ice to slide with skeetes (ice skate), sled, perform puppet plays, race horses and coaches, play football, and any other activity that they could think of to do on the frozen water.  Many likely looked forward to the winter being cold enough that an impromtu fair would be held, but in actuality the Frost Fairs were a rare occurrence.

Between the 17-19th centuries, the Thames River froze about once every ten years, although it froze for four winters between 1649-1666.  The Thames is recorded to have frozen over in London for 23 winters, the closest ones during Regency times were in 1795 and 1814.  The last time the higher Thames froze was in 1962-63.  The first recorded Frost Fair was held in 1608 and the last main freeze occurred in 1814.  There is also a Frost Fair mentioned as early as 695 AD.  The Frost Fairs were often cut short by the change in weather and melting ice. Celebrations on the frozen river did have its share of dangers; reports of people falling through thin spots on the ice and drowning were known to occur.

So how did these Frost Fairs come about?  The watermen who transported people along the Thames, along with the lightmen, who moved goods up and down the river, lost their ability to make money when the river was inaccessible.  Following the traditions of their forebears they organized Frost Fairs when the river froze and charged traders and customers for access to the ice.

The fair goers relished walking upon the ice and visiting the tented booths.  Parents enjoyed shows and dancing with food, drink, and friends, while watching their children skate and frolic upon the ice.  Between 1607-1814, there were seven major fairs and countless smaller ones.

The last Frost Fair began on February 1, 1814 and lasted four days.  Thousands of people turned up everyday, making it one of the largest fairs on record.  During this freeze some of the Thames was several feet thick and strong enough to support the weight of an elephant as they purposely marched an elephant across the river alongside Blackfriars Bridge.  Even a heavy printing press was brought out onto the ice to print souvenirs.  These souvenir cards were sold for a sixpence.

There was dancing, games, and merriment to be found at the fair.  Fiddlers played so people could dance the reel, and drinking tents were filled with ladies and their companions.  There were many campfires with revelers sitting around them.  Alcohol was happily sold and purchased by many who wished to partake in drams of mead and cups of gin and rum.  Lewd behavior was also noted and looked down upon at the fairs, but of course those kinds of shenanigans continued.  Tea and coffee were also sold.  Food vendors sold gingerbread and mince pies, while fires roasting oxen, geese, sheep, and rabbits turned on numerous spits on the ice.  Tradesmen sold books, toys, and other trinkets.

Through the years, changes were made to the River Thames regarding embankments and wider archways to allow the tide to flow more freely.  These saltier waterways decreased the chances of the River Thames freezing.

A special thank you to: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25862141 , http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/The-Thames-Frost-Fairs/ , http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/frost-fairs-of-london.html

Books and Goodreads
Published on March 7, 2016 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 589

Many of you may already know that Amazon supports two online reading communities, Shelfari and Goodreads.  Amazon has decided to merge the two into Goodreads and do away with Shelfari by March 16, 2016. Here is a link with directions on how to move your books from one site to another.  http://www.shelfari.com/moveToGoodreads/ExportInvitation You can also go to Goodreads and import all the books you purchased through Amazon to rate them.

I like to use Goodreads to keep track of what books I have read, although there is far more to explore on the site.  I have my own way of applying star ratings to books and I rarely leave a written review unless asked.  If you visit my Goodreads bookshelf anything with 1-2 stars means I did not like it and I will not read the author again.  Three stars means the book was alright, but I’m not sure if I will buy another from that author.  If I give a book four stars, I will likely read another book by this author.  If I leave a five star review it means I loved the book and will definitely be looking for more stories by that author.

If you are looking for something to read, here are some of the books I have given five star reviews. I read so much that I cannot tell you what I loved about the stories, merely that I loved them and maybe you will too.  I tend to read historical, time travel, and books about spirituality and the afterlife.

If you like comedy, I find Katie MacAlister often makes me laugh.

Blow Me Down and Noble Intentions were great! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HFDVONC?keywords=noble%20intentions&qid=1456424600&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6

As far as Regency Historicals I find I am becoming very picky on what I choose to read.  Some of the authors I used to love, I no longer really like, but I guess that happens over time.  I have too many five stars to list all the authors, but here are a few Historicals.

I really enjoyed Eloisa James Fairy Tales series, which begins with the book A Kiss at Midnight. Sabrina Jeffries School for Heiresses series, which begins with Never Seduce a Scoundrel.  And Claire Delacroix Jewels of Kinfairlie series, which begins with The Beauty Bride. http://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Bride-Jewels-Kinfairlie-Book-ebook/dp/B00PE940A8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1456424642&sr=8-4&keywords=jewels+of+kinfairlie

Time Travel is another category I love, as I tend to enjoy reading about modern day characters adjusting to the past or the faraway future.  I like the stories that travel into the past better than those set in the future.  The Time Traveler series by J.B. McGee, which begins with Destination to be Determined is great.

I loved April White’s Descendants series, which was funny because when I first began to read this series I was looking for a time travel.  When I noticed there were vampires in the time travel story, I was tempted to stop reading it.  This was because I have read the Sookie Stackhouse series, watched HBO’s True Blood, as well as many other vampire movies through the years and thus I was sick of reading about the undead.  Nevertheless, I am very glad I gave the first book a chance as I enjoyed the story so much that I went on to read the entire series.  The first book in the series is called Marking Time. http://www.amazon.com/Marking-Time-Immortal-Descendants-Book-ebook/dp/B009ZC6666/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1456424678&sr=8-1

My spiritual reading is vast as I use much of what I read as research for my Witches of Griffin series and for my own spiritual growth.  I do not always put these books on my virtual bookshelf as I find some of them hold biases.  I love Brian Weiss, and have read everything he has published.  This leaves me searching for more authors who record past life regressions, which is difficult to find.  One of my favorites by Brian Weiss is Messages from the Masters: Tapping into the Power of Love.  I also enjoyed Squire Rushnell’s Divine Alignment and Michael Newton’s Destiny of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002EBDOZ6/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

I have over a hundred books on my Goodreads bookshelf under L.A. Hilden that you can access.  Currently, I am still working on the Wintergale Orchard series.  Book one is ready to go to the editor. I have been reading and editing book two until my eyes cross.  Once book one is with the editor, I plan to tackle my Witches of Griffin series again.  I have pages and pages of notes to go through that I have taken over the past months for this series.  I need to incorporate them into books one through three, so I have a lot of work and organizing to do, especially since book three is not written.  If you have yet to do so, read my most recent release The Wallflower’s Godmotherhttp://www.amazon.com/Wallflowers-Godmother-Surrounded-Angels-Book-ebook/dp/B00YVG89T8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1456424789&sr=1-1&keywords=the+wallflower%27s+godmother

Candles in Regency England
Published on February 20, 2016 by lahilden | Views: 790

The most common forms of lighting in Regency England were rushlights, candles, firelight, and oil lamps.  Candles have been used for illumination for over 5,000 years.  They are believed to have first been created by the Ancient Egyptians, who made torches by soaking plant reeds in melted animal fat.  Unlike a true candle, these rushlights contained no wick.  The wicked candle is attributed to the Romans beginning about 500 BC, who dipped rolled papyrus in melted tallow or beeswax.  Early civilizations used wax from plants or insects to make candles.  The Early Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes, with a rolled rice paper wick.  The wax for this type of candle was a mix of seeds and wax taken from an indigenous insect. The Chinese also used whale fat as early as the Qin Dynasty.  Candles lit the way for travelers and allowed you to see in the dark.  They are still used in ceremonies around the world.

In the Middle Ages, Candle makers (chandlers) went from house to house collecting the animal fats from kitchens to make candles to sell.  In England, candles were largely made from animal fat (tallow) but beeswax was also introduced in the Middle Ages to Europe.  The candlewicks were made from flax or a piece of cotton. Beeswax burned pure and clean and did not hold the acrid odor of the tallow candles.  Beeswax candles held a pleasant odor and did not have a smoky flame.  As you can imagine, buying candles that smelled and burned better cost far more and only the wealthy could afford burning beeswax in their homes.  The churches often used beeswax.  It is said that you must use three or four tallow candles to reach the brightness of one beeswax candle.  Beeswax candles did not attract rodents like the tallow and they could withstand being placed next to a fire. Beeswax also didn’t drip as much down from the chandeliers onto your guests’ heads, which is always a plus.  Candlelight and people filled ballrooms could become stuffy over time and ceilings were often covered in a black film from all the candle smoke.  Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, which I love, had to undergo the painstaking removal from centuries of black smoke covering the work of art.  The colors are now far more vibrant since the removal of candle soot.

As often comes along with a growing product, in 1709 the English Parliament levied a tax on candles and banned the making of them at home, unless the maker obtained a special license.  Of course the special license came with a hefty price tag and more taxes.  Candles made and sold by licensed chandlers were also heavily taxed, which encouraged clandestine manufacturing.  This law didn’t affect most of the city dwellers that usually purchased their candles, but it angered greatly the rural areas of the country where people had been making their own candles for centuries.  Some of the rural farmers made their candles anyway as one bull could provide enough tallow for three years worth of candles. The tallow candles burned at a low temperature and produced a lot of hot fat that ran down the sides of the candle, this is called guttering.  Candles in rural areas were often made from pork fat, which stunk and gave off a thick, black smoke.  The middle classes often had tallow candles made from mutton, which smelled less rancid than the pork or beef ones.  The more freshly made the candle, the less it would stink.  But all tallow candles demanded constant attention as the wick had to be trimmed to prevent guttering. Guttering wasted the candle wax and increased smoke.  These candles also needed to be snuffed.  Tallow candles had to be kept in a box as their stench had a tendency to call forth rodents.  The candle tax was removed in 1831.

The whaling industry flourished in the 18th century, in turn making whale oil available in large quantities.  The Spermaceti wax derived from whale oil held no odor, while producing a brighter light.  Spermaceti wax was harder than tallow or beeswax so it could hold its shape in the summer heat. In the 1820’s, the French Chemist, Michel Eugene Chevereul, developed stearin wax, which was harder and more durable and thus it burned longer.  In the mid 19th century, candles were manufactured and became a part of an industrialized mass market.  It was due to Englishman, Joseph Morgan, who in 1834 patented a machine that revolutionized candle making.  His molding machine could make 1500 candles in an hour.  His machine made beeswax candles affordable to all classes.

As many of us realize when our power goes out, candles are not nearly illuminating enough.  It is frustrating to try to read by candlelight, but many Regency families sat in front of their fireplaces, reading, talking, and doing needlepoint while I assume, squinting to see.  The people throughout history often retired early to bed after sunset and arose with the dawn to take advantage of light.  The higher classes who could afford the expense of constantly burning candles could afford to stay up later and place numerous candles around them.  The wealthy homes also carried more windows and mirrors to reflect this light through their homes.  Of course when the wealthy were not entertaining, they used the least amount of candles possible. Candles were available in different sizes and lengths and one could gage the length of how long a ball would last by looking at the candles.  Some candles had four to six hour burn times, or even longer.  Candles were a symbol of your wealth so to impress your guests you would have hundreds upon hundreds lighting your home for the grand event, burning through your money with every hour of conversation that passed.

A special thank you to: http://candles.org/history/ , http://www.candlewic.com/service/about-candlewic/the-history-of-candles-and-candlemaking/page.aspx?id=2216 , https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/tag/candles-in-the-regency-era/ , and Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins

The Royal Academy of Arts
Published on February 1, 2016 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 577

As a lover of the arts I thought to do an article about The Royal Academy, which was a teaching school in London for the visual arts in Regency England.  This school aimed to teach the student to draw, paint, and sculpt.  Originally located in Pall Mall, the school was founded on December 10, 1768 by 40 prominent artists during a time when there were almost no art schools or galleries.  The group was headed by portrait painter, Joshua Reynolds, who was regarded as one of the most successful painters in Britain, and thus considered the obvious choice to lead the Academy.  The Royal Academy was officially under the patronage of King George III, which is why the word “royal” is in the title, but no funding aside from the initial grant was given to the Academy.  In 1771, the Academy moved to Somerset House, a dilapidated royal palace, but when those premises were eventually required for use by the government, The Royal Academy moved to Trafalgar Square, sharing a space with the National Gallery.  In 1868, The Royal Academy set up at Burlington House on Piccadilly in London, where it has remained.  Burlington House is owned by the British Government and is used rent-free by the Academy.  It is said the king loathed Reynolds, but knighted him for giving gravitas to his aims toward the visual arts.  Sir Reynolds was commissioned to paint portraits of the king and Queen Charlotte.

The classes at The Royal Academy were offered for free and scholarships helped the needy students with opportunities to travel abroad.  The Academy made money by charging attendance fees for public exhibitions.  It was at the exhibitions where artists would try to get their name out in the public.  The annual Summer Exhibition was first held in 1769, beginning April 25 and ending May 27.  This initial exhibit held over 130 works of art.  The Summer Exhibition continues today and is held every summer.  The Royal Academy makes its income through the exhibitions, trusts and endowment funds, loaning art to other exhibitions, subscriptions of its Friends and corporate members, and sponsorships from commercial and industrial companies.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was considered a highlight of the London Season.  Sir Joshua Reynolds first introduced the invitations to The Royal Academy dinner in April 1771, which included a private viewing of the exhibition.  The dinner was a very sought after invitation.  Every year the number of paintings on display increased as paintings were hung from floor to ceiling.  Artists competed for the best placement for their pieces.  The most sought after placement was along a molding that ran around the room at eye level.

The purpose of The Royal Academy was to gain an appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education, and debate.  In the courtyard of The Royal Academy stands a 20th century statue of the founding member and president of the Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The school was shaped by Sir Reynolds who gave fifteen lectures to students known as the Discourses.  In his lectures he stressed the importance of copying the Old Masters. (I happen to love the old Renaissance artists, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, then later in history, Caravaggio and Titian, and Dutch painters like Rubens and Vermeer.  My art history classes in college were definitely my favorites.)  In 1769, the first year of The Royal Academy being opened, they enrolled 77 students.  By 1830, the enrollment reached 1500 students.  The Royal Academy was a six-year term, which increased to seven years in 1792, and to ten years in 1800, where it remained until 1853.  It is likely that many students did not complete their full terms as attendance and termination records were not kept.  The first female student enrolled in 1860.  Today, around sixty students study at the school for a three-year postgraduate course.

I am currently working on book two in the Wintergale Orchard series Love With Purpose. In this Regency Historical, the hero’s friend visits The Royal Academy to call upon the president at the time, Henry Perronet Briggs, who was a well-known portrait painter.  The hero in this story, Giles Vanhorn is embroiled in a scandal with a known courtesan, and yet he finds love in the form of the heroine, Lady Avis Dabney.  Lady Avis has no interest in courting scandal or marrying anyone who associates with lightskirts.  But Giles sets himself on course with the great Greek mythical hero Hercules and sets out to win the heart of his ladylove.

A special thank you to: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/about-the-ra http://www.regencyhistory.net/2014/03/the-royal-academy-of-arts.html http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jan/04/royal-academy-sulks-and-squabbles

A Cyprian’s Ball and the Three Graces
Published on January 13, 2016 by LA Hilden | Views: 653

Prostitution is not an easy way to make a living, relying on your looks, wit, and body to make ends meet would be stressful and not lucrative forever.  During Regency England it is said that one and five woman made their living by selling their bodies.  Often these desperate ladies were born of poverty and uneducated. But for a courtesan, selling themselves was not just about beauty and sex. Their success also relied on the show of presentation. But to move away from the image of prostitute and to be viewed as a courtesan took dedication and determination. To be the best and most popular courtesan they learned to play music, read, debate, and charm men to the best of their abilities. The renowned courtesans were clever and accomplished. Gentlemen, who enjoyed their company and their style, admired the eccentric and outspoken ladies of the demi-monde. Many titled gentlemen frequented these women, since it was considered the fashionable thing to do, but only the very wealthy could afford their company. Having a famous courtesan on your arm bespoke of your wealth, power, and virility. Harlots were welcome at public places such as parks, theaters, and masquerades, but the houses of High Society were closed to them. Meeting those of the demi-monde at what is known as the Cyprian’s Ball was seen favorably by most, except by the heroine in the book I’m currently working on, but then she does view this event from an innocent young lady’s perspective.

The first Cyprian’s Ball was held in London’s Argyll Rooms in 1818 and was hosted by the celebrated members of the demi-monde, Harriette Wilson and her three sisters, Amy, Fanny, and Sophia, who were also courtesans.  Harriette Wilson was one of the most famous and sought after courtesans of the early 19th century, whose clients included the Prince of Wales, the Lord Chancellor, and four future Prime Ministers.  Harriette and her sister, Fanny, and friend, Julia Johnstone, were known as the three graces.  These three ladies frequently spent time together and hired an opera box to share for the London Season as a way to show off their wares.  People linked to one of the three graces were admired by others.  The three graces were known for their wit, flirting, and their ability to wrap men around their well-paid fingers. Harriette retired at the age of 35 and in 1825, likely tired of her lovers broken promises, published a series of kiss and tell stories as her memoirs in a British broad sheet.  In these stories the famous courtesan named those of which she was intimate.  The War Hero, the Duke of Wellington, had a business arrangement with Harriette and was not happy to hear she was to publish these memoirs, he was quoted as saying, “publish and be damned.”  Of course, she published her shocking memoirs anyway, holding the names of her lovers as blackmail.  She suggested her past paramours give her cash payment to “prevent unpleasantness.”  Harriette was daring and unashamed, and her memoirs enjoyed scandalous success.  Her witty and cutting dialogue to others in her memoirs exemplifies her humor and cleverness.

The first page of Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs begins with, “I shall not say how and why I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of the Earl of Craven. Whether it was love, or … the depravity of my own heart, or the winning arts of the noble Lord, which induced me to leave my paternal roof and place myself under his protection, does not now much signify…”

At the Cyprian’s Ball admirers and protectors enjoyed an evening of unrestricted entertainment and dancing in a refined establishment. The rooms were expensively decorated, and at the first Cyprian’s event, statuary abounded with plaster carvings adorning the walls.  The gentlemen were often members of the peerage or the military who attended these events without any type of mockery or embarrassment.  The courtesans gossiped and preened for the gentlemen as they sipped spirits.  At dawn a light supper and champagne was served.

The ladies of the night wore gowns made of the sheerest and most expensive silks and muslins.  Deep décolletages with cleavage amply on display, empire waists with tiny puffed sleeves that always fell enticingly off the shoulder.  Some ladies even dampened their gowns to accentuate their womanly curves.  It was the place to say hello to past paramours and precisely where a gentleman could visit to find his next.

In my second book in the Wintergale Orchard Series, Love With Purpose, the hero, Lord Giles Vanhorn, involved himself with a courtesan and is now paying the price as the villain has turned the entire transgression into a public scandal.  The heroine, Lady Avis Rosse, has difficulty putting the hero’s past love for a courtesan, a woman far more experienced than she in nearly every category, behind them.  Avis seeks to protect her heart, but Giles plans to accomplish Herculean feats to win her love and admiration.

A special thank you to: Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs of Harriette Wilson. https://thecaferoyal.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/the-cyprians-ball/ https://thecaferoyal.wordpress.com/tag/harriette-wilson/

Idioms and Origin
Published on December 28, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 1750

By definition an idiom is a word or phrase not taken literally.  They show up often in books and in everyday conversation.  I find the origins interesting and thought to share some of them with you.  A few of the origins are sketchy and I’ve taken the best explanations from what I researched.

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed. This idioms origin dates back to Roman times when it was considered bad luck to wake up on the left side of the bed.  If you got up on the wrong side of the bed it meant you’d have a bad day or be grumpy.

Crying wolf. This 15th century idiom is based on The Boy Who Cried Wolf fable by Aesop and means to give false alarm.

Caught red handed. This idioms origin dates back to 15th century Scotland. It likely referred to people being caught murdering or poaching with blood on their hands. It was used often in legal proceedings in Scotland and meant that the culprit was caught in the act of committing a crime.

Leave no stone unturned. This idiom dates from the mid-16th century and is based on the Greek legend about a general who buried a treasure.  Those seeking his treasure were told by the Oracle of Delphi to move every stone.



Working with a skeleton crew. Refers to working with the bare minimum to keep the business functioning, although it’s not as efficient.  It was first recorded in the 17th century.

Skeletons in your closet. This phrase is first recorded in 1812 in the Bluebeard fable.  It means you hide secrets and shame.

Mind your P’s and Q’s. This idiom has many possible origins.  Some say it refers to the old typesetting when each letter was put into place before the printing process began.  Lower case p’s and q’s were easily confused.  Some believe it was used because children often reversed these letters when learning to write.  And others say it was because in the old English pubs the number of pints and quarts were often tallied on a chalkboard to keep a running tab.  The idiom means to mind your manners.

A stone’s throw away. This refers to a short, undefined distance.  Early English versions of the Bible refer to “a stone’s cast.”  The idiom was used in a non-biblical manner by the end of the 16th century.

Get the ball rolling. This idiom is believed to have originated in sports in 19th century England, during the game of croquet.  It means to begin in speech or action.

Hit the sack or hit the hay. This idiom is from the 19th century and refers to how mattresses were filled with hay or sacks of hay.  It means to go to bed.

A special thank you to: http://mentalfloss.com/article/33503/where-did-phrase-caught-red-handed-come http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/skeleton-crew-mind-your-ps-and-qs http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/your-english/phrase-of-the-week/phrase-of-the-week-to-start-the-ball-rolling/154100.article http://www.bloomsbury-international.com/en/student-ezone/idiom-of-the-week/list-of-itioms/1203-hit-the-sack.html

What I'm Currently Working On...
Published on December 15, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 539

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping.  With Christmas quickly approaching I’m working on what to buy the ones I love, which takes serious thought. According to the traffic whenever I leave the house, I assume everyone else is doing holiday shopping too. The nice bonus is that it has been a warm December in Michigan and so there’s no snow or freezing cold to deal with yet. Next week I start my baking for four different Christmases. As for my writing I have just put my Griffin Witches series away for a bit.  I always find it best to take a break and come back to the novel at a later time.  When you are immersed in writing a story and you know in your mind where the plot is taking you, it is better to try and forget the plot for a while and tackle the book again as a reader and not a writer. This merely ends up as another edit, but by this point I’m in the tweaking stages of book one and two and not much is changing aside from detail and embellishment.

I’m currently working on another edit of When Love Wins. This is my Wintergale Orchard series where the hero must overcome a laudanum addiction with the help of his ladylove. I’m finding this story is more of a Regency Rom-Com, which sounds odd when considering the seriousness of the storyline, but it totally works. I love the witty dialogue and prankster behavior between the characters. My son, who excels at computer graphics, is helping me design the book cover. We are having a lot of fun with it. As the story takes place in an apple orchard estate he thought to put a single apple on the cover, which looked great, but it has an overtone to Sleeping Beauty and poisonous apples and so we nixed it and are working on something new. He has many amazing ideas and I love having his help in the designing process. We are also developing new ebook covers for Born Reckless and London’s Quest as I feel the darkness of the covers is overdone. I won’t get this book off to the editor before the holidays as I’m still in the middle of a final read and it has to visit the editor. I’m also working on book two of this series and I’m about 120 pages in.  Below is the blurb for When Love Wins.

Tormented by the past …

Warin Vanhorn, the Marquess of Wintergale, is one of England’s heroes.  After fighting valiantly in the war against Bonaparte he has tried to fall back into the routine of his old life.  But life at the orchard cannot be calm when the sounds of his dying men continue to haunt him and turn him violent, leaving him to escape these nightmares with heavy doses of laudanum.

Meddling where you shouldn’t…

Helena Dabney is different from many ladies when it comes to knowing the details of wartime.  She views Lord Wintergale as an untouchable, a man she has read about in every paper she could get her hands on, but never in a million years does she think to ever meet him.  Fate has other plans.

Love wins the battle…

With hemlock poisoning, an eccentric aunt, secret mistresses, addictions, and betrayals of friendship, one can safely say that life at Wintergale Orchards is never dull.

When Love Wins is book one in the Wintergale Orchards Series.

Past Life Regression
Published on November 18, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 515

For those of you who follow my blog you are likely aware of my interest in history and the sacred sciences.  And perhaps you read the blogs I posted about my sweat lodge experience and following the lines of my family tree into medieval times.  I mentioned in my reincarnation post that if I ever had the opportunity to do a Past Life Regression (PLR) with a Life Between Life (LBL) session, I was in.  The opportunity presented itself on my spring trip to Florida in 2015, where I met with Regression Hypnotherapist, Chuck Frank.

Before embarking on this journey, I had read books by Michael Newton, Brian Weiss, Delores Cannon, and Edgar Cayce.  I had also watched others go through the regression process.  I knew going in that I was likely to come out of this thinking that I had made up everything I felt and saw in my crazy imagination.  After all, I’m a writer and I come up with names and places all the time.  I’m also a Reiki practitioner and I’ve participated in many guided meditations so I was curious to see what this experience would bring.  To gain a true understanding of what people in PLR and LBL experience, I needed to feel and see it for myself.

After more than an hour induction where I almost fell asleep twice, I was taken back to the age of twelve.  I described the house where I grew up.  This was an easy task since I have not forgotten the house over the years.  I also described the music I liked and my favorite song at the time.  I later researched when this song was popular; it was when I was twelve, which was pretty cool.  I was then taken to a younger age, I believe I was around three and I was playing in the leaves while my dad stood watching me.  I remembered my clothing and how it was a happy, carefree time.  From there I moved to the womb where I was amazed by my fingers and my ability to move them.  I could feel my mom’s excitement at being pregnant, but I also felt her fear toward motherhood.  (If you are like me you are reading this and thinking many women feel this way before giving birth, which I believe is true.)

From there I moved into a long corridor of greenery in my mind, since this is what I wanted my tunnel to look like, at the other side I was taken into my most recent past life.  I was told to describe my feet and I looked down to see a pair of white nurse shoes.  I was a black woman named Rose Ferrier and I was a nurse in what I believe to be upstate New York.  I was outside on a partly cloudy day, walking along the sidewalk as I made my way to one of the many rectangular brick buildings sitting upon acres of green land.  The all brick building I entered was ordinary in design, a few chimneystacks and narrow windows in metal frames along the width, spaced every five feet.  A metal light was affixed into the brick above the plain wooden door, which is what my eyes focused on as I approached from the narrow end.  The light fixture was a sure sign of electricity and looked Victorian in design.  As I entered I was greeted by others who called me Rosie.  I was not thrilled with being at work, more resigned and doing my duty.  I assisted the sick by moving their wheelchairs and I proceeded to cut up food to assist a lady to eat.  (I have searched the Internet for everything I could think of to find this set of buildings I saw, but have had no luck.  I had no real expectations going into this process, but I was amazed every step of the way at the images I saw and I was even more amazed by what I felt.)

From there I was told to move to a significant moment in this person’s life and I found myself in a park, smiling at my two grown children.  I was exceedingly proud of my son, although I could not tell you why.  Nevertheless, it was a happy day and a crowd had gathered in celebration.  I then moved to Rose’s death scene, where she was alone in bed and unable to breath.  Her passing was merely a sense of letting go, so it was very peaceful.  After she passed she went to her son and exchanged energy to help her son deal with her loss before moving onward.  I then pondered the lessons behind Rose’s life and was told by my spirit council that Rose was to learn patience in that life, which she did.   (I had posed the question in my mind and the word “patience” boomed in my head.  Just the one word, which I learned is often how these questions are answered.)

As Rose left the earth plane, she turned to the light and headed upward into a vast space.  There were no worries or fear as she headed upward, just a peaceful calmness.  The floating sensation stopped and I was standing in front of my spirit guide.  After putting my dozens of questions to my guide, which included my purpose here, as well as my soul name there, I was told to see if I could find my soul group.  There were many figures around me, but I could not tell who they were, only that they were there in the shadows of peaceful darkness.  I counted eleven figures, including myself.  The one that moved forward to greet me was my father, again it was more of a knowing as his body was a shadow human shape and not physically detailed.  Since it is believed we leave a good portion of energy in heaven when we incarnate, I assume this is why my father greeted me.  I can say that this was not who I expected to greet me, I had assumed I’d see one of my deceased relatives, like one of my grandfathers.  

After happily speaking to my dad, I asked my guide to take me to my council.  To describe the soaring chamber I entered is difficult, but the chamber was extremely tall.  It was all white, but light could shine through the walls, not like glass or ice, but more opaque and illuminating, without being overwhelmingly bright.  The base was really wide, no doors, just open space.  The structure narrowed at the top, but not to a point, more of a rounded rectangle.  There were five figures making up my council, and they sat spaced a good eight feet apart around a large half moon table that curved toward me.  My guide stayed with me and stood behind my left side, about three feet away.  Only the council member sitting at the center of the table made himself visible to me, he was the only one during the entire LBL regression that I saw in great detail.  He was dressed in white robes like a toga.  He had a big smile, blue eyes, a gray beard, and lots of gray hair on his head.  He was wearing a laurel wreath upon his head and his glance spoke of wisdom and knowledge beyond my understanding.  He was thrilled to see me and amused by my presence as he had been expecting me.  “He thinks I’m funny,” which is exactly what I told Chuck when he asked about my reception.

I later researched this scene to learn that many who participate in LBL sessions see the elders in various colored robes.  People also describe this chamber I entered.

The laurel wreath is said to represent great thinking, which fit perfectly with the energy that I was receiving at the time, although I’m unaware if anyone else who participated in an LBL session has seen elders with wreaths upon their heads.  Just knowing others have described this same odd structure while under hypnosis is fascinating.

Questions were answered and I was shown family members who struggle in life today.  My childhood horse was brought to me, and even my 6th great grandfather Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee came to offer me words of wisdom.  I was regressed for a good two hours.  The peacefulness and love I felt was something I’ll never forget.

After thanking my council and my guide, I was brought out of the hypnosis feeling happy and rested.  But once I left and I began to share the details of my regression with others, the analytical side of my left-brain reinserted itself, having been on hiatus during the hypnosis it had much to dissect and try to dismiss.

Although I had felt the different energies and saw these scenes play out in my mind, I returned home and my immediate reaction was that I made everything up.  Wow, how weird is that.  But even with my doubts, a part of me realizes that what I saw was a completely different experience when compared to using my imagination to create stories.  For one, I did not have time to create in my mind a scene like I do with my stories as I was answering the hypnotherapist’s questions as to where I was and what I was doing.

What I experienced during the Life Between Life was more along the lines of images seen while in deep meditation, which in turn makes sense.  The LBL scenes came from a different place in my mind, these scenes often had black backgrounds suggesting infinite space, whereas my imagination is in full color with background scenes taken from actual life with trees and blue skies and such.  My Past Life Regression to Rose Ferrier was definitely in full color and detail.  I find the distinctions between the two interesting.

So that’s some of my experience with Regression Hypnotherapy.  I cannot tell you with absolute certainty that what I experienced was a past life or that I connected with higher energies through our human connection with the Divine.  I can tell you that I didn’t have the time to make these scenes up in my mind, they just appeared.  The journey was not at all what I had thought it would be, which to me says a lot.  I would also like to mention that I had nothing to fear while under hypnosis.  I was always aware of my surroundings.  I could not have been made to bark like a dog or anything equally absurd as I was not deep enough under hypnosis to not have recall.  I suggest everyone try it at least once.  It is only through personal experience that you can deduce where these scenes are coming from for yourself.  I’ll end with a quote by Edgar Cayce.  “Each soul in entering the material experience does so for those purposes of advancement towards that awareness of being fully conscious of the oneness with the Creative Forces.” 2632-1



My Blog Post on Following Your Roots and My Native American Sweat Lodge Experience. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=117

My Blog Post on Reincarnation and the Griffin Sisters http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=144


A special thank you to Chuck Frank, Past Life Regression Hypnotherapist. http://www.hypnosisarts.com

Planes of Existence and the Number Seven
Published on November 5, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1773

I have been working on book two in the Witches of Griffin series, which is a time travel, paranormal, romance with spiritual elements called Securing Sanctuary.  In this story the Griffin sisters have to enter the astral plane to secure the Map to Sanctuary.  The map, stolen by a dark priestess, is being held in the astral with the help of a voodoo Loa.  If this map isn’t recovered, life on our planet will alter drastically, allowing evil the upper hand.

There are seven colors in the rainbow, seven tones on the music scale that hold seven different vibrations, and according to esoteric teachings, seven planes of existence.  There are also the seven days of creation, seven deadly sins, seven days in a week, seven seas, seven continents, and the lucky number seven.  To many people seven is considered magical.  The number is popular around the world as is seen in art, literature, religion, and culture.  In esoteric cosmology, the seven planes of existence are conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe.  The concept of planes was likely derived from shamanic and traditional mythological ideas of a vertical world-axis.  The planes of existence tie into the states of meditation according to the Chinese Tao.

The Seven Planes

The slowest vibrational speed occurs on the first plane, which is the Physical Plane.  This is where our souls are now.  The second plane is called the Astral Plane, this is the etheric plane the sisters have to enter and it is a place that is often entered while we dream.  It is considered the plane of emotion and it is the first place we go to once we leave our physical bodies.  This plane is said to be populated with angels, spirits, and other immaterial beings.  The Causal Plane is the third plane and is made of intellectual energy.  The fourth plane of existence is called the Akashic Plane.  This is a neutral plane of existence that interconnects with the other six planes.  This is where the Akashic records are said to be found.  These records are believed to hold everything that has ever happened in the universe.  It is also where the deceased go to review past lives and learn from the life they just left.  People who have entered this plane through Past Life Regression describe a place where you can watch scenes as if a movie was playing.  The fifth plane is called the Mental Plane and it is filled with intellectual energy that emphasizes truth.  The Messianic Plane is the sixth plane and it is filled with emotional energy that emphasizes love.  It is believed that Jesus incarnated from this plane.  The highest plane and the seventh plane is called the Buddhaic Plane, which is made of pure or abstract kinetic energy and is described as a realm of pure consciousness. Many of the planes have a variety of sub-planes.  The planes also have different names depending on the source.

To read more about Astral Travel: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=143

A special thank you to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601281/Why-lucky-7-really-magic-number.html,http://www.michaelteachings.com/7planes.html, Michael Newton, Journey of Souls, http://www.thetadnaactivation.com/medical2.html, and http://www.esotericscience.org/article10a.htm