Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bindi Girl now in paperback!

"There are three trips you take to India: the one you think you're going to have – that you plan for, the one you actually have, and the one you live through once you go back home."

~ The Adventures of Bindi Girl

We are thrilled to announce the long-awaited release of Erin Reese's high-energy travel memoir, The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India. Now in paperback on Amazon.

Support your local travel writer - order your paperback copy of Bindi Girl today and join the unforgettable journey!


  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Travel and Soul Media (January 10, 2012)
The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India

Product Description

Erin Reese is a one-of-a-kind travel writer—a spiritual seeker and solo backpacker who dropped out of a successful career in corporate America, hit the road, and never looked back.


Packed with plenty of spicy curry, cows, and comedy, Bindi Girl takes us on one heck of a wild ride across India. From Dharamsala and the Dalai Lama to ashrams, yoga schools, and meditation melodramas, Bindi educates and entertains as she goes. We discover the Hindu deities, the tourist trap mafia, and the beach havens of the hippie trail. From "Guru Disney" to the holy hell of Varanasi, Bindi's got us clamoring for more masala chai all the way.

When Bindi meets an attractive young stranger who is more than her mental and physical match, her fiery spirit is put to the test. He whisks her off to the furthest reaches of India—the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. There, in an isolated jungle, they attempt to live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy. Will it be the Garden of Eden or end up a natural disaster? Among the wild beauty and danger of the islands and the kooky madness of "typical India," Reese takes us deep into the heart of a country and her very self.

Bindi Girl is a gift to the traveler, the spiritual seeker, and the armchair tourist—anyone yearning for honest inspiration and a real kick to get out and truly live!

"India – a land where the last thing one needs to bother with is looking good.
In India – at least in the circles I moved in – it's natural to look beautiful by the smile in your heart and the way you move through the world."

~ The Adventures of Bindi Girl

back cover

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not for the Meek: Spirituality in Kali's Realm

Calling oneself a “spiritual person” is all fine and dandy when we are comfy and cozy in our life setup, when we are admiring Ganesha the elephant god as a cute, pot-bellied pachyderm and a sweet deity to put on the wall as a tapestry. “Spiritual life” is fine when our downward dogs and hot yoga classes are helping us look hotter at the next office party.

Spirituality is especially peachy-keen when we have enough money in the bank to afford all-organic food and to pay for our fair trade, shade-grown coffee. Then we love to talk about how we’re “all one” and that “love is the answer.” Then it’s just darned great.

But what is spirituality when we can barely move, when we’re clobbered by our very human existence? When we’re slammed with a debilitating health crisis? When someone near and dear to us dies unexpectedly? When we feel trapped by our life circumstances, of which we feel no way out of, in a million ways, with nowhere to turn? When we absolutely, positively feel there is no solution to the hell du jour and only an airlift from God is going to help? Where do we go when we have nowhere to go? How far does our cute, pot-bellied pachyderm take us then, hmm? What then?

Yes, this is where the rubber meets the road – when we’re in a real, honest to goodness crisis. IF we’re lucky, we may be able to remain conscious during the meltdown. By conscious here, I mean remaining semi-mindful – able to offer up a prayer, still keeping our side of the street clean and doing our best to keep an internal equilibrium. But this is still the realm of the ego, and when we are really, truly losing it (which most churches, spiritual feel-good junkies and self-help gurus will never, ever tell you), the ego is being burnt to a crisp.

If we can’t remain conscious during a life crisis, maybe, just maybe, we can remain aware that we are unconscious, like a person in a coma who can’t quite get out of it but who knows that they are in a coma. We may be able to remain aware – in touch with the witness, or the watcher – that the shit is really hitting the fan and we haven’t a chance.

Calling In the Big Guns

The gods and goddesses of India are archetypes that represent states of existence. Whether or not one embraces the deities as incarnations doesn’t matter. Makes no difference if you’re a yogi or a Christian or an atheist or a Hindu: the quantum realities of the gods are real – as energies, as forces of nature.

When things are truly falling apart and we haven’t an ice cube’s chance in hell to stop it, perhaps it’s time to get out of the way and let the darker archetypes do their job. Let us genuflect to the biggies, Lord Shiva and Mother Kali.

Shiva, god of transformation, is always on the job when things are dying, dancing His eternal tandava dance as Nataraja, lord of creation and destruction of the universe. Create, destroy, live, die. Evolve, rinse, repeat. We egoic humans cling mightily to the pretty, to the living, to the pleasant. Sure, that is our nature – that’s how life goes on, through the life force pulsing through us. But when everything in our life is breaking down, from body to home to pocketbook to profession to marriage, quite frankly, Shiva doesn’t give a shit.

That’s why we worship Him, even if symbolic, and bow down to His altar in great humility. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, Shiva may grant us a shred of grace, once we’ve accepted that He is leading the tandava dance, and we are merely following. This is real tantra. And it doesn’t mean you get to have it your way. It’s not Burger King.

And then… and then there are the heavier-duty cases, where we enter the ghastlier realms of life experience. Now we are in Kali’s realm. We can avoid Her, this darkest of the dark goddesses, and play hide and seek for a long time. Who wouldn’t prefer to hang with Saraswati, who plays a veena harp and rides a swan? Or lovely lady Lakshmi, perched on a pretty pink lotus bed, distributing coins of gold and health and wealth?

But, when the rubble just keeps tumbling down on us and we have no hope and there is no way out and the whole stewpot is too horrifying to face and we want to call it a day but somehow the life force and the cosmic joke keeps us here without release from human existence… THEN we meet Beloved Kali, the dark one, the slayer of illusions. Once again.

O Maa Kali! Lolling tongue, gnashing teeth, severed heads and bloodshed. Here we are now in the realm of the wrathful one, Shiva’s dark consort. Kali comes not when the Tower of our lives is crashing down, no. Kali IS the crash! She makes sure our life structures and petty constructs are totally, 100% annihilated. There is a plan and a divine orchestrator, and we…are…not…it.

How can we feel less than an absolute failure when the Tower is crashing? The error is in mistaking this meltdown to be our own doing, that we have somehow made this happen and could do something to fix it – and fix it now! – rather than accepting and worshipping the annihilation of our life as we know it.

We are cautioned not to mistake the illusion of our own doer-ship as real lest we add a mistaken dose of shame to the mix. Shame arises when we confuse the process and think we are the doer. NO. That is where we get the truth wrong. This complete and total destruction, as messy and ugly as it is, is exactly what is supposed to happen, and it is going to take as long as it takes. So… pop the popcorn, pull up a chair, and watch the show. There is nothing you can do to change the movie reel. It’s gotta play out.

Prostrating to Maa Kali at this point, believe it or not, is to say Thank You! to Her for destroying your life. Sound like a tall order? Keep fighting it. See how long it lasts.

Realization at this point is to SEE that, if you’re still in the battlefield of breakdown, She is not done yet hacking away at anyone and anything – the demons of illusion and suffering – that do not fit.

Best to stay down. On your knees. Let Her finish the job.

Now you can relax.

Jai Maa.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Popular Highlights In The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India

It's hard to be a writer. Writers, like other artists who present their work publicly, are constantly exposed. It's not for the meek. Sometimes, writers want to play ostrich, and hide from reviewers. But we rely on our readers to give us feedback, airplay, and an audience to write for.

Much to my delight, not only are people *reading* Bindi Girl; the adventure memoir is making an impact. Today, I discovered a cool feature on Amazon's Kindle in which the most popular parts of a book are noted, based on the number of times readers highlight a passage while reading on their Kindle device or app. Thought to share these passages with you today. I hope you add a few of your own - and your own review on Amazon.


Most Popular Highlights of Erin Reese's travel memoir, The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India - noted by Amazon Kindle readers as of January 8, 2012

Amazon displays Popular Highlights by combining the highlights of all Kindle customers and identifying the passages with the most highlights. The resulting Popular Highlights help readers focus on passages that are meaningful to the greatest number of people.

“I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” (Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, Letters to a Young Poet)
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users

Therefore, if today is the day you are going to die, how will you live today?
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users

So when I woke up in the morning on Day Three, I asked myself, if this is the day I will die, is this place where I choose to be? Is this exactly what I choose to be doing?
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

“You can’t work your way out by working it out with the mind. Better to follow your heart if you can find it. If you can’t find it, just jump. Your heart will start beating so fast there will be no mistake about where it is!”
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

India – a land where the last thing one needs to bother with is “looking good,” or buying this, that, and the other. In India – at least in the circles I moved in – it’s natural to look beautiful by the smile in your heart and the way you move through the world. The lack of a “consumer culture” and less consumption choices leaves more room for honest expression; there’s more room to focus on the person beneath the facade.
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

philosophy of death embraced by many Buddhists: to look each day squarely in the face and say, “This is the day I will die.”
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

there are three trips you take to India: the one you think you’re going to have – that you plan for; the one you actually have; and the one you live through once you go back home.”
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2012 Tarotscopes by Erin Reese

Happy 2012!

Astrology and tarot are two alchemical magical arts that combine for astounding mystical revelations. Here are your Tarotscopes for January 2012! Be sure to read for your Sun, Moon, and Rising Sign for best results.

If you like the Tarotscopes free service, consider making a donation to keep the site – and your astro-intuitive – happy and motivated! It's a lot of work to prepare these goodies for you, my lovely readers. Even the amount of a cappuccino is super! Click on the ‘donate’ link to the right, or simply click here.

Your feedback is appreciated so I can know how many people enjoy this and whether to keep it up in the future.

Enjoy and many blessings!


This January, we are all called to be philanthropists and supporters. No need to be Bill Gates to show that you care about your community. Treat others and your own body-mind as if we are all royalty. We can afford to be generous with each other, we can share the wealth – it doesn’t have to be about the money. A home-cooked meal, a hug, a phone call, a place to sleep for the night… there are so many little ways to take care of folks. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and so while we’re in the material world, let’s make the most of it and be generous and benevolent leaders this month.

For a close-up of the card images, be sure to watch the little video here!

Aries: Ace of Pentacles

cha-CHING! That’s the sound of your cosmic cash register, Aries! Get your financial ducks in a row, lively Ram! Do not wait: January is your month to hit the ground running in business and money affairs. New business is likely to come your way: a new project, a work opportunity, a solid investment, a foundational idea. More than any other sign, Aries, you love to rush in. So say YES when opportunity knocks. It’s a new material beginning.

Taurus: Ten of Wands

You’re almost there, sweet Bull! That l-o-o-o-ng project you’ve been working on forever is about to come to a grand finish. A big deal that you’ve been trudging along with for about nine months to one year is about complete! Don’t stop now. It’s very important that you stay the course. You’re almost at the peak of the mountain! Be sure to delegate little tasks and details now so you can focus on the MOST important aspects of your vision. Keep it close at heart. Tenacity is your middle name. I’ve no doubt you’ll persevere to a successful finish.

Gemini: Nine of Wands

If you’re feeling a bit discouraged as the New Year kicks off, Gem, don’t despair. It’s a temporary thing. Perhaps your career or life vision needs a little more self-love and attention. Take care of your grander visions and step back from the grueling details. Self-care can be tough for you as you’re always running around, so incredibly busy and multitasking. You love to do 18 million things at once and can easily forget that Health is Wealth! Stop letting little things and annoyances suck you dry. Take a stand for that which is most important in your life: your own heart and well-being. If you’re feeling beat up by life, it’s OK to step out of the ring for a while to regroup. No one says you have to get it ALL done in one day, dear Twin.

Cancer: Nine of Pentacles

Home is where your heart is, dear Crab. You’re feeling fine, getting reconnected to your home base. You need a cozy nook to make fabulous comfort food and a hearth that nourishes your soul. You also need regular doses of nature, art, and the garden. Yes, you’re one of the most sensitive signs of the Zodiac, Cancer, but that doesn’t mean you’re not strong! You get double strength and footing this January by investing in your home. Spruce up your space and make your nest luxurious enough to relax in, anytime of day or night.

Leo: Knight of Wands

Consider January to be the kickoff of a year of adventure and fresh horizons, lovely Lion. Sometimes, you get grumpy or complacent, especially when you’ve hidden away in your den or cubicle too much. It’s now time to get back on the horse and out in the zip of life. Don’t forget that life is a spectacular funhouse. So put on the Ritz, take the leap, and dive full on into your magic kingdom or queendom. You have the courage, so put ‘em up, put ‘em up!

Virgo: Seven of Swords

You need some alone time to regroup, Virgo. It’s okay to step away from community and interactive busy-ness now and again. If you’ve been feeling gobbled up by doing this and doing that, book a few days or even a week in your planner to focus on YOU. Maybe you need to cancel an engagement or a commitment this month. Pare down your calendar and make space to organize your own life and deepest personal calling. Even if others squawk, they’ll live.

Libra: Four of Wands

Celebrate life and emerge victorious this month, dear Libra! You are a natural social phenomenon. Don’t forget: that is one of your best traits. Playing host and hostess and laying on the charm, chatting people up, looking good and making others feel fine – these are your gifts. Use this approach to achieve your goals this January. Consider having an open house at the home or office to boost sales and expand your network. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean people don’t appreciate a good time and good cheer. Turn on that smile magnet. It will pay off!

Scorpio: Ten of Cups

Reconnect to your family this month, Scorp. What many folks don’t know about you is that you are deeply sentimental underneath it all. People, pastimes, loyalty and emotional ties are super meaningful to you. It’s time for you to put a little reinvestment into your loved ones this January. Let others show their love for you and vice versa. Get a little closer to your dearest ones and enjoy the rewards of real intimacy. Have some tender moments.

Sagittarius: The Lovers

Ooh, la la! Have you been feeling a bit more amorous than usual lately, Sag? Or do you have an itch to partner up? This is a good month to make a move in that direction. Let the universe know you’re sincere about it. Dating sites could be fun, and meeting with real humans for contact and connection is even better. Keep your sense of fab humor about it all, boisterous Archer – it’s one of your best traits. Sag, you know how to have a ball – so bring in a tango partner this month!

Capricorn: Queen of Swords

We all know you like to be the boss, the responsible one. Are you making yourself clear and standing up for yourself in a no-nonsense fashion, Cappy? Don’t shy away from speaking the necessary truths. Passive aggression is not becoming to you, so be careful not to let that sneak in. Try the mature approach. If you need to fine tune your professional communication skills, especially with regard to getting along with others, now is the time to step up to the plate.

Aquarius: Five of Cups

Oh, Aquarius – you’ve got the Five of Cups again this January. Don’t despair! There is something you are still in the process of letting go, that’s all. Don’t ever forget that little deaths and endings are a part of life. Your birthday time is almost here – from January 20 – so shine your little heart light of faith that whatever you’re working through is about preparing the ground for your real new birthday beginning. Remember to make a gratitude list: try listing at least ten things that you are grateful for. Keep it in perspective.

Pisces: Knight of Swords

Get a move on, Fish! You’re raring to start the new year and it doesn’t really matter what action you take: just do it! You will be invigorated by trying anything, really. Speak up, speak out, and charge ahead. Don’t hold back, and don’t give a hoot about doing anything perfectly either. Haven’t you heard that perfection is the enemy of the good? It’s also the enemy of creativity. The important thing now is to get the show on the road. Onward!