Tag: spirituality

Hell is other people


“L’enfer, c’est les autres.”

– Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos


I’m not sure how or where I first heard the phrase “Hell is other people”, but it popped into my head a few times over the past few weeks, along with other thoughts which I’ll try to make coherent momentarily.

It’s generally attributed to Jean Paul Sartre, a line from his one-act play “No Exit”. For those unfamiliar, and I’ll admit I was one of them until yesterday,  the play is about 3 people who are in hell, and their own flavor of hell is to be locked in a room, just the three of them, for the rest of eternity.

When researching the origin of the phrase for this post, I came across the original French quoted above, and I find the translation “Hell is other people” to be a bit too direct. A truer translation would be “Hell, it is the others”.  Here is what Sartre himself had to say about it:

. . .“hell is other people” has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because. . . when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves, . . . we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves. Into whatever I say about myself someone else’s judgment always enters. Into whatever I feel within myself someone else’s judgment enters. . . . But that does not at all mean that one cannot have relations with other people. It simply brings out the capital importance of all other people for each one of us.

He didn’t mean it as a statement of universal truth, but most definitely as something that someone sentenced to hell for being selfish, manipulative, and shallow (like the characters in the play) would say.

But here’s what I’ve figured out: Hell is The Other. It’s separation from The Divine, which is Everything.

The illusion that there IS an Other, that we are somehow separate from this whole divine cosmic Creation, the terrible illusion that we are somehow separate from everything else around us.

The degree to which we consider other people to be Others, which breeds fear and mistrust and feelings of “No, gimme! This is mine!” instead of realizing that when we help others, we also help ourselves, and when we hurt or deprive others, we also hurt ourselves.

Each one of us is simply a thread, or more like a single loop of a thread, in the Great Tapestry of Creation. Our soul, or Higher Self, is the thread, our spirit as it manifests individually in this lifetime is the loop.

We are more than our bodies, and our thoughts, what we have or how we present ourselves. Our souls, emanating directly from the Divine Consciousness, connect us with Everything Else There Is, and we are simply a point of perception, and co-creation.

What we see is a narrow view of reality, through an infinitesimally limited window of time and space.

Realizing the seeming insignificance of our existence can be a gigantic blow to the Ego, scary and painful. The Ego is exactly the construct that maintains this illusion of separation.

But after that scared part of the Ego dies, the feeling of liberation is exhilarating. That is Heaven.

But we’re on Earth. We can’t just float in the ether, connected to the universal energy,  and let our bodies whither away. We’re here to create. And when we are able to detach enough from our ego to connect with All, we can channel this energy to create and manifest our purpose in this plane.

This is how we avoid Hell. Even if those around us try to create a hell around us, if we can truly see our divine essence and how small their transgressions against us are in the Grand Scheme Of Things, our connectedness to this Divinity will carry us above it.



Other interesting thoughts on the subject:

  1. http://rickontheater.blogspot.com/2010/07/most-famous-thing-jean-paul-sartre.html
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-did-Jean-Paul-Sartre-mean-when-he-said-Hell-is-other-people
  3. http://www.thefinancialphilosopher.com/2009/10/hell-is-other-people.html –> This, SO MUCH!


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Know thyself


In Ancient Greece, you would’ve been greeted by the aphorism “γνῶθι σεαυτόν” inscribed above the entrance of the chamber where Oracular knowledge was imparted by the Pythia. Transliterated as “gnōthi seauton“, it translates as “Know thyself”. Whatever wisdom the Oracle was pulling from the ether, ultimately, would bring you to know your most intimate Self.

This has always been a challenge for us humans. What and who, exactly, are you? Are you your body? The collection of your experiences? The particular pattern of neuron firings going on inside your skull? Or are you more than that? And if you’re more, then what is its substance? We could go along this line of questioning forever.

The way I see it, your Soul is your true, highest Self. It is what says “I am”, regardless of what changes have happened in your body or what experiences you’ve gone through, it remains intact, whole, and perfect. Each one of us is a fractal offshoot of the Divine Universal Consciousness that decided to know itself more through the experience of humanity.

We are caught between worlds. The Divine Creative spark, boundless in time and space, wanted to know what it was to be heavy. To have material substance. To be bounded, fettered.

Why would the Divine decide to bind itself thus?

I like to imagine that it wanted a challenge. Can we become truly aware of our place in time and space, as we are, and reconcile it with the fact that even though we may appear bounded for this brief droplet in the vast ocean of time, what we truly are isn’t defined by our body, our history, our family, or our circumstances? Though these things house us and shape us, our Truest, Highest Self was there before all that, and will continue to be after all that has been.

Can we learn to fully embody our Divine Self, our Christ Consciousness, starting from the gross matter of physical existence? Can we truly reconcile these seemingly opposite realities?

As a story-teller, I’m also tempted to say that it’s all for Love, for the love of story. Endlessly curious and creative, The Divine Spark wanted to see what would happen.

And so it practiced at Life, starting with blue-green algae in the primordial soup, and kept evolving and figuring it out and becoming more complex until we got here, to where we are, allegedly the highest form of consciousnes on this planet. And I believe that this is exactly why the Bible says that we were made in God’s image. We truly are, but it’s our consciousness that is made in God’s image, Limitless, Whole and Holy, not our bodies which are so diverse and distinct from each other, beautiful in their own right, but so corruptible and perishable.

The Divine Spark within us always seeks Divinity, and so as soon as we evolved enough brain power to realize our individuality, our identity as contained, solid beings, we also recognized, in awe and wonder, the divine magic of Life-Creating Energy, or Spirit, or God, or Allah, or The Everything that Is, or whatever you choose to call It. Jesus said that God is Love, and I believe him.

Because the Divine is boundless, and we see ourselves so limited by the four dimensions of space and time, we may not recognize that we really ARE a sprout derived from the Divine Spark of Love. We get so caught up in the sound and fury and solidity of physical survival that we forget our True Selves, and what we came here for. Our perception becomes overwhelmed by the barrage of evidence presented by our empirical senses and the needs and demands of our physical bodies, drowning out the more subtle, spiritual knowledge we can all access when we are attuned to it. Our senses fool us into thinking the material world, with its concrete immediacy, is all there really is. In reality, this physical plane just happens to be the easiest one for us to perceive, embodied and earthbound as we are.

But deep within us and high above us, the Divine always seeks itself. There have always been humans whose sensitivity to the spiritual world is heightened, and they tell us what they’ve learned, as best they can see it through cultural and linguistic frame of reference they’ve been conditioned to, and if we follow their guidance, our own “antenna” gets tuned to the right frequency, and little by little our own perception starts to change, we see more. The Divine Essence within us longs to be recognized, because this recognition strengthens our connection to the Greater Cosmic Divinity. When we connect with the essence of loving creativity that is our Soul, we can hear the call of our purpose more clearly.

And so this is our quest. To become so familiar with our Nature that we are able to feel and hear the call of our Soul, and to fearlessly follow through with it. Knowing that, in the end, when we flow with our last breath out of these meat suits which temporarily house us, boundlessness will be attained again. We realize that there’s truly nothing to fear, not even Death, because we know in our core that it’s not The End. Not by a long shot.

How wonderful, then, that so many folks before us have toiled, and built upon the old existing knowledge, to devise such excellent tools to discern our Soul’s messages! Astrology, pendulums, I-ching, tea leaf readings, tarot… all of these means of divination are merely tools to connect with Universal Divine Knowledge. The truest, highest, unchanging Truth of who we really are. Whatever the external manifestation of our being might be, in essence, we are Divine Love made solid. If we remember and truly know ourselves to the point where we feel this in our bones, it becomes easier to live accordingly.

May you know yourself deeply, and shine forth from there. Namasté!

This entry is part of a mini blog-hop done in collaboration with the exceedingly magical Paige Zaferiou. Check out her entry here!


If you’d like to consult the oracle yourself, click here to book a reading with me!

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Why I believe again, part 2.

I’m back! I told you you wouldn’t have to wait as long for a new post as you did last time 🙂

This is a continuation of the previous post, so if you haven’t read it yet, please start here.

… So, as I was saying, I interviewed to go back to work as an optician in February, and made a good impression, but they were unable to offer me enough hours for me to quit my corporate job. So I went back to it, knowing that my days there were numbered, but not their exact number.

This should’ve been enough to relieve my stress, but the truth is, my work ethic doesn’t allow me to work at something and not care about it. I always want to do my best, and my computer and tools were still acting up, and the pressure to perform was still as present as ever.

Due to the stress, a chronic state of sweaty-palm anxiety started to set in. Over the course of a few weeks, this developed into a very painful case of dishydrotic eczema: lots of tiny little fluid-filled bumps just under my skin, itchy and burning and painful as hell.

I would meditate, and try to relax when I got home, but nothing helped. The only thing that gave some relief was… the weekend. Saturday and Sunday my hands would go back to normal, then by the time Wednesday came around it would start getting bad, and by the time Friday would come around, I’d be wanting to strip the skin off my hands clean off, it was so horrible. March and April went by like this.

By Friday, May 2nd, I felt I was at the end of my rope. I had to take a couple of hours off work, because I literally COULDN’T work anymore, my hands were in so much pain I was crying. I went home and sat in front of my altar, lit some Archangel Raphael incense, and begged for his healing help, praying and then meditating, before going to bed extra-early.

The next morning, Saturday, I had a chiropractor appointment, so I woke up early. Instagram fiend that I am, I opened the app and this is the first image at the top of my feed:

I thanked Raphael for the confirmation, and went to my appointment with Dr. Jon at Cream City Chiropractic in BayView.

After the appointment, I was driving back towards the freeway on Lincoln Ave, when the green glint of copper of the dome of St. Josaphat’s Basilica caught my eye.  In case you don’t know, green is traditionally Archangel Raphael’s color. And I felt pulled towards the church, even though I hadn’t been to church in years.

As I walked into the church, I gasped in amazement at all the green marble everywhere. I took some holy water and drew a cross, and a six-pointed star, whispering “as above, so below” on the palms of my hands.

There wasn’t a mass happening at the time, and there were very few people inside. There are two smaller altars to each side of the main Sanctuary in the front, and I went to the far left and sat in quiet meditation for a few minutes, then I felt the need to light a candle offering. Everyone else had left and I had the church all to myself.

Instead of going to the candle offering altar that was immediately to the right of the altar in front of which I had been kneeling, I felt pulled to the one on the other side of the main sanctuary. I put my money in the offertory box, and knelt where I felt pulled towards. As I took the flame from another candle to light my own, the wind outside picked up and started whistling through the rafters, beautiful natural tones.

I sat in prayer and quiet meditation for a while, and felt the urge to look up and to the left, into the main sanctuary. I was flooded with a feeling of love and peace as I saw I had been pulled towards the exact point in the church where a beautiful mosaic of Archangel Raphael would be perfectly centered in an arch, and it felt like a confirmation again. “I hear your prayers, child, help is on the way”.

I wept with relief and gratitude, as I felt surrounded and filled with love and peace. I stayed there for a while. Eventually, I pulled out my phone and took a picture, because I wanted to keep that view as a reminder:


Do you see Archangel Michael peeking out from the left, too? 🙂

Here’s a closer view:


I left, feeling peaceful, but then once again I felt pulled: towards the gift shop. There were lots of crucifixes, images of Mother Mary, rosaries, the usual fare expected in a catholic gift shop. And then, to the back of the store, lots of small worry stones with words inscribed in them. And in the very center of them all, this one:


Shimmering, Iridescent emerald green, with the same word as what was on that Oracle card. I bought it, and added it to my little pouch of crystals I had been carrying with me.

The following Monday, I meant to call back to see if the people at the optical place had enough hours for me, but kept feeling like I needed to wait. Around noon, they called me, offering me full time hours. I was floored and humbled, and so, so grateful.

And this experience has reinforced my reawakened faith. This is why I believe again today. Thank you for letting me share this experience with you! If you would like to share your own tales of being touched by angels, please find me on Facebook or Twitter, and let’s have a conversation!

Have a lovely day, everyone. Namaste!


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Why I believe again, part 1.

I know that last time I said that next I would write about how I stopped singing for a long time, but since then I had a wonderful experience that I would like to share with you all.

You may have seen in my Facebook and Instagram feeds how I recently left my corporate job:

I feel the need to share the experiences leading up to this post, as I feel inspired and humbled, and feel the need to publicly express my gratitude.

There are still very many people I care about that work at the big corporation I used to work at, and to respect their privacy I will only refer to it as The Company whenever mentioned.

Please note that The Company could very well refer to any gigantic conglomerate corporate entity. I’ll just say it’s one of the Big  Companies, generally rated as one of the top employers, excellent pay and benefits when you can get them, after working the legal maximum contractor time. Profits in the billions, yet laying people off whenever profits didn’t grow at a high enough rate from last year. It’s just business, and people are only as valuable as their numbers are, and shareholder profits are the first priority.

The Mercury retrograde of this past February hit my work laptop HARD, starting in the shadow period. My productivity declined, but I thought it was a system-wide issue, because the web-hosted applications they used were also having intermittent issues… So I didn’t communicate the issues I was having properly with my manager. That darn Mercury.

After 6 weeks of feeling extremely frustrated because my tools weren’t working like they should, my manager takes me aside and gives me a scolding like I couldn’t believe, even going as far as saying that my routinely being 5 minutes late (even though I always more than made-up for the time later) made me the most unreliable member of the team, even though I was one of the go-to people whenever there was a procedural question from any other team member, and a couple of account managers always specifically asked that I complete their large complicated requests (I was working in sales support, creating legal documents), because they felt very confident in my conscientiousness.

The local tech support took a look at my laptop, and replaced the hard disk because he couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong; that seemed to fix the computer issue for a little while. I started coming in a bit earlier, but there was a lot of tension, and a week after our first meeting, when I had a lot of emails in my inbox right when I came in, I forgot to log in to the Instant Messenger app that The Company uses until 15 minutes after my starting time.

I logged on, and immediately got a message from my boss, chewing me out because I was late, when in reality I had been at my desk and working 5 minutes before my starting time. That was the last straw. I cried as silently as I could at my desk as I continued working.

I sent a text to an old friend from the optical world. He used to be my manager back when I worked  as an optician at the Big Multinational Optical Store during my undergraduate college years. He now works at a small, locally owned optical chain. I asked him if they were hiring, and he said “Actually, we could really use some help from someone with your level of experience. I’ll put in a good word with my boss”, my friend is a store manager now, “You’ll be hired on the spot”.

Wow. That felt like such a relief, but also such a scary prospect. Going back to the job I had got as a high school graduate, no need for the degree I worked so hard for, and taking an $8/hour pay cut. More than that, counting overtime. I’d gotten used to my comfy lifestyle, eating out several times a week, able to afford the rare occasional cheap vacation, and still having a real shot at getting rid of my credit card debt within a year.

I hesitated. I was very afraid to take such a seemingly gigantic risk. So I sat down and meditated.

I remembered how I came into optics in the first place.


Back when I was 18 years old, I had been working at a small hydraulic cylinder factory. I had dropped out of my sophomore year of college 8 months before, and had been working as a temp. Supposedly as a receptionist, but I was actually doing accounts receivable, accounts payable, administrative assistant, and customer service rep. All for the low wage of $9.50/hour, when the older white lady who had been doing the job before me had been paid $16/hour, with benefits.

My mom had come to visit from Puerto Rico, and was taking me to get an eye exam and eye glasses at the Big Optical Store in the mall. I was too broke to afford them by myself, and we had been talking about how unfairly they were compensating me at my job. The optician who was helping us was coincidentally also from Puerto Rico, and was able to understand our conversation, and said “You know, we need some help here, and we start at $10/hour. I bet you could do this very well.”

I remembered how I was able to flex my hours around my school schedule, and how I was able to get so much accomplished outside of my job. And how I cried with real disappointment when the Big Multinational Company’s location that I was working at hadn’t been doing so well and I was fired in my 6th year, after I missed the bus from campus to the remote parking lot and was a little late one too many times, even though I had the highest secret shop score in the store. (I suspect it was because I had been in my position the longest, and probably had the highest salary. That location is now closed, by the way…)

And then I felt it in my bones, as clearly as if I had heard it.

I am here to help people see, spiritually, through the Tarot. Helping people see also with my day job also feels very consonant with that. And it would give me the flexibility to pursue the things I am truly passionate about: developing my tarot business, and music, and writing, and art.


Well, my friend was a bit too optimistic, but it just turned out that I was able to interview 3 days later, on Valentine’s day, and they wanted to hire me, but they had just hired someone else and didn’t have enough hours to offer me. They’d keep me in mind and give me a call as soon as they had a full time position. I told them to please call me when they did, as I wasn’t in any real danger of getting fired at my then-current job…

My goodness, look at the time! It’s past 1 am, and I have to be up in 6 and a half hours… I seem to forget that although I’m back at my college job, I’m not college-aged any more! I need my sleep or I get cranky, LOL.

I promise I won’t leave you hanging as long as I did last time. In fact, I’ll come back and finish this anecdote tomorrow. You can expect that I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on, now that I’m starting to settle into my new, much less stressful day-job routine.

Also, now that I’m starting to feel like I’ve REALLY started, after such a long silence, I may have a hard time shutting up. Ha!

I promise once I get all the mushy introduction out, so that you can better get an idea of where I’m coming from, I’ll get down to more specifically tarot-licious blogging. But first there’s a pillow upstairs with my name on it. Well, not literally, but I did sorta claim it as mine with small polished chunks of celestite and scolecite inside the pillowcase… hehe.



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Why I believe

There will always be an excuse for not taking a risk. And keeping the kind of blog I feel called to keep feels like a risk to me: exposing how far into the “woo” end of the pool I have gone will probably come as a big shock to a few people.

What holds me back is the same thing that holds us all back, a story as old as time: fear of what others might think of me. Fear that they’ll think I’ve lost my marbles and turned my back on reason, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

But why should I fear this, when I feel the scales have fallen from my eyes and I finally have caught a glimpse of joy and peace for me in this lifetime, and decided to pursue it, and believe in it?

The difficult thing is putting a name to “it” a definition for this exhilaration and lightheartedness. But the joyful thing is that I don’t feel the need to explain it, I take it as it comes and let it fill my heart with love.


For years I told myself that I must have dreamed them so vividly I thought they were real, but I have decided to accept and believe that the “mystical” experiences I had as a child had a level of truth to them.

The first experience: I was probably around 4 years old. The chickens at my grandma’s house had just hatched some eggs, and I managed to separate a baby chick from its mama to keep as a pet. How I took care of it is very fuzzy in my memory… which is a good indication that I had no idea what I was doing, and that’s probably why the poor thing was dead within a couple of days.

I was heartbroken, and my dad took the opportunity to impart upon me a couple of important lessons. The first was that baby chicks need their mama to be well, and I shouldn’t separate them, and I should be happy enough to just pet the dog.  The second lesson was that heaven and hell existed. He said that life is like a road, and at the end of the road, if we have been good, we go to Heaven, but bad people go to a very bad place called Hell. He assured me that I shouldn’t be sad, because the baby chick was absolutely innocent, therefore it went straight to Heaven.

“Where’s Heaven?” I asked, and he replied,

“Heaven is where God and Jesus live with all the angels, and it’s the best place anywhere. There’s no pain, sickness or suffering, and lots of singing to the Lord all day long!”

Having been a singer since before I could speak, all that singing made heaven sound like my kind of place! Dad’s word that Hell was a very bad place was enough for me and I didn’t ask any more.

After our nightly prayers I started to worry. How would I get into heaven? I started to understand that I had done a very bad thing when I took the baby chick from its mama, and it had died because of my carelessness. I was no longer absolutely innocent. How could I get into heaven? These thoughts lingered in my mind as I went to sleep.

The next thing I know, a sweet feminine voice is calling my name. The curtains are billowing, but I don’t feel a breeze. I feel static in the air, and the hair on my arms and at the back of my neck stands up.

This memory is indelibly etched into my brain. I remember the bedspread on the bed, turquoise blue, with two red and black and yellow and white peacocks and paisleys. My sister slept beside me and didn’t stir.

Suddenly, a flash of light and small treasure chest appears to glow, floating at the foot of the bed, vividly blue, with gold hardware.

It kinda looked like this...

It kinda looked like this…

Jenniffer”, she said, “la llave del cielo está en las buenas acciones.

The key to heaven is in good deeds.

Then, the treasure chest opened, and out of it floated a large golden key, radiating light.

At this point, I got scared. I knew this wasn’t an everyday occurrence, and I called for my grandma. The key and treasure chest disappeared when she turned on the bedroom light, and she didn’t see anything…


Fast forward a few years, to the beginning of the 1990 Gulf War. When I saw it in the news, I became very very afraid. I remembered stories of young men from the neighborhood, in my grandparents’ generation, whose lives were cut short by the Vietnam War.

The draft didn’t discriminate, and Puerto Rican draftees were disproportionately killed in combat, probably in part to a language barrier preventing proper training. My dad was 27 years old, but looked much younger and was very fit, and I was so afraid he would be drafted. He is a peaceful and compassionate man, not compatible with war.

That night, I prayed so hard, for so long, I never said “Amen” before falling asleep.

Again, I awoke to a voice calling my name, but this time it was a deep, masculine voice, so powerful I felt it in my bones, but also full of love. I felt a stirring in my heart and a lump in my throat as I sat on the bed. Again, the curtains were billowing although the wind was calm that night.

Jenniffer, no tengas miedo. El Espíritu Santo está contigo.”

Have no fear. The Holy Spirit is with you.

This may have been the first time in my life I wept tears of joy.

The draft never happened, so I never needed to be afraid in the first place, but the Divine had spoken to me, and taken my fear away.

The memory of these experiences sustained my faith, even though I rarely went to church. They carried me through difficult times in my adolescence, when my struggles with depression first surfaced.

I always felt connected to the divine energy when I was in nature, and when I was singing, but never more than when singing in nature. So that’s what I did whenever I needed comfort. I went outside and sang, and I felt the Holy Spirit within me.

Next time, I’ll tell you the story of how I stopped singing for a long, long time.

Until then, Namaste!

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