Living with Loving Intention

Toni Gilbert, RN (ret), MA, ATC

Toni Gilbert in the Temple of Claire

Toni Gilbert in the Temple of Claire
by Sara J. Judy

As I began to write this, my conscious mind was going over the list of things that might be of interest to those who know me and my work. Then I took a hit of pot (which helps me move away from linear thinking) and realized I had more to say than I thought.

When I write, I imagine that I’m speaking to good friends; people who want to hear about my accomplishments and my insights for the year. My ruminations are then posted on social media for anyone to see and enjoy.

Looking at my previous post, it’s been over a year since I posted a note to…whomever wants to know. But then I don’t have much need for a blog other than it helps me organize my years with written logs. If not for my blog, my information would be here and there and everywhere. I keep several handwritten journals but I’m not organized. I don’t have a strong need for a blog for communicating when I have several other means: phone, e-mail, Facebook and a web site

So, that said, I have several things to show and tell: My studies in Druidry, an article for Beginnings along with a little history, and a visit to Breitenbush.

Study in Druidry

Study of Druidry

Druid Craft Tarot

Druidry has been one of my educational undertakings for the last several years. The ancient Druids were the shaman of Northern Europe. Due to the lack of artificial lights, grocery stores, central heating and screens, they were immersed in Nature and were skilled in the art of living with Nature. The Druids didn’t have a written language and so didn’t leave us scripts of their philosophies. They weren’t an organized religion with rules that you must obey or you won’t get blessed at the Sunday service. As one who studies archetypal psychology, I see the same energies at work in the ancient world as are here today. Looking back at history I can say that here is truly nothing new under the sun. The Druids of old where the leaders, the priests, the healers and probably warriors. They were the talented few… that every generation has…and that stand out because of the values they espouse, their personal level of development and the magic that happens around them.

There are a couple of Druidry groups on Facebook that I joined to gain a better knowledge of the perspectives of people who are practicing Druidry in this time. From this group, I learned about a couple of books on the subject. “The Path of Druidry: Walking the Ancient Green Way” by Penny Billington and “The Book of Hedge Druidry: A complete Guide for the Solitary Seeker” by Joanna Van Der Hoeven. My favorite Tarot Deck at the moment, and for the last few years, is “The Druid Craft Tarot:The Magic of Wicca and Druidry to guide your life” by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm.

There are Druidry students who want to study with others and so there is a structure to their practices as they share in groups. Then there is a group of individuals who are more introverted and seek their wisdom in a different way.

American Holistic Nurses Association

I’m still writing for Beginnings; magazine of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). I’ve been a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association since the late 90s My latest article for this magazine is an excerpt from my book “Gaining Archetypal Vision” titled “A Case of the Hiccups.”

My introduction into AHNA, in 1998, was quite magical and full of synchronicity. My mentor at  the Oregon Board of Nursing, Mary Amdall Thompson told me to seek out a woman named Linda Schaffer as she was a nursing instructor in Portland who is also interested in integrating the healing arts into medicine. I noted her info but didn’t have time to seek her out because I had to go the AHNA conference in Washington state.

At the conference, while I was unloading my suitcase in my room, my roommate was doing the same. We didn’t know each other and so we took a moment for introductions. We were both astonished to learn that she, Linda, was someone that I was to seek out next in my journey outside the mainstream nursing world. (We later visited extensively and a few years later, I gave her a healing session the day before she died.) We then went our separate ways during the conference but three times ended up in line next to each other. There were more interesting connections made, but the last part of my story was the best: As I was walking to the parking lot, one of the conference speakers was walking in the same direction and because we were the only ones on the sidewalk, we walked and talked together. She lived in Washington and like me was returning to her car. She was taller than me and blonde. She and I didn’t meet again for several years, but that woman could only have been my friend, Lynn Keegan one of the founders of holistic nursing.

Breitenbush Hot Springs (BHS)

Peter at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Peter Moore
by Mona Marie Nicholson

 A year and a half after the big fire, I was able to get to Breitenbush. Peter Moore, a friend at Breitenbush and I made a date to meet since it had been years since our last get-together. On my way to BHS, I turned out onto the main road at Mill City and started up the mountain. I noticed a car behind me. I turned at Detroit to go to BHS and so did the car. The vehicle stayed behind me all the way so I figured we were both going to BHS. Due to the road closure, you can get a ticket if you are on that road and don’t have a reservation.

Peter had e-mailed for me to go to the staff side of the river to his house. I hadn’t been to that side of the river with my car in years and wasn’t sure where the road was so I pulled over to follow the car that was behind me. The car parked and I pulled up to ask the whereabouts of Peter’s house. And…lo and behold…it was Peter! Interestingly, there was also an empty parking spot…beside where Peter had pulled in… for my car. We had a couple of hours of top-notch rapport sitting at his kitchen table. At one point he picked up a guitar and sang songs of his poetry.

Overall, my trip to BHS was an amazing experience and wildly interesting. The place is totally rearranged except for the lodge building and offices. The fire station is still there as well but all the little unique cabins are gone as are all the summer cabins. I didn’t get a chance to see the space of the summer cabins as it rained fiercely as I was about to walk into that area. And me without an umbrella. It’s just as well because I would have been depressed to see one of my favorite spots in Oregon gone….just gone. It was a hot fire in that area due to all the wood cabins and propane tanks. However, nearer to the lodge there are trees still standing but mostly you can see all the way to the river from the road. They are currently putting in infrastructure for future cabins…with a view to the mountains.

We have to accept that things change and then move on. Those who see with “new eyes” hold a vision that Breitenbush and the Summer Cabins will be better than before…

I’m sure of it.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Can I Say?

Toni Gilbert, RN (ret), MA

There has been a long period of time whereby I have not had time for a blog post. There’s been so much going on that my attention has been elsewhere. However, things seem to be slowing down a bit and so I will tell you some of the things that have been going on in my world.

Grandchildren in Office

Photo Credit: Chelsea Duran

During the first few months of the year, I was “suddenly” involved in the caretaking of three little grandchildren Esther, Elaina, and Javen. It was both a delight and lots of work. Mealtimes were the most challenging because they didn’t like some of the nutritional food I made for them. Sometimes, they would look at their plates and say “what’s that”?  I set food in front of them that they weren’t sure of…sigh…. Eventually, I learned to let them leave it and go play. I left the dishes on the table. If they got hungry, they could eat from the plate on the table. It worked pretty well and was a win-win that way.

I enjoy child care. One of the things I like is seeing the early developmental stages and also to do things to encourage their growth. For instance, toddlers are old enough for art materials and babies love music, bright colored toys, and body stimulation. The bigger story was a difficult time for all of us but we made it through. That’s just part of the months-long story but we will leave it at that.

Just as the childcare was winding down, the beginning of the pandemic showed up and about that time, I began having sciatica pain in both legs. After some insurance requirements in physical therapy and other such care, an MRI showed that I had severe spinal stenosis. This condition was familiar to me because several family members had it.

Breitenbush Hot Spring

Photo Credit: Madison Courtright

I knew just what I wanted to do: after exhausting my mind-body techniques before the MRI…I had surgery to correct it. After a brutally painful recovery, I’m doing just fine and back to normal. Aging isn’t for sissies.

In the middle of everything, we had a forest fire near us that destroyed a lot of what we held dear. Breitenbush Hot Springs (BHS) was brought to its knees and we lost our beloved cabin in the woods. We sold it a few years before but the new owners let us rent it when we wanted. It is no more…I can’t believe it. Any way you want to look at it, it was a devastating loss. We can’t get into BHS to see all of the damage but they plan to open for day use in the summer and I will be one of the first ones there.

Pioneer History of JeffersonOn a more positive note, as an editor and publisher, I finished putting together a history of the town of Jefferson, Oregon, and its inhabitants around the turn of the century until around 1956. The book titled “A Pioneer History of Jefferson: Stories and images from the collection of Michael H. Barnes, Historian has over 200 old pictures. (It’s selling better than my other books.) Several years ago, friends and I got together to form the Jefferson Historical Society & Museum. This book was a fundraiser for our organization that is receiving grants and is restoring a public historic building in the middle of town. We were on a roll with the restoration until the virus struck.

AHNA BeginningsAnother positive, I published yet another article in Beginnings, the official magazine of the American Nurses Association. It is titled “Archetypes in the Nursing Experience” where, once again, I use Tarot card images to point to ways that nurses can use archetypal psychology. In my opinion, archetypal psychology is in keeping with the studies that are coming from quantum physics. To many of us, what is becoming clear is that we are a part of a conscious universe. A universe that is All-That-Is; a flowing kind of energy that infuses all things with life force and takes its awareness of the earth world from each and everything. We are it, and It is us.

Until next time friends, Toni

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Year of Creativity and Healing

Toni Gilbert, RN (ret), MA

Lizzie Bennets Article - The Everlasting Archetypes

Photo Credit: Lizzie Bennett, RN

This has been an intense year, to say the least. It was also a Jupiter return year for me. I wonder if the intensity has anything to do with my natal Jupiter in Scorpio in the 8th house. First, I had a couple of articles published (Jupiter and 8th house). Becky Lara, editor of “Beginnings,” magazine of the American Holistic Organization requested that I write an article about indigenous healing and something along the lines of Angeles Arrian. I created an article entitled “The Everlasting Archetypes”, now posted to my web site. The other article “Wellness Counseling with Tarot” was published in “Cartomancer” and you can read the published articles by clicking on the links. I was also honored to be a speaker at this year’s Northwest Tarot Symposium held every year in Portland, Oregon. Of course my presentation was all about using Tarot in Wellness Counseling.

Lotus FlowerA year ago, I wrote about my experiences at the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association, held every year at Breitenbush Hot Springs (see blog post “The New Bohemians”). This year, I was intrigued with the conference offerings and so off I went in search of news and adventure once more.

Lynn Keegan couldn’t be with us due to serious health issues and we all missed her gentle presence. Every year, Deonne Bone Wright sets up an alter with positive, holistic intentions. My take on this ritual is that the participants place something, on the alter, to receive the healing alter-vibes. After the conference, they retrieve the infused item and take the healing energy home. Insuring that something of Lynn could be there too, I took a pair of pearl earrings that had belonged to Lynn. Placing the earrings on the alter I noticed, for the first time, tiny diamonds at the top of each pearl. As the tiny diamonds sparkled in the soft light of the lodge, the preciousness of life and the fleeting of time was a reminder to hold our existence in an attitude of gratitude.

On a personal note, this new year also brought me a serious health condition and with it came a lesson in inflammation. At first, I thought older age had hit me like a freight train. I was stiff and sore from my neck to my knees and could only bend enough to barely touch my knees. To top things off, I had limited range of motion in my arms due to acute bursitis and injured muscles in my arms due to muscle weakness. On my back was the only position I could lay where the pain was kept to a minimum. Ms. Independence, needed help getting out of bed! For two months, I was totally dependent on others. Surprised by this incapacitation, I communed with my higher self to ask, “What is this sudden illness about?” It communed back, “Pay attention because you will learn a lot.” Indeed I have.

Synchronistically, a book came my way via an e-mail journal, I forget which one. It was entitled “Healing Arthritis” by Susan Blum, MD. After reading her thoughts on gut health, I began to perceive that my “arthritis” was brought on by a 30 day regimen of penicillin given to me for an abscessed tooth, that caused “leaky gut syndrome”. At the same time, I was taking medication for a benign heart condition and, because of my decimated gut flora, I began getting some of its side effects particularly, muscle weakness. Following Dr. Blum’s dietary advice, and stopping the heart medication, I did a 10 day cleanse and purchased her products to cleanse the gut and replace the flora devastated by the antibiotic. In the meantime, I began to see my body and my diet in a different light. Tests confirmed the inflammation as arthritis and reported all else was within normal limits; meaning no other diseases in progress. The rheumatologist gave me prednisone which helped get me back on my feet but, like so often with pharmaceuticals, I experienced side effects.

So, here I was, doing the dietary thing and going off the prednisone and totally unsure where I would go from there….whatever it turned out to be. To my surprise and delight, once off the medications I only had slight symptoms as opposed to the incapacitation that I experienced before. But, I will remind you that I was taking good care of myself day by day, I continued to improve and, as I write this, am almost back to normal.

The High PriestessMy regimen is this: most evenings I take a dose of marijuana with THC and CBD, do yoga with imagery and body work. Ice packs and essential oils are added when necessary. The body work is most interesting because I enter a meditative state and commune with my symptoms/body parts. For instance, one particularly painful muscle was sore from my left shoulder for about 12 inches onto my chest and was slightly tilted toward my heart. I hadn’t worked with it yet because I was busy with other parts. So, closing my eyes and upon reaching the trance state, I asked the muscle in pain how I could help. In my imagination I heard a baby crying so I instinctively began patting the muscle like you would a baby. And more consciously, the patting turned into tapping in an energetic technique….which aren’t that different from each other. Three days after babying and communing with my muscle every so often, the muscle stopped hurting (not surprisingly). I did some sound work with my voice and dialogued when needed. I journaled my insights and searching my senses, I had a dream. The dream was particularly telling: I was placing some logs on the fire in the fireplace when one fell into my lap; I lay down on the floor and called for my husband to help me. This dream expressed the inflammation (fire) and how helpless I was.

In meditation and as I listened to my higher self, I was “told” that painful muscle had to do with feelings that I absorbed, as an infant, from my very immature mother because of my immature father’s antics (They were 19 years old when I was born). Apparently, the reason for the pain was a preverbal memory.

One bonus of the bodywork has been that my benign heart palpitations have become infrequent, which is a lot different than all the time. Since my heart needed healing too, I had included the heart in some of the body work on the other parts. I had worked with my heart many times before because it seems to be the seat of much of my goings on.  Another bonus: no further need for the heart medication.

Let Life Teach YouAnd so my magical life continues to unfold. Some life changing or life enhancing events are difficult but they are obstacles and gateways that teach us many things. Our problems are central to our personal growth. As individuals, we overcome our developmental challenges; we grow and become who we were born to be. If we complete our lessons well, and even if we don’t, the planet benefits by our participation in life.

It’s all good, folks. Let life teach you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The New Bohemians

By Toni Gilbert, RN (ret), MA, ATC

“I know what you are!” my friend Lynn Keegan exclaimed on her second visit to my home. “You are a Bohemian!” I blinked in surprise. “What was a Bohemian,” I wondered. I had heard the term but wasn’t sure if it was a compliment. I knew Lynn was interested in my lifestyle and my work but this was her first assessment.  As a holistic nursing consultant, she had traveled from her home in Washington State to be a guest at our Oregon Holistic Nurses Association (OHNA) held each year at Breitenbush, Oregon. I noticed that she was always looking around and seemed to wonder out loud about some things but she blew me out of the water (sorta speak) with this pronouncement.

I did some research: Bohemianism emerged in the early nineteenth century France when artists moved into the lower-rent Romany (gypsy) areas of Paris as they sought out alternatives to bourgeois expectations. Artists from all over the world, most with very little income, tried to make their art and eke out a living in this part of Paris. A feature of this lifestyle is that the pursuit of wealth and other traditional indicators of success were abandoned in favor of a creative life and an active engagement in the search for alternative ideals of beauty.

Yep, she got that right, that is me, an artistic hippy or artistic alternative practitioner.

Breitenbush Lodge

Breitenbush Lodge by Debra Newman, RN

Deep in the heart of the Cascade Range lays a wonderful forested retreat and conference center named Breitenbush. Who would guess that holistic nurses meet at this Bohemian lodge with its simple rustic design every year? This intentional community is blessed with beauty and magic and there is artistry and creative expression everywhere.  Many artists and craftsmen live right there on the grounds…many have lived there over the 40 plus years of its existence. On the other side of the river, from the lodge, is a community of small homes where the Breitenbush employees live and love. There are a number of yurts of all different sizes and materials plus older cabins. I understand that they are building more uniquely designed structures for their growing needs.  In the sunny areas of this community, outdoor gardens of vegetable and flower dot the forest landscape.

OHNA 10th Anniversary

Lynn Keegan, Toni Gilbert, and Deonne Wright with a cake that Deonne baked for the 10th anniversary

On October 22, 2017, the tenth anniversary of the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association, holistic nurses gathered together for a wonderful time yet again. Many of the original team was there and some are still on the governing board. As the founding director of OHNA I helped to build the infrastructure such as the basic web site, a brochure, gathered the first board of trustees and brokered communication relationships with Breitenbush staff. After three years, Deonne Bone Wright took over from me bringing her knowledge of nursing education to move the nurses’ retreat into the arena of a conference as well as a retreat. Since then it has flourished and we are all very proud. Currently, Marina Ormes, a nurse astrologer, is the director. She says that whatever theme OHNA offers next year will be according to her astrological interpretation. That’s all I know. We will have to wait to see what that turns out to be.

Nurse Sparks

Nurse Sparks: Nurse stories to illuminate, inspire and ignite

Anita Stewart, a newer member of OHNA, introduced several of us to a group in Eugene with the name, Authentic Messengers that could help us put together a book; “Nurse Sparks” an anthology of nurse stories. Some of the authors were at the conference along with the finished book. The words on the back of the book say it all:  Every Nurse has an event in their career that changes the way they practice nursing; an experience that moves them to tears or ignites soul. “Nurse Sparks” is filled with stories of nurses from across the nation, stories that reveal what it feels like to be working in a field that takes all of your heart and soul on a daily basis. A career that sometimes takes one to their knees, sends one home crying, exhausted, and spent of all energy. Or one that uplifts, opens the heart, inspires and illuminates. These events connect nurses to their inner resilience and touch the lives of so many in enormous ways. Each contributor to this book has a story that forever changed their life in a way that influenced their personal nursing practice and the lives of their patients. Purchase the book and their worlds will inspire you as well.

Our friend, Lynn Keegan one of the founders of the holistic nurses movement, again for the third time, made the arduous seven hour trip down from Port Angeles to be with us. She graciously gave us her stamp of approval by writing the forward to the “Nurse Sparks” book. She is great fun, maybe she should consider moving closer.

Nurse Sparks Authors

Nurse Sparks Authors at the conference: Deonne Wright, Toni Gilbert, Anita Stewart and Marina Ormes.

All in all it was a creative time with superb presenters and soaks in the natural hot springs, book sales and an evening of sharing our healing arts. Breitenbush and the surrounding natural cathedral forest calms and relaxes us which helps to invite the healing process into our lives.

Yep, we are a bunch of eclectic free-spirited Bohemian nurses and proud of it.



Blakeney, J. (2015). The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes. New York, NY, Abrams.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Nurse Sparks: A Nursing Memoir Anthology

Nurse SparksToni Gilbert, RN (ret), MA

Every nurse has an event in their career that changes the way they practice nursing— An experience that moves them to tears or ignites their soul.

In Nurse SPARKS, I share an essay that adds to a collection of sixteen stories from nurses from all areas of the profession. My contribution is entitled “Conscious Archetypal Energy and Healing”. This entry includes a story that demonstrates how to use an archetypal tool and its images in a counseling session.


I start my contribution with the following quote from my book, Gaining Archetypal Vision: “The ability to recognize yourself in the archetypes is at the foundation for competence with tools that make use of the archetypes. Only when you begin to identify archetypal patterns and their expressions in your own life can you hope to use the tools that work with archetypes in a therapeutic session.” I offer a story about my young self, searching for meaning and finding a huge spiritual answer. Then I show how to use Tarot cards and their archetypal images in a counseling setting. It is easy to understand because I detail the card images and the client’s reaction to the counseling and her amazing insights.

In Nurse SPARKS, you will meet other nurses who are pioneers in this healing profession. Through candid, dynamic and dramatic stories, they will share their passion for an occupation that creates positive change in the world on a daily basis. Nurse SPARKS is filled with the stories of nurses from across the nation; stories that reveal what it feels like to be working in a field that takes all of your heart and soul on a daily basis. A career that sometimes takes one to their knees and sends one home crying, exhausted, and spent of all energy. But also one that uplifts, opens the heart, and inspires.

Lynn KeeganI am indebted to my friend Lynn Keegan, PhD for graciously extending her writing talents for our collective forward in the book, which she begins with: “Nurses are the heart, soul, and backbone of the American healthcare system.” They sure are! Thank you Lynn!



Barbara DosseyMy gratitude also extends to Barbara Dossey, PhD who took time from her busy schedule to write the following endorsement. Thank you Barbie!

“Nursing is truly a unique profession and transpersonal journey. Heart-centered, compassionate, and creative nurses can effectively become the kind of practitioners they desire with focused intentions that are enhanced with education and certifications. They begin to live their story the way that they envision it. This nursing anthology demonstrates the challenges and the soul searching that is involved in such endeavors— the archetypal vision quest. Collectively, these stories share many pathways to healing based upon the nurses’ direct experiences when they identify an innate call to action. These nurse pioneers and innovators stories’ interweave heroic deeds and triumphs, their challenges and heartaches, and how they are change agents in a changing world.”

Lynn and Barbie are co-authors of the award winning text book for holistic nursing entitled Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice.

Then there is our fearless leader in this endeavor Anita Stewart, RN. She spent hours, e-mailing nurses, interviewing potential nurse writers and eventually reviewing all of our essays. She compiled our work in one powerful book. Here she is at the American Holistic Nurses Association book signing. Anita is second from left, seated next to Marina Ormes, director of the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association. The two nurse-authors on the right are Ruth Kent and Gail Jett.

Nurse Authors

You may purchase the book from my personal web site or from

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Where I Am Now

June 2016

Dear, dear, Friends,

As I approach my 69th birthday in June, I frequently find myself reflecting upon my long and healthy life.  Self-improvement has always been a priority and so, having consciously grown myself up, I have earned an emotional freedom in my older years and that feels pretty darn good.  I’m currently enjoying a life that includes a husband and grown children that I can count on as good friends and several lovely grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  I have participated in my generations professional challenges at a worldly level and played my part in the ever changing scenes of our Now. I am satisfied with my lot.

My health is generally good, aside from an occasional bout of vertigo which keeps me homebound, and an aging and increasingly fragile body that I must keep adjusting to, I am happy.

The vertigo is benign and brought on by having my head down looking at things on the ground and on a table or any other surface where I have to look down a lot.  Consequently, I have had to give up weeding and a few of the gardening tasks that I normally do. The good news is that now I have a young man to help in my yard.


Rider-Waite-Smith deck, US Games copyright

At this time, I choose to live a quiet life with few distractions. However, my life isn’t dull. For example, one day my husband, Lewis, excitedly called for me to come outside and see something spectacular.  Once outside, I saw a large and very bright rainbow arching above the nearby open field by our home. It arched so high, that a small cloud hovered over the top of the rainbow. It was stunning. I live a symbolic life and so I checked my feelings to see if there was a symbolic correlation between my feeling and the physical rainbow.  Sure enough, the rainbow matched feelings of being blessed to have this quiet time of peace and wonder. With this magical event, the 10 of cups Tarot card came to mind.
Life is truly amazing.

My books “Messages from the Archetypes”, “Gaining Archetypal Vision” continue to sell well and I use them as texts for my Archetypal Tarot Counseling™ courses as I still accept a few students. My newest book, “Images of Our Time” is about my pioneering family and features 100 year old photos taken by my professional photographer grandmother. They can be purchased at

Messages from the ArchetypesGaining Archetypal VisionImages of Our time







I’ve slowed my conference participation down and now attend two a year.  The first one will be the Rasani Fair. This holistic fair was created by Vicki Pruitt, to increase community awareness of alternative healthcare practitioners. Stop by my booth, October 15th  & 16th , 2016 in Albany, Oregon.  Also, I will also share a booth with Christine Payne Towler at the Northwest Tarot Symposium March 3rd through the 5th in 2017 at Portland, Oregon.

Breitenbush CabinLastly, my husband and I have decided to sell our Breitenbush cabin.  After fifteen years of loving and working our magic on our little cabin in the woods, it is time for us to let it go to others who will love and enjoy it as much. We will miss it but we also need to make some changes in the amount of physical responsibilities we have.  Time passes and things change.

Feel free to contact me about any of the information in this blog at

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This and That…Again

By Toni Gilbert

Alrighty now, I sit to write a new blog post. It’s been a few months since I updated my meanderings. Sometimes I find my natal Mars in Taurus holds me back a little with its tendency toward gestation and contraction. It takes discipline to do most physical tasks as I tend to procrastinate. But then I am also surrounded by a constant swarm of family….of whom I love dearly. They are served first. But lest you think that I do too much, I must tell you that Lewis and I take pretty good care of our bodies and our minds. Our Spirit is served by taking the evenings and weekends off—for however we want to spend our time.

On the professional front, Portland’s Tarot Symposium came off with precision and perfection, thanks to Jay and Jadzia Deforest’s talents and co-efforts. lampThey are also launching an on-line/physical journal for Tarot, Lemonrand and other esoteric tools. Look for its launch on the web site: You can find the offering on a Facebook page entitled The Cartomancer. You can also find the magazine on the main page Northwest Tarot Symposium. The event was a professional 6 of Wands put on by the Emperor and the Queen of Wands. Well done folks, well done.

During the Symposium, Christine Payne Towler and I shared a booth and a room at the Monarch Hotel in Portland. We both presented a favorite topic having to do with Tarot. We had a superb time and met with a shared friend Bonnie Cehovet a well-known (in some circles) tarotist, author and writer. It was good to see James Wanless again. We usually see each other in passing like the proverbial ships in the night. I did purchase some baby Voyager decks at a really good price. Thank you James….It’s who ya know….. I saw a number of people I knew but didn’t get around to visit, maybe next time.

images-of-our-timeMy current book is done. The book is titled “Images of Our Time: A history and pictures of a pioneer family”. It features the photography of my grandmother, a pioneer teacher and professional photographer. This was a delightful project that spans 4 years. First, I had to restore the one-hundred year-old photographs on Photoshop. Then I wrote the text using information about my ancestors and how they lived. My cousin Lyle Curtis brought wonderful information to the table after years of researching the family tree. I feel closer to the grandparents by the study of their images, the feelings they must have had for each other, the events of their daily life on the homestead and their many trials. Ultimately, they met their challenges and endured…

Sacred Space Spiritual Center in Salem is having a Healing Solstice and yours truly has got dibs on a booth at the event. If you are in or near Salem, Oregon come on by and say hello. I will be giving sessions and you may be moved to partake. If you have an issue that you would like to explore at a deeper level, I’m may be the person you seek.

breitenbush-studentsThe natural scenery at Breitenbush was calling my name. Some of my students wanted to gather together up there and so, I met them for dinner the first night and visited with them one-on-one the next day. It is always interesting getting together with receptive souls…magic happens.

In October, I’ve signed on to do the RaSani Body Mind Spirit Holistic Fair in Albany Oregon. I will be presenting information about “Dream Interpretation” and will also have a booth where I will be doing sessions and selling my books: Messages from the Archetypes, Gaining Archetypal Vision, and Images of Our Time .

All in all, life is a banquet of sights, smells, and any number of delights for the senses. The inner life works its magic and weaves together hints of greater cosmic understanding and insights for us to better understand the workings of the world.

Time passes as morning becomes the afternoon, summer’s breezes flow through my office-temple. A dog barks in the distance…..It’s all good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon 2014 Chronicle

The first NW Astrology & Tarot Salon was manifest on the material plane at Breitenbush Hot Springs during a wind storm and several inches of snow. Tarot CardsThroughout the year of planning and envisioning the finished product, I pressed on with my vision, passed multiple difficult draconian obstacles much like Ulysses in the Odyssey. In the end, because of my innate pioneering tenacity, the salon was saved from sinking into the abyss and we will have another in the future.

I’m satisfied with the salon event even if it wasn’t the way I had originally envisioned it. From the beginning, the salon has been a challenge to put together. In hindsight, I should have been more considerate of the difficult astrological projections for the year. The entire planning and implementing situations were reminiscent of the Tower card and its chaotic Pluto and Uranus archetypal energies. For example, people that wanted to come suddenly couldn’t right up to the very day of the event. Bonnie Cehovet couldn’t make it at the last minute but donated her cabin so others could….What a gal. We lost two more when the winds of the storm peaked. But, listening to my inner signals and watching the developing trends, I felt I must trudge forward through the pregnancy challenges if we were to birth this difficult baby for future participants.
Conversation Leaders

The remaining Conversation Leaders and participants gathered together each day of teaching and sharing. In the end, we all felt a sense of satisfaction of mission accomplished. Christine Payne-Towler led us through the astrology and Tarot history which informed us about the importance of both tools to our continuing growth in the area of esoteric arts. Robert Volkmann was a constant support to everyone and read others’ astrological charts, Karen Campbell showed the beginners in the group how to use Tarot cards in journaling, Mary Jo Wevers taught us all about the north and south nodes and how they indicate our life’s path with its challenges….learning what to let go of and what to keep. Alan Stein was another support person adding his insights to the group dynamic. Sara Judy took care of book and deck sales in her bookstore, took photographs and participated in our groups. Of course we wouldn’t have been anything without our participants who were truly receptive of the new, adding their ideas and opinions to the daily conversation circles. They ranged from pure beginners to experienced teachers, and whose energy and enthusiasm kept the exchange vivid and lively.

Breitenbush GroupChristine thought that the whole experience resembled a traditional one-room schoolhouse, where the more experienced tutored the new student, allowing the whole group to operate as a coherent learning organism despite our widely differing skill-sets.

The food was excellent. Tom Robinson, Alea Brager and the Breitenbush staff were responsive to every whim and fear. Many enjoyed the hot tubs, some got a massage and Robert announced that the “sauna was the best in the world.”

On personal note, the winds of the storm gave me the opportunity to practice communing with the weather. This is a practice that is noted in our collective history. Examples can be found in the Druid and Egyptian accounts as well as other traditions. I’ve been working with the weather for several years and am now sure that mystics through the ages have communicated and influence weather patterns. My pragmatic husband, Lewis, thinks so too as he has watched and been amazed many times.

During the Breitenbush salon experience the winds began gusting so strongly trees began breaking and falling into the foot paths and some fell on buildings. I knew that this was a dangerous time and so I began to commune with the archetypal weather pattern that I knew. When I communed to the weather pattern, giving him direction to calm down, the winds would stop for brief periods but wouldn’t stay that way.
NW Salon ExperienceDuring a break in the action at the salon, I went to my summer cabin where I wouldn’t be disturbed. On the way, I said to my friend the weather pattern, “What’s the deal? I asked you to calm down.” He communed back “I’m not the only one here.” Apparently, there were three other archetypal weather forces such as are present in the arctic.

Once in my cabin, I looked out at the tree tops and asked the weather to calm down again. As I asked, I felt the calm (that I was asking for) in my being. I could tell by the tree tops that, the communication helped and the winds would die down. However, every time I would begin thinking about something else, the wind would pick up again. This happened three times. I finally decided to be directive to all the weather patterns. Since the weather was obviously masculine, I said, “Boys! Take the winds up above the Breitenbush area and above the mountain side and above the Willamette Valley below us.” The winds stopped for longer periods of time. After giving directions three more times and finally adding an extra protective shield, they complied and took the winds higher up. It became calmer on the mountain. I felt safe and slept through the night.

However, I am a novice with the weather patterns. We woke up to several inches of snow the next morning. The night before, I asked for a light sprinkling but apparently I wasn’t speaking to the right weather pattern.

Overall, I believe we all enjoyed this community building adventure. We formed a caravan of our cars and safely made it to our homes in the valley. We will all remember this experience…. I am sure.

Note: All of next year, I will be working on my book “Images of Our Time” a book of my grandmother’s pioneer history and her photography. The next Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon is planned for the “early” fall of 2016 when the weather is warmer.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon 2014

My dear friends,

I have been busy! But then, when you are the matriarch of a large family, you are busy most of the time.

In the midst of the family stuff, I did something for myself and created another event. The new salon is one of those self-care type things. I like to intellectually push boundaries, meet in small groups and have a quiet good time. My two favorite tools are astrology and Tarot cards and I have a love of the Pope and the Popess type people who are a part of the intuitive arts scene. Altogether, the salon is an expression of who I Am.

Toni GilbertAs an introverted hermit type, I have a fondness for quiet subdued environments. Because my Gemini archetype likes to talk and my quiet side wants to attend small friendly gatherings, I came to the conclusion that a salon is the perfect venue. As an inner journeyer, I have explored my core dimensions for over 40 years. I have friends who have also lived the hermit’s highly symbolic life and we compare notes. Our way of seeing is great fun. Some of my friends are participating in the salon. We want to share what we have learned over the years and the salon is a good way to do that.

As a transpersonal counselor, I like to have a full range of tools as options when in session. Tarot cards is but one of my tools, albeit a major one. I use the artful images on Tarot cards as an assessment tool at the beginning and for the major part of the counseling process. I also use astrology in counseling as an interpretation of the archetypal forces at work in this world at the moment that a client came into this world. I generally don’t work with transits during sessions but I keep them in mind. With both tools, I interpret a few of the archetypal forces at work in their lives in a way that makes sense to the querent.

Basically, I study the archetypes and I find that, like dreams and meditations, Tarot cards and astrology are both rich with archetypes and offer a multitude of interpretations.  This type of study is as complicated as mathematics, except that we dip our consciousness into our intrinsic, intuitive levels and bring back information and images. The intention you hold as you work with these esoteric tools opens the mind up to possibilities beyond our waking levels of consciousness. The additional information deepens the intellectual and intuitive aspect and gives the counselor more to go on. As strange as it may seem to some, intention also invites the archetypal transpersonal world (whatever it is) to participate in a dialog with you through these tools.

Northwest Astrology & Tarot SalonAt the salon at Breitenbush, there will be intuitive artists, who have earned their stripes from a lifetime of developing themselves. Each one has many years of experience. That said, one should still look at the healing arts scene with buyer beware eyes and an attitude that is playful. You are shopping about looking for answers but ultimately you need to keep your own counsel. You will get a session and an interpretation of your life challenge. Keep in mind that interpretation is an art form because of its openness to all ideas as valid (in some way). Maintain awareness that your session is the artist’s interpretation of your question and situation. The interpretations of astrologers and tarotists will vary dependent upon the education, experience, personality, life orientation and personal development of the person doing the reading.

As an added bonus, the mystique and healing environment at Breitenbush is revitalizing. Recent literature and scientific studies validate what we know intuitively is true, that being with intention in a forest sanctuary is healing.  Several Japanese studies gathered evidence supporting the efficacy of what they term “forest bathing” as a natural therapy by investigating its physiological benefits using biological indicators in outdoor settings. (For more in-depth information about this phenomenon, see the “published article” Forest Immersion Experience on my personal web site.)

Overall, the natural environment at Breitenbush gives event participants a Nature’s healing type of experience that is best observed and experienced with mindfulness and a relaxed attitude.

Intellectually, there will be two, two hour conversations a day by the Conversation Leaders. Bonnie Cehovet a longtime professional friend has written the profiles giving us a clear and concise picture of our Conversation Leaders’ talents and accomplishments.  You can get a more complete profile of each of the conversation leaders at the web site

The rest of the time during the salon, you can get a massage, walk in the woods, and dine on healthy vegetarian food. There is a sauna and several hot tubs. This is a place whereby you leave your watch at home. And because of this salon, you can get an interpretation of the archetypal energies in a Tarot layout to answer your utmost passionate life questions and an astrology interpretation of the planet configurations at the time you were born.

The salon is open to the explorer, the teacher, the student and many other archetypes. If you want to learn something that will facilitate your personal growth, or you have wisdom to teach, then this quiet and introspective event is for you.

For your exploring pleasure, we have a line-up of Conversation Leaders, see, all master magicians of the esoteric arts for the experiential part of the salon. Many of the Conversation Leaders will also be giving sessions in their cabins. I can envision their cabins all decorated up with scarves, bedspreads, lights, smells…..and music.


Toni Gilbert is a transpersonal counselor with a background in holistic nursing. As a professional with a formal education in nursing, psychology, transpersonal studies, and certifications in wellness counseling, mind-body consciousness, guided imagery, the use of imagery in medicine and more she offers clients an array of healing arts techniques to enhance wellness and prevent illness. In addition to an associate’s degree in nursing, she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and art, including undergraduate classes in Jungian psychology. She continued her interest in art and its symbolism in a graduate art therapy school. She holds a master’s degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Toni’s first book is entitled Messages from the Archetypes: Using Tarot for Healing and Spiritual Growth, published by White Cloud Press. Her second book, Gaining Archetypal Vision is published by Schiffer Books. She has written for national and local publication. You may see her published articles on her personal web site.
Ms. Gilbert maintains a personal web site and the Northwest Astrology & Tarot Salon site at  She was the founding editor of the Alternative Journal of Nursing and the founding director for the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association.
In the recent past, Ms. Gilbert worked in the field of mental health nursing and owned Centre of Main St., a wellness center in Jefferson, Oregon, where she saw clients and facilitated therapeutic groups. In addition, she has taught psychology at two community colleges.
You may contact Toni through her web site at and E-mail
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robert Volkmann and Me

By Toni Gilbert

In the late 90s, I opened a Wellness Center and then began looking for others with whom to connect and network. Robert and I met at an alternative practitioner’s gathering. He and his wife Diane had an interest in meeting others of like-mind. Robert was a physician and Diane was finishing a degree in massage therapy. This fit nicely with my own orientation as a registered nurse, but what really interested me was that, like me, Robert worked with his dreams and experimented in altered states through meditation. He was also an extraordinary astrologer.

robertLiving in rural Oregon has its benefits but, people who study the esoteric arts are few and far between. Sure, I had read many books by great authors in religion, philosophy and psychology but I knew no one in this area who understood our world the way I did; Let alone worked with their dreams and took trips into their unconscious mind to explore the images and feelings there. I was also a budding astrologer and he was already accomplished in that area. Of course we continued to connect and resonate with each other, e-mail and phone conversations. The relationship has never been of the romantic genre, but one of shared interests and discoveries.

In one shared exploration with a psychic channel, we were told that we had been in four lifetimes as sages in the Orient. The past life pattern was showing up this incarnation as well. We talk for hours on the phone and in person about personal explorations and we e-mail frequently. Whatever the reality, after over a decade of communiques, we continue to explore our worlds together.

Robert Volkmann In my book “Messages from the Archetypes” I wrote about our continuing e-mail work with dream interpretation. We enjoy exploring the astrology of the moment, individual birth charts and he works with astrological progressions, which I can’t wrap my mind around but find it interesting just the same. Another big plus is our medical/scientific backgrounds give us even more territory to cover and a common foundation for our intellectual work together.

Robert’s sun in Virgo and my sun in Gemini are in positions that form a square angle. It is thought that this position is difficult and we have found that to be so. In the beginning of the friendship, it was difficult for us to communicate and be understood. We haggled over definitions because we used entirely different terminology. Thus we spent a lot of time discussing perspectives and trying to understand what the other was saying. Even with this handicap we enjoyed our intellectual meanderings. Nowadays, we have formed a common vocabulary and it is much easier. One way that you can tell the relationship is more synchronized is that Robert has stopped e-mailing me in all capital letters, a sure sign that he was annoyed.

With a lot of earth in our natal astrology, Robert and I also like to garden outdoors and each of us has a large collection of indoor plants. We have different kinds of plants in our houses….of course.

Angel trumpetsThe first time Robert showed me his Angel Trumpets, the sight of their striking beauty and the aroma sent my senses soaring. They exuded the most angelic of energies and I was instantly transported to a higher feeling state. Robert gave me a special small plant of my own, but because I’m not good with highly sensitive plants, it died. With a natal Venus-Mars conjunction in Taurus, I love Mother Nature and resonate with plant life and working with the bounty of colorful herbs and flowers. Robert knows how I love the Angel Trumpets and he tells me when his are about to bloom. At that time, I go to his house to be transported into heaven once again.

Pictures are worth more than words. I have included pictures that Lewis and I took of Robert and his Angel Trumpets.

angel-trumpets-2Photo credits: Robert portrait and Robert and Toni in conversation Lewis Judy and the Angel Trumpet pictures by Toni Gilbert (2012)
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment