Lucid Cafe

Thanks to the pandemic, author Howard G Charing finally had the time to fulfill his dream of creating an oracle deck and guidebook inspired by the visionary art and shamanic wisdom of his long time friend and teacher Pablo Amaringo. In this episode Howard shares how this divination tool will help you connect with the shamanic spirits and angelic beings of the Amazon, as well as the visionary power of ayahuasca.

Show Notes

Howard G. Charing is the author of The Accidental Shaman, a book recounting his incredible introduction to shamanism as well as the co-author of Plant Spirit Shamanism and The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo. He holds workshops internationally and plant medicine retreats in the Peruvian Amazon. 

In this episode, Howard discusses:
  • His relationship with artist Pablo Amaringo
  • How the oracle deck came to be
  • The process of creating each card and its meaning
  • His introduction to shamanism
  • The Near Death Experience that changed his life
  • How he healed after the accident that led to his NDE
  • His first encounter with angelic beings
  • How forgiveness opened the door to healing
  • How his view of reality has changed as a result of his experiences
  • How he perceives non-ordinary reality
  • The power of thoughts
  • The difference between tarot and oracle cards
  • How to use the Amazonian Angel Oracle deck
Episode Image: "The Angel of the Feminine Mystery" - courtesy of Howard G. Charing

Howard’s website:

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What is Lucid Cafe?

What's on the menu at Lucid Cafe? Stories of transformation; healing journeys; thought-provoking conversations about consciousness, shamanism, psychology, ethics. Hosted by Wendy Halley of Lucid Path Wellness & Healing Arts.

You're listening to Lucid Cafe.

Hey, I'm Wendy Halley. Thanks for joining me for another episode of Lucid Cafe, a podcast exploring healing, consciousness and the complexities of being human.

In today's episode I speak with Howard Charing, a shamanic practitioner who recently, with the help of two very talented artists created the Amazonian Angel Oracle Deck. A divination tool and guidebook inspired by the visionary art and shamanic wisdom of Pablo Amaringo.

Over the last 25 years, Howard has become acknowledged as an international workshop leader on shamanism. An author and a visionary artist. For over 20 years he's worked with some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans and elders in the Andes, the Amazon rainforest and the Philippines. In today's conversation we talk about the new Oracle Deck as well as his dramatic and intense introduction to shamanism.

Please enjoy my conversation with Howard Charing.

Wendy: Howard, thanks so much for joining me.

Howard: Thank you for the invitation Wendy. Thank you.

Wendy: You bet. I don't know if the right word is you've published this Oracle Deck, which is beautiful, inspired by the artwork of Pablo Amaringo, correct?

Howard: That's correct, yes.

Wendy: How did that come to be?

Howard: Well, it's a long story but we got some time.

Wendy: We have some time. Please!

Howard: We have the time? Let me get on with the story. Well I've known Pablo for over 20 years and I've been kind of an admirer and student of his work. He was an artist. He founded the Neo Amazonical School of Painting of Art. And not just in his artwork was brilliant and beautiful. But the whole spiritual wisdom, the visionary knowledge that went into his work.

So over the years our friendship grew and matured and then one day I think it was 2000 and 2007 I think, yeah I was having an ayahuasca vision in the jungle and in the vision a very clear message. All the imagery was Pablo's work. And the voice said to me do a book with Pablo on his latest work. It was very clear message.

So the following day I was really sitting with this and sitting with this and sitting with this and I thought, yeah we're going to do this. So I discuss it with my colleague Peter Cloudsley. We used to run retreats together and we're both friends of Pablo. After the retreat was over went over to Pablo who lives in Pucallpa and we spoke to him about this and his whole face lit up. It was just like a light shining and that was it. So we worked on that.

And in 2011, The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo, it's a beautiful book, was published. It's a very large book and very very gorgeous imagery and spent a lot of time in Pablo discussing the stories and the symbolism in each of the paintings.

Now Pablo died in 2009 and a few months later went to visit his family and, you know, just, say hello and everything. And, his son Juan showed me a whole, whole trove of unfinished sketches and drawings. Now, some of these sketches are recognized as characters, angels, spiritual beings, and so on in Pablo's works. And I thought, wouldn't this make a fantastic thing about angels? It's very, very beautiful. And so I had the idea then, 2015, around that time, to, do an oracle book on Pablo's Angels. Not his original artwork, obviously, but they were just preliminary sketches, but to do something. And I had a few, drawings made. I wrote a few narratives. And, this is five years ago. Then my life got busy with other stuff. Traveling and doing this and doing that. And it just sat in a box, literally on the shelf for five years.
Now, come 2020, the Pandemic; and I arrived back home after many adventures. And I get home and I do, a shamanic journey to see how long this Pandemic lockdown will last for. And the message was, my normal life not really normal. My normal life will resume around October 2021. I thought, oh, my God, that's over 18 months. Well, I'm going to do I've got to do something because you can't work, you couldn't go out, nothing.

Then that night, had a dream. Do the Angel Oracle. And I woke up. Yeah, I've got it. And in the morning, I went to the shelf, put the dust off the box. and that was April 2020. And, really, that was, a gift of the Pandemic lockdown. Really, this would never have happened. So I'm very grateful in some respects for the, uh, lockdown because I was totally focused on this for nearly a year.

Wendy: Right.

Howard: That's how it happened. Yeah.

Wendy: Okay, so the artwork on each card, then, is not Pablo's work.

Howard: No, there's no original work in Pablo's work.

Wendy: Okay. That's what you mean by "inspired by."

Howard: There's no original work. His, original work appears as the feature of the book The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo. That's his original work. This was a different project, but it was inspired by Pablo's ideas, and artwork and every angel. I tried to bring some Pablo in or Pablo's view on something. So I tie it in together, the inspiration, not just with the artwork, but also with the with, the words and this 200 page book with this deck. And that's a very beautiful thing to do.

Wendy: Yeah. So let me make sure I understand. Did you actually do the artwork?

Howard: No, I didn't. I'm going to come on to that. I knew a very good artist here. I live a friend. And so I asked her, and this is during the Pandemic, she would like to do this project. And, she agreed, and she did a few samples and a few sketches. Then I outlined, this is what the angel is. This is where the angel is from. This is the kind of clothes they're wearing. This is the scene. This is the theme. This is what they're holding. This is what's behind them, in front of them. She did a couple of sketches, and once, we agreed on the final sketch, she, digitized the whole thing. So it was all kind of computerized file.
And then, by chance, I found a fantastic graphic artist because she couldn't do the colorization, because coloring graphics is a specialized aspect. In fact, I found, by chance, a graphic guy in Bucharest, Alexandru. And, so we got together. Now, all of this thing was done online on Zoom or Skype. I was discussing, I was standing up, I was miming this, the angels looking like this in front of us. This, and I supplied, Alexandru with the palette he has to use for the color. So the palette is as close to Pablo's palette color palette as possible. So everything was done online.

In fact, I remember seeing Alexandru after the pandemic and Lockdown was all gone, I was in Bucharest and said, let's meet up. And the first thing I said to him, oh, my God, you're much bigger in real life than you are on the screen. I've only seen this guy on the screen, never saw him in real life.

We did an amazing project together. So I really am grateful for this technology that enabled this to happen, because it couldn't have happened. And it's kind of a miracle. Like, 20 years ago, you couldn't do a thing like this. It was impossible.

Wendy: Pretty amazing. Yeah. And I'm just realizing I never flipped to the back page of the book, which has Corina's Bio and Alexandru's bio, as well. So silly me. But I'm glad that I asked, because now I know!

Howard: I would've mentioned it anyway, because those guys made a fantastic contribution. And not only that, there come a time when something changed with them as well. You felt it, you saw it in their work that, uh, got the heart into it. It wasn't just a job for them. They kind of suddenly got a spiritual buzzer kick from it and the calling of sorts. Yeah. And that changed the vibe of the work. And it was just such a pleasant experience working with them. And I hope they get some form of benefit by working on this project. Not just financial, obviously, but, uh, also in recognition of their work as well. So that's why I put the full bio and, uh, acknowledgement and so on and so forth for them.

Wendy: The work is beautiful. I mean, the colors are incredibly vibrant. It brings them to life.

Howard: That is Pablo's color palette.

Wendy: Yeah.

Howard: I worked with Alexandru on the palette. And you could put these pictures next to Pablo's paintings, and, you will see the similarity in the colors.

Wendy: Okay. So Alexandru really honored Pablo's vision in that way.

Howard: Absolutely. So did Corina and Alexandru. They did such a fantastic, work. I can say that. Yeah.

Wendy: All of these beings in the cards, these angels were actually inspired by Pablo's ayahuasca visions?

Howard: No, they weren't inspired by Pablo's ayahuasca visions. There's one or two stories anecdotes in the book, which come directly from Pablo. There's some beautiful anecdotes in there, but, it was just part of my experience, my ongoing work and life's journey and so on. But also, it was something magical was happening. And, as I was writing the words, the ideas would just flow the words all around me. And it was also a personal journey.

For example, the angel of Peace, she's very beautiful. Okay, how do you write about peace? Angel of Peace. And all I could write about was war, death, genocide, murder, killing, ethnic cleansing. And then to me was, okay, Howard, you got that out of your system now. So next day I could write about peace. So everything I did was in a journey for me as well. And also, apart from the visualization for each angel okay. I'm going to write about I wrote down the angels elected to write about and say, the angel of Death. So angel of Death, What's she about? What she look like? What's she doing?

So the whole visualization and then I got the image came to me in my mind, and the image of the angel in my mind is what I conveyed to Corina. So I did it from a visionary perspective. Then I conveyed the image on the computer on Zoom and Skype to her. And that was a very beautiful thing. And then sometimes it was really like writing poetry.

Wendy: So they were your visions then?

Howard: These are my visions, yeah. Yeah.

Wendy: Oh, okay. I got confused. All right. That's why I'm asking all these obnoxious questions.

Howard: No, it's good to, I mean, for me, it's obvious, but I mean, obviously you don't know that, so it's a very good question. Please feel free to ask any question what you want.

Wendy: Okay, thank you. So you were inspired by Pablo's artwork, and then you had this idea of, wouldn't it be amazing to create this oracle deck? Inspired by his artwork, and then you had visionary experiences that inspired each of the cards. Is that correct?

Howard: That's correct. Yes.

Wendy: Okay. All right, so that's a cool process. I'd love to learn more about that. But before we get into that, I would love to hear how you were drawn to the shamanic path.

Howard: Well, yeah, for sure. Another long story. Okay, we're going back now to, 1983. I was at work, and so I went in the elevator to go up, and suddenly my stomach is in my mouth and I realized the elevator is crashing. And that's when I kind of had a near death experience and you-

Wendy: Holy shit! Are you serious?

Howard: Very serious. Yeah.

Wendy: Okay. Damn.

Howard: And I described this story in my book published in 2017, The Accidental Shaman. That's the pun on the word.

So listen, I'll continue the story. I knew I was going to die, and I kind of did. I was gone. I wasn't there anymore. I left my body and and I was somewhere else. And I remember thinking, no, I don't want to die. You know? Then I'm back in my body, and this is all happening at thermal novel velocity, 11.7 meters a second, you know? And so but time stopped. That's the most strangest thing. Time stopped. And, I thought okay, I'm back. How do I get through this? I thought I know. I've seen the cartoons kind of thing. If I jump up in the air, when the lift hits whatever it hits down the bottom of the tunnel, I'll be in the air. Of course you can't do that. You can't move because you're in free fall, too. So I tried to jump up. I couldn't move.

And suddenly, in a flash, I knew exactly what to do. So I took up my pack of tissues and I shoved them in my mouth, between my teeth, and then I went into, um, a crouch haunch on the floor. As soon as I had done that, the lift smashed into the time, started again, and, I hit the bottom of the lift shaft. Yes, elevator shaft. Now, if I hadn't put that pack of tissues in my mouth, the first thing was my lower jaw smashed up against my upper jaw. If my tongue was anywhere near that, they've been chopped off.
And it's not like I had a plan. What do I do if I'm an elevator crash? I have no plan. But I just knew exactly what I had to do to survive this. However, I did crack, my neck and back. And I was, not able to stand or walk or hold support the weight of my head on the thing. But if I hadn't done that, I'd have been dead. And no tongue as well as well.

So it took many, many years of, suffering, you know, couldn't do anything. And then one day, I was having all sorts of treatments. One day, the physiotherapist he looked at me in a very strange way, but I never seemed to look at me this way. He said to me, Howard, do you want to get well again? And it's not like I couldn't kind of answer that question immediately, because I somehow got used to being like this in this condition.

And then I closed my eyes. I really kind of drew all my power. Do I want to get well? Yes, I want to get well. So I said to him, yes, I want to get better. Then you have to forgive. Forgive all the people you blame for this elevator crash was caused by the engineer is working on the lift system, the elevator system, without shutting it down. So it was caused by engineering incompetence. But I was really angry about the whole thing because my life, became a catastrophe, naturally.

Wendy: Yeah.

Howard: But he said forgive. So I forgave them. I forgave them. All sincerity, all my might, and I forgave them. And I said, I forgave them. A weight of ten tons lifted from me. It was an amazing experience. And, so many things happened after that. And the physiotherapist guy called Richard, he said to me, what happened? I said, don't you know what happened? This is what happened. No, that didn't happen. I don't remember any of that. So he didn't know what happened. He was in some kind of strange trance state.

Wendy: Wait, you're saying he didn't remember?

Howard: He didn't remember anything? He didn't remember anything. It was a complete blank. And so that was one of those mysteries. Anyway, I get home and I'm feeling like I'm a cloud nine. And I'm seeing these beautiful clouds of iridescent particles and colors moving around, and it's gorgeous. And they moved into me. And now I recognize what they were. They were angels. And that was the beginning of my journey to health. Again, that was through forgiveness. So forgiveness is a big deal. You really carry away with it.

Wendy: Absolutely. Can I ask you about forgiveness for a second?

Howard: Yeah, for sure.

Wendy: Because that's something that a lot of people clearly struggle with. And you're making it sound like it was actually an easy process for you. Was it an easy process, or did it take some time for you to forgive the engineers?

Howard: No, I did it there and then. But as I said, I, have to use all my might, all my sincerity, all my force to do this. It wasn't something easy, but I forgave them. And it was such a strange situation anyway. So, uh, I'm on the spot. The guy is looking at me saying, you have to forgive them. If I want to get better, I have to forgive. That was basically the message I wanted to get better. I made that decision there and then.

Wendy: On the spot.

Howard: On the spot. It's on the spot. I made the decision that I wanted to get well again. Decisions have great power. Then I managed to all my might forgive them. And on that moment of forgiveness, this huge, heavy weight just evaporated from me, lifted from me.

Wendy: Right.

Howard: And from that moment, everything was different. And, Richard, the physiotherapist didn't remember a thing.

Wendy: Okay. Yeah. So I guess I was not understanding that it was happening all instantaneously. I thought maybe it was a process you went through after he suggested that.

Howard: Well, one thing I've learned, there is no working towards forgiveness. You just got to do it there is no work, and you have to do it. There's no I forgive tomorrow. Let me process this. So I forgive. No, you have to forgive.

Wendy: That's interesting.

Howard: Unconditionally.

Wendy: Yeah. I've always thought that to get to forgiveness, you have to accept that your situation is the way it is, that the people did the harm that they did, or the situation harmed you in the way that it did.

Howard: Well, I had accepted that, and I was angry about that. That was the issue.

Wendy: Yeah.

Howard: But the point really here is, there is no working towards it. It's just do it or don't do it. It's very black and white in that respect.

Wendy: Interesting. Okay, so then physiologically, what happened to your body after you forgave?

Howard: Well, after I forgave, I felt much lighter. It's like my spirit had returned. My spirit was back in my body. And from just being a zombie, looking out the window, watching these fall down the whole autumn into really wanting to get well again, and I felt better. And I started having visitations at night from these like a vision, like a window would open up. Yeah. I'd be sleeping, sleeping, and I hear how I'd wake up, wake up, wake up. And, I woke up, and no one was talking to me. I looked up, and I saw these beings through a window, and they were smiling at me. They were happy. And they said, do these exercises to get well again.

So they were showing me these exercises, like monks were showing me these exercises. And I did these exercises. So, bit by bit, piece by piece, over the years, it took a few years for me to, get functional again, like walking. And I couldn't bend my legs, couldn't do anything because my knees were crushed as well.

So it took two or three years to get back again. Okay, I can't do sports. I can't run marathons anymore, that kind of stuff. But I'm functional. I can walk everywhere. I can support the weight of my head on my shoulders. It was very painful. But also other things. I was always in pain. And I found out that, um, if I lay down and put my hands on me, the pain went. The pain pumped out. My body, vibrated away from my body.

So I found skills that helped me to get well again. And I didn't know what I was doing. And a couple of people... this is how it starts, doesn't it? You start in strange ways. Start working as a healer. People, coming to me. I got back from, can you help me? I heard you. Your back is getting much better now. I said okay. So they would sit down, and I would visualize their back strong, vibrant, healthy. And as I was doing this, their back kind of straightened up. It was amazing for me. I didn't know what it was. I had no idea what was going on.

So I joined this course from a Spiritual Healing Federation, and it was very nice and very lovely. It was very nice. And one of the participants there was into shamanic stuff, and I talked to him about these things. This was Leah Rutherford, who later on close partnership and friendship with he said, look, you haven't invented this. This has been around for thousands of years, and it's called Shamanism. So that was my intro to Shamanism. I was doing it without knowing what it was.

Wendy: Right. Wow, huh?

Howard: One of those stories.

Wendy: I love those kinds of stories. I appreciate you telling me, because I didn't know you had a book out about your experience.

Howard: Yes, the book is not about my experience, but it's a semi autobiographical book. Tells you my story in that book, The Accidental Shaman, and it kind of told the story what happened to me, how it worked, and the forgiveness thing as well, and everything. So it's in the book, basically, more, eloquent in the book, obviously, but it's in there.

Wendy: And what else is in the book?

Howard: Yeah. Well, I give you .... Over the years, working, in the shamanic field, I've developed, various techniques and practices and traditional practices, and I explain them. And I work on also some interesting, for me, aspects to this, about death and dying, about exercises to look at your death. Things that have happened to me. And your birth. I've had all sorts of visionary experiences, and I've managed to kind of structure these experiences and stories and narratives into practices and exercises which people can explore themselves. So that's really the this is my story, and this is what I've learned, this is what I've experienced. And I've put it into a structure which you, too, can can, explore this as well. So that's the gist to that book.

Wendy: Okay. And so then once you were to understand that, oh, this is shamanism, and I imagine you started exploring what shamanism what that even meant.

Howard: Sure. Yeah.

Wendy: What role does shamanism play in your life now?

Howard: Well, yeah, I do a regular practice for myself and, uh, to check on my reality, make sure there's nothing untoward, nothing messy there. I do this, via, Shamanic Journey, which is a visionary practice. And, I talk about this in the angel book as well, because there's The Angel of Three Worlds, and I describe that we're not just physical beings now, we exist in multidimensional forms. And shamanic practices give you a way to explore these, other dimensional aspects of yourself.

Wendy: Right.

Howard: It's given me a closer connection, with trees and plants, that's for sure. I would just say it's given me a new philosophical foundation for living my life, that's all. I try to look normal as possible every day, fit in everywhere, but it's a philosophical shift, even how you act life. I mean, I'm speaking personally, obviously, here also, uh, around workshops and I do individual healing sessions and so on.

Wendy: That's what I was going to ask, if you're using this ability to be of service in any way besides writing your book.

Howard: Yeah, I'm very active. I'm, busy on that front. I've got a website. I might as well give you my website so people can hear it.

Wendy: Absolutely.

Howard: It's, So it's got a lot of out there. It's got a lot of the workshops. It's got, various videos, uh, and all sorts of nice things on there. So, my work is described on there.

Wendy: Beautiful. Okay. I'm, a longtime shamanic practitioner as well. And so I'm always curious about how people came to find themselves on that path.

Howard: Yeah. Mine was the accident. The accident, near death experience. The act of forgiveness.

Wendy: Yeah, that's a classic way to enter.

Howard: Yeah, it changed my life. I mean, the accident. The funny thing is, although I was very fit and sporty before the accident, looking back now, if I had the option in hindsight not to step in that elevator, I would step in the elevator. My life changed in such beautiful, rich, rewarding ways. So it was a catastrophe at the time, in hindsight, has been, the biggest transformative event in my life.

Wendy: Yeah, like you were describing, the pandemic was this gift that enabled you to create this oracle deck. You're saying this accident was an incredible gift that helped you open yourself up in ways that you never would have expected.

Howard: Exactly.

Wendy: So I've got just a light question for you. How has your view of the nature of reality changed as a result of these experiences?

Howard: Well, underlying all of this is in my deepest state of out there, shall we say. I can never shake off the feeling that something, somewhere is having a very good laugh at our expense. I've never been able to shake that feeling! Yeah.

The main thing here really is that, what I, what I do and what I work is really based on on the tenant that, the physical reality we inhabit is really a projection of another reality. And by working and changing things in this other reality, call it what you want, the ethereal realm or other dimensions, or the upper world, lower world, it can have very powerful effects in this material world. So the material world is a projection of this other fuel of consciousness. I think that's why I work in that's where I work, the person's life story is in there.

Wendy: It's complicated, huh?

Howard: Well, yeah, it's very rewarding. and that's where I work. And how I work with individuals. It's like I explore them from a different landscape. And, uh, where everything is open, everything is frank, everything is clear. And, this goes back. You can go back. The landscape stretches back through other generations. So it's quite it I'm kind of in awe of this thing as well. But it has great effect. And, I don't kind of appetize or promote my healing sessions, but it's all word of mouth, and that's how, you know, by that kind of feedback that is having the beneficial effect of people.

Wendy: Yeah, absolutely. When you perceive, do you perceive visually or do you perceive symbolically and then you're interpreting what those symbols mean to you?

Howard: Well, yes and no. I try I try to describe this sometimes it's really it's like, when I connect to somebody, I connect with somebody. I call in the spirit guide. I feel the presence of the spirit guide and then open up to the person and I get a download. Download. The download is, visual, is kinesthetic. I might smell something. Could be I hear the voices. So I get a whole package of, information, and then I have to unpack it. So I just take it layer by layer, pack by pack. And not just visual. Visual. It's just one of the ways of perception. I mean, the sense of smell is very meaningful for me. I can smell, illnesses, diseases. They all have a specific kind of aromatic signature. And sometimes the person wants to tell me stomach. And I hear them in my mind trying to tell me stomach. Say, okay, what is what you want to tell me?

But the first part of the session is to ask the client. Don't tell me anything. I need to know nothing at the beginning. Just give me your name. So I need to know. And that way my mind is kind of clear that my thoughts are not predisposed to a certain area. My mind is completely clear, and that clarity clearness. I get the download, and, I know it hasn't been affected or influenced by anything the person said.

Wendy: Right.

Howard: Unpack it. That really, has an impact on people because they haven't told me anything.

Wendy: I imagine it does.

Howard: I'm just saying this, this and the other. And does this resonate with you? It works that way. I have to know nothing about the person. A person tells me something, my, um, mind is predisposed, and then I can't tell if it's symbolic, is it real, or is it because the person has told me? Only in a blank mind, a blank, slate, a tabula rasa. Can I trust the vision, all the information?

Wendy: Now, that's very cool. So then would you say that your learning in this way has been a byproduct of your connections with your helpers in the dreamtime? Or have you also received training in physical reality?

Howard: Yeah, let me talk about the training I received. This is the training I received. It's not like, oh, we're so spiritual, so lovely. We're going back to the beginning here. When I had a negative or disharmonious or bad thought about. Something or someone, my head would be hit with a hammer, figuratively speaking. My head would go into a vice I think it's a better expression, and would take a bit of time to loosen it. Loosen it. And I realized what was happening. If I had a nice, benign, benevolent thought, I'd have this lovely glow in my body. So, yeah, I was trained. I was trained like you train a donkey with a carrot and a stick, and I can tell you it really works. And I thought the pain was so much, I just got to stop thinking these things. So I put a policeman in my mind, like the typical British policeman with a with a helmet and truncheon.

Wendy: Nice.

Howard: And he examined every thought that went out. If it was not a good thought, he said, okay, that thought goes back in, doesn't go erase it, you know? And so eventually, that policeman idea, it kind of got integrated, so it wasn't needed anymore. But what I learned from all that was that thoughts are not nothing. Thoughts have power. Your thoughts, you can either help somebody or harm somebody. Uh, and that was the training. I was trained like a donkey, so nothing glamorous, but very effective
Wendy: Yeah, it sounds brilliant.

Howard: Yeah.

Wendy: That actually sounds like a really cool technique, the idea of putting a policeman in your psyche.
Howard: Yeah. I wanted to do something because it was too painful, and I really had to kind of really manage my thoughts while I was thinking and, clear that. And eventually, over the years, over the work you've done, the basis, the source of those negative, thoughts and so on was piece by piece, dismantled and erased. Okay. It's a lifelong process, but so you got to start somewhere.

Wendy: So you have this really rich inner experience all the time, it sounds like. Yeah. Or you can access it at any time.

Howard: Now I can do, but I switch it on and switch it off. If I'm not doing my work, it's totally switched off. But when I do my work, I kind of switch it on. I tune in, connect to the spirit guys, and there I am. So there's a difference in my work and my non work. If I was all day, like, this would be very ungrounding for me right, to open. So no, I have very clear boundaries with this.

Wendy: It's a discipline.

Howard: It's a discipline, yeah.

Wendy: So then when you sat down to really work on the oracle deck, did you have, like, in your mind, there's going to be this many cards, or did it come to you bit by bit?

Howard: No, I started with the structure. Okay. How many cards? Okay. 33 cards is a good number. I did numerology. 33 was the right number. It's acceptable. And I spoke to a few people who have loads of oracle decks. Some have 20, 30, 40. I said, what's more important, the number of cars in the deck or the quality? No, the quality is always more important. Okay. So with that okay, 33 is the right number.
And, then I wrote down the angels that I would like to talk about. The angel and the characteristics and their titles and so on, and the names. And then I would visualize them. I visualize the angel, the angel of angel of grace, the angel of conception, the angel all sorts of angels. And these aren't the traditional biblical angels. These are angels from the Amazonian mythological world. So it's tied into that. And also some of Pablo's notes. He had some names which, he used for spiritual beings. I could use those, and they were applicable.

And then I'll visualize them. The angel of this, where are they from, what kind of costume they were in, all that kind of stuff. So I had a very solid image in my mind of the angel and their attributes. So I could convey this to Corina and also gave me the seed to start writing about it. And it was like writing poetry. When you write poetry, there's poetry and prose. Prose is one thing. It's like you describe things, you give a narrative about things. Writing poetry is a very different buzz. It's a very different kick. It's a very different kind of bunch of brain cells get involved. So, effectively, it was like writing poetry. And all the words were just flowing through me. And sometimes I looked at it, oh, my God, that's really nice. I really put those words nicely together. It was a journey for me as well, I bet.

Wendy: I was thinking that this would not be probably the easiest endeavor to undertake.

Howard: Well, thank you, pandemic. Otherwise, it would never have...

Wendy: Talk about discipline, right? The amount of work it would require. I mean, there's so much for each individual card.

Howard: Yeah. It's kind of multidimensional some of the cards. They talk about, the outer the outer thing, the outer situation. Then it moves on to your inner situation. So there's outer and inner. There's two readings per card. So there's 66 readings, for the deck. And some of these readings, I see myself in them. This is how I used to be, and this is how I am now. And sometimes I think of a certain person and I think they represent this card. So I'll think about their life, how they live their life and what happened to them. And I'll leave that in as well. So inspiration was coming from, all sorts of places. I was surprised by some of the words and how it flowed. And it was kind of a magical experience for me, too.

Wendy: Well, but from what you've described about your inner life and your connection with the other side, that's not surprising that it was a rich experience and that it was surprising at times.

Howard: Yeah, it was a very rich, very beautiful and, I'm very grateful because it is a very beautiful thing. Not just the imagery, but this poetry. And the funny thing was then I wrote about the angels and the readings and the stories. And then I had to write about the how to use the cards, you know, how to use do the cards this way and that way, and the layouts.

And it went from, writing poetry to writing like an instruction manual. It was just a different vibe completely. I didn't realize it until I did the instructions after I wrote about the angels. And it was like, you do this and you do that and you hold it and you're this way and you put it that way. And it was like writing a kind of a manual to drive a car. You put the key ignition, you put the handbrake on.

Wendy: Technical writing.

Howard: Yeah, technical writing. It was such a different vibe from writing about the angels. That was like a celestial buzz. And writing about the- shushing the guides was writing something down to earth and a very different vibe.

Wendy: Right. And so what I was wondering is you made this an Oracle deck as opposed to a Tarot deck. So how do you see the difference?

Howard: Well, a Tarot deck is very specific as simply two cars has four suits, and each of the numbers and the suits and so on have all sorts of symbolic meaning. So if you write a Tarot, you're working within an existing structure of 72 cards. For the Tarot system, Oracles are free form. Oracles don't have that structure. Oracle. So you have more freedom to write about.

Wendy: So what is your hope for people who are using this particular deck?

Howard: I just hope it helps them. The essence of an oracle deck, not just this one, but the essence of an oracle deck and tarot as well, is not to tell the future, not to tell the person's fortune, but really, in essence, is to put them in contact with their higher order consciousness, which knows what to do. And if that succeeds and people can look at their life and their problems and their concerns and their issues through the lens of the high order consciousness, then that's been successful. Then they have a different perspective. They can change their life. It's transformative.

It struck me, I just anecdote here. My daughter lives in Canada, and, when she first went there, she went there in the middle of a pandemic. So I thought, oh my God, she's going to have a tough time, she can't get a job and it's locked down. She had a work visa and so on. And, and one of her friends one evening, they had an Oracle deck and she drew a card and the card said Endurance. And that card really changed it for her. So sometimes one word, one message can turn a person's thoughts and thinking and feelings completely around. And that's the magic of Oracles and Tarot.

Wendy: Absolutely. And I could see how that card of all of the other ones was perfect for her, probably because it's like, hang in there, hang in there. It'll work out.

Howard: Yeah and she did hang in there. And it really lifted her spirits.

Wendy: So I'm glad that you described what an Oracle deck is. It's a different kind of divination in that it's not forecasting your future or telling you what to do. It sounds like from what you're describing, it's more like some suggestions or maybe some guidance for how to manage a situation that you might be experiencing.

Howard: Yeah. From a different perspective. And the same is valid for Tarot as well. It just gives a person a different view, a different perspective, a higher order perspective on the circumstances, why this is happening, how did you get here, what I need to do. So it really can be helpful to people.
People have very difficult situations. And so I'm talking about Oracles and Tarot, but I could just extend this to all divinatory practices there to show a person, the light, the way they can proceed, and how they got here and how they're going to get out of here. And that can be so helpful to people.
Wendy: It can. Absolutely. I know. I've found over the years that some folks are actually looking to divination, to tell them what to do. They want answers. They feel so desperately stuck in a situation.
Howard: Yeah, well, that's one thing. But if they get a spark I mean, I'd use my daughter Elizabeth as example. That one word, endurance, they gave her the stamina, the strength to hang in there. She really, did. Yeah. And also the other thing as well. I mean, there is, uh, another energy.

I'll speak about this Oracle because I can qualify for that. There is another energy in here, some kind of a spiritual energy that's manifested through the words, the shape of the words, the words that, uh, I use, and the imagery and the symbolism. Something else has come into this as well. So it's not just the words that trigger ideas and responses and transformative experiences. It's the imagery and it's the poetry, which can just lift some of the spirits and take them out of the ruts of the hole that they found themselves in. That's beautiful.

Wendy: Yeah. It sounds like what a really good friend might do for you, too.

Howard: Yeah. Sometimes a kind word, a friendly word, can just change everything. It just can do. And a divinatory idea, or an Oracle reading can help people. So if you ask me what I like to do from the deck, I like people to enjoy it and have fun with it and also use it in a way that's going to help them. And, you know, for myself personally, I thought, well, I'm doing something good in the world that's going to help people. That's nice.

Wendy: Yes. This might be a weird question, but is there a specific type of concern that you would suggest people turn to an oracle deck like yours for? If I have a question about something or is it I have a concern about something?

Howard: Well, I think it's for both. I'm not saying give you an answer, um, in a direct, non symbolic way, but it can certainly change your thinking about situation. Like, why am I thinking so negatively about this person, this relationship, this situation? Why am I thinking that way? What is causing this? How can I shift this? It can do that rather than give you the response to is my husband having an affair with somebody? You may not know that, but you're thinking that. And that thinking is altering your perspective and your energy. So a reading from an oracle may change that, and you may be able to step back and get a different perspective of this.

Wendy: Right.

Howard: So, at end of the day, there's two types of questions. Like, what is my spiritual path? What is the cosmic this or that? Or my life is all messy. How can I get it solved? And I like to think that oracle decks really help people in helping them in their messy lives. I mean, that's the real benefit. We human beings live on Earth when the cosmos are, but we're here as human beings, and anything that helps us to live a life as human beings is good.

Wendy: Yeah. It's a wee bit challenging, huh?

Howard: Yeah, that's a basic view of mine, anyway. So as human beings, let's try and sort our messy lives out.

Wendy: Yeah, exactly. Not an easy gig we have here on planet Earth.

Howard: Yeah.

Wendy: Well, not all the time anyway.

Howard: And we need all the help we can get.

Wendy: Yeah, exactly. All right, so how would someone find this deck?

Howard: Yeah, I think it's available generally, it's on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, booksellers, bookstores. I think it's going to be-

Wendy: Pretty much anywhere you can get a book.

Howard: Anywhere. Online and bookstores. Everywhere. Yeah.

Wendy: Okay, great.

Howard: Inner Traditions are very good quality publisher and I was very happy that they liked the proposal. And I was very delighted to work with them again, because I worked with them before. They're very professional, very smart people, and I like working with smart people.

Wendy: They're down the road from me.

Howard: That's fantastic. So, I had high expectations that they would produce a product, of book and cards that would be really fantastic. When I saw it, I thought, oh, my God, this is just mind blowing. It's beautiful. So I wrote to them and I, just said, I just want to tell you to the people I work with and the publisher people in general, that what you've done has far exceeded my very high expectations. It's gorgeous. It's beautiful. Thanks ever so much. And that message went out to everybody in the publishing organization. So I'm totally delighted by the quality of this whole how they've done it. It's beautiful. I'm delighted by it, and it's important to me. I have to be happy with it. I'm more than happy with it.

Wendy: Yeah. The whole thing is really well done. So they must have been thrilled to get your feedback.

Howard: Oh, yeah. It's just a pleasure. And I was very happy to tell them that because they'd like to hear good feedback too. I mean, they want to hear oh, yeah. I love it. It's great. Anybody does.

Wendy: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, Howard, thank you so much for coming on and chatting with me.

Howard: Okay, my pleasure, Wendy, and it's really nice talking to you. I really enjoyed our conversation.

He died in an elevator accident....I was not expecting that.

I think Howard experienced the content of many people's nightmares and then not only lived to tell about it, but used the experience as a catalyst to be of service to others. I think that's cool as hell. Oh, man.

To learn more about Howard and The Amazonian Angel Oracle Deck, please visit

Thank you for checking out this episode. I appreciate you very much and wish you a magical 2023 filled with wonderful surprises.

Until next time…