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Oct 13th
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Taking Refuge

blog refugeA day at Carmel’s best day spa is just what the doctor ordered

Just a short drive south from Santa Cruz, tucked behind the remote Carmel Valley Athletic Club, is the small oasis of relaxation known simply as Refuge. It’s a day spa, but exists on a realm above most other establishments of the sort. Visitors enter through lavish locker rooms, plush white robe and towel in tow, and, from there, step into the equivalent of a very fancy, very large backyard. The spacious patio-like area is fenced in and lined with pleasant landscaping. Small pools of varying temperatures—cold, cool, warm, and hot—create a checkerboard of water across the co-ed space, where bathing suits are mandatory and the atmosphere is one of quiet relaxation. Spa goers sit meditatively around several fire pits, despite the warm day.

On the perimeter, a roomy cedar sauna and eucalyptus steam room offer other methods for unwinding (and detoxing). The spa recommends a simple regiment to maximize the health benefits of these offerings, and I can attest that it’s worth sticking to: start with five to 10 minutes heating up in any one of the six warmer pools or the sauna or steam room. Then, plunge into a cool pool (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, one of the icy cold pools). Next, take a seat and kick back for 10 to 15 minutes to let the endorphins flow. I suggest nabbing one of the divine zero-gravity chairs in the indoor relaxation room, where the unbelievably comfortable chair and light music in the background make for the perfect spot to let it all soak in. Admission is $39 (plus $12 for a robe)—a more than fair price for such a serene, polished experience. The entry price allows one to stay as long as they please (it’s open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.), although you will find that three hours or so is just right. Make the most of the experience by booking an on-site massage, which comes with a $99 entry price.

27300 Rancho San Carlos Road,  Carmel, 620-7360,

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Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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