Spirit Tribe

Deep in the slumber of our soul we are waking with  a longing to find home, community & tribe!  Over the last 100 years our society has lost it’s way, creating a world of isolation.  With the birth of technology and global mobility the tribes of the world have been shattered.  People no longer rely on their neighbors to supply their basic needs & often no longer know the name of the people who live in their community.  This lack of tribe has created a vacuum in peoples lives, one that desires to be filled.  We cannot go back, but we can recreate TRIBE…

spirittribelogo

In essence Spirit Tribe refers to the people (living & dead) who we connect with on a soul level.  They are the family of our choosing, often entering our lives with deep unexplained connections.   In the past these people may very well have been members of our Clan or Tribe, living in our village or near by.  Now in a world of high speed internet and global travel our “Tribe” may be a bit more spread out.  But we can still find them and connect.

‘SPIRIT TRIBE’ is the soul child of the Crow Sisters (Salicrow & Sandy Crow), Melissa Manseau & Magpie (Corey Raynor).  It is our goal to help people connect with themselves and find their tribe.  Our offerings come in the form of Workshops, Online Classses & Webinars, Individual Healings, Psychic Readings, Spirit Communication, Bereavement Counseling, Sacred Travel, Life Passage Ceremony & an online Store featuring Artisan Crafted spiritual items.  When dreaming Spirit Tribe into existence we four started our focus on the world and what we wanted to offer to it.  We then moved ourselves backwards from world, to community to individual need.  We are all strongly dedicated to serving our planet & community with focus on the four pillars that sustain our work…HEAL, TEACH, NURTURE &  INSPIRE.  Above all we seek to help people find their way home to self & connect with their Spirit Tribe.

We are excited to share this path with you.  The next few months should be a whirlwind of activity, we look forward to sharing the adventure with you.

Creating Tribe-Salicrow, Sandy Crow, Melissa & Magpie

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LOVE thy self….(a love letter to the ladies)

Love-Quotes

I do not consider myself a feminist.  In fact I personally have never felt less then a man, or felt the need to prove that I was not.  I give credit to my father for this, for he raised my sisters & I with a pride that bordered on being egotistical & to my Grammy Brown who was one of the most powerful people I have ever known.  That being said, I do get worked up when I think of the negative way in which many women see themselves and the influence the media has on their opinion.   I am not writing this from a perspective of never been there…for I struggled as a teenager with an eating disorder and can honestly say that the damage caused by it crept around the dark corners of my mind for many of my adult years.  The need to be perfect in appearance is one drilled into women from such a young age that often the damage is done before our minds are old enough to realize we are being brainwashed.  We are bombarded with images in movies, magazines and television of what it looks like to be perfect.  All the while never conceiving that what we are seeing isn’t even real.  Even before the magic of digital editing existed their were plenty of other forms of illusion used to create the ideal woman.  The irony is not only are we bombarded with images of what it looks like to be beautiful, sexy and desirable, but we are simultaneously told that to dare present ourselves as scantily dressed as the sensual mavens of  glamour we would be indecent.  Now I am not saying that one must be scantily clad to embrace their own sensuality or power.  I am simply trying to point out the paradox in which women are suppose to exist & how this paradox systematically steals the delight and joy that living in a body has to offer.

Many religions and philosophies speak on the importance of honoring the body as a temple & from a scientific point of view quantum physics has proven that  thought matters…what we think-we create.  When  we continuously tell ourselves we are fat, ugly and generally not good enough we are programming our minds & bodies to believe this is what we are.  The reality of it is folks we need our bodies, they are a necessary part of existing in this realm.  Yet most of us, particularly women spend an excessive amount of time telling our bodies how much we hate them & then wondering why they don’t  want to cooperate with us.  We treat our bodies as if they are the enemy, not a life partner we should cherish.  I know I wouldn’t want to do any favors for someone who constantly told me I wasn’t good enough.  If we were to spend half as much time thinking thoughts of love to ourselves we would be stellar.  Take a moment and think how many times a day you insult yourself & then how many times you compliment yourself.  I am willing to bet for most people this number is way out of proportion.   We need to start changing the way we speak to ourselves in our mind and out loud.  No one comes into this world thinking they are not enough.  No child just learning to talk says “I’m too fat”, “I’m too skinny”, “my nose is too big”.   These thoughts are learned behavior, and like all learned behavior it can be changed.  

Change is hard and often we need help, I highly recommend working with a mantra.  The word ‘Mantra’ means-a sound, word or phrase that is repeated in prayer or meditation.  It is a simple grouping of words infused with spirit that can be a powerful aid.  Mantra’s are most effective when kept simple, a few words or short sentence that you stick with.  In meditation you simply repeat the mantra for 10-15 minutes a day while sitting comfortably.  They can also be used continuously throughout the day to counter bad programming…when the negative thoughts pop into your head  start repeating your mantra (5-10 sets at a time is usually good).   Mantras work by reprogramming the brain, or countering the bad programming your brain is already spewing out. The programs we pick up are brought about by repetitive exposure and eye contact.  Parents, teachers and peers are all part of the programming we’re exposed to daily.  However media has proven to be one of the most powerful tools of propaganda, as Nazi Germany so clearly proved to the world.  When we consider how much exposure the average person gets to media it is no wonder the effect it has on our mindset.  The worse part is most people go around unaware they are being programmed.  I would like to say it is all accidental, but I am afraid the cynic in me does not believe that.  I believe that unhappiness breeds consumerism…for there is always a product to make you more beautiful, thinner, smarter, happier, just plain better.

I invite you all to change your programming.  Start whispering sweet nothings to yourself on a regular basis.  Better yet start saying them out loud to yourself while looking in the mirror…use that eye contact for your benefit.  Remember you are good enough,  and the body that is serving you is to be cherished.  Start researching the digital manipulation that is used to portray beauty and you will see that what the media calls beauty doesn’t even exist.  It’s all smoke and mirrors my friends, smoke and mirrors.  Real beauty comes from the soul & sexy is a state of mind….it is owning your own sensuality.  Namaste-the light in me salutes the light in you.

spreading love-salicrow

*I would like to point out that even though I wrote this as a love letter to women, men too can be the victim of bad programming.  I have great love and respect for men and realize they too have roles and expectations placed upon them that are not only unhealthy but unattainable.

Love is easy…

love2Valentines day is just around the corner and with it a lot of unneeded anxiety brought on by the Greeting card companies.  People who are not in a relationship get to be reminded of how alone they feel, even if normally they are perfectly content being single,  While people in relationships get to be filled with worry of whether what they do will be enough or if their partner will remember them.  All the people who didn’t get flowers, chocolates or stuffed bears might as well walk around all day wearing signs saying “No body loves me”.   As a teenager my response to this was to hand out  homemade buttons with my sister that said “Happy V.D.”  to everyone we knew.  I know it’s crass, but sometimes a bit of vulgarity is what you need to  handle the media infused frenzy of the holiday.  Let me be clear… I am not against love,  what I am against is the overwhelming pressure put upon people to be in a relationship… any relationship.  It’s like the whole country goes crazy in mid February & really how many poorly made stuffed bears does a person need in a lifetime.

So where did all this Valentines hoopla come from you ask?  Like most holidays we celebrate there is a bit of this and a bit of that thrown in from various cultures until you get the modern holiday we all recognize.  The name Valentine comes from St. Valentine, who there  is not a lot of facts around.  In the Saint category most of his acts were so vague that Pope Gelasius who officially named Valentine a Saint said his deeds were known only by God.  Some even say his story was  really that of a couple of people.  He was known for performing marriage ceremonies for young men  who were forbade to marry.  This landed Valentine in jail where he apparently  performed miraculous acts of healing.   But we cannot just stop at Saint Valentine, for that was merely one of the incarnations of the holiday, and not a very glossy one.  Before Valentine the ancient Romans celebrated the 15th of February as Lupercalia.  Lupercalia was a Wolf holiday dedicated to  Lupa, the she-wolf who raised the orphans Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome).  It was seen as a fertility holiday and some of it’s traditions which included spanking  young women with whips to ensure fertility would make my crass ‘Happy V.D.” pins look mild.    Yet even before Lupercalia there was the Greek holiday honoring the Goddess Juno.   I am sure this bit of history has not cleared up how we got to love poems, teddy bears and flowers.  For that we can thank Geoffrey Chaucer who shared with the world the stories of courtly love in the Middle ages…the stories (which were fictional) included, confections, flowers and cards.

batvalentineNow that I have done my historical bit I would like to suggest that we take Valentines day back to yet another piece of history…that of our 2nd grade classroom.  In the second grade I remember having fond memories of Valentines day.  Back before it became a holiday of haves and have not’s.   I remember making out Valentines cards for all the kids in my class, with the biggest worry being whether or not I got to make my own or got to pick from something cool that came in a box.  Personally I really liked making my own Valentines, but on the years I couldn’t I just hoped mine were ultra cool like Wonder Woman or Batgirl.   When we made sweets to hand out there had to be enough for everyone in the class.  This is the kind of thinking I believe we need more of.   There is plenty of love to go around and it comes in all types.  There is the love we share with our sweetheart, the love we have for our children, our friends, siblings, parents, grandparents & even the people we work with.  Spreading love about makes the world a better place to be in.   So this Valentines day I think I will make up some Valentines and spread them about.  I will most likely go with the digital version as I am big on saving trees….but I believe there will be some sweets involved too.

I would like to end with saying that LOVE is the answer….

spreading oodles and oodles of Love…salicrow

IMBOLC…for the love of Brigid

brigid's crossImbolc (February 2nd) is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the Year.   It is a celebration of fire, hearth & home that honors the spark of inspiration; that prods us in the deep of winter where we slumber…waking us to plan.   Sacred to Brigid; who is both Goddess & Saint,  it is a great time to seek inspiration & start planning for the year ahead.

Brigid’s tale begins with the Irish people, first as a Goddess, then later transformed into a Saint, when Christianity came to Ireland; for her people would not set her aside.   The line that separate the two is so fine, it is hard to determine where one ends and the other begins.  If fact her temple in Kildare, Ireland holds not only Christian artifacts and stories of her Sainthood, but also of her history as Goddess.

According to medieval historians, Christian monks took the ancient Mother Goddess and wove her tales into that of Saint Brigid.  I saw this first hand when I visited her home in Kildare, Ireland in the spring of 2013.     It was pleasing to see that the Goddess Brigid had not been set aside, that she is present and welcome both within the temple and the home of the Brigidine Nuns.  Brigid is deeply connected to flame; that of the hearth as well as the smith, she is patroness of the artisan crafter, poet & magician.  She is benefactor of the poor, caretaker of the earth & connected to many holy wells; for she is a healer.

Brigid’s Flame was considered sacred, and was cared for in pre-christian times by 19 priestess’s.  The flame burnt continually for hundreds of years, each of the 19 priestess’s took turns guarding the flame and on the 20th day Brigid herself kept her flame going.  When Brigid was tranformed into Saint the stories of her kindness and miracles continued and so did the tending of her flame.  Brigidine sisters/nuns took turns tending the flame of Brigid…each in turn for 19 days and on the 20th the flame was left for Brigid herself to tend.  It is believed that the tradition was carried out until the 16th century when it was extinguished for Christian fear of its connection to a fire cult.  In 1993 it’s flame was relit by Brigidine Nuns in Kildare.  Since then it has been cared for in the fashion it was intended, with the 20th day being that of Brigids to watch over herself.

I have been a practicing pagan Celt for most of my adult life &  have  honored Brigid with fire and fed her my dreams at Imbolc for many years.  My personal connection to Brigid however is much newer and carries an interesting tale.  In the first year of my Druid training (2008) I was gifted with the flame of Brigid.  My teacher Ivan McBeth had received the flame in a ceremony years prior when it had been brought from Ireland to England by Brigidine sisters.  They carried the flame alight from their home in Kildare by ship to England.  Upon sharing it with others they explained that once a candle has been lit with Brigid’s flame it can always be used to call upon her, you simply relight it and ask her to join you.  This made it a lot easier for Ivan to bring it into the United States as you can imagine.  Receiving this gift & its history was an honor.  In the ceremony as we all awaited our time to light our candles and connect with Divine inspiration (the heart beat of the bard) in song.  We sat around a fire chanting a simple song, holding space for the others as they approached the flame of Brigid and looked deep inside themselves for Awen (the spirit of creativity) & the blessings of Brigid.

CHANT TO BRIGID... Rise up oh Flame, by thy light glowing, show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

CHANT TO BRIGID…
Rise up oh Flame,
by thy light glowing,
show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

My journey to Ireland in 2013, included a visit to Kildare; it was among 3 of the planned ventures I had on my itinerary.  I went to Ireland with an open plan of areas to explore but  3 things I knew I needed to do & visiting Brigid’s home in Kildare was one of them.   We were staying on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare (where my mum’s people come from) & Kildare was across the country almost to the East coast so about 2.5 -3 hours by car.  It was one of our planned day trips and well worth it.  When we got to Kildare, we did the touristy thing and headed to Saint Brigid’s Cathedral: walked the grounds, visited the ancient fire temple & went inside the cathedral.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the information on Brigid the Goddess, displayed along side her history as a Saint.  I was however disappointed to not find her flame.  My husband and I walked around the town and were told at the historical center that the Brigidine Nuns tended the flame at their home Solas Bhride.   The woman running the shop helped us to connect with the sisters of Solas Bhride and we were soon on our way for a visit.  Before leaving she did tell us that Brigidine Nuns were not like traditional nuns and did not dress in the same fashion as the other nuns we had seen around the town….no habits and somber colors for these sisters.

sistermaryWe were greeted by Sister Mary Minehan; who was wearing a leopard print sweater.  The first thing she said upon greeting my husband and I was “when I speak of God, I am speaking of the energy that has been present in the Universe for millions of years”.  She was kind and generous, with a presence that radiated the dedication she had to her faith.  As she shared Brigid’s flame with us; I told her how I had received it years before from my Druid teacher.  Here is where the synchronicity lies folks…Sister Mary Minehan had been one of the sisters who took the flame of Brigid across the sea from Ireland to England.  This same women had been involved both times when Brigid’s flame was given to me.  Oh…I just love how the Universe works, it is simply Magic!  All the people in the world and we still make such fabulous connections.    We spent about an hour with Sister Mary, drinking tea and  talking about the environment.  The Brigidine sisters are activist, who focus on human rights, education and the environment.  In fact, they are building an ecological center in Kildare.  They are really fantastic ladies, living their light out loud.  I was delighted to see that the sisters of Brigid are the same as the image I have held in my mind of the ancient priestess’ of Brigid.  One of the things that gave me such great happiness was when Sister Mary told us to visit the old well not the new one.  The new well, is for tourist, and a beautiful place for prayers, but the sisters still gather their sacred water from the old well.  I felt a bond of kinship with her.  It is always beautiful to see the light of god/goddess/universe in others even if you don’t share the same exact faith.  After all it is more about getting the connection then how you get it.

Brigid's Old Well

Brigid’s Old Well

We visited Brigid’s well, both of them.  The new one was a beautiful statuary, with prayer stations.  It had been built to make a more gentile place for visitors.  The old well had little marking it, in fact if you didn’t know where you were going you would miss it.  It was on the outside of a Japanese Garden, an enclosed center people can visit, like a fancy park that you pay admission to.  I am sure the garden was lovely, but we didn’t come for that…we had come to be blessed with Brigid’s water.  Wells throughout the Celtic lands are sacred things; they are springs that come to the surface, their water is sacred as it is said to connect both the world above with the world below.  Many holy wells are known for their healing qualities and the blessings they bestow.  To me they are indeed sacred;  I see them as the life blood of the planet, the mana that carries the deep, powerful blessings of Gaia.    Sitting at a sacred well is like visiting church, or meditating deeply, it effects you, you just plain feel good near them.  And they make me emotional in a good way.  I found Brigid’s well especially so, for Brigid had shared so deeply of herself with me.

The Divine is alive and wheres so many faces so that we all might find comfort in connecting with God/Goddess.  I invite you to take time over the next couple of nights and reach out for inspiration.  I prefer to keep things simple.  Set yourself down with a candle or in front of the open fireplace if you have one.  It’s about the flame…spending time with it, meditating…allowing it to take you within.  If you know what you want to grow with the returning of the light…dedicate yourself to it.  If you are  not sure what it is you need…ask for guidance.  May the year to come be filled with Awe…

Spreading love-salicrow