Stories of Spirit…A Dragon’s Dance with Death [honoring Ivan McBeth]

sacredgraveI believe in the Sacredness of Death, I believe in the tremendous power it has to transform lives, I believe it is beautiful and raw; exposing us to the deepest parts of ourselves, the parts that are tender and juicy, filled with emotion and life.  My most sacred work, the work I am honored to participate in, is that of helping others Cross the Veil into Death.  I love to stand present in Death, to witness it’s power and to help others feel it’s beauty.  As a Medium, I know that we are far more then these bodies we live in.  We are eternal, grand and, and expansive.  This weekend, I was given the honor of working with my Druid Teacher & Friend, Ivan McBeth, as he made his grand exit from physical form to that of Spirit!

ivanwavingMy phone rang early Friday morning, 8:30 to be exact.  It was one of my Druid Sisters, calling to let me know that she had received a phone call from a member of her town; telling her that Ivan was dead.  The early call had already triggered me intuitively, that something was wrong, and the information in her call did not surprise me; for I had spent the last few weeks with Ivan, traveling around England and Wales, and taking photos and video of the Stone Circle he erected at Blissful Dragon Farm (Waterford, VT).  As my Druid Sister lived close to Ivan & his wife Fearn, she said she would run up to their home and find out the truth of the matter, and would call me shortly to let me know.  After ending the call with her, I promptly called me sister Sandy; telling her to take a shower and pack her bag, that Ivan had just passed.  I then hopped in the shower myself, and found Ivan with my mind…or perhaps he found me, for he was incredibly happy to be out of this body and exclaimed “Yippee!” loud and clear.  He contacted me 3 other times while I was getting ready to leave.  Twice showing me the picture of a grave covered in ivy (see below), a picture I had taken in Sancreed, Cornwall, UK.  He did not show me these images in my mind, but instead he pulled the picture up on my phone.  The picture was not selected in my photos, or even near the last of the photos taken, and I had not been using my phone; it simply popped up like someone had just sent me a text.  The last bit of contact Ivan gave me before I walked out my door, was through social media.  Our mutual friend Orion, commented on a picture I had taken of the two of them together (see above); in the picture Ivan was waving, when this picture and comment popped up on my Facebook screen, I could see clearly that he was waving good-bye.  With all this contact, I could feel Ivan spurring me on, wanting me to go to his home, his  land, and his love; his wife Fearn.

ivygraveBy the time we were within 15 miles of Dreamland; Ivan’s home, both Sandy and I could feel him.  By saying we could feel him, I mean that there was a precise point in which it felt like we had crossed into his energetic field.  His energetic field or aura, was so expanded; that it was filling a 15 mile radius.  I have found most Auras to be spherical, radiating out from a center point; which in this case would be Ivan’s body, so I am pretty sure he could have been felt for 15 miles in any direction of his home.  When we arrived at Dreamland, his wife was giving her love and tears to him and being consoled by the women of the community.  You see in true Ivan style, he went out with a flourish and a true lesson to teach; for they were hosting a magical weekend at Dreamland, one in which 30 guest were attending.  Most of the guest had arrived the night before, and were present as he passed.  There was a warm fire burning in the Stone Circle below the house, with people huddled together around it; beginning their process with the Spirit of Death.

northstoneI truly believe that Death is in itself a presence; a spirit and force, that effects all that it touches.  When Death comes into our lives, it’s touch and transforms us, something that it does every time it visits.  Each brush with Death holds it’s own mysteries and lessons, and I am so deeply fond of it.  I know that sounds strange, but when you live in a world that is filled with Spirits, Death is no longer an enemy to fear; but instead a great teacher.  Don’t get me wrong, I deeply mourn the absence of my friends and family when they leave physical form.  But sometimes, this transformation allows them to regain their power; power that may have been sapped by age and illness.  When I see those I love leave a life of pain, and slow loss of self; I rejoice for them, for I know that they will be happier and generally more helpful in the world of Spirit.  I experienced  this when my Father died, and when my dear friend Briga crossed the veil last year.  They had both reached a point in their physical existence in which Death was a comfort.

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Ivan @ Glastonbury Tor Photo Karen Maxon

Ivan was not a man who feared Death; he had faced it (literally) many times in his life, and it was a deep part of his Spiritual practice and teachings.  When I trained with him as a Druid, we spent an entire weekend exploring Death.  We thought about it, wrote about it, did journey work in which we explored our unavoidable end, as it approached…one year, one month, one day!  Later after the visionary work was done, we slept in graves we had dug with our own hands (ok, I got help…most people who know me, know I don’t do manual labor,  LOL).  Our graves were lightly lined with blankets and we were allowed light covering to endure the night outside.  We were placed in our graves by Ivan; who carried us as we lay limp.  This symbolic Death, and the night lying within the land, gave a deeper perspective of the gift that life is.  It was one of the most important teachings Ivan carried; that a close relationship with ones Death, helps us to appreciate the life we have, and allows us to dance through it fully alive.

 

Like all things ‘Ivan’, his death was not a small affair, in fact it was large and in charge.  He spent the last month of his life seeing the places he loved most dearly, building a final Stone Circle, and at last using his Death as a powerful teacher.  I was fortunate, and got to take part in many of these last adventures; and  was among the 21 pilgrims who traveled to England & Wales on a magical adventure to sacred spaces, just weeks before he passed; a trip Ivan created.

 

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Ivan with the Bleeding Yew in Navern, Wales

Making merry

Making merry

friends old and dear

friends old and dear

Druid friends @ Stanton Drew

Druid friends @ Stanton Drew

Upon returning to the States, Ivan didn’t miss a beat…he was off to build what would become his final Stone Circle, ‘The Dragon’s Teeth’ circle @ Blissful Dragon Farm.  I went down often in the building of the circle, taking photos and video footage; as Blissful Dragon Farm belongs to my sister Sandy and her friend Melissa.  I was shocked at how full of life and energy Ivan seemed when working on the circle.  I knew his health was failing, but seeing him do what he loved most, brought out the sparkle in his eye.  He was passionate, and driven, and spoke often about how he felt it would be his last circle.  In the world of Stone Circles, Ivan was a master…creating 28 circles in his life time, circles with precise alignments to stars, places, dates and times.  He was truly gifted in this, and I believe it above all things was his greatest offering to the world; as the temples he built will far outlive his  memory.  I like to think though, that for the person who seeks they will feel a bit of his essence, when sitting in the temples of his creation.

Ivan at the blessing of Dragon's Teeth stone circle

Ivan at the blessing of Dragon’s Teeth stone circle

North Stone & Altar, at Dragon's Teeth Farm

North Stone & Altar, at Dragon’s Teeth Farm

After leaving Blissful Dragon farm, Ivan headed home to a weekend of Druid training, and preparation for ‘Weaving Wild Wisdom’; a magical weekend, that turned into Ivan’s last teaching.  30 people gathered to experience a weekend of deep magic, what they didn’t know was how deep it truly would be.  I had not planned on attending the weekend, but kept being pulled to it.  Now I know why, for I was there in attendance, even if not in the way one might have imagined.

salisandysacredMy sister Sandy and I often consider ourselves servants of Death; for we are spontaneously called several times e a year, to stand witness and give aid to the act of dying.  In Ivan’s case, the death bit he did just fine and we were there instead to help prepare and honor his body.  I find this to be the holiest of holy work.  I cannot imagine anything so important as Death.  Cleaning and anointing the body of one who has passed, brings me through the veil of time; to all the times I have preformed this act, life time after life time.  I am simultaneously standing in the present and in the many doorways of time that I have done such things.  With Ivan there was the added gift of a community gathered to hold space, the participants of the weekend were truly standing in their wisdom and able to see the gift he offered up to them.  Some stood guard by his body; giving honor in the old ways of mourning, some kept the fires going and the incense burning, some made soup and offered comfort to those who cried, some shed tears to mourn the passing of a great man, and some ran about taking care of the necessities; such as building a coffin, obtaining an undertaker and other such practical bits.

My life was changed by this man, who I am honored to call a friend and mentor.  He taught me that fear was a gift which held deep power, when looked at head on.  He guided me as I walked on fire, carried me to my metaphorical grave, and introduced me to Stone Circles.  He was ever a magical child, and I have no doubt that he is dancing ecstatically with the Spirits that be.  I also know, having spoken to him more then once since his passing that he should be ready to work in 2 weeks (his words, not mine).  Hail and Farewell my friend!

 

2012 @ Dreamland...

2012 @ Dreamland…

All Hail, Ivan McBeth!

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SACRED TRAVELS…Merlin’s Cave [part 2…tintagel]

Tintagel sea coast, outside Merlin's Cave

Tintagel sea coast, outside Merlin’s Cave

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the difference between Vacation & Pilgrimage.  Vacation is warm and comfortable, it’s relaxing and filled with savory bits; yummy food & a bit of pampering.  Pilgrimage is challenging, often lacking in comfort and has a tendency to push one to their limits; always asking us to look deep for what more we have to offer, change and release.  Myself I prefer the latter.  I like to be pushed, to hover on the edge of what I can and cannot handle.

Traveling with 21 people can be challenging, no matter how wonderful those 21 people are.  Everyone has different needs, and getting all of us ready to go and in the vans on time is generally like herding cats.  Now I mean this in the best way possible, because I love cats.  But cats are independent and often have their own view on what they think is possible.  Another factor around time is that everything over here takes about 20 minutes, with some 20 minutes being much longer then others.  Yesterday we drove for 20 minutes into Tintagel.  It was a long 20 minutes, about 2. 5 hours.  I am learning that no matter what the suggested time travel is, it is not even close.  The roads are incredibly narrow, with high hedges and the people of this country seem to live in an alternate reality of meandering and lollygagging, getting there when you get there.  As someone who lives by a tight schedule in my regular world, this is one of the ways I am pushed out of comfort, and into more.

Outside the Witch Museum, sporting my completely impractical outfit for sea caving

Outside the Witch Museum, sporting my completely impractical outfit for sea caving

As I said earlier, I like to be pushed, in fact I seek it out.  I like to see what I am capable of and how much the universe has to offer.  I like to look at things from the perspective of the Seeker, learning what the world is about with the curiosity of a cat.  But like a cat, I am not always the most prepared gal.  Yesterday, I remembered my rubber boots, but decided I would be fine with a light sweater, short dress and cape.  Arriving in Tintagel, I was surprised by just how windy it was, and glad I wore full coverage underpants and I exposed myself to my fellow travelers in the parking lot, after exiting the van.  The rain was a bit heavier then I thought, but even this just made me think how I was going to need to pull on my reserves to get through the day; which involved entering a sea cave, how I was going to have to hold my dress down the entire day or be constantly flashing people my undies.

Then my trusty companion & Spirit Guide, Adam (my doorman) reminded me that I had left my raincoat in the van.  Brilliant…I had left it in the van, just for the purpose that I never knew when I would need it.  This was a great reminder to me, that when we release control and avoid panicking, the universe usually provides.  If I had been squirming about; fretting over my unsuitable clothes, I would not have heard his gentle reminder that I was more prepared then I thought.  As I donned my jacket, I couldn’t help thinking it was not only protecting me from the rain & wind, but coming down below my knees, it also solved my flashy dress predicament.  Life is good, and I was happy, warm and dry with low  (underwear) exposure in my future.

Merlin's Cave

Merlin’s Cave

Tintagel is the mythical birth home of Arthurian legend.  With it’s unpenetrable castle remains on top of a high cliff, complete with a large Sea Cave beneath it, it is truly magical.  I had been to Tintagel before in 2011, and decided to skip the castle remains as our time there was short and the weather is was very wet & blustery; not exactly the sort desired for being at a high elevation, with nothing to brace the elements (not to mention some serious land energy vortexes).  But the cave, now that was a different story.  In fact it was/is the story, the reason we traveled to Tintagel.

The back side of Merlin's Cave

The back side of Merlin’s Cave

Merlin’s Cave as it is known, is a sea cave.  It is open on both ends to the sea, and filled with water during high tide.  Visitors need to plan their visits to coincide with low tide, or you will not be able to enter.  We had planned accordingly, and arrived with plenty of time to explore & do a bit of magic (science that has not yet been explained).  My favorite sort of magic to do in places such as this, is sound.  I must first add, that the sound of the cave itself was magical; as the wind howled and whipped through the cave.  The acoustics were amazing and called to us to lend voice and join in the revelry.  Soon, many of our group were singing & toning, offering up our prayers for the land through our voices and energetic bodies.  We howled and swooned, and let the wind blow us about; being so powerful I could let myself lean back into it and be supported.

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Photo by Dynisio Singing with the Spirit of Place in Merlin’s cave

Our time in the cave was powerful, and we all explored, played an made magic in our own ways; receiving healing, giving healing, connecting to the land and one another as a group.  Magic is not a foreign thing, a scary thing, but a powerful piece of human existence.  It is the innate power that lies in all of us to connect to the unseen world and become more; both physical & spiritual.  Children connect in this way naturally, as it has not yet been trained out of them.  Most grown-ups need to relearn the ability to find magic, but when we do it is powerful and beautiful.

For me, Merlin’s cave was about recharging my battery.  The wind that howled through the cave, sang deeply to my heart and spirit, reminding me of the timelessness of my soul.  Fueling me with the vital life force the Earth itself gives to us.  Returning to England, for me is like returning to a lover, for I first came here in 2011 when I married the Earth.  To sit in the hollows of the mother/lover/Earth, I feel the love she gives to me, each and every day.  I am reminded of the magic and power that stirs, and swirls in her depths and in my very being.

After coming out of the depths of the mother, we finished our magical day at the Witch Museum in Boscastle.  I gave thanks for those that walked the path of the wise before me, the ones who suffered and were persecuted, and the ones who tended the needy from the hedge, and I gave thanks that today, I am able to use my gifts in the light of day.  Well I hope you enjoyed the read folks, I am off and running, onto my next adventure.

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Sacred Travel Blog…Wales [part 1….slow time]

wyrdsistersdrivingWales is a land of wonky internet, and in reality…no internet for me, so I have not been able to keep you all updated, as I would like.  So now that I have landed in Penzance, Corwall & I have internet.  I however do not have a lot of time, so I will keep my bits brief.

DrakeWe arrived in London early Sunday morning, and hit the road for Carmarthenshire, West Wales.  The joke in our van; is that it took 20 minutes…in reality it was a 7.5 hour drive, which I drove with no sleep.  I was thankful for my “Wyrd Sisters”  (the 2 women who are sharing driving responsibility with), as they kept me awake with good conversation & music.  I was also pleasantly surprised by how well I got along with them, and the rest of the pilgrims, as I knew only 3 people of the 21 travelers.  Driving in the UK, is challenging enough; left side of the road, left hand shifting (everything is standard), tall hedges, narrow roads…oh and did I say, I was driving a 16 passenger van.   Arriving in Wales; strung out on coffee, sugar, and the power of my Dark Totem “Squirrel on Crack”, I was every so thankful for a shower to remove the travel goobers from my skin and mind.

welshpubratsWales is a place in which time flows differently; 20 minutes can be 20 minutes, or it could be 2 hours…you never know.   Another thing about Wales is that they prefer time over money, and wouldn’t you know it…we arrived on Sunday after 4pm, which means all the grocery stores were closed.  We were how ever able to get Chicken Curry or Veggie Lasagna at the local pub.  This was magic & kindness combined, as they were not expecting 21 travelers.  The people of Wales were friendly, funny & even a bit, ok a lot flirtatious; particularly the man to the left of the pub picture, who reminded me of my father, something I made sure to tell him.

Barb

Barb (far right) the self-appointed, tour guide of Llansaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Along with friendly people in the pub, we ran into friendly people on the streets of the little town, particularly a lovely lady named Barb, who felt it her duty to give myself and 3 of my fellow pilgrims a tour of her beautiful little town.  She pulled us along at a trot, saying “come on girls, it’s just up here, you have to see this view.

The next day; after a good sleep, we began our exploring officially with Ros “the Red Witch of Wales”, as our tour guide.  I had the pleasure of knowing Ros from my Druid Pilgrimage in 2011, and was so glad to be spending time with her again.  She was a deep well of knowledge, with the personality of a grown up Pippy Longstockings; which makes it easy to see how I would love her.  We traveled to castles, caves under castles and sources of rivers.  It was magical, stunningly beautiful and the 3 days we spent there were truly outside of time, or better yet in slow time.  I believe this ‘slow-time’ is due to the fact that so much powerful magic was worked in Wales by the Druids of old.  Magic to keep their lands safe from invaders, and magic to honor the Earth itself.

Well my time is running short, as I am off for another day of adventure (I am in Cornwall for the next 3 days).  So I will leave you with some pictures and bits. I will try to come back to some of the tales, when I have more time.  The Bleeding Yews and Dolmen certainly deserve more time.  I hope you enjoy the read Folks.

LLasaint

LLansaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Ros, the Red Witch of Wales

Ros, the Red Witch of Wales

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