via STORIES OF SPIRIT…Entering the Otherworld [connecting with our Beloved Dead on Halloween]

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Entering the Otherworld [connecting with our Beloved Dead on Halloween]

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Entering the Otherworld [connecting with our Beloved Dead on Halloween]

Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot) is tomorrow, October 31st.  It is a time of honoring our Beloved Dead; our friends, family, loved ones and ancestors who have crossed the Veil into the land of the dead, entering what is often referred to as the Otherworld by spiritual practitioners.

The Otherworld is a place of Spirit.  In many traditions, it is seen as a realm inhabited by not only our Dead but by the Fae Beings (fairies, trolls, elves and the like).  It is an ethereal place where the body is not as important, a place where the eternal soul is paramount.  In the Otherworld form is mutable, beings residing there are not stuck to one shape, one form, one incarnation of self.  It is a place of creation, where communication comes not only in the form of words but through imagery, sound, feeling, and knowing.

I have traveled to the Otherworld many times, starting as a child when I would visit Spirits on the other side of the mirror; although to be quite honest, that was more of a video conference of sorts.  At this time, I also visited the world of Spirit in my dreams, particularly those that were Lucid (Lucid Dreaming-to be conscious/awake inside your dream).  Over the years I have visited this realm over and over again, in my dreams, while journeying (active spiritual dreaming) & by slipping through the veil with my physical body.

My experience of entering the Otherworld became of great importance when I was 30, and had a hugely significant spiritual opening; which I refer to as the November Incident.  Those of you who have read my book JUMP GIRL, the initiation & art of a spirit speaker, can refer to the 2 chapters dedicated (and titled) to this experience for more details.  During the November Incident, my spirit guide Adam taught me rules of engagement while in the Otherworld.  We spent many hours playing games in my mind in which we would transform from one image of self to another.  In many ways, this was familiar to a video game or a Bugs Bunny cartoon, for we would often trap on another and then figure out how to escape.  He would turn into smoke and I would suck him up with a straw, only for him to turn into ants tickling my esophagus until I coughed him up and out.  I would become a lioness only to have him form a cage around me, to which I would become a crow and fly free of the cage.  We spent many hours this way, developing my ability to change form at will while in the world of Spirit.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

Grammy Brown & my Dad ‘Richard’, two of my Beloved Dead.

The Veil thinning between the worlds does not just mean that Spirit is more likely to show up in our world, but it also means that those of us brave enough (or chosen) to venture may find ourselves in the Otherworld.   This is not a place one travels with their body, it is a journey we take with our spirit.  One that requires safeguarding, trust, and the ability to experience with an open mind.  We must put aside the idea that the only reality is the solid state of matter in which we live and the belief that what happens in our ‘mind’ has no effect on our physical reality.

Preparing for a Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot) visitation to the Spirit World-

For those of you who have never journeyed before I will give a brief logistical overview to make your voyage safer and more comfortable.

First, we must remember that we are in control of our body.  In short when it comes to this world, and our incarnation here in the physical, having a body means you have more power.  It means that the body you inhabit was assigned to you, this ownership means that Spirits can not inhabit your body unless you have asked them to, or allowed them in through the fearful belief that you are powerless.  One of the most important lessons I learned during the November Incident was that Spirits were no more important than the living.  Just because someone has died it does not make them more powerful.  Fear is what makes us powerless when we give over to fear we make ourselves vulnerable.  This is why I recommend only working with/seeking out your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) when you are beginning your work with Spirit.  For all beginners, and as a safe practice that before doing any Spirit work we call in a friend or family member in Spirit, who we trust, asking them to be our doorman/guardian on the other side.  This is a simple practice that not only helps us to feel stronger, but also offers us the benefit of having someone familiar with the Otherworld looking out for us.  Whenever I do Spirit work, whether it be personal or for clients I always start with inviting my doorman/spirit guide Adam to join me. 

PREPARING TO JOURNEY-take time to set up an ancestor altar in the room you will use for your astral travel.  Place pictures and mementos of your loved ones in Spirit on the altar, as well as flowers, crystals, holy symbols and whatever else brings you joy and remembrance of them.  Incense and candles are fantastic for setting the atmosphere, and good incense is often created with sacred herbs and resins that help alter the mind slightly, allowing us to slip into a deeper state of relaxation.  Don’t forget to place their favorite food, drink, smoke, treats on the altar as well.  This is an offering the dead love!  Make a comfortable spot for yourself to sit or lie down.  Dim the lights and spend a few moments relaxing your body.  I prefer a simple breathing technique for this.  *Aside note-sometimes it’s helpful to be lead through a journey, especially for beginners.  If you would like to take this approach, I suggest recording yourself reading the below information so that you may listen to it.

family altar

Before beginning your journey, check and make sure your altar is to your liking, light a candle, and incense, and take a few moments creating sacred space.  The easiest way to do this is to imagine there is a dot of white light in the center of your chest, as you breathe that light spreads our around you until it fully encompasses the room you are in.  At this time, you may call in whatever guardian spirits and/or deities your work with.

*Circular breathing- with your spine straight, eyes closed, breathe deeply in through and out through your nose.  On the inhale count the length of your breath, as you slowly inhale.  Now exhale through your nose for the same count.  Do this for 5 full breaths.

*Relaxing your body-As you continue to breathe deeply; trying to keep to a rhythmic pace of equal time inhaling as exhaling.  Now bring your attention to your toes, and allow your consciousness to pull energy from your feet/the earth slowly up over the back of your body, all the way to the top of your crown, and then back down over the front of your body until it touches your toes/ground again, repeat this for 5 full cycles.

*At this point you should be deeply relaxed, and ready to begin your journey (this is the part you may want to record yourself reading)…

As your breathing becomes deeper and deeper, you find yourself standing at the edge of a forest.  As you look around your perception awaken, allowing you to observe your surrounding with whatever senses are strongest for you.  You continue your deep breathing, and remind yourself that every person experiences the world of Spirit differently, there is no right way or wrong way, only your way.  The woods around you is vibrant and teeming with life, pay close attention to what you perceive, taking in all the details you can.

Before you lies a path, leading deeper into the lush woodland.  There is a mist laying heavy along the forest floor, adding a feeling of mystery, and there seems to be a warm glow coming from a sun you cannot see.  Again your awareness is pulled to the details along the path, as you wind your way deeper and deeper into the green.  Pay close attention to any creature/animal/being that presents themselves to you.  Staying in the role of observer, remembering that now is not the time for analyzing what you see, it is a time to be present & aware.

As you make your way along the path, you see the remains of an ancient building ahead of you.  It is in ruins, the remains of what was, a place of betwixt and between, where memory lies heavy.  Allow yourself the time to take in the details of the remains that are before you.  As you walk around the site, you notice the mist has become thicker, making it hard to see the ground on which your feet trod.  As you make your way around the ruins, you notice a stairway leading into the ground.  There is a deep feeling of magic around the stairwell, a feeling of mystery and something that feels like the tickling of a memory.  This is a place you have been before, although you may not remember when or how.  There is a feeling of dreaming about you.

You step onto the top stair and remember to invite your spirit guide/doorman to join you.  You feel a familiar presence stand beside you, you may observe them in whatever manner comes to you, trusting your senses, and being careful not to make expectations.  You begin to descend the stairwell, as you place your foot on the step below, make note of what you see, what does the stair look like? what is it made of? what are you wearing upon your feet?  You descend the steps, counting as you go…9….8…..7…..6…..5….4….3….2….1…

At the bottom of the stairs you find a door, again it is familiar to you.  Make note of whatever details you can.  You open the door and before you is a room, with 2 chairs and a fireplace.  You take a deep breath in and out before entering the room, allowing yourself to feel calm and present.  In one of the chairs, someone is waiting for you.  You step into the room and make your way to the empty chair, making note of the details of the room as you cross it.  As you sit down in your chair you see/sense/know who it is sitting in the chair next to you.  They are one of your Beloved Dead, a loved one in Spirit come to visit with you on this All Hallows Eve.

Allow yourself to sit for a moment acclimating to your surroundings, permitting yourself to observe and emotionally connect with the Spirit that has come to visit.  In this time, in this space, you are completely protected.  Take a few breaths here, as you do not want to rush.  When you feel acclimated to the presence of your loved one, ask them if they have any messages for you. Take a few moments here, breathing deeply, and receiving whatever communication they wish to share, remembering that some Spirits communicate in words, some in images, some in a deep sense of knowing.  Whatever way your message comes through be thankful.

You now may share your own feelings/messages with your Beloved Dead, you may also at this time offer up to them the treats (food, drink, smoke) you placed on your altar, knowing that what you offer here in the Otherworld is also being offered on your altar in the world of the living.

As your time in the Otherworld comes to an end, your Beloved Dead presents you with an offering, a gift that they believe will help you on your spiritual path.  Make note of what they present to you, for it is an item you should seek out in the waking world.  As you accept your gift, give thanks.  You are beginning a relationship in spirit that will be a profound asset to your waking life.  The item they present you with will be a key to connecting with them in the future.

It is now time to return, you say your goodbyes and turn for the door.  As you walk across the room, once more take note of any details you perceive.  Upon opening the door you see/sense the familiar stairwell in front of you.  You take a deep breath in & out and begin your ascent to the surface.  1…2…3….4….5…6…7…8…9…

You are again standing in the misty ruins deep in the forest, the path leading home stretched out in front of you.  At this time, thank your guardian/doorman for accompanying you on your journey.  As you leave the ruins the mist begins to dissipate until the trail you are following comes to an end in the room, you inhabit in the waking world.  You see the altar you have set up for your ancestors and the familiar body that you call self, sitting and waiting for you.  You slip into your body and begin to become aware of the Waking World.

Begin by wiggling your fingers and toes, then move onto a soft slapping of your arms in legs, connecting fully with your physical body.  At this point say out loud, my work is complete, I am fully back in my physical form.  Do this for a couple of minutes, then pick up a journal and write down whatever you experienced.  Knowing that we all experience the Otherwold differently.  To complete your work (after journalling), pick up your candle, and walk counter-clockwise around your room, thanking all the spirits that came this night, those seen and unseen, reminding them that now is the time in which they must leave your space and return to their own.

So mote it be!

I hope you enjoyed the read and the journey.  The Otherworld is as real as ours, only different.  Visits from our Beloved Dead come in all shapes and forms, what we receive in a journey is ours, and may very well be like no others.  Some people are naturally proficient in journeying, while others struggle at first.  If you are a person who struggled, you may repeat this exercise daily for 3 days after Halloween.  Making a note each time in the journal of your progression.  We are all spiritual beings, and this is not foreign to us, only forgotten.  Our Ancestors have used the art of journeying to communicate with their Beloved Dead for time untold.  I wish you a magical Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot), may your Spirits bless you with a visit.

spreading love-Salicrow

salicrow.com

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Embracing the Darkness [the wheel of the year, hygge, and spirit honoring]

The first snow has settled on the forested hilltop, I call home, bringing with it feelings of slumber and deep knowing.  It calls to me to get comfortable; put on my sweater pants & neckwarmers, and begs me to go deep into my own being.  We, like all living things, are connected to the planet we live on, and her cycles have a great pull on our lives.  When we listen and flow with the current of nature we find balance and understanding.

I began acknowledging the effects of seasonal change on my life when I was in my early 20’s and started exploring Wicca and other Earth-based spiritual practices.  The rotation of the Wheel of the Year is a significant factor in most spiritual practices associated with nature, for such teachings recognize that we are part of our world, not separate from it.  This belief is a powerful one that makes us look at ourselves and the world around us differently.  It is a lens through which we can perceive that which is hidden, both in ourselves and in the environment.

The Wheel of the Year is a cycle of seasonal holidays observed by most pagans.  It consists of 4 quarter dates, marked by the Solstices & Equinoxes, and 4 cross-quarter dates that note the halfway points between. 

We are fast approaching on one of these markers on the Wheel of the Year-Samhain/Halloween.  Halloween which is known as Samhain in the Celtic traditions, Alfablot (sacrifice to the elves) in Old Norse, and Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead in Hispanic culture, and All Saints Day to the Catholics.  All of these celebrations take place within a period of 3 days; October 31st-November 2nd and they are all associated with honoring the dead (note-All Saints day is about honoring dead Saints in particular).  Coincidence?  I think not…

Until modern times people had to live in close relationship with the Earth, as we were more likely to have healthier livestock and fuller harvests if we knew a thing or two about the cycles of the planets.  This relationship also allowed us to refocus and renew our own spirits, for slowing down in winter gave us time to be crafty and cunning, to tell stories around the fire and to reconnect with our families.  These cycles were not limited to those who experienced the drastic seasonal changes of the North, for all places cycle…

Knowing the cycle nature takes in our area is vital to mental balance.  In the North, the darkness of Winter can be hard for many; Seasonal-affective disorder is a thing.  It is particularly hard if we create unreasonable goals for ourselves in the winter months.  This is not a call to full-on hibernation, it is instead a notice to be kind to yourself, to recognize that your body wants to move slower in the dark season.  To take it as an invitation to sit around the coffee shop and chat with friends on your day off, instead of tackling a major project.  It is a suggestion to pick up a handcraft such as knitting or crochet and become productive in a way that lets your mind wander and dream…for the Winter months are for dreaming and planning.  It is also a reminder that when we connect to the season we do not seek to avoid it.  The Norwegian people have this one down…they call it Hygge!

Hygge {Hue-gah}-The feeling of comfort and cozy, with friends or alone.  It is about embracing the unique aspects of the Winter.

For those of you wondering why the fuck I am talking about Winter when it isn’t even Halloween yet, don’t worry…I am getting there.  Halloween in Vermont very often comes with snow, those of us who live in the North are familiar with the need to incorporate Winter Jackets into our kids Halloween costumes.  (A few years ago, my granddaughter went as a Vermont Wonder Woman, which means she had a jacket under her outfit and a Winter hat instead of a circlet).  Therefore Hygge/embracing the Winter season is important to us now, for Winter is certain to embrace us.

Samhain/Halloween has changed a lot for me over the years.  I am still in love with costumes and the mirth associated with the season, but as my spiritual practices have evolved, my reverence for the Dead and the Otherworld has become paramount in my celebrations.  I take the time to remember my Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) at this time.  When I pull out my box of Halloween decorations, I find resting on top, pictures of my loved ones in Spirit.  I pull them out lovingly and give them a place of honor in my home.  My home becomes a place of memories as I go about my daily life.  I place most of the photos in my kitchen, as that is where my working altar is.  Here along the window sills, and upon my altar I place photos of the ones I love…a picture of Adam walking along the ocean, my father in his Marine dress uniform, the high school photo of my grandmother Eulalie, Grammy Brown when she was most likely my age, my grandfather sitting in the backyard, my friend Mike with his mouth wide open in laughter, my husbands grandparents whom I loved like my own (particularly Grammy Bickford), and my Aunt Sissy & I hugging the last time I saw her.

You can choose to live this way.  It is not a religious thing, it does not require you to say any vows or swear allegiance, it is simply a choice to be connected.  Something we could all use in these times of change.  Hell being more connected to our world, naturally makes us more compassionate and concerned with what’s going on, but it also gives us a sense of belonging…

Here is a how-to on embracing the season & honoring your Beloved Dead-

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What you will need- pictures of your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones, ancestors), memorabilia-trinkets that help us remember, religious or spiritual items if you choose, any candle

*choose a space to display your photos and memorabilia-this can be one shelf or throughout your home, it does help to have them somewhat contained, so my suggestion is to keep it to one room.  I choose the kitchen, as it is where I keep my working altar.

*Keep the photos up as long as you like, but I recommend at least the 3 days before and after Samhain/Halloween.

*During the time you have the photos up, talk about your Beloved Dead, tell stories of them, sing their favorite songs, drink their favorite beverages, eat their favorite foods, REMEMBER THEM…this is the greatest honor we can give to our Spirits, the gift of remembrance.

*Remember the Hygge of the situation, embrace the dark season and the places in our memory it takes us.  Be comfortable while you remember and honor, cuddle up on your couch and watch an old Halloween special, remembering your childhood when your mother/father/grandparent sat with you as you sat fascinated by the magic of the season.

*Light a candle on your altar, or in the room, you have your photos set up whenever you are able.  This is a symbol to your Beloved Dead that you are calling out to them.

Remember that everyone has the ability to feel their Beloved Dead, like a candle flame in the darkness your Spirits, can use to find you.  Although the ways they communicate with you may be subtle…dreams, songs, birds, knowing, feeling, smelling, they are trying.  If you are seeking deep connection with your Dead I suggest reaching out to a Medium https://www.salicrow.com/, for we are more like Light Houses; giving off a much broader span of light and attracting more spirits, making communication easier.

Whether you choose to connect with your Beloved Dead this season or not, I highly suggest welcoming Hygge into your life.  Savor and enjoy every moment, the cold rainy days & the snowy blustery days as well.  Our environment stirs up emotion in us and helps us to better understand ourselves.  My other suggestion is to get yourself good winter gear.  Be warm, you will like it better!

Stories of Spirit…Where has Sali been all summer? [expansion, growth & the Grindstone Cafe & Wellness Center]

The Veil between the worlds is thinning, and my spirit is longing for the deep introspection of the winter months. I am ready for cozy layers and deep conversations over hot cups of coffee, and I am ready to write again.  Many of you may have noticed that I have been absent from my weekly blogging this summer.  In fact, I have not had time to write for the last 4 months, as I have been driven by wild squirrels; revved up on caffeine.

I have spoken often of my relationship with Squirrel, and how I consider ‘Squirrel on Crack’ to be my dark totem.  The concept of ‘dark totem’ is one most people are surprised by, never having heard the term before.  There is a good chance I made up the terminology, but the role and effect are real.

A ‘Dark Totem’ is one in which we must be leary of the personality traits that we have in common.  In my case, I have a tendency to take on the not so pleasant aspects of Squirrel, the running to and fro…gathering, gathering, gathering, do, do, do.  I have to be careful how long I play with Squirrel energy as it will burn me out.  My analogy of ‘Squirrel on Crack’ is due to the fact that my squirrel runs faster than normal and then crashes hard like an overzealous party guest.  Working with a ‘dark totem’ animal requires constant vigilance, as what they bring to the table is helpful in the short run, but often destructive if engaged with for too long.  That being said, the Squirrel and I are getting ready to part ways, we need some time apart.

Last year I was sitting in my living room when a familiar voice popped into my mind.  The voice was my own, but it was not my mind simply chattering with itself, it was my voice speaking to me from the distant future.  {This is something I have done throughout my life, in fact, my sister Sandy and I started communicating with our adult selves in the mirror when we were 3-4 years old.}  The message I brought to myself was that my life would become significantly more intense in the year to come/this year-2018.  That the speed/fullness of my life would jump from 1-10 in the blink of an eye.  At the time of the telling, I believed that this was simply in reference to my book coming out and all that would entail.  In truth, the book was only half of it.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

In May of this year, I approached my business partner Kim; whom I owned a small cafe & studio with, about renting another room in the building, noting that with my schedule, yoga and the workshops we were offering we were running out of space.  The next day, our landlady called us to say that the tanning salon next door would not be renewing their lease.  We took this as a sign that we were ready for more than another room.

On June 1st we began construction and our little cafe & studio began the journey of expansion…one that absorbed my summer and a good portion of the fall.  What was a small coffee shop with an upstairs studio space, that functioned as my office, a yoga studio, and workshop space, was transformed into a large espresso bar/cafe, retail shop and wellness center with 2 classrooms, and 5 practioner rooms.  All of this was going on while I was still carrying on my regular client hours, teaching occasional workshops and doing a bit of sacred travel.  It was a huge effort, made more enjoyable by the many hands that contributed….so there you have it, the where the fuck was Sali, why hasn’t she been writing question has been answered.

The Grindstone Cafe & Wellness Center https://www.facebook.com/grindstonecafe/is now 90% complete, and I am now in the act of organizing my own work schedule.  Which brings me to point #2…I have brought on a SCHEDULING ASSISTANT!  After a summer of crazy, squirrel infused action, I decided it was time to really get organized and that I was not qualified to do so myself.  Those of you reaching out to me for appointments will notice that inquiries are now being signed HUGIN & MUNIN, not Spreading love-salicrow.  HUGIN & MUNIN is the working moniker of my scheduling assistant.  They are also the names of Odin’s Ravens Hugin-thought & Munin-memory. Please note that any messages you send me will stay confidential, as my assistant has worked in the medical field and is quite aware of HIPAA regulations.  We will be working to streamline scheduling and will be asking all inquiries be sent to Sali@salicrow.com (my scheduling email), or to my professional Facebook page Salicrow, Psychic Medium.  If you send a scheduling message to my private Sali Crow Facebook page, you will get a response sending you to my email or my professional page.

I thank you all for your patience and understanding as I go through this big time of change.  Please note-I am back to my regular writing routine and you should be hearing from me again weekly!

spreading love-salicrow