STORIES OF SPIRIT…Talking to the Dead in Public [elders, ancestors, and offerings]

I did a Seance the other day, sitting at a picnic table in front of a coffee shop.  The weather was a bit chilly and the elderly lady who sat in a wheelchair parked at the end of the table was bundled up in a fuzzy blanket.

I have done Spirit Communication in front of large crowds, and I have spoken to the dead under some unusual circumstances…I once did a Seance in a trailer in Florida, while the cable guy did an installation.  But this was my town, and the corner I sat on was in front the cafe that houses my studio.  It’s a busy part of town, and as my neighbors walked by they called out “Hi Sali”, oblivious to the fact that I was deep in a conversation with dead people.

The family I sat with had arrived at my studio for a Seance, but there had been a miscommunication, they had not heard me say that it was above the Grindstone Cafe, which meant upstairs.  They had their elderly mother with them; a woman close to 90 who was being pushed in a wheelchair.  As the cafe, itself is too busy &  close quartered to offer the privacy needed for such services, and they had traveled a long distance, we were left with only one option…the picnic table outside.

The weather was chilly, so I offered up a warm, fuzzy blanket from my healing space to help keep the family matriarch warm.  When her daughter draped the red blanket over her head and tucked it in around her frail body her appearance changed, she suddenly looked more like a priestess then grandmother.  I found myself thinking of the importance of the role of elder.  How wisdom and memory are gifts of time that only some of us are fortunate enough to experience.

It was a family of women I sat with; a mother, 2 daughters and a granddaughter.  They had come to communicate with the menfolk of their life, who had already departed for the world of spirit.  The women sitting together around the table with me had a strong bond with one another.  In fact, the family matriarch lived with her daughter and granddaughter, multiple generations living in one home.  I have lived this way, both as a child and as a grandmother.  I lived with my parents and grandparents a couple of times in my childhood, and both of my children have come home to live with me, bringing their children with them.  Although I do not live that way now, I know it and appreciate it.

In my work as a Medium, I have been introduced to many interpretations of the word family.  Some families are very small, consisting of one parent and a couple of kids, some are large including nieces, nephews, and grandparents/great grandparents and every kind of 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousin you could imagine.  Family is something we all want, even if the one we are born into is not healthy for us, we still find ourselves missing it, or at least the idea of it.  There is something about shared history that helps us to accept the toll of time, and the dance of death.  By remembering those who have come before us, and watching those who have come after us, we see that we are more than this lifetime.  We are part of something greater.

When I was in Ireland, I had the opportunity to stay with an old Irish family, the O’Hanlons.  They were fantastic people with a rich family history, documented for over 1000 years.  I was blown away by this, and envious of the wealth of information they had on their ancestors.  Most of us are lucky to know if we who our great-great-grandparents were, let alone dozens of generations.

The Celts believe we reincarnate into our soul family.  That we step back onto the genetic trail that we have walked before.  I have seen this very thing while doing Past Life Readings for people.

The example that stands out the most clearly for me is this…The woman I was Reading for had a past life in which she came into the Boston during the early days of settlement.  She was a man in that life and had been born into a family of blacksmiths.  She, however, did not take the family path, instead deciding to become a doctor.  As I told her of the life I saw for her, she got excited and said: “That was my great-great-great grandfather.”  She had been doing some genealogy work, and as I spoke of her past life, she recognized an ancestor along her family tree.

Ancestor honoring is something I am quite passionate about.  Not because I see them as superhuman or close to deity, but because without our ancestors we would not be here.  We, humans, are genetically made up of the bits and pieces of our family DNA. We are amazing beings, and we don’t know shit about the complexity that we are.  Over the next couple of blogs, it is my hope to share a bit of my own practice of ancestor honoring, and the simple ways in which I recognize the family that has gone before me.  Today’s tip is about food, drink, and smokes.

The dead love to remember their favorite foods, beverages, and smokes.  If they were a smoker in life a simple way to give honor to them is to put a cigarette on your altar, or if you smoke yourself sit and have one while thinking about them.  If they loved to drink coffee, have your morning coffee while talking about them.

Yesterday I went out into the woods near Lake Willougby with my sister Sandy.  We were heading out to make offerings to the Fae Folk/Fairies and brought some snacks for ourselves.  As I crossed the bridge near her house, on the way to pick her up, my father (who is dead) exclaimed out of my mouth “Beef jerky Kid”.  He mentioned beef jerky 3 more times before I got to the store, and finally was satisfied when I bought a meat stick (more of a slim jim/then beef jerky).  At the lake, my sister and I both ate some while we talked about him.  I wasn’t surprised at all that he wanted to be included in our excursion as he had a deep love of the woods, that and my sister was wearing one of his flannel shirts when I arrived to pick her up.

Honoring our ancestors is in many ways honoring ourselves, for without those who walked before us, we would not be here today.  Our blood sings with the songs of our elders.  Some of the songs may be hard, sad songs, others soft and beautiful.  But whatever the song, it is our song and we are here to add to it, change it, carry on with it, in whatever way is ours.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  I will be writing more on ancestor honoring over the next couple of weeks.

spreading love-salicrow

 

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…The Solitary Samhain [Halloween alone with the spirits]

I woke up this morning with a feeling of loneliness.  As I perused through the images on my Facebook feed of ‘Witches High Tea’ and spiritual retreats, I felt a longing for the days of my past when I would be preparing with my coven or druid order for the upcoming Samhain/Halloween ceremony.

There is something beautiful about being part of a group, a deep sense of belonging and collaboration.  We humans, seek out such connections because it helps us identify ourselves.  We inspire, give support and challenge one another.  In many ways, we learn who we truly are when we interact with others.  Our similarities and differences of opinion and values help forge us into the individuals we are.  I love the idea of being part of something, but like most relationships, the people in them evolve, roles we take change and often we move on.  I suppose I am one of those that move on.  It’s not that I cannot commit, but more that my life often takes me on the winding road, with paths so narrow that I must often walk alone; part of the balance required if we are to truly know ourselves.

Loneliness is powerful, it has much to teach us about ourselves.  Many people try to avoid it at all cost choosing instead to fill their days with endless social media check-ins and the mindless chatter of superficial conversation.  Few people are comfortable with the thoughts that speak to them from the shadows of their mind.  We have become accustomed to identifying ourselves solely by the value that others place on us.  This is unfortunate for the shadow has much to offer us.  The path of one is also powerful.

I have no group to work my All Hallows magic with, I have groups I can join, and groups I can lead, but I have no group to which I currently belong, and yet I feel the call of my Ancestors, asking me to prepare for their holy night.  I am comfortable with my solitary position and accept the loneliness as fitting for embracing the veil of death.  I know that I have many friends who are waiting for me on the other side, reaching out for contact.  As a Medium, my days are filled with speaking to those who have passed on, to the Beloved Dead, but they are not mine, they are the loved ones of others, of the people who I help with my work.

I don’t know what Halloween will hold for me this year.  I wanted to do something fantastic, to go the extra mile in helping others have a truly spirited experience, so that they may walk away knowing what it feels like to cross the veil.  But there has been a hesitation, a delay.  I have not put out the announcement, and invited others to join me…instead I have paused, taken a deep breath and without intention chosen the solitary approach.  I feel that this year, I am being asked to go through the veil alone and that something/someone in that depth has need of me without the bonds of others. There is a teaching waiting for me in the shadow, and I must find my way there.

I feel regret for those of you who have become accustomed to joining me in the Betwixt & Between, crossing the veil at this time of year with my guidance and will indeed hold such space for you again in the future.  But for now I must follow the path of loneliness where it leads me.  I have prepared a Samhain Celebration for those of you who would like a little guidance in honoring your Beloved Dead this Halloween season.

ANCESTOR HONORING & the THINNING OF THE VEIL

You will need-

*Pictures and mementos of your loved ones

*A white Candle

*Offerings for your Beloved Dead (their favorite food, drink, smoke, flowers, perfume, etc)

Your altar should be a thing of beauty.  Choose your mementos wisely.  They do not need to be the most expensive, instead, they should hold sentimental value.  Prepare yourself for the ceremony as if you are going to a wedding, funeral, or church.  For you are having a very important date, and it is a sacred thing.

*Dim the lights in the room, light the candle on your altar.

*Imagine yourself surrounded by white light, that emanates out from your heart chakra (the center of your chest).  Take approximately 5 minutes to create sacred space.  With each breath out, the light around you is strengthened.  This white light is a protective bubble, allowing only the spirits of your Beloved Dead to be present.  With every inhale, call your loved ones to you with your mind.

*If you have offerings for you Beloved Dead (food/drink/smoke/perfume), speak to your dead of them, how you remember their favorites and have brought this offering for them.  Its ok to partake in the offerings, as long as you are doing so as an offering for your loved ones in Spirit.

*soften your gaze, allowing your eyes to focus on the light of the candle while allowing your peripheral vision to become enhanced. Wide angle vision is the same type of viewing we use to make pictures pop out in those 3d art pieces and the gaze that hunters use to keep their prey from feeling their eyes on them.

*Breathe deeply and stay relaxed.  Spend time with your concentration soft, allowing your loved ones to present themselves in whatever way that they may….scent, sight, hearing, touch.

*When you are finished close your circle, by thanking your Beloved Dead for being present and ask them to go in peace.  Blow out your candle, and leave your altar up for a day or two if you can.

*Take note of your dreams the following nights, as dreams are an easier place for spirits to make contact.

 

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

Stories of Spirit…I Choose Not to Hate [tolerance, social media, and respect]

It’s hot, too hot for late September in northern Vermont.  I am irritated and tired.  I don’t particularly like summer weather in July, let alone when it’s almost October.  The irritated part of myself is dumbfounded by the craziness of the country we live in and the multitude of ways we are distracted by the things that don’t really matter.

Social media is going crazy with meme’s of the flag; from people sharing their frustration over people not respecting it, and just as many people declaring the right to freedom of speech and protest.  I am not here to choose a side.  In fact, I choose not to take a side as I feel the whole thing is distracting from the death and destruction that has befallen thousands of people affected by the recent hurricanes and earthquakes.

*photo Stahr Crow

I understand people are passionate about freedom and the flag.  On a personal level, I stand with the flag. My father was a Marine wounded in battle, who spent most of his life carrying the scars of his service.  That being said I respect the fact that we live in a country which grants us the freedom to honor the flag or not, depending on our personal values.  That freedom is what men like my father fought for.

This blog is not about the flag, it is not about protest, it is about paying attention.  We are living in a time of great change, and we are all being triggered.  The change I speak of is happening on multiple levels.  It is an energetic change, in which the human species is evolving, becoming more empathic.  It is a change on an environmental level, in which our planet and its people are suffering the consequences of the abuse we have placed upon it.  It is a change brought about by overpopulation and the fear of not enough and it is the change created by global socialization and electronics.

We are in many ways overstimulated.  Like a child diagnosed with attention deficit, we are unable to stay focused on anything for long enough to understand it.  We are jumping emotionally and analytically from subject to subject, tragedy to tragedy, afront to afront without actually taking time to sit with our thoughts.  Where last week we were pulling together for our family, friends, and countrymen who were facing the onslaught of natural disaster, this week we are up in arms with our opinions around an athlete and his behaviors.  Really? Is he so important that his actions deserve our attention in the same way that hundreds of people losing their homes and livelihood does?  Are we really that fickle that our thoughts are turned by something that should be featured on the front page of a tabloid?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I understand he is doing something he feels is important, just as those of you who oppose his actions, and those of you who applaud his actions feel your opinions are noteworthy.  But let us take just a minute to think how this hatred, and separation into factions is taking its toll on our nation.  We are self-destructing and in many ways, it’s due to social media.

Social media can be a thing of goodness, connecting us to our family & friends through pictures and stories.  It can even be a source of education if we take the time to check the facts and make sure it’s not made up bullshit.  But it can also be a virus, one that slips into our thoughts filling us with feelings of insult and injustice.  It can separate us into categories that we wouldn’t even know we existed in 10 years ago.  I grew up with an understanding that there were certain things you didn’t talk about in casual conversation with those who were really not much more than acquaintances…because let’s face it, that’s what Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends are.  Hell most of us have friends on Facebook that we wouldn’t even stop to chat with if we saw them in the grocery store.  But here we are shooting off about whatever comes across our social media feed to whoever will hear us, and we are doing so with passion.

I am not asking you to agree with me, and I am hoping you will read this blog article with the love I am intending it to be laden with.  I am not trying to insult anyone, I am simply asking “Would you go into your local grocery store, pub, or library and speak out as in the same manner as you do on social media?”  

We need to realize we are all being triggered.  We are being triggered because we are scared.  Deep down inside there is a fear that comes from the discontent of our nation and climate change.  I am not asking people to turn a blind eye, I am not asking people to stand by when injustices are happening.  I am simply saying we need to take a moment, sit back and ask ourselves if we would so vehemently proclaim our opinions if we were standing on the local street corner, mini mart, or school function.  We need to remember what it means to be decent and kind to one another.

This triggering I speak of is multi-faceted.  As I said in the beginning of this blog it is partly due to the fact that we are becoming more empathic.  That means as a species we are developing another sense, a sense that allows us to feel the emotions of others.  This can be overwhelming, and can easily feel like an out of control game of pinball, with emotions flying all over the place.  Without understanding what it means to be empathic or how to control it, we are bringing in emotions from everyone we come in contact with, and as we do we mix them all together and shoot them back at the world to be mixed in with others emotions.  You can see how this can quickly become a mind-fuck.  The thing is, this emotional craziness is not limited to sharing physical space with others.  It can be picked up over the internet, through social media.  We can feel the emotion people put behind their Facebook status and Tweets.  We can feel it and we are responding to it.

When I was a girl I went to family counseling at the VA hospital when my father checked himself in to deal with his alcoholism.  In the meeting, the counselor told me and my sisters that in an alcoholic family the children statistically fell into particular personality types, as a way of coping with the addiction.  As he spoke I recognized myself in one of the descriptions, and my two sisters in other personality types he spoke of.  This set off a revolution in my head.  I did not want to be a statistic.  In fact, I refused to be a statistic.  The information I was given challenged me to change how I was living, as I did not want to live my life following a pattern created for me out of destruction.  I feel the same way about social media and the effect it has on our behavior.  I refuse to become someone who sits in the safety of my living room preaching hate!  I refuse to allow myself to forget my humanity and social conscience.  I may not always agree with my neighbors, but I do not need to fight with them over every last thing that pisses me off.  Frankly, I just don’t want to live my life with that much negativity in it.

If people spent half as much time doing something kind, as they do bitching about what they don’t like in the world we would find a lot more peace in our lives.

I am not asking people to stand down in regards to things that they are passionate about.  I am simply saying we need to think before we post on social media, imagine that the audience you are speaking to is standing in front of you, all of them…your whole audience.  Some opinions and conversations are best spoken to our trusted friends, and family, not our acquaintances and neighbors.

I will continue to send energy to the people of our nation and the world.  I pray for peace, tolerance, and understanding.  I am proud to be an American, even if I am not proud of all of the actions happening in our nation at this time.  I am also proud to be a kind person, one who chooses tolerance and love over intolerance and hate.

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travels…Fairy Trees, Rainbows and Stone Circles [The Piper Stones of County Wicklow]

There are alignments that happen in life in which you truly feel the presence of magic, even if you are unfamiliar with such things.  For most people the feeling is associated with awe, Druids would call it Awen.

Awen is the spirit of creativity, and Druids believe that for anything to manifest there must first be a moment in which thought is transformed into being.  We have all experienced it.  For some experiencing Awen is accompanied by goosebumps, for others there is a deep sense of knowing.  Like when you wish upon a star, and know that wish will come true.  It is a time of deep magic.

I experienced such a moment while visiting the Piper Stones in County Wicklow, Ireland.

We had traveled through the Wicklow Gap with our host, the O’Hanlons. The gap itself is quite stunning, with mountains covered in icy mist and winds that could easily knock you off balance.  It was a place of raw energy, that made me think of the difficulty early man endured…for I was wearing a long raincoat, an insulated under jacket, and high leather boots.  Early man had traveled through such terrain wearing nothing more then sandals, scraps of wool wrapped around their legs, and woolen cloaks.

The Piper Stones, also known as the Athgreany stone circle is not a tourist destination.   http://www.megalithicireland.com/Athgreany%20Stone%20Circle.html There is no monument center, or tour buses.  It is relatively unknown to anyone but locals, or those obsessed with such things who know how to Google search.  There is a small sign on the side of the road, next to a pull off, and a short walk through a field populated by sheep.

The circle is on the top of a small mound, overlooking the surrounding fields.  It consists of 14 granite stones, most standing upright but a few lying down.  There were originally 17 stones, but 3 are now missing.  In early days, farmers often re-purposed stones for use in stonewalls and the likes.  Along with the stones, there is a beautiful Hawthorn Cloutie tree https://salicrow.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cloutie-tree/ present in the circle.

The Piper Stones was one of two stone circles I visited on this trip to Ireland.  As much as I love them, my visit was filled with other sacred spaces, such as the Giants Causeway, the Blarney Stone, Newgrange & Knowth.  So naturally getting to stand within the stones was powerful for me, as stone circles are often aligned to astronomical and earthly locations.  They were places of worship, particularly by those with a close relationship to the earth.

I placed my prayers among the Hawthorn cloutie tree, and opened myself to the energy there.  I gave offerings and sang songs of Spirit.  It was powerful, and I felt truly blessed.

photo credit-meagan o’hanlon

 

When as I stepped away from the Cloutie tree, I saw another Hawthorn down in the field and it called to me.  To say it called to me, means that I felt its presence from a distance.  I knew it wanted me to visit it as well, and I knew that in many ways it held deep personal magic for me.

As I approached the tree, I began to sing to it.  I noticed that plants grew at its base, plants that I knew to be sacred, known for their healing powers and magical potency…nettle and holly  surrounded the base of the tree.  I reached out to the touch the tree, feeling that my presence was welcome, and it communicated to me that I was allowed to harvest thorns from it.

Hawthorn is a magical tree, with a deep connection to the Fairy folk, it is said that one should never take anything from a fairy tree; particularly one standing in a field by itself, unless permission is given.  My advice here is “If you are unclear to whether permission is given or not, then it is not!”

In my case permission was not only given, but instructed.  I was allowed to take take 7 thorns for myself (the Hawthorn tattoo on my left shoulder has 7 thorns on it), 3 for my sister, and 8 for the magical family, I reconnected to in England last year.

I was deep in trance as I collected the thorns, singing and listening as I went.  I was completely in tune with the tree, knowing that I was taking part in a magical blessing and receiving a powerful gift.  After collecting the last thorn, I looked up from the tree and saw a rainbow before me, or the end of a rainbow more accurately.  Seeing this brought tears to my eyes and reinforced my belief that I was receiving a great blessing.

As I was down in the field near the Hawthorn tree, my husband and our host/friends were standing in the stone circle.  The rainbow was fantastic from where they stood.  They told me later they had tried to get me to turn around for the picture, but I was too deeply involved in my work to hear them.  I think the picture is better this way, as it shows the nature of what was really going on.

Small acts of magic happen all the time, but most of us miss them.  Sometimes though we are blessed with exceptional moments of spirit, that we simply cannot help but see for what they are.  My time in the Piper Stones was one of those moments.  I am sure to return there in the future.

An interesting fact about the circle is that when we arrived there was a local man rolling up a yoga mat.  He said he came there daily to meditate.  What a joy that must be.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  I will be back in the States on September 13th, ready for the Mabon season and my work with the Beloved Dead.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

SACRED TRAVEL…There be Giants in the North [the giant’s causeway]

I spoke earlier about my journey up Sleive Gullion; the most sacred mountain in Ireland, in my previous blog, now I will speak of my second experience with land sacred to Giants…the Giants Causeway.

When I take part in Sacred Travel, I am careful not to over-plan, as I am aware that the hidden gems lay in the hand of the locals.  That being said, there were two items on my list for Northern Ireland…Sleive Gullion & the Giants Causeway.

Traveling in early September is ideal for missing out on long lines at popular spots, that are considered national landmarks, as long as you are OK with a bit of unpredictable weather.  Me, I do just fine with such thing, and always remember to pack for any kind of weather…raincoat & thin parkas are advised.  There are benefits to traveling in September, such as kids going back to school, which means the crowds are a lot more manageable.

Having experienced this at Blarney Castle, where the normal wait to kiss the stone could be an hour & I was fourth in line, we decided to take our chances and drive straight to the causeway ourselves, skipping the tour bus option.

Where the first part of our travels had been by BusEireann, we were lucky enough to borrow a car from our host; the O’Hanlon family, in Dublin & the North.   (I will speak of them more in my next blog Welcomed as a Druid)   The drive from Mullagbawn; the place we called our home in the North, to the Giants Causeway was about 2.5 hours.  The path we drove was a beautiful one showing us both the mountainous countryside & the city of Belfast.

This journey showed subtle signs of ‘the Troubles’ (the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century), mostly in the form of flags.  It was easy to determine which side of the coin a community sat on, by whether they flew flags of the Republic or the Union Jack.

Like the wise-woman I am, I make it a point not to get involved in battles that have never been mine, and I never talk politics or religion with strangers…OK, well maybe religion/spirituality with strangers, but only when its business.  Generally I choose the path of love, and observation, often thinking of myself as similar to an anthropologist in such situations, I am there to watch and learn, not to judge.  I find this a good rule of life.

When we got to our destination we again were easily able to get into the park.  *I just want to state here that the parks are very reasonably priced, with the funds going to the upkeep and care of the national monuments*

Stepping out the door of the visitors center; into the park itself,  I was nearly overcome with emotion.  Like just about every sacred place I experience, I find myself with tears welling up in my eyes,and my body buzzing with energy.  Looking back on it I am filled with deep emotion, for the connection to Spirit in such places is overwhelming.

My husband humors me, and often teases me on how puppies and kittens seldom move me, but rocks and trees can bring me to tears.

The feeling I had at the Giants Causeway was one of remembrance.  It was a place known to my soul, the cliffs and ocean breeze, the stones with their hexagonal shape were familiar to me. I had been here before in another lifetime.  When moments like this come over me I find myself existing between the worlds, with timelines buffeting me like the waves of the sea.  I am both Salicrow, and more.  I am walking in the present and the past simultaneously.

We had received the hand held device; like all the other tourist, that were suppose to tell us something of the history, at various stops along the way.  But we soon found that to be a waste, as neither my husband nor myself cared much for the tutorial.  I for one, was there to experience the water, stone and nature beings that called the place home.

Even in the quiet season, there were still hundreds of people there, but I was able to find a space on the rocks that was not populated by others.  It helps that I was raised in the White Mountains, and joke about being part billy-goat, able to nimbly find my footing in rough terrain.

Finding my spot, I set out my offerings and opened myself to the Genius Locus/the Spirit of Place.  I sang my spirit song to the rock beings, the Giants of the Causeway, and to the ancestors of the land who had tread there long before the buses and multi-racial people populated it’s stones.   You can find some video footage of me singing there on my Facebook page, unfortunately I forgot my microphone at home, and the wind was pretty intense often drowning my voice out.  

The work that brought me to the Giants was that of welcoming them to the table, calling them forward to share their strength in these trying times.  For I often see myself as an ambassador to the Spirit realm, finding myself traveling about on tasks set before me by god/goddess/universe.   I do this work because I am a communicator, able to speak not only to the Spirits of the Dead, but to those of Nature.  As a Druid this is my role, one I was given by Spirit shortly before my graduation at Stone Hedge.

Laying on my back on a very large stone in the woods of Dreamland (the land in Vermont that I did my Druid training on), I was seeking my role as a Druid.  What was it I was meant to do?  How could I best serve the Earth, particularly in these trying times of climate change and over population?  The answer had come to me quickly…I was to be a communicator.  I often refer to myself as being similar to Deanna Troi in Star Trek, the Next Generation.  My work is that of understanding, and perceiving.  I come to the table without judgement, I do not expect other beings to have the same rules of engagement as myself, and I understand that sentience is not limited to the arrogance of human beings.

Look carefully for the face beside of me

Meeting with the Giants was a lot softer then one might expect.  They had known of my coming, as I had connected to others of their kind before in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and to cousins of theirs in Iceland.

I do not begin to understand what will happen at the table in which I believe all beings are being called to, I simply am there as the ambassador, giving the invitation to attend.

We are all going through these times of change.  It is not just our planet.  We alone cannot be the only players at the game, for surely by now we can see what a mess we have made of disconnecting ourselves from the spirit world, and the world of nature.  Many cultures still hold great value in the unseen world, Ireland being one of them.  Many of their people still hold a strong connection to the lore of the Fae beings, to the fairies, and giants, and dryads, and in other lands the belief in  trolls, huldafolk.  It is time for us to open our senses and perceive that we have the power to make great change, but only when we see that the world is much more vast then we could ever imagine, and there are many more beings living here then the ones we see with the our eyes.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…I will keep them coming for the next couple of days, so keep checking back to see where my journey has taken me.  I will be back in the States on the 13th of September.

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travel…Releasing Expectations [walking to the Calliagh Berra’s house]

Let me start by saying my legs are killing me.  Today we walked for 6 hours; up a mountain and back, with very little breaks.  My goal when I left the house this morning was to climb to the top of Sleive Gullion, and submerge myself in the lake of the Hag; the Calliagh Berra of Irish mythology.

When I left the house, I had expected we would drive to the beginning of the trail and climb from there.  But somehow my husband got the idea in his head that we would just walk from the house we are staying at in Mullagbane, Northern Ireland.  When he said this was the plan (he is the directions guy), I immediately questioned his logic, as I could see the mountain off in the distance.  I knew it would take us an hour just to get to the trail head.  But he was insistent that this was what we should do.

Sleive Gullion is considered the most sacred mountain in Ireland.  The name means Mountain of Cuchulain.  It is the heart of an ancient volcanic chain in Northern Ireland, which is truly breath taking.  The legend around Sleive Gullion speaks of a dispute between Finn Mac Cumhail (finn mccool); an irish hero, and the Hag/Calliagh Berra.

In the story, Finn Mc Cool (an Irish hero) dives into the Calliagh Berra’s lake seeking the love of a beautiful maiden.  When he enters the lake he ages rapidly, and his hair turns white.  The feeble Finn, comes out of the water to see the fair maiden is really an old hag.  After a bit of persuasion, Finn is able to convince the Calliagh to return his youth, but she leaves his hair white.

There are some good versions of the story out there, if you have a love of mythology, simply google The Calliagh Berra’s lake.

Like most stories there is a lot more to it, then the simple trickery of the hag.  Some stories tell of Finn’s hunting dog chasing a white stag (considered a magical creature) to the edge of the lake.  In short, he crossed the witch, and she was not pleased.  I like to point out that she returned his youth, when he threatened to empty her lake, drowning all of Ireland.  To me this shows she had great care for the land, and the people of it.

My work as a Druid, and Spiritual adventurer often takes me to such places, places that others may think twice about going to.  I do not fear the Hag, for I see her as the crone…the ancient one, the one who sits at the edge of death.  She has great wisdom, and demands respect, but her gifts are powerful and filled with wisdom.

When it became clear that I would be heading to Northern Ireland on this trip, I knew that I would climb the mountain.  I was also quite convinced that I would need to submerse myself in the water of the lake, facing my fears; not of white hair, but of muck.  I truly have a repulsion/fear of mucky water.

Leaving my house for my journey up the mountain, I still held this as my truth.  I wore my bathing suit under my clothes, packed a towel and change of clothes in my bag, and mentally prepared myself to face the muck.

We had already walked for about an hour by the time we reached the trails head. The path we took was an old road, probably used as a farm road at some point.  It wound back and forth, giving us great views of the surrounding countryside and other mountains that made up the Ring of Cuchulain.  It was not particularly steep, but there were ‘poop mines’ to avoid, as sheep and cows had traveled the road as well.

We reached a gated off area, with a step over next to the gate (a small built in ladder), and crossed into what was being used as a grazing land for his animals.  It was not really a field, being mostly filled with brush and ragged looking trees. This path was more narrow, and wound back and forth, here and there, but obviously looking like a well trod trail.  After crossing the ladder/gate, and walking for about 20 minutes through said poop mines, we came to a most peculiar barricade.

On our side it looked like a downed hawthorn tree, or a heavy stack of hawthorn brush, on the other side it was pallets roped together.  I believe the barricade was designed to keep his cows in, because even cows are not stupid enough to plow through a barricade of Hawthorn (thorn is even in the name).  But me…I love Hawthorn, in fact I have Hawthorn tattooed on my left shoulder.  It is a fairy tree, and a powerful protector.

The barrier was not a deterrent to me, just as the idea of visiting the hag was not scary to me.  If you are friends with such beings, you simply know to respect their customs.

Shortly after crossing the barrier the ground exploded in color…as the hillside was literally covered in Heather in various shades of purple.  It was deliciously intoxicating, in its vibrancy and I soon began adorning my hat.

The other thing I saw of notice when we got over the barricade, was that we were still in the foothills of the mountain. At this point, I realized that the trip to visit the Calliagh Berra for me at least was one I had to earn.  It was not an easy trek, or a quick check in.

We traveled on, and finally met up with the road…yes the road.  There is a road that leads almost to the top, from a few towns over.  Taking the road gives people the option of getting a fantastic view, and if so choosing…a climb of 30 minutes to the top.  Albeit that climb is a steep one.

Where we met the road, we still had a significant walk before the actual climb, but the road was significantly more pleasant then avoiding poop mines and climbing over Hawthorn barricades.

When we got to the parking lot; at the base of the climb, we met up with other travelers.  We told them they could go ahead of us, up the goat climb of the mountain, as we would be most likely walking slow, having traveled from Mullugbane.  They were actually shocked, and might have thought we were a bit nutty.  But such is the way of a spiritual adventurer…

The last bit of the climb was a rocky, goat trail, in which you really had to watch your footing.  Stones had been made into stairs, and I did not take a lot of pictures of this part, as I was too busy watching where I tread.

When we were nearly to the top, we saw the travelers we had met in the parking lot on their way down.  We spoke for a few minutes on their short stay at the top, and I told them I planned on going into the water.  At this point we were really cold, wearing sweaters and rain coats.  They explained that it would most certainly be brisk, but little else.

About 3 more minutes into the hike, and the weather completely changed. It went from being just cold to whipping winds, low visibility, and a cold mist that chilled you to the bone.  We had reached the cloud cover.  At this point, my husband and I decided that I would be a fucking idiot to try and go into the lake, specially seeing we had a 3 hour hike back to our lodging.

By the time we reached the top, there was no way I would even consider it.  The cloud cover was so thick, that we couldn’t even see the lake, until the very end of our stay there (after spending time in the Calliagh Berra’s house), when there was a brief break in the cloud cover.

In the Calliagh Berra’s house, I made offerings.  She wanted all of the flowers I had gathered on her mountain, as well as the crystals and feathers I had already planned to bring her.  I spent time inside her home toning & singing, offering up my voice and energy, in thanks for being able to stand in her energy.

You can watch the video of me singing on my Facebook page… Singing in Calliagh Berras house

After giving our offerings, and spending time in he wild energy, we began our descent down the mountain.  At this point my husband said “Well you couldn’t go in the lake, but you needed to make a sacrifice anyways.  You had to take the long road, door to door, from our door to hers”.

This is an important factor in Sacred Travel. We can set out with the grandest of intentions, our story laid out of what we plan to do, but in the end it is a journey shared between the one who travels and the gods.  It seldom goes according to plan, it is almost always trying, and in the end it is greatly rewarding.  Perhaps I never needed to go into the muck, I just had to set out with a dedication that I would, no matter how difficult it would be for me.  It was the dedication, the willingness that matters.

Our journey was long, it had a lot of aches and discomforts, but it was something I will now hold as as a deep treasure.

We will try to get to the lake again before we leave the North, but only if weather is permitting, and we will take the car as far to the top as we can.  If I never make it into the lake, I will still know that I have been tried by the Calliagh Berra and that I succeeded.

As for today, we are off to the Giant’s Causeway…more work to be done.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Sacred Travel…Kissing Stones,Talking to Trees & the Psychic Opening [Blarney Castle]

I have said before, and I will say it again the difference between spiritual adventure and vacation comes down to comfort.  On vacation we are looking to relax, get a bit of pampering, and taste of the good life.  For those seeking spiritual adventure, the accommodations are often not as cushy, there is little time for pampering, and one can generally expect to be pushed out of their comfort zone.  I returned to Ireland, knowing as a spiritual adventurer, seeking a deep connection with the sacred, and in doing so I knew that I would be enveloped by the experience and most likely spit out a different person.

I did not expect the transformation to start so quickly.

I have been preparing for this trip for some time now, knowing that it would be deep, and powerful, after all I was returning to Ireland by the good graces of the Celtic goddess, the Morrighan.  The Morrighan is a Celtic warrior goddess of death, magic, prophesy.   When I say I have returned on her graces, I am not at all exaggerating.  For when I was here in 2013, I visited Owenygat, a hole in the ground cave, under an apple tree in County Roscommon.  It is a place sacred to the Morrighan, and my visit there was intentional.  After climbing into the wet, rocky cave I left offerings of my hair and rose petals, and asked that she work through me and then I began to cry for my love of her lands and country.  I then spoke of how I wanted to return one day, or more honestly, how I wanted to return again, and again.  Her answer was simple and to the point, ringing loud and clear in my mind…”And so you shall”.

As I began planning my return trip, I knew that she would be an intricate part of the voyage, and that my return meant doing her work.

Yesterday I went to Blarney Castle.  It is well known, and famous for the legend held around kissing the Blarney Stone.  It is said that any who kiss the stone will be granted with the gift of Blarney (speech filled with charm & wit).  To kiss the stone, one must climb to the top of the castle, lay down on a the stone ground covered by a mat (for traction & easy movement) and slowly do a back bend, over the edge of a drop that’s a straight shot to the ground many floors below.  The kiss must be placed on the bottom of the stone, which is kind of intimidating.  In olden times it was simply a hole, now there is a cast iron grate beneath the stone so no one falls to their demise.  That being said, it is still an adrenaline dump, and many people cannot do it.

In short, I kissed the stone…The long story though is much more involved.

First and foremost, Blarney Castle is much more then a castle with a stone to kiss.  It is a large expanse of land that holds a stone circle (the seven sisters stone circle), a dolman, a druids cave, forest sanctuary; that has trees from all over the world (with similar climates), a poisonous plant garden, waterfall, fern garden and much more.  It was truly a wonderful experience, and I would recommend it to anyone, for there is something for everyone there.

I stepped into the sacred as soon as I walked through the gate, for a few minutes walk into the park there is a crossing of rivers.  The crossing of rivers is a remarkable thing, as most often when rivers come together they converge.  At Blarney, one river goes under the other, staying as two separate water ways…it is a place of wishes, and I made a point of offering my American coin to the mass of glittering change that sparkled in the water at the rivers crossing.

As I meandered through the park, I sang to the land at the Seven Sisters stone circle, before heading into the forest…taking the path least traveled.  Where most people go first to the castle, my husband and I headed for the trees, and I was greatly thankful.

One of my most remarkable experiences happened with a ancient cedar tree.  Coming from Vermont, I am use to cedar trees being a couple of stories high, but this beauty was far bigger then that.  In fact a limb shooting off the side of it, was much bigger in circumference than any cedar I had ever seen.  I was in awe, as I could feel the energy coming off of the giant cedar, as I walked around behind it, in search of a foot hold to climb onto the limb.  When I got onto the limb, I almost fell off the other side, the energy of the tree setting me off balance with its intensity.  When I settled onto it; lying with my back against the limb, I took a deep breath, preparing for sacred song.  Then I clearly heard the tree speaking to me….

“You wait just a moment Witch, I have something for you”.

Now I have been spoken to by trees before, in fact, trees are quite social.  But this was a command.  The tree was putting me in my place, showing me that it also had something to offer.  It was deeply humbling, and I was overwhelmed as energy from the tree started coursing through my body, my kundalini (chakra system) lighting up.  It lasted but a few moments, but it is still working on me as I write this, over 24 hours later.

I did get a chance to sing to the tree, and instead of offering healing energy, I found myself singing out of thanks and honor.  It was obvious how well taken care of the tree was, and how self aware it was.

We eventually made our way out of the forest, and after a round about walk, we headed to the castle.  My husband is afraid of heights, and did not make it to the top.  He did not kiss the stone.  I went on alone, and was surprised at how easy it was to get there.  During tourist season (beginning of June-end of August), it can be an hours wait to get to the stone.  An hour of slow moving up steep, winding stone stairs, that have been worn down by time and usage.  I was able to walk to the top, and was 4th in line to kiss the stone, when I got there.  The people behind me were Americans, form Texas, and California.  I asked Kyle from Texas if he would take my picture, and he suggested a video.  One many of you have seen already on my Facebook page.

As I lay on my back, with an old Irishmen-attendant encouraging me to lower myself further and further down, I felt my intention deeply present.  My hands; gripping the cast iron bars, held my focus as I slid further and further down, until my face was close to the bottom of the stone.  I kissed the stone with meaning, knowing that for me, there was real magic to be had.  I did not kiss the stone as a gimmick, I kissed the stone with purpose…giving my voice over to the powers that be, that I may use my voice to help others wake up, and become more aware.  That my charm, and wit be a catalyst, nudging people to become truly conscious.

When I was lifted up from the stone, I felt a dump of adrenaline, my legs were wobbly, and my mind was keenly aware.  I had just added another notch in my magical day.  I had just put in motion something that would be carried out for the rest of my life.

The way in and out of the castle was specific, as the stairwells are very narrow.  That being said, I was at the bottom of the castle for a good 20 minutes before my husband, who was meandering around, exploring the castle to find his way out.  As I stood outside the castle entrance I heard the voice of the Morrighan speaking to me.  She is very direct and not particularly gentle.

Her words were powerful.  She told me that she had a gift for me, that she wanted to alter my prophetic ability, to enhance it.  She also told me that it would be hard, that I would have to accept the difficulty of such a gift.  I knew without words what she meant.  She meant that to have my gifts enhanced I would have to once again adjust to the emotions involved opening my awareness.  She then told me I had to repeat her verbatim.  I will not repeat the vow here, but in summery I had to agree that I accepted the good and bad of the gift I was given, knowing that my agreement would hold the power of sacred contract.

I agreed…

The effects were almost instantaneous, and I have spent most of today dealing with my emotions being through the roof, as my empathy and telepathy has been heightened.  I know that I will adjust, but for today I have been working through it, being gentle and patient with myself.

I do not know where this will lead, but I do know that this is just the lead up.  I have felt since the planning of this trip, that my real work takes place in Northern Ireland.  So for now, I am just preparing.  I still have 3-4 days before Northern Ireland.

I am humbled, and ever grateful for the work of the sacred in my life.  It is not always easy, but it is always worth it.  Thanks for reading folks.

spreading love-salicrow