Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Darkest Night {winter solstice, reflection & permission to change}

I love Winter.  I am not an avid outdoors person, I do not ski, nor do ice-fish, ride snow machines or partake in any of the other winter hobbies New England is associated with. I love Winter for the dark and cozy.  I love the nestled in sleepy day feel of it.  Dark skies do not make me sad, in fact, I crave them for they make me want to look deep inside myself and see who and what I am becoming.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year.  In the Northern Hemisphere it is the time when we are the furthest away from the sun. It is a time that has been celebrated for time on end, culture after culture recreating the stories behind the celebrations that all share a common thread…rebirth.

Rebirth, the very sound of the word brings up feelings of deep change and letting go of what no longer serves us.  It speaks of cleanliness of the soul and of opportunity to recreate who we are and what we stand for.  Many of us consciously take part in this alteration when we speak our words of resolution on New Years.  We state to ourselves and others that we are going to make a change.  Unfortunately, most people do not follow through on their resolutions.  I believe this to be in part because we set our resolutions to unrealistic levels, like losing 50lbs & giving up cigarettes cold turkey.  Not that these things are impossible, but without a plan they are unplausible.  Most people do not take their desire for change beyond the initial idea, they do not create a plan or direct their energy at it willfully.  What would happen if we did?

First and foremost we need to give ourselves permission to change, we all have the right to change direction and become someone different.  I say permission because most of us are unwittingly controlled by who we see ourselves as/the story we tell of self, and who others believe us to be.  We follow patterns and routines that reinforce our story, often to our disadvantage.  We use words like ‘always’ and statements like ‘that’s just the way it is’ to tell ourselves that we cannot change.  We do not do this intentionally, but we do it so often that we move through life like a car stuck in a rut; pulled by the direction worn before us.

How many of you do this?  How many of you speak to yourselves in words that prevent change?  How many of you have gone beyond the odds and transformed yourself into who you wanted to be?

True resolution comes through looking deeply at that which we want to change.  It is about seeing it for what it is and telling ourselves that we have free will.  We can continue to follow our life as set before us, or we can direct our will to make the changes we want.  We can only do this if we are honest with ourselves and look at the why of what holds us back.  Why do we continue to take self-defeating actions?  Why do we set ourselves up for failure?  What are our biggest challenges?

These questions help us get to the root of our behaviors, and show us what our true obstacles are.  If we know who/what we are up against we will be better prepared to face it.

How does all of this connect to the Winter Solstice?  Resolutions…

I am a big fan of manifesting.  I believe we are co-creators of our reality, that we actively engage in creating the world we live in.  If we are seeking to make a change, to alter our path we are wise to use all of the tools and allies available to us.  Which includes astronomical events; such as the Winter Solstice, and the mass belief of others.  That’s right use the belief of others to our advantage.

The power of belief is amazing, and the more people believing in something the stronger the likelihood of manifesting it.  Which means, if millions of people see the dark of winter as the best time for making changes, then it is.  For we will have the collective will to support us in our endeavors.  This has always been available to us, just most of us haven’t thought of it from this perspective.

The Winter Solstice is about celebrating life, and the return of light.  It is about dreaming and looking forward to, about rebirth and recreation.  Whether you choose to set your change in motion on Solstice Night (December 21st) or wait for New Years does not matter.  What does matter is that you take the time between now and then to really think on what you wish to change, what you want to let go of, what you want to become, what obstacles you will need to overcome and what allies you have along the path?

When my children were little I use to tell them that “God does not help the lazy”.  This was my way of saying you can’t just sit around doing nothing and expect God to come clean up your mess for you.  You need to actively be working on fixing and creating the life you want to lead.  When we do that we become activated.  We become change makers and creators and then we feel the hand of higher power helping us along the way.

I am not saying God/Goddess doesn’t care about the downtrodden, the sick or the helpless.  I am saying if you want to make a change then you need to be actively involved in doing so!

For those of you living close to the Kingdom, I will be hosting a Solstice Candle Ceremony @ the Grindstone Cafe on Saturday the 16th at 2pm. Come join me, light a candle and put your dreams into motion.  For those of you reading this from afar here is a quick little something you can do at home.

You will need- a candle (any kind), yourself and an item to represent your desired change.

Sit quietly in a dark room with only the light of your candle (and maybe the Yule tree)

Imagine a spark of white light in the center of your heart chakra.  With every breath it expands out around you, above you and below you, surrounding you in an egg shaped sphere of protective energy, filled with love.

Call upon God/Goddess in whatever way fits you best, ask them to join you.

Call upon your ancestors, particularly the ones who you feel would be most helpful in the work ahead of you.

*speak out loud…this is important, in speaking our words out loud we are setting them in motion, we are demanding they be heard, by ourselves and the universe.

Speak clearly of your desire for change; making your statements in the affirmative.  “I will become healthier and stronger in the year to come.”  “I will create a better relationship with myself”. etc.

Next, ask the Gods & your ancestors to help you with the obstacles.  “Please remind me to take healthy chances.”  “Please remind me that my voice matters.”

All the while holding your item in your hand.  See the item as a talisman, a sign of your commitment to change.  Like a lucky rabbit’s foot or a holy symbol, it is there to remind you of your goal and of your dedication to self.

When you have finished your dedication to change, thank your ancestors and the gods and close your circle by blowing out the candle.

*****************************************************************************************

No matter how difficult it may seem, we are all capable of change.  We do not need to follow the rutted path before us.  We can manifest ourselves into that which we want to be.  We all have a story, and that story holds wounding.  It is up to us to decide how we use that wounding.  Will it be a weight that holds us down, or will it be the fire that forges us?

My own story of being beaten into form at the forge of life is in my book ‘Jump Girl, the initiation and art of a Spirit Speaker’, which comes out on February 13th, 2018.  Here is a link for those of you interested in my story.  As always, thanks for reading folks.

spreading love-salicrow

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

 

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Stories of Spirit…The Sacrifice of War (remembering my father)

Today is Veterans Day and I am thinking of my father.  His whole life or at least the life that I was witness to was enveloped around his service in Vietnam.  His thoughts, actions, and values were reflective of this pivotal time in his life, and his physical limitations were created by it.  He carried a pride that had been drilled into him by boot camp sergeants and fellow soldiers, in the essence of his being he was a Marine.

 

Growing up the child of a wounded warrior, I knew the toll of war.  My father was missing an eye, a fancy piece of glass made to resemble an eye sat where it belonged.  As a child of four, I once accidentally witnessed my father cleaning his eye.  Walking into the living room to find him with his eye in his hand and the socket drooping on his face I was horrified.  I screamed and had to be comforted by my mother.  For days I was afraid of my father, not understanding what I had witnessed.   I have found myself revisiting this moment time and time again in my memory and can’t help but think how terrible it must have been for him, knowing that his appearance had scared his own child so.

Many of my father’s wounds were visible, the glass eye being the most noticeable.  He had physical markings to show that he had been damaged beyond repair, that war had taken a great toll on him.  But he also carried many deeper wounds that were not visible to the eye, wounds that affected how he saw himself and the world around him.  These hidden wounds were far more painful than the loss of an eye, for he was haunted by his actions and the things he saw during his time of war.

Mike Emory (my father’s mentor), Grammy Brown, My father Richard, his younger brothers Teddy & Eddy.

My father grew up very poor, raised by his grandmother in the deep North Woods of New Hampshire.  He lied about his age and joined the Marine Corp at 17 so that he could send money back home to take care of her and his younger brothers.  Having grown up wandering around the woods, his skills made him a natural for reconnaissance work.  This was what eventually took his life at 62.  He did not die from the grenade that had taken his eye and left him with shrapnel in his brain, in the end, it was the exposure to high levels of chemicals (agent orange) that destroyed his body.

He was thankful for the years he had between the grenade and his death, seeing them as borrowed years.  Years that allowed him to get married, have 3 children, and many adventures.  But those years between were not all good.  Along with the physical ailments the grenade had bestowed upon him, he also lived with nightmarish memories.  In trying to escape the thoughts that plagued him, he turned to alcohol and other substances for comfort.

redemption…re-connection after 13 years of not speaking.

My father’s story, in the end, was one of redemption.  He eventually found a path healing, after many losses and many bottles.  He lost his family to his own alcoholism and then found it again through sobriety.  He found a deep spiritual center inside of himself and embraced the gifts that were his birthright, seeing himself for what he had been all along, an intuitive medicine man.

Medicine Man

My Dad’s final goodbye

My experience growing up the child of a wounded veteran shaped me as it did my father.  Living with him, his addictions, and his pain, I gained a deep understanding of the hidden anquish anyone who has seen war experiences.  This exposure has led me to work with many veterans.  I have a great respect for the price they pay, and an understanding of the wounding they carry.  I do not think there are words deep enough to express how much respect I have for those who have served.  Whether I believe in the war they fight or not, I respect the soldier.  I know that there are many reasons why they enlist, choosing to fight for their country.  For some, it is a deep feeling of patriotism (something my father also had), but for many their choosing is much more practical.  They see military service as a way out of poverty, a way to provide a better life for themselves and the ones they love.  They take the gamble, rolling on their lives and mental stability, with hopes that they will be among the lucky.

I would like to take a moment to pause and send love and healing to all of our men and women who have experienced the service of war, and I ask you to join me.  Here is what you will need…

*a candle, *a flag or item that makes represents military service to you, * photos of your own loved ones who have served

Set up a small altar with the items of memorabilia & photos & light your candle.

Focus on your Heart Chakra, directly in the center of your chest.  Take deep even breathes through your nose.  With every inhalation imagine you are filling your chest cavity with love, with every exhalation imagine sending that love to everyone who has served in the military, starting with those close to you and expanding outward.

Do this for about 5 minutes then speak clearly out loud “Thank you for your sacrifice”, and blow out the candle.

Remember not all wounds are visible, not everyone is walking around with a glass eye or a prosthetic leg.  Most of the wounds of war are buried deep within.  Support your local VFW, and Veterans home.  Buy the red poppy from the guy sitting at the grocery store today.  Hell, donate more than is convenient, after all, we can not come close to matching the donation they made.  Remember to thank them, truly and deeply for they deserve our thanks.

I would personally like to thank the men and women who have served this countries military.  I have deep respect for the sacrifices you have made and understand the price it continues to ask of you.

spreading love-salicrow

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

 

 

 

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

 

Stories of Spirit…Tea with Grandma (honoring the Dead)

Awhile back, I met with a family who’s matriarch was a fun, sassy, and organized gal, who also happened to be dead.  She did not let this stop her from being in charge, and took it upon herself to introduce most of the other Spirits who had come to the gathering.  Her living family was not at all surprised by this behavior, as she had been known as ‘Little Mother’ since she was a child.

The living family members who had brought me to the house, were laughing and enjoying themselves as stories were shared by their relatives in Spirit.  At one point, one of the guest became concerned that their laughter may be seen as disrespectful to their Beloved Dead and asked if this was so.  My answer was a resounding “No, not at all”.

When Spirits come to communicate with their living; through the aid of a Medium, they know that their time is limited, and they want to make the most of it.  Although it is natural to cry at such events, the Dead do not want us to remember them through tears alone.  Laughter is the heart-balm of life, and it is a great way of showing honor to those we love, who have crossed into Spirit.  When we open ourselves to the experience of Spirit Communication, we often find that it is in essence a visit with those we hold dear, and like all reunions it is filled with powerful emotions of all kinds.

Many years ago, my sister Sandy did a Psychic Reading for me; long before I started doing Mediumship professionally.  I was young and looking for direction with the various businesses I had at the time (clothing company, store, & bar).  My sister looked puzzled at first, then told me that I she didn’t see me doing any of it in 10 years, and that what she did see was unusual.  She said she saw me sitting around a kitchen table talking to the Dead, like some kind of tea party or something.

I was already working as a Psychic doing Readings for people out of my store, but at that point I was not interested in talking to the Dead for other people.  I saw it as something that I experienced for myself, something far too emotional for me to want to do it, for the public.  I saw Dead people, and chose to speak to them on occasion, but it was not yet part of my everyday life, and I was certainly not yet ready to share it with the world.

This memory came back to me, as I sat around the kitchen table, with the family of the Spirit who was nicknamed “Little Mother”, I thought of my sisters Reading.  I saw the living and the dead gathered around the table with me, and I realized that her prediction had come true, and that this was how it should be.  A gathering of people who love one another, laughing and crying, drinking tea and shooting the shit.  So what if some of the people were dead.  They were all there, fully present, enjoying each others company.  I felt a deep sense of purpose and gratitude for my life, knowing that this was what healing looked like.

When we loose someone we love dearly to death, the scarring is often overwhelming.  We can find ourselves trapped in the most painful of memories, and often unable to remember the laughter, joy, and silliness that made up the persons life.  We forget what is like to sit with them around the family table, how bossy they could be, or the weird behaviors that make them who they are.

Our Beloved Dead (family, friends, ancestors, and guides) want us to remember them for who they were, they want to be connected to us through laughter, and story telling, through songs they sang, slang they used, and recipes they made.  They miss being with us in the flesh, they miss family BBQ’s and goofy antics, they miss their favorite foods, and the smell of campfires, they miss the way they were when they were alive.  Those are the things they want us to remember them by.  They do not want to be remembered by their death alone.  They do not want to their story to be solely of cancer, car accident, old age, dementia, or heart attack.  Death is the ending of the story, it is not the story itself.

When we seek to connect with our Beloved Dead, when we find ourselves missing them, it is important to remember who they were in life.  To remember their story, who they were when they were truly living.  In this remembrance we give them honor.  We give life to their story, and we all begin to heal.

Here are a few simple ways to give honor to your Beloved Dead…

*tell stories of their life  *cook or eat their favorite foods, while thinking of them  *set up a family altar at important family gatherings, add pictures, and mementos that make you think of them  *sing their favorite songs  *visit their favorite places & spend time thinking of them  *talk to them out-loud (Spirits can see & hear us much better than we can them) 

Think of how you would like to be remembered, when you die.  Do you want your family and friends to remember you with tears alone?  Or do you want to be remembered for your life, for the things that truly make you-you?

When the only emotions we choose to embrace death with is sorrow, we loose so much of that which made the person we mourn special.  We need to open our hearts and truly remember them.

Me…I expect to be remembered by funky socks, coffee, and my adventurous spirit.  I would feel sad to think that my passing brought only tears.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  Now think of how you can honor and remember those you love who have passed.  How can you heal your heart, and connect more deeply with your Beloved Dead?

spreading love-salicrow

 

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Beltaine [celebrating with Spirits of Nature]

Today is Beltaine…a day when the Fairies walk among us.  A day that is Betwixt & Between, standing half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  It is a powerful day, like Samhain/Halloween, when the veil between the worlds is at it’s thinnest.  A day when our Beloved Dead and the Spirits of Nature are strongly present in our world.

In my little corner of the Universe, the day is wet.   The sky has opened up, and the rain is coming down in buckets.  In many ways the nature of the day is contrary to what one would expect, of hope for on Beltaine.

Beltaine is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the year.  It is a celebration of all that is fertile, and newly awoken; of passion, play, and wild abandonment.  Traditionally it is a time in which the land is blessed, in hopes of a bountiful harvest.  A time of flowered wreathes and brightly colored frocks, a time of revelry.  In modern times this blessing of fertility that is most potently known as the Maying, has expanded to include all of our creative endevours, that our way will be fruitful and sacred.  As the veil between the worlds is particularly thin during May Day (Beltaine), it is also a time in which we give thanks to the “others”, the unseen being who share this planet with us, the Fae Folk.  

Astronomers have proposed that solid matter makes up only 5% of the Universe.  That leaves 95% unaccounted for.  In my opinion, this is a good argument for believing in unseen beings…the Spirits of the Dead, and that of Nature alike.  Beyond opinion, I have personally had experiences with many of these beings, Ancestral Dead and Nature Beings alike.

Beltaine with some of my most loved Druid companions, a few years back.

I have celebrated Beltaine since I was in my early 20’s, when I found my way back to the holidays and connections of my Ancestors, and began living my life within the cycle of nature, known as the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  My Ancestors, that which I came from, have always lived close to the Earth, and in doing so given honor and thanks, to the Planet itself.  The 8 holidays that make up the Wheel, remind me of the changes my beloved Gaia is going through, and help me to stay in sync with her rhythms.   In doing so, I feel that my life is richer and more balanced.

Like most things in modern times the celebration of such holidays is done loosely around the date that they fall on.  As today is a Monday, my celebration today, will be simple and homey.  I have set out honey water for the Fae Folk on one of my outdoor altars, as an offering, and left out a glass to fill with rain water.  Traditionally the water collected on May Day would be dew, collected from leaves, under the early morning sun.  As the day is wet, with a heavy layer of fog, and intermittent downpours, I decided that I would collect the rain water instead.

Collecting dew (or rainwater) on May Day is an old Folk tradition, the water is said to bring luck, beauty and good health, particularly if one washes their face with it.  I myself will use my collected “May Rain”, by anointing my Third-eye, and Crown Chakras with it, as long as it last.

Mother Goose Rhyme about collecting Dew on May Day…

“The Fair Maid, who on the first of May, goes to the fields at the break of day, and washes of the dew of a Hawthorn tree, will ever after handsome be!”

Maypole

Another Beltaine tradition is the May Pole.  Dancing the May, is simply the act of weaving colored ribbons around a large pole.  It is simple and playful, but laden in old-school fertility magic.  The pole being very phallic like representing the God or masculine aspects of Nature, and the hole that it is planted in, representing the female/Yoni.  The dance was traditionally done as part of the blessing of the land, but it had personal effects as well, and often those seeking to become fertile in their personal lives would/do dance.  As I have said earlier, in modern times this fertility has expanded to include many aspects of creativity, but in the olden days it was mostly about the fertility of livestock, land and personal womb.

This year I will not be dancing the Pole, nor will I be attending a large May Day celebration.  Instead I will be boarding a plane this Friday and heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where my sister and I will be teaching a weekend intensive on Earth Magic.  And though I will miss the ribbons, and drums of the greater circle, I am delighted to be bringing the magic of nature, and the Fae Folks to those who are seeking it.  We will sit around a fire, and enter deeply into the space of Betwixt and Between, and we will seek communion with the beings of Nature, as we walk through the trails that surround Lake Michigan.

Here is a simple bit of goodness, for those of you seeking to connect with Nature and bring the blessings of fertility into your lives this the First of May.  If you cannot do this on May 1st, due to timing or lack of rain, do it the first day of May that you can.

Rainy day Beltaine altar. The stick inside the blue glass holds a branch of thorns from the Blackthorn tree @ Madron’s well, in Cornwall, UK. The golden glass holds the honey water, my offering to the Fae Folk.

You will need… 2 glasses (preferably the most sacred, or prettiest you have), honey,  a bit of hawthorn if you have it

*In one cup…add 2 tablespoons of honey to a 1/2 cup of warm water (this is your offering for the Fae Folk)

*Leave the second cup empty (this is for collecting rain water)

*Place your bit of Hawthorn in the empty cup, so that the rain water may run down it, into your glass

LEAVE THE GLASSES OUTSIDE on an altar, or upon a large rock, over night.  Give the glass time to fill with rain water.  The honey water left out for the Fae Folk will most likely still be there the following morning.  This is because they absorb the energy of the offering, not the actual physical material.  Dump the honey water, onto the ground, when you collect your May rain water the next day.

*Place your index finger and middle finger into the rain water and anoint your Heart (middle of the chest), Throat, Third Eye (between your eye brows/middle of the forehead), and your Crown (top of the head).  These four Chakras are connected to communication and Psychic Knowing.

Make sure to verbally thank the Spirits of Nature, and the Earth itself for this offering.

*place the remainder of the May water in a glass canning jar, or bottle, and label it.  Anoint your heart, throat, third eye, and crown, every morning as you start your day, until the bottle is empty.

This little spell is helpful for opening our consciousness to the unseen world, and giving the blessing of fertility to all of our creative endeavors.  Remember (before you get caught up in the word) that a spell, is simply a potent prayer.  It is intention with action.

I hope you have enjoyed the read Folks, and that you have a beautiful Beltaine, and a Spirited May!

spreading love-salicrow