STORIES OF SPIRIT…The Two Headed Monster [addiction, death & the after life]

My experience with addiction is one that goes back to my birth, as I grew up in an alcoholic household.  In the early days of my life, I hardly noticed the relationship between my father’s pain and his drinking, but when my Grammy Brown died the monster known as addiction took control.  It began stealing more and more of my father’s soul, sending him spiraling out of control until he eventually lost all that he loved most.   My father’s case was one of redemption, for in his loss he was able to find himself, and began the hard work of healing that was needed in order to sever the control Alcohol had over his life & eventually restore his family to him.

While my father’s story has a beautiful ending; filled with family reunions, healing, and soul growth, not all who dance with the devil are so lucky.  For fighting the fight of addiction is battled one day at a time.  My father had to fight that battle every time someone offered him a drink, without knowing that they were unconsciously speaking the words of his demon…tempting him with the elixir he had turned to over and over again when faced with his inner pain.

In my work as a Medium, I meet with families weekly who have lost someone they love to addiction.  These Spirits come forward hesitantly, and by their approach alone I know that they were partially responsible for their own passing.  I call it ‘partially responsible’, because they did not choose to die, yet it was not an accident.  They placed the needle in their arm, swallowed the pills or destroyed their liver/lives by their own hands.  Yet they were not alone in their minds, the substance they abused was there with them; like an evil twin, whispering in their ear “Fuck it, fuck it all!”

The families who come to me who have lost their sons, daughters, friends, mothers, fathers, partners, to addiction are often coming with fear and anger.  They fear for the souls of the ones they have lost, and they are mad as hell over the mayhem left in the wake of such passing.  They often do not know what to do with the wild, jumbled emotions they feel.  They miss their loved one, yet they remember the darkness that had swallowed them.  They often feel a sense of relief along with their anguish for the phone call saying their loved one had lost their battle had already come.  Now instead of fear, they sit in grief.

We are dealing with a battle of epic proportions.  One that affects us all, every single one of us has someone we love who is battling addiction.  Some of us do not even see it for what it is, until it rears up like a monster, unexpectedly setting the world around them into chaos.  The media gives us a picture of what ‘Addiction’ looks like…a super skinny, strung out person, usually with sunken eyes and a lot of tattoos.  This is not an accurate vision, and by accepting this image we allow the monster to hide in plain sight.  I have met with families who were completely blindsided when their loved one died of an overdose, or when they discovered that the overweight businessman was addicted to prescription pain medication, or that their super smart, popular child was living off amphetamines, or that their charismatic uncle was a bastard at home; due to the mood swings associated with his drinking.

I am not here to solve the problem of addiction, believe me, I would if I could.  Instead, I am here to provide a way of healing and growth for the families and friends left in its wake.

When I meet with families for Spirit Communication and addiction is a factor, I try to explain to the living family that they need to see their loved one as a dual personality.  In this way, they are free to mourn the beautiful, loving person they lost to the drug & be pissed as hell, at the addiction itself.  For truly that is the battle that goes on in the mind of an addict.  That beautiful, sensitive boy or deeply loving daughter still exists in there, but they are not alone.  They are battling the demon of addiction every day of their lives, and often the demon is too much for them to overcome.

Addiction feeds off of our self-loathing, and the deep wounds that lie within our being.  It is not something that starts with the ‘heavy hitters’, like heroin, cocaine, amphetamines.  In fact, it often starts before we have ever put a toxic substance to our mouth.  It starts with our pain, and our need to hide it.  When we realize this about ourselves and those we love, it is easier to see how someone could fall down this rabbit hole.

I recently had a mother come to me who had lost her adult son to an overdose.  Although she had known he was out of control, partying too hard and distancing himself from those who loved him & would see his pain, she was shocked to find out that he even did Heroin.  When in fact he had been doing it for 2 years.  When his Spirit came into the room during our Seance, (he was not the first guest) his mother who had appeared calm and reserved, did a 180, her anger turning her into a banshee.  She was so mad at him for what he had done, for how he had treated his life and for the mess he had left behind.  She was looking for someone else to blame, wanting him to tell her it was all someone else fault, she needed to believe that the boy she had loved so dearly had not done this to himself…yet he had.

In the time we sat together I tried to emphasize the fact that the boy/man she loved as her son was healing.  That his spirit was now having to review the actions that led up to his premature death.  I explained that when we die, our emotions are turned down, like the volume dial on a stereo, allowing us to review our life more analytically.  I also explained that he had to see how his decisions had affected not only his life but that of the ones he loved…that in death we continue to heal, and that when our family is unable to heal the dead our delayed in their own healing.

Turning sorrow into pain is a natural turn of events for many.  It often feels more empowering to be pissed and continue to hunt for the perpetrator of our pain then to sit with the heaviness of grief and mourning.  Yet, anger denies our healing.  It keeps us in a deep state of expectation, waiting for our revenge, to solve the problem, to get even.  In death, there is no getting even.  Our anger and venom will not bring back those we love.  Your son, daughter, husband, mother, friend does not need you to get even…they need you to heal and if you need a cause, to step up and try and make a difference in the world of addiction.  They need us to turn our wounds into tools of healing instead of weapons we use to beat ourselves with.  After all, this is how many ends up struggling with addiction, to begin with, they beat themselves over and over again for any and every flaw they see in their being.  The pain they struggle with becomes the vehicle that drives the addiction.

If you have lost someone to addiction, or love someone who is currently battling with addiction, remember they are not alone in their mind.  Remember that the support needed is that of understanding (with strong boundaries), and that in all cases of addiction there is something deeper under the surface that the addiction is feeding off of.  Like the demon it is, Addiction feeds off on the loathing, pain, and trauma carried by the addict and those that love them.

How can you help yourself and your Beloved Dead who has passed due to their own hands?  Start healing yourself.  Become educated about addiction, and remember the beautiful soul who lost their battle to it.

HEALING ALTAR FOR BELOVED DEAD LOST TO ADDICTION-

You will need- pictures & memorabilia of your loved one when they were happy & healthy, spiritual items of your choice, a white candle & a black candle, recommended stones-rose quartz & black tourmaline

*Set up your altar on a shelf, dresser, window sill, someplace you will come in contact with often. This should be appealing to your eye.

*The white candle represents love, light, and the healing you are calling in, the black candle represents the darkness you are releasing from your heart; the sorrow, anger, and rage you carry.  LIGHT both candles daily for 5 minutes, and spend time in front of your altar praying for and speaking to the one you have lost.  Speak your sorrow, and pain as well as your good wishes.  Remember you are not only healing yourself but helping them to heal and that requires truth.

*The Rose Quartz on the altar carries the vibration of love and healing and the Black Tourmaline is a great absorber of negativity, transmuting it.

This is a simple ritual you can perform daily, it will not only help you and your Beloved Dead to heal, but it will also help you to form a stronger relationship with spirit.  Remember we are all able to feel/sense our Beloved Dead, but often our emotions block us from doing so.  If you are in need of a direct connection, seek out the aid of a Medium, it is often one of the most healing things you can do for yourself and your loved one in Spirit.

spreading love-salicrow

Connecting you to your Beloved Dead… Salicrow.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

family altar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So mote it be!

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

spreading love-Salicrow

salicrow.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stories of Spirit…Our world in Crisis [depression, anxiety, addiction & suicide]

One of the most noticeable changes I have experienced in my work as a Medium over the last 5 years, has been the increase in Spirits I am connecting with who have been responsible for their own passing.  This number includes suicides, overdoses, and death following reckless action; such as drinking and driving.

When I meet with individuals and families for Spirit Communication I do so with a blank slate; I do not ask questions ahead of time.  In truth, I do not want to know about my clients (both living & dead) before sitting down with them for communication.  This is one of the ways in which I keep sane; keeping my work from personal life.  If I wanted to, I could be interacting with Spirits constantly.  In fact, I have put more effort into controlling when and where they talk to me, then how to get them to talk to me.  This separation also makes the experience more solid for the recipients, for they know that I have not received information about them or their Beloved Dead prior to our scheduled appointment.

With this as practice, each guest living/dead comes into my space and shares their story through me.  Some Spirits speak directly to me, and I simply repeat the words they are using, others show me detailed images of their life and fill me with emotion.  Most Spirits communicate in a mixed combination of both.  Extroverted people are more likely to use words, while introverts are more likely to use imagery and emotion.

Over the last 5 years, I have found myself saying more and more often “Is your loved one responsible for their own passing?”.  I can always tell when a Spirit has passed due to their own actions, for they stand back a bit from me.  This is not done out of shame, but out of a desire to keep their emotional self in check.  Let me explain…

Imagine our emotions to have a setting like a volume dial on a stereo, that goes from 1-10.  Most people go through life with their emotions set at about 3-4 out of 10,  a person struggling with depression and/or anxiety is living with a volume dial set significantly higher; like 8 out of 10.  When we die our emotions are turned way down, to like a 2-3 out of 10.  This allows us to analytically review our life, helping us to see a clearer picture; to know how we were loved, and to see the truth of situations, that may have been clouded by emotion.

When a Spirit comes in contact with a Medium, the volume gets turned up, as they come into the vibration of the living through the energy provided by the Medium.  Mediums are like conduits, energy flows through them in such a way that it can be used by the Spirit world (both the dead & nature).  This extra energy is vital for communication to take place, however, it does make it a bit more tricky when the Spirit at hand has struggled emotionally.  I can generally gauge the health of a Spirit (how much healing has taken place for the soul after death) by how comfortable they are in my space, experiencing emotion.  Sometimes I must rely on my doorman/spirit guide ‘Adam’ to work as a translator; this is only necessary when the soul is still in a deep state of healing and coming in full contact with me & the emotional volume I carry is too difficult for them.

This understanding of emotional level; learned through the Spirit world, has helped me understand the true challenge people with depression, anxiety & addiction face.  They are often blinded to outside factors, as they cannot see past the emotional onslaught they are facing.  Their life from the outside has no say on what is going on in the inside.  Their life could look fantastic to others, filled with exciting vacations, financial stability and still be a living hell.  For the voices they repeat in their mind are often deafening, making it impossible for them to see how much they are loved, and the beauty the world has to offer them.

As a Psychic Medium and Intuitive Healer, I spend a lot of time thinking about depression, anxiety, addiction, and the likes.  In trying to figure out how to help people, I am often looking at the factors outside of “What happened to you?”  for the level of damage is not always a clear indicator.  Some people I meet have experienced truly mind-blowing trauma in their life, and find their way to healing with relative ease.  While others, whose damage would rate significantly lower on the trauma scale, are unable to escape their despair and self-loathing.  At this point, I am still observing, and by no means expect that I am going to come up with a miracle cure for depression, anxiety & addiction.  But one of the things I have observed is that most of the people who struggle the greatest are also highly empathic.

Empathy-Showing the ability to feel and understand others.

Empaths experience the world primarily through their Heart Chakra (one of the 7 major energy centers of the body).  The Heart Chakra is all about love, forgiveness, and healing.  When people think about being intuitive they have a tendency to focus on the Third Eye (center of psychic knowing, intuition, inspiration) & the Crown Chakra (center connected to god/goddess/higher power).  However, they are missing the most used sensing Chakra, the Heart.  We have all pain in our chest when we have been deeply hurt, in fact, we refer to such a feeling as ‘Heartbroken’.   This feeling is not just something we experience in personal settings, we can feel this sensation when watching a sad movie, or seeing a neglected animal.  Empaths have this receptor/the Heart Chakra set on high. It is picking up information from our environment constantly, and the translation is often one in which the situation becomes our own.  Empathic people often struggle with separating the emotions of those they encounter, with those of their own.

Another factor that ways high on my radar, is the fact that we are becoming more Intuitive as a people.  We are going through PSYCHIC EVOLUTION, as a species, we are becoming more receptive.  We have reached a point in which it is not just the people seeking expanded consciousness who are receiving it but so are many, many people who would never ask for it.  The thing about evolution is it kind of sucks…it’s not fun.  Evolution means we are being pushed out of what was normal, we have no idea what to do with the new stuff and must figure it out as we go.  Thankfully when it comes to Psychic Evolution, there are those of us out there who came in as fore-runners, people like myself who have a better grasp on whats happening in the Wyrd/connected to fate end of things.

This by no means is a conclusion, answer, solution…but it is something.  It does help us to get a better understanding of what is happening in our world, a clue into the ‘why’ of rising suicide  & addiction rates.  It is a factor, one that does not stand alone.  For we are also living in a world filled with high stress; environmental disasters, poor governing, greed, and dishonesty.  As people we are complex, there will always be many pieces to the puzzle.

In the work I do as a Medium, I try to help the living family and the Beloved Dead find peace after death.  This is incredibly important when death comes at the hands of self, for it leaves everyone struggling, the living and the dead.  Most of the struggle comes out of religious dogma, and a fear that the soul of our Beloved Dead is now suffering in some kind of hell for taking their own life.  Personally, I find this to be utter bullshit!  For a person to get to the point where they would rather take their own life, then face another day, they have already been in hell.  This is also true for those who die as a result of addiction.  For the addict is a person who spends every day battling themselves.

For those of you out there who have lost a family member or loved one to their own hands; be it suicide, addiction, or recklessness, here is a way for you to aid their soul in healing.

BELOVED DEAD HEALING ALTAR-

You will need- a small stand (window sill, top of dresser, nightstand, etc), pictures/mementos of your Beloved Dead, religious items/sacred items to you or them, and a candle (your choice)

*set up your altar to your visual liking, include photos of your Beloved Dead, special items of theirs, religious/spiritual items, and candle.

*every day at an appointed time (same time each day is best) sit in front of your Beloved Dead Healing Altar, light the candle, and spend 5 minutes talking to your loved one in Spirit, praying for them to find healing, and speaking of your love for them.

*end each session, by telling your Beloved Dead by pledging to them that you are working on healing your own wounds around their passing.  This is very important, as they are often watching over us and seeing how their actions had an effect on our lives.  When we heal ourselves, we help them to heal!

FOR THOSE OF YOU SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION, ADDICTION,  & ANXIETY- I recommend that you look into what it means to be an empath.  This is not a cure, nor will it do the work for you.  It is not meant to replace counseling or medication, it is simply another tool for the toolbelt, offering you  a way of understanding why your emotions are so high.  Please keep a lookout, I will be offering a class for Empaths in July and repeat them periodically throughout the year.

spreading love-salicrow

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

 

Stories of Spirit…Welcoming Death [the art of the Doula]

Last night at the end of my Sound Meditation class, it came to my awareness that a fellow Reiki Master, friend, and gentle healer had entered into Hospice.  She had fought the good fight with Cancer only to watch it return, this time with death as it’s companion.  The thought crossed my mind of heading straight to her house and catching a ride home later with a friend, but it had been a long day and I opted for riding home with my husband and making a quick dinner.

Waiting on dinner, I checked my Facebook messages and read “You should come sooner than later.  She seems to be holding on,  enjoying time spent with her boys, but her time is close.”

I put down my phone, packed my basket with oils, sage, my drum as well as snacks, water, and coffee.  When death calls, I never know if I will be going for a short visit or a long.  I ate quickly and got in my car, immediately tapping into my dying friend.  Before I was even out of my driveway, I was singing Spirit Song [song of the soul] and could feel the miles between us dissipate.  I was in duel reality…existing both in ordinary reality-driving my car, watching the road & the otherworlda psychic/shamanic state of existence.  In the otherworld, I was sharing space with my friend; as close as if I were sitting by her bedside.  In this state, I could see her life force and recognized that my decision to see her that evening was a good one.  I felt it as an honor and a duty, that death itself was asking me to come recognize such a beautiful soul as she transformed from body to spirit.  Her work as a healer needed to be acknowledged.

When I got to her house, I was touched by the way her family was already showing reverence.  The love in the house was palpable, and there was a somber reverence that spoke of how much they wanted to honor her in her passing.  We spoke for a few moments about creating sacred space when a loved one is passing, and soon they were walking around the house collecting photographs and special items to place on the altar in their mother/friends room.

Creating an Altar for the dying is a beautiful and thoughtful way of calling in the Ancestors to help with the transition between life and death.  I have given directions for creating an Ancestor Altar at the bottom of the article.

As her family gathered pictures and memories, I began to do Reiki on my friend and to sing gently to her.  My song was a continuation of the song I had already been singing to her during the 20-minute ride from my house to hers.  When singing the song of dying, the words are not important, in fact, I seldom sing with words at all.  The song of dying is sung with emotion and reverence for the person awaiting transition and for death itself.  As a Medium, Death is a friend of mine.  I spend much of my life between the veil, communicating with those who have transcended into death.  I have a great respect for death, and can honestly say that I love it.

By loving death, I do not mean that I love pain and suffering.  I mean that I love the act of transition.  Like birth, death is magical, it is more ‘real’ then any other experience we will have in our lives.  When we sit with death we cannot be anything but what we truly are.  We are vulnerable.

Singing to my friend, I began to loosen the strands of life that were sticky; the places she held tight to her body.  I sang and I soothed.  I could feel her life force & was aware that her death would be soon and did not believe she would live another day.  My song was joined by the soft murmurs of the others in the room.  Her children and friends joining in ‘spirit song’, guiding her soul across the veil.  As I held my tones out long, I felt her sliding on the vibration and her breath becoming slower and slower.

Then it was done, my time with her had come to pass.  She would not pass for hours still, but I felt that it was time for me to leave.  I knew she would be gone before long, but that her last hours were for deep quiet and her family alone.

I left her home at the same time as another friend, and we stopped to talk outside the house.  I spoke of how my need to visit; which had been so urgent, felt like administering last rights…kind of like “Hey there, all is well across the veil, safe travels to the Otherworld”.  In such moments, I connect deeply with my ancient self, my priestess self, the tribal shaman, volva-self.  I see this as the holiest of the work I do, for it is never something to plan on, but something that I must do when I feel it’s vibration.  When death asks me to pay a house call, I do so with great reverence for both the dying and the spirit of death alike.

We are changing the way we interact with death, we are remembering the old ways of honoring and reverence.  Families are interacting deeply with the presence of death through hospice, as well as with the art of home funerals and celebrations of life.  We are remembering the sacred and death is becoming a deeper act of healing.  Years of disassociation with death; death behind white curtains, and sterile environments, and funerals without connection to our ancestors put a serious hick-up in our ability to heal and understand death.  That is changing.  Death is an exceptional moment of Spirit.

My friend passed late this morning, and I am happy to know that her spirit is free and she is no longer burdened with a painful body.  I take heart in knowing that one of her dear friends washed and anointed her body with lavender, showing love and kindness in the ceremonial act of preparing her body for death.

Creating an Ancestor Altar for the Dying-

*You will need- a shelf (dresser, portable tray in the hospital, bookshelf, window sill), family photos of living & dead relatives, special treasures (wedding rings, holy items, crystals, etc).

Set the altar up where the dying and the people holding space can see it.  Even if your loved one is unconscious, set the altar up within their personal space.  Invite your ancestors to join you in the room, and to come aid in the passing of your loved one.

My hope is that ‘ancestor honoring’ become a regular part of death and dying.  We need to remember that we are connected on both sides of the veil.  Our Beloved Dead are waiting for us when we cross, and like our living loved ones sit by our side when we are dying, our loved ones in spirit do the same.  One saying goodbye, the other welcoming home.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…peaceful travels to the spirit world for those who are crossing.

spreading love-salicrow

salicrow.com

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/

 

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