The Power of Burning Stuff…

I finished my evening last night sitting in front of the open woodstove door watching wax burn.  It was the final step to a spell (energized intention/active prayer) I have been working on a month.  The wax was accompanied by scribbles of paper, birch bark, rose petals, lavender, and bits of moss; all remnants of the magical working I have been tending.

I love to burn things, I love hosting gathering around an open fire, the smell of woodsmoke on a chilly day, and most of all I love using fire as a magical ally.  Fire is the great consumer it takes what we offer it and breaks it down.  Energetically it incinerates that which is no longer needed and releases that which we are becoming to the air & earth through smoke and ash.

There are many ways to use the element of fire in our magical workings; the light of a candle can be used to illuminate that which we desire, divination can be practiced by the act of staring into flames, coals or smoke, and we can use fire as a visual focus for activating our will.  But my favorite way to use the power of this element is transformation by fire.  I have walked on fire as an act of personal transformation, and I regularly burn the leftover bits of my magical workings offering that which I no longer need as fuel for that which I am calling in.

All acts of magic in some way are acts of personal transformation, even if we are not doing magic for ourselves.  The act of performing powerful prayer/sacred manifestation changes us.  It opens our belief system to the idea that we are co-creators of the world we live in.   That our actions have power takes away from the idea that we are helplessly at the whim of a higher power who may or may not have plans for us.  Magic does not take away from our ability to believe in God/Goddess, it adds to it, for we see how amazing the world can be.  With every act of creative force we become closer to the Universe we are a part of.

In my own magical workings, Fire is not always the key ingredient, but it most certainly is one of them.  This last working of mine started at the Beltaine and ended at the New Moon (last night) following my birthday ( 5/29).  It had many magical acts that were connected to one another, and many of these left behind bits and baubles; paper used for writing sigils (magical writing & grids), the remains of candles used in ceremony, flower petals & resins left over from offerings and the likes.  I try whenever possible to burn the remnants of my magical working; not wanting to waste the potent energy they contain.

As I sat in front of the woodstove watching my offering of wax, bark, flowers, resin and magic transforming I was impressed with how long the fire burned.  In fact, I actually contemplated shutting the stove door and walking away for it to do its thing, but I know that honoring the work I had done was far too important for me to walk away.  I had to watch it burn.   There was apparently quite a bit of wax in the offering, so I sat for 10 minutes or more watching the fire dance about in my fireplace.  Staring into the fire, watching it kindle, I practiced the art of Pyromancy (divination/psychic viewing by fire) I knew by how long it burned and the nature of the working that the work I put in motion would be far reaching, and long lasting.

There are many ways you can use fire in your own transformation & magic.  One of my favorites, that I often recommend to clients is the Healing Fire.  Below is a how-to for those of you who want to try it out…

HEALING FIRE RITUAL-

What you will need…a notebook or stationary, pen, & fire source & a safe place to burn shit.  (a fireplace, firepit, candle and cauldron for burning bits).

Take the time to set up a beautiful altar for yourself, decorate it with sacred items, pictures of ancestors who support you, etc.  Taking the time to set your space adds to your magic, for true magic is the whole working.  You may want to play relaxing music in the background. It starts when the idea enters your mind, with every action taken along the way being part of the work at hand.  Make sure you are in a place where you will not be disturbed.  It is helpful in when we are learning to have an atmosphere that leans into the work at hand, the fewer distractions the better the outcome.

With our space set, light your fire (candle, bonfire, etc) and take a few deep breaths.  Imagine there is a pinprick of white light in the center of your chest/heart chakra.  With every inhale in you become more relaxed, with every exhale the white light at your chest expands until after a few breathes you are completely relaxed and can sense (see, feel, know) the circle of protection around you.  Call in your guides, ancestors and the deities you work with at this time.  It is now time focus on that which needs healing.

What part of your life is dysfunctional, taking away from your true essence.  Sit with it for a while, allow yourself to see it’s roots.  This will be easy for some people and difficult for others, know that you can repeat this working anytime you like.  However, magic is more potent if we put ourselves fully into it, so if your sitting on the sidelines of your life, hokey-poking around the working, it will be lacking in the energy needed to produce results.  If you’re going to do something do it, don’t pretend to do it.  Magic requires us to be vulnerable, at least with ourselves.

Allow your mind to look at where your pain or troublesome habits began.  Perhaps the beginning is connected to a certain person or event.  If so, pick up your paper and pen and begin to write.  If it’s a person, compose a letter (you are not sending it), stating everything you wish you could have said to the person…how much you loved them, how much you hated them, how they disappointed you, wounded you, and what they taught you.  For true healing, we must admit all feelings, including the good ones.  If we are writing about a traumatic event, compose your offering as if it is the most vulnerable diary entry you can muster.  Remember we are exposing that which wounds us, and holds us back from our true self.

When your letter/journal entry is complete…sit for a moment in front of the Fire.  Gather your attention on this moment, and read your letter/journal entry out loud.  You may want some tissue here, as you will most likely be crying by this point.  Do not hold back, go tantric with it…do a deep dive into the pain allowing yourself to witness that which has shaped you, knowing that you will use it again once more to shape yourself, this time for healing.  When you have read your truth, burn that bitch!  Knowing that you are offering up your pain to be transformed, inviting your true self to emerge on the other side of the flames.  Make sure to watch the flames as they transform your truth, paying attention to any thoughts that come through the images seen in the fire.

When you have finished your working, close your circle by thanking your ancestors, guides, and deities, and releasing your circle of power.  You can do this by imagining it dissipating or by pulling the white light back into your body, calling your protection back to the source.   If you like visual aids/reminders, take a bit of the ash and put it into a small container to keep on your altar as a reminder of the work you have begun.

I hope you enjoyed the read.  Thanks for following me folks, you can find out more about me and my work by checking out my website Salicrow.com.

spreading love-salicrow

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SACRED TRAVEL…Transforming the mind through personal journey, part 3

Sacred Travel is foremost a mindset.  It is something that happens within our being, regardless of our outer destination, for the true journey is a pilgrimage of the soul.

Many people go on vacation and walk away with stories of adventure, a bit of color and a feeling of rest…but that is far from being transformational.  While on the other hand there are those among us who go no further than their backyard and experience tremendous spiritual growth.

If you are looking to set up a Sacred Pilgrimage for yourself and are lacking in funds, start by setting a date.  Block out the days you wish to set aside for personal growth, and act as if you are going to be out of the State during that time.  You will not be answering phone calls unless they are emergencies.  You may even want to tell people that you know that you will be away, or better yet that you are taking a much-needed Staycation to recalibrate.  Simple answers, make it easier to not receive a thousand phone calls during your time of introspection.

Plan your journey ahead of time, choose a location in your home or abroad (if you are so fortunate).  When using our own space for the journey, we must make sure to set the stage.  Taking time to make it comfortable and inviting…Setting up an altar where we can place items sacred to us. When Packing it’s important to bring enough provisions so we do not need to leave our sacred space until finished.  Remember the more fully you can submerge yourself in the experience, the deeper into self you can go.  Make sure you have a journal and a few good writing pens on hand, perhaps even some art supplies; as not all who journal do so in words.

When we choose to engage in sacred travel without leaving our homestead, it is important to step away from our regular habits.  Disconnect from social media, television, computer, smartphones, and technological static.  *I make an exception here for my camera.  For me, taking pictures is part of my journaling.  I love to capture moments and items that are seeped in the divine.  That being said, if you do not have the willpower to resist picking up your phone every few moments then it’s best to use a real camera, not the one on your phone.

Once we have set out on our sacred adventure we should plan on staying in that mindset for the duration of the time allotted to the journey.  This is important, as most people are impatient and somehow think results/answers should come quickly like a flash of lightning.  When in fact, more often than not it takes much longer than you think and is far more subtle than hoped for. Learning the nuances of subtly is a spiritual art, it takes practice.  One of the tips I give to my students when practicing any type of trance work or meditation is to stay past the point of discomfort.  By this, I do not mean stay when we are in pain or about to wet ourselves, what I mean is…we all reach a point in which our mind starts saying “Is this it?”, “Am I doing anything, can I do anything?”, “What am I suppose to be doing?”.  I am not immune to this distraction. It still shows up from time to time… telling me I have better things to be doing.  I simply ignore it and keep on keeping on.  It is after this point when we have crossed the threshold of our wondering mind, that we begin to truly connect.

Sacred tools, like drums and rattles, scrying mirrors, tarot cards & runes are helpful tools to take on our journey.  But so is going for a walk in the woods, sitting by your favorite brook, listening to the sound of the trees, exploring art at a local museum, listening to Gregorian chants and Shamanic trance music.  This is an adventure…you may spend it how you wish, and with who you wish.  Most of my sacred travels are spent with like-minded spiritual seekers.

When I was younger and could not get away as easily, my sacred-sisters (women I practiced magic with) and I would go away for one weekend a year together.  Most often this was at someone’s parents camp.  We would work and play together or the weekend and walk away refreshed and ofter more clear of our personal path.

Now here is an important add-on…I know most of you are imagining Sacred Travel as a somber thing, filled with drumming and meditation, and that is true…but it is can also one filled with tasty libations, your favorite herbs, and laughter.  After all, it is a time of stepping out of our day to day life and let us be honest we all like to eat well and celebrate.

The biggest factor in Sacred Travel is that we are there with our senses open.  We need to savor every detail of the moment, allowing ourselves to fully be present instead of wandering around on auto-pilot like we often do in our everyday lives.  Sacred Travel is a time of fully being conscious.  It is a time of celebration and love for self and the amazing world we live in.

I personally go on a sacred journey just about every week. I began adding a weekly ‘adventure day’ almost 2 years ago; when my sister was struggling with illness.  As part of her process, we decided to dedicate every Wednesday to spiritual growth and experience.  Sometimes it is just us, sometimes others of our tribe join us.  Most often we go to the Ammounousuc River, a place seen as a spiritual treasure to both of us.  This practice has enhanced the quality of my life tremendously.  Between the small weekly journeys and the larger ones I manage to pull off each year, I have created a life in which stepping out of my everyday reality & into my deeper soul consciousness is easily accessed.

I hope you enjoyed the read & that it inspires you to seek out Spiritual Adventure of your own.  The world is an amazing place, whether our path takes us ‘just down the road a bit’ or around the world.  Open your eyes, your heart, your ears, your entire being to the marvels of self & the universe and you will not be disappointed.

spreading love-salicrow

ps-if you enjoy my writing, make sure to check out my book!

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

 

 

 

Sacred Travel…Reflection, refraction, mirrors and transformation, part 1-

I have been in a place of deep reflection and examination for the last few months.  After 5 years of running at super-squirrel speed (I refer to my dark-totem as a ‘squirrel on crack’), I have decided that I need to dial in my focus, move away from ‘collecting every nut I see, to thoughtfully planning my next steps to best serve my community, while giving myself the time I need for personal growth and happiness.

This was not something I came to lightly, but more something that attacked me with flailing arms, & steam coming out of its ears.

By the end of January, I was exhausted, short-tempered and emotionally drained.  At first, I didn’t really understand where it was coming from, for my life did not feel or look any different than it normally did; my kids & grandkids were doing well, my home life & personal relationships were good, my businesses were running well.  Despite the outer vestige of my life, I was finding it hard to keep my temper in keel, and felt a building desire to just say ‘fuck it, I don’t care what you do’, to most inquiries.  Now, this does not mean I was showing my cards to the public, after all, I am a trained professional and I know how to put my stuff away while taking care of business.  But, as time went on, I found it harder and harder to ignore the fact that I was short-circuiting.  So I did what any good healer would do, I started to investigate the problem.

The answer came quickly; like a poke in the eye, and was not surprising at all…I was simply doing too much, running too fast for too long, and I needed to slow down.  This realization brought to mind the old adage ‘Healer, heal thyself’; which speaks to the need for those who care for others to practice self-care.  So I made an appointment with my apprentice Vanessa; who runs the Reiki clinic @ my wellness center and began to contemplate how I would cut back on the doing part of my life.

Now the problem with being me, is I invest in everything I take up.  Everything I do is important to me.  Which means selecting what to let go of, or pass on to others, were difficult questions for me.  I generally do not spend much time on things I don’t believe in or value.  I knew this was not going to be an easy switch, and that as much as I may want to put the squirrel in a cage it was going to take some time and planning to do so.

I began my transition while visiting family in Florida this last February.  Normally when I take my winter jaunt south, I plan on working part-time while there; doing private Seances, and Readings or workshops at stores in the area, weaving my sacred work with my sacred travel together.  But this year, I just kept hesitating to book any work, and the closer it came to my departure date the more I started limiting what my work would look like until it finally looked like “I am not working while in Florida this year.”

I have always seen travel as a time to initiate change, as we are away from our paterns, things, and the way others see us.  So instead of working for others, I spent the time in the sun working on myself…simply being; taking deep breaths, walking in the green parks, soaking up the sun and enjoying the magic of the water that Tampa Bay had to offer.

Simply embracing each day as it presented itself…swimming in the Ocean and walking along the bayou’s of public parks was truly the medicine I needed.  I received guidance in many forms…I watched a dolphin hunt & play, was lucky enough to hold a lovely snake, I even visited the shrine of the Arch Angel Micheal, while in a Greek fishing village (Tarpon Springs, FL).  I was looking for answers, or better yet I was waiting for answers.  Answers to how I was supposed to move forward, what I should focus on and what energy I should ask to help guide me. I even stayed in an Airbnb house filled with wyrdly, intriguing mirrors (note the picture at the start of the post), that I imagine would be great for deep scrying.  Instead, I fell asleep early while staying there; my body deciding I needed rest more than a spiritual deep dive into the world of mirrors.  In this stillness, answers slowly came.

The first step of my transformation was to choose another power animal to work with.  For as much as I have joked over the last few years about Squirrel on Crack being my dark totem, Squirrel has truly been the sacred animal ally calling the shots for the last few years. To call something my dark-totem, means the qualities of that animal are ones that I have to be cautious of in my life.  They are the parts of our personality/behavior that have short term benefits, but often overwhelm us when we play with them too long. I am truly squirrelish in my behavior, I gather from everywhere, often creating treasure caches of knowledge, learning, and cool stuff when working with this energy.  But when I play with it too long, I just keep collecting…more jobs, more classes, more travel, more businesses, more, more, more…until I wonder why I am even doing it, what I am collecting for and where the free time I use to have has gone.

We all have a dark-totem, an animal whose behaviors resemble ours, behaviors which we need to keep in check!

It may seem strange to say I needed to choose a power animal to work with, as in most cases our totem animals present themselves to us.  But I have many animals I have worked with over the years, some of them staying with me a lifetime (Crow) while others are active for only a few years, long enough to share their lessons with me.  It is from the latter variety that I was looking to choose.

From my slow-down time in Florida, I knew what qualities I was looking for, I wanted to keep moving forward, while focusing my intent, choosing to be more selective and purposeful in my movement.  I needed to learn to stalk the prey/goal I am after and to rest when I had downtime.  I needed the teachings of Cat.  For me, these lessons come in the form of ‘Big Cat’…Lion, Lynx, and most of all Panther.  This was not a new relationship so to speak, simply the re-emergence of an old alliance.

Creating a bond with a new Spirit Animal or rekindling an old relationship takes time.  It helps to remember that the lessons are being offered, which means if we are sincere and open, the teachings will come.  It is also beneficial to create space on your altar for honoring the ‘Spirit’ (animal, plant, ancestor, otherworldly being) relationship you are building.  You can do this by placing items that remind you of the ‘Being’ on your altar and studying their ways through observation (if you’re so lucky), books and websites.  One of my favorite books for Animal symbolism is ‘Animal Speak’ by Ted Andrews.

It is normal and perfectly alright to be working with more than one Animal Spirit Ally at a time. Personally, when asked the question “How many Spirit Allies should you have at once?”, my answer is “How many living friends and colleagues do you have?”  If your a person who likes to have only a few good friends, your most likely going to be the same way in Spirit-work.  But if you’re like me; a very social Gemini, your likely to have a whole slew of Spirit companions, teachers and guides.

With my mind clearly set on changing my speed & focus, and the aid of ‘Big Cat’ magic I was ready to return home & put my changes to the test of real life.  Something that was not without its challenges. Thankfully, I have a great partner; my husband, who offers his support in a very practical way.  Knowing that I need/want to slow down when I start squirreling up he reminds me of my intentions, by simply saying things like “Really Sali, you need to do that now?”

At first, this reminder triggered me, but I quickly staunched that voice by reminding myself that making changes in our life is easier when you have a practical support team.

My journey continues in part 2.  COSM/the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.  Look for it Wednesday, the 3rd.

spreading love-salicrow

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

Stories of Spirit…Love, death & soul mates

February is a month that immediately brings love to our minds.  Valentine’s day dominates the short month with its proclamations of emotional commitment and adoration, it stirs the heartstrings of those of us lucky enough to be engaged in loving relationships and vomits feelings of loneliness and despair on the rest of us.

I am amongst the fortunate, as I have been happily married to my husband for 26 years this February.  I thank the powers that be every time I do Spirit Communication for someone who has lost their spouse, particularly when working with someone who was married much longer than my mear 26 years.

To know deep, true love is to experience one of the greatest treasures that exist in our reality.  When we find someone who’s wyrd flows & dances with the intricacies of our wyrd, we know what it is to have a soulmate.  Soulmates are not something reserved for ancient memories, other lifetimes, and reincarnation.  We can form new relationships as soulmates in any life we live in.  To be a soulmate is to share a deep personal connection, that goes beyond words, beyond emotions, it is a connection that remains when the body is no more.  It is a connection that waits and recreates itself, again and again, allowing us to know one another on deeper and deeper levels.

When our soulmate dies; whether we spent decades in this life together or days, we feel as if a part of our soul has also left this reality.  We find ourselves confused as if our internal compass no longer knows where to find home.  This loss never completely goes away, but it turns to something beautiful and melancholy over time, like a love song you enjoy listening to and crying.

In time, we find a new normal, in which we can make space for our Beloved Dead/soulmate.  This happens by creating patterns, and rituals that give us boundaries for communication.  Sacred space such as altars of remembrance are great ways to create healthy patterns with our dead.  Talking to the ones we love in spirit is normal and is a part of spiritual practices around the world.  When a soul crosses the veil (barrier between life & death), they can see & hear us quite clearly.  It is more difficult for us, in the living world to perceive the ones we love in spirit.  Repetition, such as always talking to our dead in the same location (the kitchen, near their altar, at the graveyard, etc.) makes it easier for us to feel our Beloved Dead.  They know to come to us at these places, and using the same locations creates an energetic pattern over time making communication easier.  Remember thought matters, therefore telling ourselves we communicate in the kitchen, makes the kitchen a good place to communicate.  For this reason, I recommend comfortable places, particularly the kind of spaces your soulmate would like to hang around.

It is often these bonds; the ones with deep feelings of intimate love, that create the most lasting spirit relationships.   These relationships are often so close that the living partner may take on some of the dead partner’s traits, beliefs or interests.  This is not limited to relationships with spirits we had spousal relationships, in fact hanging around with the same spirit for long periods of time is much like hanging around with a friend for a long period of time, we pick up each other’s habits.  I have seen this in my relationship with Adam (my doorman/spirit guide), in fact when I first submitted writing to my editor; while writing my book Jump Girl, my editor noted that my writing was good, but I wrote like a journalist.  Adam was a journalist!

Soulmates exist beyond death, and although we are not limited to one, when we do get the opportunity to have a life with one of these treasures of reality, we need to cherish it.  Remember to stare deeply at the one you love, do this often, allowing your senses to absorb all of who they are.  For these will someday be memories more precious than gold.  May we all be blessed with the ability to see each day as our last, so that we can savor that which is in front of us.

For those of you who have experienced the deep loss associated with losing a soulmate/partner, know that you are amongst the most fortunate in this world, to have experienced such beautiful love.  Your loss as deep as it may seem holds nothing to the light that shows in your memories.

spreading love-salicrow

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

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!