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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

 

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Pina Coladas and Cheeseburgers [errand girl of the dead]

My Aunt Sheila died a couple of years ago.  In many ways, she was more like a big sister, as she was only 7 years older than me, and had to drag me along a lot when she was a teenager.   When she died, she started using a particular song to get my attention, whenever she needed to communicate with those she loved who were still alive, particularly her daughter Morgan.

Now Sheila and I did not have the same taste in music, and the song she chose is one that I do not particularly like, Rupert Holmes ‘Escape’, the 1980’s ‘Pina Colada’ song.  In short, she loved it, I hate it.

A few weeks ago, she began popping into my head with her favorite song, simply singing the chorus in my head “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain”.  By the time the first verse is done, I know it’s her and am generally begging her to stop singing it.  In truth, she is very clever.  Using a song I don’t like, grabs my attention, like being stung by a hornet.  I just want it to stop.

One night, after getting my full attention with her musical serenade, she told me she needed me to reach out to her daughter, and let her know how proud she was of her, and how she was watching over her.  This was not a surprising statement, and made me aware of the fact that her daughter was really mourning her, at this moment in time.  I reached out to my cousin, who is more of a niece, passing on my aunts message.  This seemed to be sufficent for the moment.

It was not!

Sheila is opportunistic, and spends a lot of her time, trying to figure out the best way to reach out to people.  Friends of hers have sent me videos and pictures with orbs in them, asking me if I think this could be Sheila.  My answer is always yes, as I know her to be a ‘pushy’ Spirit.  This is not a bad thing, simply a fact.  If she wants you to know she’s around, she will keep at it, until you do.

About a week after she was serenading me in the car, she took advantage of the fact that I was going to be driving through the same town her daughter lived in, on my way to the airport.  Normally, a trip to the airport would be a tight schedule, but our flight to Milwaukee (to teach Earth Magic) was an early morning one, so we planned to stay with friends in Boston, the night before.  Which meant more time to be maneuvered by Spirit.

It has always been my belief, that getting there is half the fun.  I love road trips, and the feeling of being slightly sleep deprived, and giddy.  I love spontaneous stops along the way, to observe the beauty of nature, or the weirdness of little towns.  Thankfully, so did my traveling companions, my sister Sandy and our ‘adopted’ sister Missy (who was driving Sandy and I to Boston).  With this in mind we gave ourselves over to the fact, that there would be stops along the way, and they would most likely be led by Spirit, and Bessy; the genius locus/spirit of place, that is Missy’s vehicle.

Bessy loves adventure, which means there is no straight shot to Boston, but instead a meandering road of wyrd opportunity.   The first stop was literally 5 minutes down the road, when we needed to stop for some wyrd car malfunction, only to see we were parked next to a huge head of Witches Broom growing on an old pine.  The pine’s roots were down in the ravine next to the curb of the road, and the broom was at easy picking level.  It was obvious that the plant wanted me to take a few sprigs with me to Wisconsin, so I snipped a few, thanked the tree, and jumped back in the car.

Witchs Broom is a deformity that can form on a Pine tree, in which a ball of branches forms.  Energetically it carries the properties of the Pine-cleansing, purifying, attracting abundance, as well as the symbolic energy of a witches broom…flying, astral travel, shifting ones reality.  It was a perfect bit to be added to the weekends intensive.

Soon I was back in the car and we were on our way.  We made it as far as the Basin, in the Franconia Notch, NH before stopping again, where we once again collected some bits for our travels; birch bark, a rock and a piece of wood that had been tossed around by the rivers current. By this point, my Dad (who is a Spirit) had joined us on our trip.  He loved adventure of any kind, and is pretty much guaranteed to be along on any trip we take.

The third stop on our trip was a simple one, a late lunch at 5 guys in Manchester, NH.  Something we thought would be a simple in and out.  But in fact it ended up starting me on an errand run, for the Spirits.  My aunt in particular.

While at 5 guys, they got my order wrong twice, which meant I ended up with 2 extra burgers.  We all laughed at how absurd this was; as there was only one other customer in the restaurant, and commented on how my dad must have wanted burgers too.  With this in mind, we wrapped up the other burgers, deciding we would leave them somewhere along the road as an offering for my dad.  We left my father’s burgers on a rock in an industrial park, surrounded by stones.  I know the crows will love the meat, and my dad loved the offering.

I speak about Spirit offerings often, and how the Dead love to be given offerings of their favorite foods, beverages, and libations.  When given an offering of this kind, the Spirit does not actually eat the food, or drink the beverage.  Instead they partake of the energy that the food carries, and the remembrance itself.

As we left the industrial park, with some flower blossoms, and bits we had collected, I checked in on Facebook, as I had been posting pictures of our journey so far.  Immediately, I saw that my niece/cousin had responded to my pictures, saying “Pit stop in Manchester?”.   I knew upon seeing her words, that it was all connected.  The extra burgers, the quick stop to drop off my dad’s burgers.  I wrote back to her…“Where are you?  We are in Manchester now”.

We were literally less then 3 miles from where she was volunteering at a local recovery center HOPE of New Hampshire.

Spirit, particularly that of my Dad and his sister Sheila, got us where we needed to be.  Morgan, was very close to her mother, and had really been feeling her loss heavily.  She needed to connect to family, and needed to hear from her mom in a big way.  It was a short visit, simple yet powerful, for the death of my aunt had sent her daughter (morgan) spiraling into drug addiction.  Something she has been fighting hard against for over a year now.

Sheila wanted Morgan to know how proud she was of her.  How she had taken her struggles and weaknesses and turned them into strength and purpose.  I too am truly proud of my cousin, and was so happy to see her in her element, doing what she does best.  She now works and volunteers in the field of recovery, and is working hard every day to help others as much as she helps herself.

I see this story as one that not only shows the power of Spirit to communicate with the ones they love, but also as a story of how we can carry our wounds in more then one way.  We can take that which has hurt us, and hold onto it as an excuse for why we will never be happy, or we can choose to see our hardships as lessons, meant to strengthen us and give us purpose.  Morgan has chosen the latter, she has taken her hardships and turned them into tools, into a foundation that can be built upon. For that I am very proud of her, and of her mother who has not stopped parenting, even though she is dead.

We all hold inside of us the ability to change our story.  We may not be able to change the hardships we have faced, or the wrongs done to us by ourselves or others, but we can change what that story does to us.  Each and every one of us is flawed, each and every one of us is also divine.  We were created, to be co-creators of our reality.  Do not let your troubles define you, instead let them be the fuel that makes you step more fully into all that you are capable of.  Remember we are made of Stardust!

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…the Sorrow of One [mourning alone]

As a Medium; I have encountered death in many, many ways.  My first brush with death occurred when I was 3 months old, and my father’s, mother passed.  This event, was something, that showed others in my family; particularly, Grammy Brown, that I was able to see/perceive Spirits.  Since that moment, death has been a constant companion of mine.  I have had many personal losses, and have stood witness/messenger, to countless numbers of others.  There is no ‘one-way’ to experience the loss of death, for it is a multi-faceted, and generally requires us to experience it’s power over and over again; sometimes through deep sadness, sometimes through rage, sometimes through an emptiness that would challenge the vastness of space.  One thing that remains constant when it comes to death is that we all mourn alone.

No matter how much we share love of someone with another, the feeling of loss created by death is a lonely thing.  It is something that demands privacy, taking up long hours, in our mind.  It is something that shows up when we are having a great time, reminding us that something is missing, often asking us “How can you be so happy, when your Beloved Dead is not here to join you?” It speaks loudest to us when we are feeling vulnerable, or doubting ourselves, telling us that we will never find happiness again, without our beloved.  The closer we were to the death, the harder and longer it sits with us.  When enough time has gone by, and others see that we should be done mourning, death requires us to hide our sorrow, “move-on” the outside world says, but death whispers quietly in our ears “stay, don’t forget how important they were to you”.

There is no easy answer here.  I cannot bestow words of wisdom upon you, that will take away your sorrow, like the brush of a magic wand.  But I can tell you that communication helps.  Not just Spirit Communication, although in truth communication with your Beloved Dead, is one of the most powerful healing tools I know of, as it gives us the proof that they are not truly gone, but simply existing in another realm.  But not everybody is open or has the ability to make connection with their dead, so that is why good old fashioned talking about it is helpful.  Friends, counselors, and support groups help us to make peace with the sorrow of our loss, even when the others we speak to cannot fully understand our pain.  The act of sharing it, helps us to move it from the hidden realms of our mind, into the light of day where it can be cared for.

This advice is particularly important for those who have experienced a deep loss, such as that of a lover, child, or parent.  When we loose the ones we hold most dear, their death will become a constant companion of ours.  It will attend us in our every day life, and go with us to special events.  It will come around heavily, laden with emotion on the anniversary dates of their loss, and their birthdays, and anniversaries.  It will show up, when a song comes on the radio, or a childhood toy reminds us of them, when the weather is just so, and when we wake slowly from a dream in which they have come to visit.  For those most heavily hit by the loss of a loved one, death will return again, and again, and again.

So what can we do in those overwhelming moments?  What can we do to ease our pain, and find peace?

First of all we must remember we are human, and innately flawed.  We need to be patient with ourselves, and practice the art of  ‘speaking vulnerably’, which simply means talking when you feel weak.  Not everyone can do this, in fact most people stop talking about their loss, thinking that others will perceive that they should be over it by now.  It is my belief that people are generally kind.  That if we tell them we are having a hard day, and that death is speaking very loudly to us today, that we are in a deep space of mourning, they will understand, and most often seek to give us support.  The problem is, that most of us do not do this when we are feeling vulnerable, instead we batten down the hatches and prepare to ride out the storm.  In doing so, we often act in ways that are not really pleasant to ourselves or others.  We may even find ourselves lashing out, again at ourselves and others, and when it is done, we feel like an asshole, but lack the means to explain our actions.

Secondly, I recommend setting up sacred space for our Beloved Dead.  A simple shelf can be turned into an altar or shrine, with just a few items and some attention.  Place a picture of your loved one, who has crossed over, on the shelf, as well as any mementos that remind you of them.  Light a candle, and sit with them for a bit.  Even if you do not sense them, know that they are beside you.  For as a Medium, I know that our loved ones in Spirit are reaching out, trying to help us heal…even when we perceive them as having moved on, there is a part of their essence that stays connected to the ones they love.

We all mourn alone, and some of us do that more truly then others…This is most true for people who pull themselves away from the world of the living, identifying their loss as the story of their life.  It is also true for those who have loved in secret, been the other woman/man, or who have had a relationship that was hidden from the real world.  The loss in these cases can be overwhelming, and again…my answer is talk about it.  Find a friend who understands, or a counselor/healer who gets you.  But do not suffer with your loss alone.

I hope you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it, as I believe it is a message that needs to be heard, again, and again, and again.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

Stories of Spirit…Remember the coffee [offerings for the dead]

I woke up yesterday morning, excited at the prospect of heading into the woods.  Not just any wood, but one that I hold dear.  I was heading to the Middle Falls of the Ammonoosuc River, in Bretton Woods, NH.  I hadn’t been there since early winter, when the snow was new to the ground, and I was anxious to connect with the earth in one of the places I hold most sacred.  I was going to river for a quick photo shoot with my friend Stace; for the back cover of my book.  But, as it happens so often in my life, the Universe had other plans for me, other ways in which I could be of assistance to those in the world of Spirit.

I browsed through Facebook, as I sipped my morning coffee, and immediately connected with two posts from clients of mine who had crossed the border of relationship, to now be known as friends.  Both of them were posting about the long term sorrow, of loosing a child, each of them feeling that pain in it’s intensity, as the time of the children’s death was now.

I thought on how the loss of a child is the most painful of all deaths, as there is nothing that can compare to the grieving felt by those who have had to bury their children.  I do not say this lightly, I say this with the experience of a Medium with many years of practice, and interaction with both the dead, and those who morn them.  I do not say this to lessen in any way the loss felt by those who have lost husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers.  I say this for I see it as true.  This truth comes from the fact that we all believe our children will out live us, and that we hold a responsibility for their well being.  This truth is not just applicable if the child is under the age of 18.  If a 75 year old mother looses her 50 year old son, she will still hold a level of irrational responsibility, as if she could have somehow done something to change the outcome.

Upon reading the post from my friends, an commenting with love and support, I realized that one of the women, mentioned the very place I was heading to that day.  She did not specifically name it, but knowing her, it was clear to me what place she spoke of when she mentioned heading to the river in a couple of weeks with coffee and flowers for her daughter.  At that moment, Spirit poked me in the side, and I replied to her privately that I was going to the river that day, and I would bring her daughter coffee.  I asked her how her daughter liked her brew, and waited for her response, but none came.  She had left for work, and would not respond to my question until early that evening.

As I picked up my friend, and we began our drive east to the river,  I told her of my intention and how simple offerings were so powerful.  Often people who have passed into Spirit long for their favorite treats, and truly enjoy when we think of them while offering up such goodies.

The car ride was long, but we are dear friends, and the time flew by in a series of conversations, and laughter.  When I got to the town of Bretton Woods, and approached the turn that would take me onto the river road, I had totally forgotten that I was going to stop at the mini-mart to get a cup of coffee for my friends daughter.  She did not forget.

Just before the driveway to the mini-mart, I heard a voice clear in my head…”Don’t forget the coffee”.  I laughed, realizing, that she probably didn’t want me to give my coffee, up as an offering, as she didn’t strike me as the kind that would like an unsweetened latte, make with coconut-almond, milk.  So, I made a quick turn into the parking lot, and went in to get her offering.

 

coffee offering for the Beloved Dead

As I poured her coffee, I decided I would make her a generic style coffee, with sugar and cream.  I poured about a teaspoon of sugar in the cup of hot coffee, and went to place it back on the counter, when she spoke up again, “I need a lot more sugar than that”, and that she did.  I found myself making coffee candy.  I added about 3 more teaspoons of sugar to the coffee, as well as, a quick shot of marshmallow flavored coffee to the cup, and a whole lot of cream.

When I got to Middle falls, Stace and I trampsed the short distance into the woods to one of my favorite mossy spots, to take pictures.  I placed the hot, sweet, candy coffee on a moss covered rock, and set about giving my offerings to the Spirits of the land, before we got down to the business of pictures.

I laid out a crystal grid on the moss, in my favorite hidden glen.  It was amazing to me how such a place, has the ability to set itself aside from the vision of most people.  For their were paths all around the woods, trampled down by snow shoes, until they were like sidewalks through the forest.  But the glen I love so dearly, with its magical bits, and plethora of Nature Spirits, showed no sign of human traffic.  The pathway to my sacred space was covered in snow, untouched by the feet of humans.  I know that others had visited this space over the winter, but those others  like me; who were seekers of the sacred.  Even they had not been there in quite some time.

The spirits of the land were just waking up there, and there were signs that the inhabitants had enjoyed previous offerings as we found a bottle of fireball whisky, snuggled into the thick moss that covered the glen.  Something I was not at all surprised to see, as some of the heartier of nature spirits that inhabit the place, like their offerings to be a bit more brisk.

*Please note-I take it upon myself to clean such sacred spaces, and will be back in the spring to clean up the remains of offerings, and any debris that is left behind.

My offerings were not as spicy as fireball whiskey, but I did light a cigarette, and give it a few puffs, for my father, and for the spirits who enjoy the energy of tobacco.  As I am not a smoker, my dad had to be satisfied with the little bits he got, but in giving offerings, it is important to remember that more important then the actual offering, is the nature in which it is given.  What are you thinking when you give an offering to your Beloved Dead, or the Spirits of Nature, is far more important.

I then set about creating a crystal grid, my true offering to the land.  I had selected crystals that carry the vibration of peace, wisdom, and the removal of negative energy.  Helping to strengthen the land, and the Spirits that reside there, as they wake from their winter slumber.   My offerings given, we began our photo shoot; Stace trying to find balance in the snow to take the pictures, and me billy-goating up onto the moss covered rocks, so she could get the pictures she wanted.

Pictures done, we made our way to the river itself, where coffee was offered up to my friends daughter, my words making it clear that the coffee was from her mom.  After giving the coffee to the river, I sat with Stace and my dad (in spirit), and admired the power of nature, and the raw force of Spring.  It was a powerful visit, one in which I was happy to be the delivery-man, to the Spirit world.

When I got home from my adventure, I had a reply waiting for me on Facebook, and I had made the coffee, exactly how her daughter liked it, extra sweet, and extra creamy.  I had a brief conversation with her, and found out that the last cup of coffee Mom had bought her, had come from the same mini-mart.

I love being connected to Spirit,and am thankful for this life I live; that is so filled with magic and mystery.  Thanks for reading folks.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

 

 

Stories of Spirit…Convicted of Witchcraft [Alison Balfour died at the hands of men]

crowsaliToday’s tale is spun of truth, the actions being factual, the fiction comes only in the flavoring of the tale, and the expression of emotion shown.  The emotions were imagined by me, as I sat preparing my story for the Bardic telling.  I wrote this tale in the Fall of 2008, after reading of the real story of Alison Balfour, a woman convicted of witchcraft in 1594.  Her story touched me, and I remembered as my own.  I have told this story a few times before, speaking it aloud, as if the words were my own.

The last time I performed it, my father was there.  When I was done, he walked over and hugged me, saying “I am sorry that happened to you.”  I do not know that this story is truly mine, I do not know that I was Alison Balfour, but I have my suspicions.  One thing I do know, is that if I was not she, then we shared similar stories, for the writing of her tale was like remembering a dream, a very unpleasant dream.

I wrote & performed during the bardic year of my Druid training.  It is based on the historical details of a woman (Alison Balfour) who was convicted of Witchcraft in Scotland in 1594.  I share this story now, as we once again live in a time, when people are persecuted for their beliefs and their spiritual practices.  I am ever thankful to live in a time when I do not have to hide my abilities for fear of persecution, but I have not forgotten, and I do not turn a blind eye on the persecution of others.

And so the story begins…

As many of you know already, I stand before you a self confessed Witch.  Many moons and many faces I have worn since the days of the fire, but memories born in flame are hard to forget.

The Earl of Orkney, Patrick Stewart or “Black Patty” as he was so often called by the people of the land,  was a tyrant…a greedy, arrogant son of a bastard.  His father having been the illegitimate son of  King James the fifth.  He was a despised man, and it came as no surprise to me, that someone had tried to poison him.  The  word of importance here is ‘tried’.

The failed attempt at poisoning “Black Patty” was blamed on his brother John Stewart, the Master of Orkney.  As you could not come right out and blame a noblemen…and someone must be brought in for questioning in the affair, his servant, Thomas Paplay was brought in.   Now I do not blame poor Tom for what came next, as he was a simple man used as a pawn.

For 11 days Tom held out to their torture, even though they crushed his arms in “Caspies Claws”.  Then in his defeat he named me a Witch, and a conspirator in the poisoning of “Black Patty”.  It was no secret that I knew the ways of medicine, and as rumor had it….magic.  They came and dragged me from my home, away from my aged husband and children and commenced to working my confession out of me.

Henry Colville, the Parson of Orphir…that vile excuse for a man of God, was called upon to “question” me.  They had found a piece of wax in my home….wax , such a funny thing to bring about ones demise.  This wax had come from the home of Patrick Bellenden, the Lord of Stenness.  The Lady of Stenness was suffering terribly with stomach problems and I had agreed to work my charms on healing her.  Its funny how ones gifts often so appreciated can quickly becomes ones bane.  Henry refused to accept my answer, as he was convinced that I had used the wax to concoct a poison to kill “Black Patty”, and that Lord Bellenden was part of the ploy.

My torture or questioning, if you  like was carried out in the castle of Kirkwall.  They crushed my legs in “Caspies Claws” for  48 hours.  I reached out to my Gods and retreated inward…refusing to  confess to a crime I did not commit……..Then they brought in my family.

My husband was a great deal older then me, at 81 he had lived a long life.  I loved him dearly, but could not confess.  They placed him in the “Long Irons”,  and proceeded to crush him before my eyes….50 stones they laid upon his chest, 700lbs in terms you would understand now.  As he died before my eyes, my resolve began to crumble, but I heard his voice clear as day inside my head urging me to stand strong.

My son, came next.  A strong lad…just entering manhood, handsome and brave.  He stood before me and said “don’t do it ma…don’t let them condemn you for a crime that is not yours”.  Even now all these years later, life times passed I find myself drawn to tears as I think on his brave soul.  They placed his legs in “the boots”, drove the wedges in and crushed his feet with 57 strikes of a mallet.  57 times my heart cried out, begging the gods by all their names to stop this torture….to free my son from his earthly prison.  As he collapsed upon the floor, my life slipped colorlessly before my eyes. I thought I had endured all the pain a person could take….and then they brought in my wee lass.

7 years old and bright as a sunny day.  My daughter, my joy, the love of my womb…I could not believe that even the evilness of “Black Patty” could claim the life of one so innocent.  But there she was, her tiny fingers being placed into the piniwinkie…and I could take no more.  As they began to crush her finger I cried out my confession.  I confessed to consorting with the devil, to poisoning the Earl, and to many other atrocities’ too dark to repeat. Inside I begged the goddess above to forgive me for my lies, but I could take no more.  Darkness enveloped me and time took on a dimension unknown to those that have never truly suffered.

My confession earned me the punishment of execution…seeing how Witchcraft was considered a form of treason in Scotland, I would be burned at the stake.  As I was found guilty, the fee for services rendered…torture, execution and such would be deducted from my families estate.   The Gallows in Kirkwall was my final resting place on December the 15th, 1594.   As burning is a rather noisy way to dispose of a living body…strangulation was customary, prior to the stake.

As I stood awaiting my death…the darkness of my mind cleared, and I found my voice.  “I Alison Balfour, do stand here before you an innocent woman.  My confessions that of a mother seeking only to spare her children!”  The crowd went silent, and my soul was released from hell.

John Stewart, the Master of Orkney stood trial for seeking the aid of a Witch…for the destruction of his brother Patrick.  He was acquitted, as the evidence which lead to my death was thrown out of court, on the basis that it had been obtained under torture.

Henry Colville, the hand of my torture….got his due.  Traveling on the Earls business in the summer following my death, he was come upon by the Master of Orkney and 30 of his men.  They proceeded to unmercifully slay him…I will leave out the details for those of you weak in the tummy.

And…Black Patty, I have saved the best for last.  The son of a Bastard, the Tyrant of Orkney was beheaded in 1615 for treason to the crown.

May all those who have been persecuted find peace!

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Faith in Dying [embracing death]

cave5Death is the inevitable piece of life that we must all face.  It is part of the natural ebb & flow, something we all can count on, for there is not one among us that will escape it’s embrace.  Death is not discriminating, it does not judge.  It comes for the rich, the poor, the old, the young, the kind and the cruel.  It holds the power to break apart lives and to bring lives together.  Culture, religion, and personal experience all have influence over how we face death.  For some Death is an old friend, to be embraced when he comes a calling.  For others Death is a fearsome thing, lurking in the shadows, waiting to steal us away from all that we love.

Faith is the key to a good death.  I am not talking about religious faith, although that can be helpful.    The Faith I speak of is to trust in the process of death itself.

frozen-bubblesFaith-complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

We all know that Death awaits us, we know that like all who have walked before us, and all who walk behind us, we will die.  It is the most predictable thing we will experience on our walk upon the Earth.  Yet many of us struggle when Death brushes up next to us, we fight the inevitable, bucking and screaming like wild banshees, saying this should not happen to me.

I am not suggesting that people throw in the towel whenever illness presents itself, nor am I saying we should stop striving for life, health, and more time.  I am saying that we as a people have to become comfortable with the concept of Death, we need to have faith in the process and accept that it is natural and sound.

betweentheveilI am thankful for the advantage my life as a Medium has given to me.  I do not need to rely on faith to ensure me that there is something more waiting for me, and those I love when our time of dying approaches.  I know because I see, feel, hear, and sense those who have passed into the world of Spirit.  I know that Death is just a passage into another way of being, and that the soul remains intact.  I know that we are reunited with those we love, that our Beloved Dead will be waiting to embrace us and welcome us home.

Many people struggle with Death, unable to find solace and comfort in the last hours of their life…but still they die.  Even if I didn’t know there was something more waiting for me on the other side, I believe I would still embrace the act of dying.  I would do this because the resistance of death leaves one in turmoil when our end days comes.  If there was nothing waiting for me, I would still want the last days I had to be ones of peace and solace, instead of resistance and pain.

I have never encountered a soul that was doomed to hell, nor a soul that was banished into oblivion, nor have I been told that someone was sent to either place.  What I have experienced, what I do know, is that we all must review our lives when we pass.  If we have done a lot of things we regret, the process of review is going to take us a lot longer.  This review shows us in detail the experiences of our life, as well as how our actions effected others.  We see how we were loved, even when we didn’t feel it, and how we influenced the lives of others.

Faith in dying, allows people with long term illness to explore some of their memories before hand.  Getting our affairs in order, does not just speak of bank accounts and insurance policies.  It means we look at the way we lived.  We give thanks, we make amends, we appreciate the beauty of the life we have lived, and we love deeply those who walk the path beside us.  Faith means we surrender to the circle of life we are part of.  When we die there is no need for disappear, we simply step through the doorway into another way of being.  By surrendering to the process, we find a deep level of peace.  We start to radiate wisdom and wholeness, which allows those we leave behind to heal faster, as they know we are OK.

When Spirits talk to me of their Death, they often tell me whether they were ready or not.  They speak of what helped them to find their faith.  Old souls have a tendency to do this naturally, without struggle they know Death will be just fine.  When my Grammy Brown died, she did so by choice.  I do not mean she committed suicide, I mean she chose to let go.

She had been ill for a long time, and she was at the point where my family could no longer take care of her at home.  She was determined that she would not go to a nursing home.  She did not fight the family, she simply said she would not go.  The night before she was to be transferred from the hospital to an assisted care home, she died.  She did this because she was ready, and she had faith in the afterlife.  She knew she would be fine, and she simply surrendered.

Many people linger in the act of dying, and they do so for various reasons.  Some stay for the family who struggle with their passing, some have unfinished business that rattles off through their minds.  Others linger because they are no longer in control of their facilities, such as people with Dementia, and Alzheimers.  But the majority of people who linger on in deep illness, are doing so out of fear.  They fear the unknown, worrying what awaits them when they leave their body.

We must find faith in the process that has been going on since the beginning.  Death is the most natural thing in life, and it happens to us all.  Whether you are facing your own Death as you read this, or have a loved one struggling with theirs, know that there is a choice in how we face it.  We can face our passing with dignity, strength, and courage, surrendering to that which will not be denied, and we can help those we love to do the same thing.

Ask these questions in the time of dying.  “What do you still need to accomplish?” “What unfinished work do you have?” “How can you feel complete?”.

I spend a fair amount of time counseling those who are in the process of dying, and one thing I know for sure is that it needs to be talked about.  Often when someone is dealing with terminal illness people avoid speaking of Death.  They do so out of fear, fear that Death will come quicker if he hears his name called, fear that the dying will be hurt by your questions, fear that you are giving up.  This has to be overcome.  We need to start speaking of Death and finding solace and faith in the fact that it is the most natural thing around.

Our culture is obsessed with youth and beauty, and has chosen to turn its face on anything old, fading, and unpleasant.  This obsession has made it harder for people to face Death, seeing it as something foreign and fearsome.  We need to remember the teachings of our Ancestors, the natural way in which Death has been experienced and held sacred throughout time.  We are living in a time of great change and we are the ones we have been waiting for.  We have the power to bring dignity and beauty back into dying, so that those who come after us will have no longer fear that which cannot be escaped.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks, and that this is helpful to all those facing Death.  Remember it is beautiful, sacred, and powerful.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

 

Stories of Spirit…The Betwixt & Between [guidance from the ancestors]

familyalterAs a Medium, communication with the dead is a normal thing for me.  I spend many hours, every week in conversation with people who have crossed over.  Most of the time, I am helping the living find closure and re-connection after the death of a loved one.  I find this to be highly rewarding, and feel proud of the work that I do.  Occasionally, I am given the opportunity to take the communication a step further, out of the place of healing and into the place of growth.

This weekend, under the bright full moon my sister and I held our annual, ancestor honoring event ‘The Betwixt & Between’.   We have done it for many years and always look forward to it.  It has always been focused on honoring our Beloved Dead (family, friends, ancestors and guides), and includes direction for setting up an Ancestor altar, techniques for expanding your awareness; for personal experience with Spirit, and messages from the dead, passed on by me.  In the past the Dead we were reaching out to were coming forward to bring love and healing to their living, and it was in many ways like my Gallery Spirit communication.  This year we changed it up a bit.

Upon looking at the guest list, I was aware that the majority of people who were attending this year were people with a more advanced skill level in the area of spirit.  I saw this as an opportunity to do something extraordinary.  So instead of this being a time for people to hear from their dead grandmother; about how much she loved them and things they enjoyed doing together, it became a place of learning.  I wanted to model the traditional reasons why tribal society chose to communicate with their dead.  In most cases this was done for advice, particularly in times of great need.  People would gather in solemn respect for their Ancestors and humbly ask for direction.

21 of us gathered at Blissful Dragon Farm, in Waterford, VT.  When people arrived they were asked to walk the labyrinth to center themselves for the work at hand, and invited to tie a ribbon to the cloutie tree (prayer tree).  When the fire was ready, everyone walked through burning incense into Dragon’s Teeth Circle; the last stone circle created by Ivan McBeth this autumn, before his passing.  As each person was anointed with sacred oils, they were asked to find the stone that called to them, the place they were to set up their personal altars.

With the altars set, chairs were brought into the center of the circle close to the fire.  The stones and the family altars created a strong boundary around the participants.  By this time, people were starting to feel the energy of the space, and that of their ancestors gathering close.  We did spiritual journey work, so that everyone could reach out to their loved ones, and then showed them how the spirits were moving in on the mist.  The area inside the circle became thick with the closest ancestors and beloved dead, and the area outside the circle was filled with the many, many spirits that had shown up to hold space and be acknowledged.

The messages past were powerful.  I always feel honored, when I have the opportunity to speak for the Wisdom Keepers, who are in spirit.  Even though the messages were delivered to individuals, the wisdom was beneficial for all.  One of the first Spirits to speak was a recently departed mother.  She had made many mistakes in her life, and had a lot of struggle.  Her message was of forgiveness.  She spoke of the need for forgiveness in our world, and how often the best teachers are the ones that need the most forgiveness.  The ones who are unable to change.  I found this to be quite profound, as I have been a bit obsessed with the idea of Radical Forgiveness, lately.

Radical Forgiveness is the act of forgiving without expectation.  When it comes to forgiveness most people find themselves using the word but, a lot.  They say “I forgive you, but…”.  This is not true forgiveness.  True forgiveness comes with nothing attached, and we give it not only for the benefit of the one needing forgiveness, but for ourselves as well.  For through forgiveness, we can break the karmic chains that keep pulling us back to the same lesson over and over again.  Radical Forgiveness does not ask us to forget, or to give consent for the actions that caused the wrong, it simply asks us to let go, move on, and stop dwelling on the wrongs done.  When we hold onto such things we keep everyone involved, wound up tight in a knot of pain.

Another of the powerful bits of wisdom passed on from the Ancestors was around death itself.  The Spirit that came through was a representative of the wounded soldier.  He was a military man in life, and spoke of the healing needed when one has lived a life of war.  He said that sometimes when the body gets old, and the physical wounds endured in youth become overwhelming, all we can do is prepare for death.  He did not speak as poetically as I am speaking right now.  He was matter of fact, and to the point.  His lesson was not about giving up on life, but about facing your demons and preparing for your passage into spirit.  I found this to be a potent lesson, as my father had done just what he spoke of.  My dad was a Vietnam Vet, who spent the last 2 years of his life finding a deep spiritual practice.  He found forgiveness for himself, and a new purpose in those last years, and was ready when his time came to enter the spirit world.  Preparing for death, does not mean your death is around the corner, it means you will be ready when that time comes.  When someone has been to war, and seen and done things they regret, their soul needs to find peace.  If we do not do this in life, then that is what we will be facing when we cross over.

Two different spirits came through to talk about anger, and love.  They spoke from different perspectives on the need to let go of anger and how nothing good comes out of it.  Anger directed at another person, seldom changes them, instead it changes the one holding the anger.  We spend our days filled with this energy, and it transforms our view of life, showing us more that we can be angry with.  But again, how is that helpful, how many of you jump right up and do something for someone who is directing anger and hatred in your direction?  How do you feel when you hold such emotions?  Transforming anger into love is potent.  If you look at it from the terms of quantum theory/what we think, we create.  I know I want more love in my life and less anger.

ivandragonteethThere were many powerful messages passed, and I walked away feeling truly blessed by the experience.  The last to speak that night was my friend, Ivan McBeth, the Druid who built the stone circle we sat in.  He was so ecstatic to be there, and almost everyone present could see him clearly.  His energy was huge, and his message was sweet and beautiful.  He spoke of remembering how powerful we are.  He reminded everyone present that when we focus on the darkness we will find it in plenty, but when we focus on the light and the beautiful, kind things we are capable of, we can manifest that as well.

I believe we all chose to come in at this moment in time.  It certainly is a chaotic one, with many things to fear if we focus our lens that way.  But I also believe that this is a time of great change, which makes it a powerful time of healing.  I know I chose to be here, and that I will continue to choose to be present spreading love wherever I go.  I was deeply touched by the evenings events and thankful for the many spirits who stepped forward to share their knowledge and guidance with us.  I hope you enjoyed the read.

spreading love-salicrow