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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look carefully for the face beside of me

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

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

 

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

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

I did not expect the transformation to start so quickly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agreed…

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travel…It’s all about the Underwear [packing for adventure]

I got a surprise yesterday, when I realized that the 29th of September was on Tuesday, not Wednesday.  For the last week or so, I have been telling myself that I was heading back to Ireland on Wednesday, the 29th.  With this in mind, I planned a leisurely lead-up to my departure…I was going to take it slow and easy.  Who was I trying to kid?

Hennaing my hair w/my fox hat on. Last minute self-care before Sacred Travel.

I have been running on squirrel power all day, getting things in order &  shuffling the the mild chaos, that seems to appear anytime I am getting ready for spiritual adventure.

The chaos is something we must all expect, if we are going to step out of our ordinary life, and into the world of the sacred.  It’s like breaking through a wall of bullshit, that’s designed to keep us on the worn path we call normal.

I find that if one relaxes into the chaos, it can be transformed into the stuff of magic, one that weaves a story that is truly worthy of the term sacred.

Spiritual Adventure…sacred travel is something that makes my heart sing.  It is exhilarating to flow in the slipstream of reality.  My mind feels expansive and fluid and my pulse races, as I deeply connect to the truth of my existence.  When I step out of ‘my ordinary’, I step big.  I experience reality as a multi-faceted thing, in which I dance back and forth between now & then…lifetimes happening at once.

Back to getting things organized…

This journey to Ireland is deeply connected to the Morrigan; a Celtic warrior goddess of death, magic and prophesy, whom I have had a close relationship with for decades.  In fact the she is the first goddess I ever worked with, and our relationship spans more then 20 years.  She is a raven/crow, triple goddess, and she is not exactly mild mannered.

The trip she has me on, is a bit unusual.  With my husband as my traveling companion, I will be traveling here and there, about Ireland and Northern Ireland primarily by bus.  My plan is to create a trip that people could do without having to rent a car/drive on the other side of the road, and to do it relatively inexpensively.  On our journey we will be staying in various accommodations…renting a room in someones home (airbnb), staying in a downtown hotel, a hostel, and at the home of a very generous friend a clients.  We will climb mountains, visit the sea, and sacred monoliths along the way.

Seeing how we will be doing a lot of our travel by bus, my goal was to get our packing down to one carry-on piece of luggage each.  Here are some of my tips for doing so…

*wear a nice pair of boots…the right boots can be worn while trekking through the countryside & out dancing

*pack enough underwear for the entire trip…no one wants to be washing their undies in the sink half way through the trip…*choose versatile clothing…particularly in dark colors, as they hide dirt better.  go for light weight pieces that can be layered*…*one or two super-cute pieces that can be worn to for going out at night*…*go light on the accessories…wear the same jewelry the whole trip, a couple of scarves*…*wear your jacket, choose a good windbreaker*

Well, I am off for the night, going to wash the henna out of my hair and get on with the evening.  I leave tomorrow for the land of my ancestors.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Celebrating the Harvest [Lughnasadh & the Warrior Bitches]

I love the company of men.  I find them as a general rule to be straight forward, outwardly competitive, and less likely to engage in drama.  That being said, there are times in which I truly crave the isolated company of my lady friends; the warrior bitches and sacred mamas, who have seen me covered in my own tears and snot.

For years now, I have found myself congregating with my wise-women, during the heat of summer; for powerful, soul-moving work.  Work that is not filled with deep planning and bullet point schedules, but is instead more of a wild-rumbus of magic, emotions, and intoxication.  We come together to let our hair down, (or plate it into viking braids), have late night conversations by the light of a campfire, and to engage in the wildness of magic…the kind that oozes from one’s soul, when we are truly in sync with the universe and the natural world.

When it comes to magic of manifestation, I am not one for large crowds, and find myself put off by the glut of retreat weekends offered up.  Not because I think they have no value, but more because I struggle to let down my guard when the numbers are high, and the people are not intimately connected.  As a Psychic I often find myself overwhelmed in large groups, and immediately switch into the role of teacher/facilitator/counselor, making such weekends feel less about myself, and more about others.  I feel the people who are holding back,  the ones who are trying to hard, and the ones who are just barely holding themselves together, and I step into the role of caretaker.  This takes away from my ability to focus on myself, and my personal work.

We must take time to know ourselves, and to cater to the needs of our soul.  Lughnasadh for me is such a time.

Lughnasadh is the first of 3 harvest holidays in the Celtic Wheel of the year.  (The Celtic Wheel of the Year consist of 8 holidays, equally spread out through the solar year) Celtic Wheel of the Year.  Lughnasadh on a personal level is a celebration of the abundance of life, and the hopes and wishes of what is still in store.  It is a time to step boldly into ones dreams, and reach for ones desires, while consciously being aware and thankful for all that we have received thus far.  It is time of high-magic and potent manifestation.

I want magic to be tangible, titillating, and filled with wild abandon.  I want to release myself to the Spirits of Nature, and be ridden by the bliss of an open Kundilini (complete chakra system).  I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that the person standing next to me has my back, knows the value of holding secrets that are not theirs, and is also willing to ride the rapids of their dreams.  I know it seems like a lot to ask, but it is not impossible.

It begins with intention, with the thoughts and desires to find and create such a community for oneself.  The feeling of trust is necessary, for how are we to speak of our desires, goals and dreams while they exist in the vulnerable place of becoming, if we do not trust those we work with.  Just like a newborn child, we must be careful who we entrust with the safety of that which we seek to manifest.  We do not need know them for years on end, but we must know in our soul that they are worthy of such a duty.

Finding deep friendships, and feeling secure enough to let your wyrd out, is invaluable.  In truth it does not require that participants should or shouldn’t be of the same sex as you.  It has nothing to do with that at all.  I just happen to like the feeling of empowerment that a group of ladies generate, when they come together as their bad-ass selves.  Specially since I am a person who prides myself on not-doing manual labor.  This is where I make the exception.  I put up my own tent, I carry my own shit, I do all the things I prefer to let my husband do, and I do it in style.

When we step outside of our every day self…the self who likes a soft bed, and appreciates cooking in a kitchen with running water, lights, and a nice stove, we invite ourselves to become more.  We are ignited by the flame of adventure, and find we are capable of more then we believe possible.  The chill of the air, the layers of clothing, the roots poking up lightly under our yoga mat/sleeping bag, are all reminders to not get ‘too comfortable’, to stay aware, and to open our mind to the unseen.

This years weekend was all that I needed, and hoped for.  The group has changed over the years, expanding and contracting to accommodate those who can and cannot make it.  But the work remains essentially the same.  We gather in hopes of fueling our dreams, and expanding our consciousness.  We gather to support one another, and to step intentionally further onto our paths.

As a Druid and priestess of the Earth, much of my time was spent hugging trees, melding into rocks, and traveling astrally into holes in the ground & openings in the rock.  I go into the forest to meet with the Fae Folk, the Spirits of Nature whom I consider friends and teachers.  This weekend gave me ample time to do so, as we explored path ways in the Notch (Crawford Notch) that I had never been on.  I found myself preparing for my trip to Northern Ireland, by meeting with stone beings/giants and reacquainting myself with those I had met before.

I know the idea of talking to Fairies, Trolls, and Giants can seem a bit far fetched.  But only if you are imagining with Hollywood eyes.  These beings exist in different dimensions then we do.  They vibrate on different frequencies, and one must be open to experience them.  Over the years my ability to do so has expanded, just as my ability to speak to the Dead has done so.  The longer I do it, the more places I wonder, the more magic I see present in the world, the more beings I come to know as friends.

I find this to be important, as we are living in changing times.  Times when the old ways of magic, and divination are returning.   Expansion of consciousness is not just happening to those who seek it, but to those who stumble onto it as well.  In truth it is far easier to assimilate to if we believe and accept.  Our struggle with the term ‘reality’ can cause many a problems for the masses.

In the light of dusk on the last night of our weekend, we found our way into a cave in the rocks.  It is a cave I have visited many times, one that has expanded physically over the years.  What once could hold only two people close together, now holds 5 comfortably.  Its expansion has been a thing of wonder to me, for it truly has grown both energetically and physically with use.  In the darkness, and light of a small fire we spoke that which we meant to manifest into becoming.  We connected to the nature beings that surrounded us, and opened ourselves into timelessness…we surrendered to the universe, got out of our way and became co-creators of our reality.

The rock walls around us vibrated, and pulsated with the energy generated by our voices and the solid beat of the drum.  We became one with the moment of becoming, and let go…knowing that we had just impregnated something fantastic.  We had seeded our dreams.  The days leading up to the moment in the cave, were as important as the moment itself.  For they were the building blocks, the invitations, and the call to arms necessary to step onto the path of the Spiritual Warrior.  It was an exceptional moment of Spirit, and we were ready.

I know that which I have planted, must be tended.  I cannot now forget it as it is still in need of tending.  But that being said, I have full faith that my work is potent, and that which I seek to create is beautiful, powerful, and filled with integrity.  I give thanks for the blessings of Lughnasahd, the first harvest.

LUGHNASAHD actually takes place on August 1st, so you have not missed the deadline.  For those of you looking to create something magical yourselves this harvest here is a quick do it yourself idea.

YOU WILL NEED- a small fire (candle, campfire, raging bonfire, etc), a piece of paper and pen, any sacred items you like (crystals, feathers, holy symbols, etc), your voice.

Start by creating fire, as you do so welcome in your ancestors  and imagine you are surrounded by a white light of protection. Sit comfortably in front of it and pick up your paper and pen.  Make a list of that which you are seeking to become.  If you are seeking self empowerment, examples may be…more confidence, find my voice, stand tall, value my intuition, etc.

With the list in hand, begin chanting your own name.  You can elongate the vowels and turn your toning into more of a sacred song, or keep it short and sweet, building momentum over time.  Hold onto your paper as you do so.  Gaze into the fire, and let yourself relax into its light.  Keep your vision soft, paying attention to that which appears in your peripheral vision.  Continue chanting your name for at least 10 minutes.  As you do so, imagine you are charging up the paper which you hold in your hands, charging up the dreams you hold.

When the energy feels full, stop…hold onto the energy and speak the words written on the paper aloud, with the force of fact.  Then burn the paper, letting the words and intention go to the universe, where they begin their becoming.

Thank your ancestors, and close your protective circle.

Know that you must continue to tend your dreams, in order to grow them.  Your magic is simply fertile ground, it aids in growth, but work is also necessary.  We must care for and nurture that which we aspire to.  We must believe in our dreams and work toward them, if we want to see them ripen.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks. Now go out and embrace your wild self, and make some magic!

 

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…When Death Comes Suddenly [the unexpected death]

Last week, I was sitting at the bar of the Publik House in East Burke, having my weekly cocktail and burger.  My husband and I try to get out for ‘date night’, weekly.  We are predictable.  We generally eat at the same place, sit at the bar, and I have a tendency to get the same thing (not because I am boring, but because my list of food allergies/intolerances  is quite extensive).

While we were eating, we got on the subject of death and dying, something that may not be common dinner conversation for most, but than again I’m not like most people.  I talk about death a lot!

The conversation was about the act of dying itself.  My husband was talking about how he believed he would eventually die from something like the flu, or some other weird illness.  As he took a drink of his beer, he went on to say that it was probably a better way to die then most…a bit of high-temperature, delirium, and a slow fade into death.  This led to a list of all the less then pleasant ways that people could pass, to which he added massive accident to the top of the list.

In theory, I could understand this belief, as often the bodies of people who die such a fashion, are dramatically damaged, and people who have lost loved ones in such a manner are often scarred by the memory of what happened to their loved ones body.  The belief many live with is that their loved one suffered horrendously.  But in fact, it is often not the case.

One of the things I have learned from the Dead, is that older Spirits; people who have incarnated many time, have a tendency to jump-ship at the moment of impact.  Their previous lifetimes of dying, having prepared them for how to leave the body quickly.  With their death imminent, they do not stick around for the pain, they choose instead to step outside their body, and experience their death from the perspective of the observer.

Time and time again, Spirits I have communicated with; who have passed tragically, will tell me how they stood beside their body, as emergency technicians tended to them.  Some speak of standing vigil with their body until someone found it.  Some speak of being in a coma, watching and waiting as their body went through the act of dying.  They stress the fact that they did not suffer, that they were ejected from their body almost instantaneously on impact, and often talk about the people who were around them; both medical personnel and loved ones.

Years ago, during the Ovate year of my Druid training, I explored my own death.  We did this by doing journey-work/guided meditation to first imagine we had a year to live, then a month, a day, and finally we were sitting at the moment of death.  We were looking to see how we would choose to experience death.  Later during the same weekend, we dug our own graves, and were placed ceremonially into the Earth…sleeping in our graves, we spent the night with whatever emotions came to call.  As powerful of an experience as this was, it was in many ways easy for me, as I have had a deep/personal relationship with death my whole life.

However, about a month or so after the death weekend (sleeping in my grave), I was pulling out of a busy intersection with my son.  He had been trying to listen to his music on the stereo, but for some reason nothing was coming out.  As we pulled out of the intersection, the radio came on, blaring music.  In that moment I was so shocked that my spirit stepped out of my body.  I hovered above myself for a brief moment, long enough to think…”Oh shit!  We were just hit by a car, I must be dead.”  I was not in distress, I simply believed that my death had come for me.  My next thought was “Well, that’s that, I hope Kaolin (my son) is OK”.

Seconds later, I realized I was not dead, and settled back nicely into my body.

That moment has stuck with me for years now, my mind going back to it over and over again, when I meet with families who have lost their loved ones due to tragic accidents.  I know now, that I too would step quickly out of my body, if faced with such tragedy.  Hell, I will most likely jump out of my body if there is too much discomfort, let alone immanent death.

I find that death is often misunderstood, and rightfully so.  We don’t get a rule book, or even much of a way of an agenda.  None of us know when or how we or the ones we love are going to pass.  Death can come for us at any moment.  I suppose that is why people can be so troubled by it.  When left to nothing but our imaginations, the stories we can come up with are vast, and generally a lot worse than reality.  We humans have been living and dying for a long, long time now, and we have learned a thing or two about it, even if we don’t seem to remember the process.  For those who have lost someone tragically, I hope these words can be of some comfort.  Knowing that the ones we love passed in peace, is something we all hope for.

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travel…Reflections of Self [California dreaming, part 2…Mount Shasta]

The road is a place of contemplation for me, in which I experience myself from outside the box of everyday reality.  Traveling brings me closer to the essence of ‘I am’, stripped raw of the trappings of comfort and routine.  In many ways travel is essential to my being, as I count on it for deeper understanding of self.  My ancestors were Travelers, Gypsies of the Irish kind…Tinkers, and Pikeys, they spent their lives traveling from one place to another in fancy wagon houses, selling their wares.

I often think about my great-great grandfather; who traveled from Ireland to the United States, leaving his wagon behind for a little house in the hills of Vermont.  I think of him, when I am traveling about the back roads, and highways, of my home and abroad.  I feel a kinship to him, and his kin, a feeling of likeness.  Although, I have lived in the same house for almost 20 years (my husbands doing), I need to go, be and explore, in order to feel whole.  Some of these travels are close by, and some are not.  But no matter the distance, I rely on the travel to show me who I am, and where I am going.

My trip to California was like most of my travels, a spiritual thing.  This journey was different then others in the fact that myself and my fellow travelers agreed that we would be open & guided by Spirit.  We did not allow for wrong turns to enter our mind space.  This did not mean we were never off the planned course, it simply meant a decision was made, that whatever direction we were taken was the right one.  There is something absolutely freeing about such travel, for one it means you avoid the whole pissed off, I’m late mentality.

We decided in the air, flying into L.A., that we would be heading North to Mount Shasta (10.5 hours north), something I do not regret in the least.  As we had arrived in Shasta when I last blogged, it is where I shall pick up.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta (Úytaahkoo or “White Mountain) is a well known Sacred destination.  At an elevation of 14,179 feet, it is an ear-popping drive through a mountain path of deep green.  I was in awe!  The terrain of the mountain path reminded me of the Lord of the Rings, it was magnificent and daunting at the same time, moving me both emotionally, and spiritually.  Driving up the winding mountain road, I knew that I was connecting with something powerful and not completely explainable.  Known for it’s powerful vortexes (spiraling Earth energy centers), and the lava flowing deep in it’s core, it is a force to be acknowledged.

The seclusion, lack of people, and energetic feel of lava running below the surface, were reminiscent of Iceland.  There was something primal about the place, as if the elements were somehow more alive, their presence making up for the lack of human energy.  I love such places!  I love how they expand my consciousness, demanding that I use all of my senses to properly see my surroundings.

We stayed in Shasta for 2 nights, not a whole lot of time, but long enough to know that I will go back someday in the near future.  Our home for the stay was a 1970’s style chalet-style Motel, called the Alpine Lodge.  It was a cute mini-apartment with 3 queen beds and a kitchenette.  the yellow and orange interior was highlighted by a wall mural of trees, which made myself and my traveling companions instantly fall in love.  We love the odd & unusual, and the fact that there was a fantastic coffee shop just across the street, capable of satiating my love of espresso.

On our first night in Shasta we decided we should introduce ourselves to the Spirits of the Place, and did so by journeying in our minds through drumming and vocal toning.  This was a powerful experience for us all, and we found ourselves connecting  individually to different aspects of the mountain.  My sister Sandy found herself within the hollow spaces of the mountain, deep inside one of the caves that open within the mountains peak.  She found herself remembering her previous journey there, almost 10 years ago.  My friend Missy found herself connecting to something that would not make sense until the following day, and I connected to energetic beings made of light.

Now, I understand the idea of ‘light beings’ may make some people feel uncomfortable, and send their mind searching for the safe bounds of known reality. Some may even begin questioning whether the person telling the story is sane,  or has suddenly drank the conspiracy theory Kool-aid.  But once again, I will remind you that you are reading the blog of a person who makes their living talking to the Dead, and frequently goes on about their experiences with Nature Spirits.  In the telling of this tale, I am as always deeply centered in my reality.

Connecting with extra-terrestrial/extra-dimensional beings is not an uncommon conversation, when discussing Mount Shasta.  Look it up on line, and you will find many, many, many tales of encounters with such beings.  The other thing you will find is stories of Big Foot, and unexplained beings in the woods.  You may want to believe that all of the people telling the tales are a bit looney, but then again, you may want to ask yourself whether you truly believe we are the only sentient beings in the Universe.

My experience as I said, is my reality, and I experienced a channeling with multiple (I believe 3) light beings.  This was something I did aloud, similarly to how I speak with the Spirits of the Dead.  My sister Sandy asked most of the questions, as I worked as translator for those choosing to make contact with us.  The message we received was around the importance of sound and light, in particularly when it came to healing the planet and land.  Now they were not suggesting that we just say fuck it, and be gluttonous pigs,  wasting precious resources, without a care in the world, because hey all we need to do is sing and spread some light around.  They were instead speaking of how sound, in particular, effects the living world.  This was something I immediately felt as truth, as I have been working as a Sound Healer for the last 15 years, and spend a whole lot of time singing the sacred songs of place.

They spoke of how they, like the beings of Nature were deeply concerned for our world and species in this time of great transition, how we needed to become more aware of the living world around us, and step fully into the sacredness of life.  The visitation was brief, lasting about 20 minutes, but in that time, I felt as if I had received a lot of information in a short period of time, like a computer downloading files, and that it would be quite some time, before I had fully acclimated the knowledge they shared.

The next day when we woke, it was obvious that Missy was not completely balanced.  Sandy and I noticed that she was off, when she came stumbling out of the bedroom, grunting and grumbling like a bear just out of hibernation.  We asked if she was OK, and she explained that she was not sure what was going on, but felt like she had been connecting to something all night long.

Just after doing some sound healing @ the Crystal Matrix shop in Shasta.

That morning after breakfast we headed into town, to check out a Crystal shop that had caught Sandy and Missy’s eye the night before, when they had gone searching for groceries.  The shop ‘The Crystal Matrix Gallery’ was filled with wonders, as it quickly became apparent that most of the crystals were awake, and many of them seemed to be sentient, or carrying a connection to other beings.  The shop owner had worked with Crystals for over 30 years, and was clearly making a living selling crystals because he had to, it was his life’s work.  By that I mean, he felt a love for the Crystals and the beings connected to them, he was a steward of the rock people, a keeper and handler of the mineral kind.

The Dragonstone

Within moments of being in the store, the first crystal of our journey had been found.  A double terminated amber colored, smokey quartz, with a whole lot of activity going on inside of it.  It was a powerful piece, and we all felt it was connected to the Earth Healing work we had been called to California to do.  The second piece was more personal, and explained the odd behavior and imbalance Missy had been displaying all morning.  It was a dark opaque stone, that fit comfortably in ones palm.  It was covered in markings that looked like ancient writing, only the markings had not been made by man.  The stone appeared to be a form of tektite (molten debris from meteorites), but there was definitely a presence connected to it.  It was said to be the thymus gland of a dragon.  Now here again, I know this sounds woo-woo, and hokey, but whether you believe it was the actual gland of a being, or simply a stone, it held tremendous presence, and a hefty price tag. 

My view on Dragons goes the same way as as all otherworldly beings.  There is something at the base of all the folk lore, it may not be as grand or magical as the stories have portrayed it, but life seldom is.  The other piece I would add here, is the mummified dinosaur found in Canada,pretty much in tact, certainly does resemble our fictitious imagery of dragons.  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/06/dinosaur-nodosaur-fossil-discovery/

What was most remarkable was the way in which Missy and the stone connected to one another.  The spirit residing in the stone, and Missy’s aura both extended outward, as if reaching for one another.  No matter the price tag, it was obvious she would not be leaving the store without the stone.

We left the store, with both the amber-colored, smokey quartz, and the dragon stone, as well as a few smaller stones I felt compelled to purchase.  I was amazed at how many of the stones in this particular shop were connected to beings.  This does not mean the beings were trapped in the stones, simply that the stones were an access point for connection.  I have a handful of sentient stones in my possession, some of them holding the essence of the stone itself, and some holding connection to other beings; working like a walky-talky to the other world.

After our experience with the stones in the Crystal Matrix, we headed out for a day trip to Paradise, CA to visit our father’s best friend.  This was not an option, this was something my Dad had been actively working on, the entire trip so far.  It was important, as we had not had a chance to connect with Mark, since my fathers passing 4 years ago.  It was a healing time for him and us, as we spent the day reminsicing; telling stories of the wild and crazy antics of my father & his best friend/soul mate Mark.

The trip to Paradise was not particularly remarkable in a spiritual way, but the trip back most certainly was.  After leaving Marks home, and heading back to Shasta I noticed a Sun Dog in the sky.  A Sun Dog is an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to the left and/or right of the Sun.  Sun Dogs are rare, and most often you see only bright spot, either to the left or right of the sun.  I have seen them before, and know that symbolically they are a sign that big change is near.  It is seen as a blessing or a sign that luck is with you in such times.  The Sun Dog we saw coming back from Paradise was remarkable in more than one way.  Firstly, it was a complete circle around the sun, with bright sun spots to the left, right, and above the sun, and a rainbow outline encompassing it.  Secondly, it was remarkable in the amount of time that it lasted.  We watched, filmed, and photographed the Sun Dog for 53 minutes.  It was breath taking, and energetically one could not help but feel as if we were being charged by it.  The experience was so phenomenal that we were soon pulling out our crystals; particularly the amber-colored, smokey quartz that had already made it obvious to us, that it was solar powered.

We arrived home (at the Alpine Lodge) late that evening, feeling as if we had been through some kind of attunement.  Both to the Crystals we had purchased, and the Sun Dog in the sky.  We remarked at the other amazing things we had seen on our way back to Shasta; such as the strange cloud formations over the mountain itself.

The next day we began our day, at the same coffee shop (Seven Sun’s Cafe), and then headed back to the Crystal Matrix for some Sound Healing.  We knew we needed to do sound work in Shasta, and also knew it would happen in multiple places.  The first; the crystal shop, was truly amazing.  The owner had an ancient singing bowl, that had been attuned to the energy of Sekemet (an Egyptian Goddess), and I was eager to combine my voice with its.  The toning there was amazing, as we were surrounded by high-energy crystals, at the base of the summit to Mount Shasta.  This experience was only the first of 3 major sound spots that day.

Water blessings for the new stones…lots of water Spirits in the headwaters of the Sacremento.

Annointing my third-eye, with the water of the Sacramento Headwaters.

The second stop, was the headwaters of the Upper Sacremento River, where the Undines (water Spirits) are remarkably present.  I sang to them, as I submerged stone after stone, into the icy waters.  The headwaters come from deep within Mount Shasta itself, each drop charged by the volcanic and vortex energy of the place.  The crystal clear water, travels from the glacial peaks, through underground lava tubes, before exiting into the light of day. The location of  headwaters is easily accessed, as it is part of a city park, that anyone can go to without charge.

The third stop, was the mountain itself.  We drove our car as far up the mountain road as we could…which was still quite a ways from the summit.  We stopped when the snow prohibited us from traveling any further, the road blocked by over 6 feet of snow.   At this point we turned around, and headed back a short distance; away from the crazy hikers/climbers, where we could sit with the silence of the mountain and sing the soul song of the land.

80 degrees, and 6 feet of snow, this is roads end for Mount Shasta until mid summer.

Elevation 6950′, as high as we could go in our sandals and flip flops.

This last stop, the one nearly to the top of the mountain, was humbling and awe inspiring.  When you sing the song of the land, you are not simply harmonizing…you are connecting/channeling the voice of the land itself, the Spirit of Place/Genius Locus, reverberates through you, filling you with the essence that is the place.  Mount Shasta is a powerful healer, one that I know will call me back, again & again; like Glastonbury Tor, and the Western Shores of Ireland, it holds a connection to my being.  In our brief meeting, we became family.  The Spirit of Place that is Shasta, is kindred to me…we belong!

I hope you enjoyed the read, that it pushed on the corners of your personal reality, and made you think on the world differently.  We are living in changing times, and many of the things we believed impossible are now proving us wrong.  I do not claim to know the secrets of the Universe, but I do believe there are wonders yet to be experienced in the greater world and in our own back yards.  When we approach the planet as a sentient being, and give ourselves over to the unknown, we expand our consciousness and become more.  Travel for me is a vessel of such change, but the magic of travel can come onto you whether you have traveled thousands of miles, or only a few blocks.

spreading love-salicrow