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

 

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SACRED TRAVEL…Guided by Spirit [California Dreaming part 1. LA-Mount Shasta]

Sacred travel is not a predictable thing.  It by nature is fluid and spontaneous, led by the intuition and an openness to explore.  Unlike vacation, it does not come with perfect accommodations, gourmet meals and neatly arranged outings.  It is a thing of wonder!

A few months back, when winter was still fully in possession of the north, my sister Sandy and I began planning our spring travel.  Our plan was to teach Earth Magic in Milwaukee in the beginning of the month, and then spend the end of the month teaching about parallel lives/past lives in LA & Carlsbad.  As the plan emerged from the ether of our minds, we other magical bits starting presenting themselves, and our simple business/teaching trip soon turned into a grand adventure that would involve 2 weeks in California.  The first working, the second doing deep Earth Magic in Joshua Tree, deep in the Mojave desert.  The second part of the trip was in fact the real work, and involved 13 friends and spiritual allies heading into the desert to do sound healing.

A few weeks before we were to head to California, the ‘work’ part of our trip began to fall away.  First the folks in LA seemed unable to host an event.  This at first bothered me, as they were the reason we were heading in that direction.  They had asked us to come, and only after tickets were bought and plans were made, realized that they could not make it happen.

Now in moments like this, it is easy to get discouraged, to be pissed and start doing a hissy-fit dance.  But it was clear by this point, that we needed to be there.  There was never any thought of not going, or of changing how long we would be there, simply an understanding that we had work to do on the west coast.  This same feeling came to the surface, when our second host, the one in Carlsbad told us days before we were flying out, that they had not been able to follow through on their end.

When we boarded the plane, we were still up in the air on where we were going when we got to California.  We decided, that we would decide while in the air where it was we were suppose to go.  We had place mat markers of where we needed to be, but none of those were relevant until  early next week.  Our first 4 days of the trip were open, and itching for Spiritual guidance.

By the time we landed in LA, we knew that we would not be heading south to Carlsbad, instead we would be taking an 10 hour drive north, to Mount Shasta.  This was not a random; close your eyes and point at any place on the map, kind of decision, but instead it was a knowing that we all experienced.  One that came in boldly.  For me, it was a feeling of calling that I experienced any time I looked at the in-flight map.  I would see the dot in the northern part of California, and the name Shasta, and I would feel drawn to it.

Mount Shasta is a holy mountain, one that holds the making of pilgrimage.  Known for it’s powerful vortex energy, it is a place of high earth energy, a place where one can go to heal themselves and to do direct healing toward the Earth.  (I will write more about Shasta in the next few days, after I have spent some time exploring here).

Getting to Shasta was an adventure of it’s own, as we; my traveling companions (my sister Sandy and our friend Missy), and I, are very open to intuitive travel, and following the path that Spirit presents us with.  This kind of travel is best done with a destination in mind, but a very loose idea on how long it will take you to get there, and a sense of wonderment.  Intuitive travel means there are no wrong turns, and every place you land is an opportunity to connect with Spirit.

Leaving LA was like escaping prison.  First of all, I must be completely honest…this city did nothing for me.  I felt an instant desire to leave it, yet the city itself is a powerful vortex of energy, that really doesn’t want you to leave.

Our first experience with wacky travel and leaving LA was connected to our GPS.  No matter what we typed into it, it wanted to take us back to the car rental shop.  So we tried using the GPS’s on our phones, and this happened again, and again.  We finally got ourselves out of the city, and the GPS’s to behave at least a little bit, and started heading up the coastal highway, believing that we would travel most of the way with the beautiful Pacific Ocean as our traveling guide.  That too proved incorrect.

 

After driving for hours, mostly along the coast, Missy who was driving suddenly said “I am not sure how this happened, but I do not believe we are on Route 1 anymore.” This did not alarm us, but instead made us ask “Well, where do you suppose we are, and where are we headed?”

Again our GPS’s were of no help.  In fact, they obviously had no idea where we were.  While accessing our GPS’s (more then one), we would often find that it believed us to be in other places on the continent…including Nebraska, Maryland, and the south western tip of Mexico.  We did not seem to be track-able.

When we finally got one of the GPS’s to acknowledge our actual location, we found we had gone inland.  We plotted a new course and continued forward, not wanting to turn around and come back the way we came.  This was not a disappointment.

Shortly after going through a bum-fuck town in California we found ourselves entering a canyon.  It was breath taking.  The road wove like a snake down and around the mountains, into the valley deep below.  It was a God moment, and exceptional moment of Spirit, when the universe took our breath away.

Sandy communing with the sun, above the Canyon.

Wild shrub Sage

We drove for hours after the canyon, so thankful for the beauty we had experienced.  We relished in the memory of the sound we had created when toning on the top of the canyon, as people drove by waving @ the crazy women singing and laughing, as they stood on the edge of the canyon on a tiny pull off.

That night we landed at a roadside hotel, thankful for hot showers and the gift of being alive.  We set up our altar, with a crystal grid and powerful bits that were sacred to us as individuals and as a traveling band of gypsies.  We gave thanks to our ancestors, particularly mine and Sandy’s dad, who was ecstatic to have us in California; a state he lived in for almost 30 years.

The next day/yesterday, we woke and set intentions…mine was to get to Mount Shasta that night, which we did.  In moments like these, I generally like to be behind the wheel.  So I drove the 10 hours or so North to get us there.

Mount Shasta

Well, I am off on adventure.  I will be sharing stories from the road via Facebook live, and blogging about our vortex adventures tomorrow morning, so stay tuned folks.  It’s a hell of a ride!

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…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

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Sacred Melancholy

October is my favorite month, with it’s early darkness and heavy mist.  The colors, the smells, the coolness of the air; all these things bring me to a place of remembrance.  Not the remembrance of old times, but the remembrance of people who have have passed from life, into the world of Spirit.  With the fullness of Autumns embrace, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin, becoming sheer and transparent, allowing those who have even the slightest bit of sight to catch glimpses of the other world.

In my home, as in the homes of my family; the approach of Samhain/Halloween, is invitation to celebrate our Beloved Dead.  Photographs and memento’s that remind us of our family in Spirit come out, to be displayed with honor and thankfulness.  Remembering these people, who walked the path before me, gives me a sense of place, and fills me with a sacred melancholy.

Sacred Melancholy, is a deep sadness or feeling of loss.  It is a romantic feeling really, one that fills us with yearning and remembrance.  It is something to appreciate and immerse oneself in, for it holds great depths of knowing.  When we allow ourselves to connect with that feeling of loss, it is not the same as being depressed and suffering, but more a tender reminder of times past…like savoring the memory of a lovers goodbye kiss…there is a wonderment in the remembering itself.

doorwayWhen I place photos of my departed family out on display, I am consciously choosing to step into that powerful place of remembrance.  I am also inviting the Beloved Dead in the pictures to be present in my home.  I am asking them to infuse my space with their presence, to fill my memories with Spirit.  This is my invitation for them to cross the veil, and pay me a visit.

As a Medium, I am fortunate to have communication with the Spirits I love, often.  I do not need to wait for Holy days, such as Samhain/Halloween, to feel their presence, yet I still go through the effort of giving them honor at this time.  I do this because they appreciate being remembered.

We are living in a time of awakening, a time in which we are finding our way back to the ways practiced by our elders, ancestors and tribal communities, for they have merit.  We are remembering that we remain connected to our beloved ones, even after they have crossed into death.  Our minds and hearts are opening, and we are seeking space for visitation.  When we give them honor, they will come.

It is true, that some people are more adept at feeling them, seeing them, sensing them, but they come for all of us, and they are thankful.

familyalterHere is an easy, do it yourself way to give honor to your Ancestors-

*Find a shelf or stand in your home to use as an altar.  An altar is a space used for things we view as sacred (spiritual, devotional, deserving of special attention).

*Remember everything placed on your altar should be intentional…no junk mail, car keys, or gum wrappers, unless you are doing specific work with such items. Your dead grandpa’s car keys would be ok, if they were used to remember him.

*Decorate your altar with photographs, knick-knacks, and other items of remembrance, that represent your Beloved Dead.

*Place religious, or spiritual items on your altar if you like, to give blessings to your Ancestors.

* Place a candle (doesn’t matter what kind) on your altar, that you can light whenever you want to give extra acknowledgement to your loved ones.

*Place a special treat on the altar (coffee, tea, cigarette, chocolate) for them occasionally.  They will not actually eat it or smoke it, but will instead appreciate the energy of the offering you have given.  Make sure to clean it up at end of the day.

*Keep your Ancestor altar up through Samhain/Halloween.  You may keep it up longer if you like, some people choose to keep their up through the holiday season.

Remember, it is the judgement of emotions and sensations that make them uncomfortable.  Melancholy, and sacred sadness are not things to avoid.  We often rush the mourning process, telling ourselves that like all things modern, it should be efficient and productive.  Well that my friends is bullshit.  We need to understand that our emotions are complex things, and the feeling of loss created from the void of loosing someone we hold dear, is immense.  Some of us will mourn deeply, for a long period of time…some of us, will mourn in bits and spurts.  But to hold a place of deep memory for our Beloved Dead is a good thing.  Do not hold your memories to the moment of loss, but instead allow your mind to take you on the journey of knowing the ones you love, while they were alive and vital.  And remember, Spirits can see us and hear us much easier then we can see and hear them.  They are listening when we talk to them, do it often and you may just hear a reply.

spreading love-salicrow