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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stories of Spirit…Ancestor Honoring [staying connected to our beloved dead]

Death is one of my favorite subjects.  As a Medium I spend many hours a week talking to dead people, and much more speaking to people about the importance of mourning and honoring our dead.

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

Our relationship with death has in many ways been glossed over by modern media.  I believe this started in the 50’s with television and the homogenization of America.  We went from a nation that experienced death in the manner of our ancestors, deeply flavored by the many ethnicities that make up our nation, to a whitewashed ‘Leave it to Beaver’ style mourning.  Death became an organized wake or viewing hours, a funeral, and two weeks of casseroles donated by your friends and neighbors.

We let go of all of our outward signs of mourning.  Gone were the armbands, and ceremonial black dress; which now is just the standard daily uniform for a majority of folks living east of the Mississippi, leaving us with no visual signs that a person was still deeply involved in grieving their passed loved one.  Instead, like all good viewing audiences, we are supposed to follow the lead of our television leaders, and put on some lipstick, tidy our hair, and show people we were not fazed by death.  The only problem is, we are often not OK, and the lipstick doesn’t really do shit for the feelings we hold in our heart.

Death brings with it a deep melancholy, an overwhelming desire to hold/see a person one more time.  It makes us look at our regrets, and the precious moments we wish could be repeated.  Death is powerful, and we need to find a way of making the process of death and mourning sacred again.  We need to forget the television version and reach instead for the old ways, that does not hide death, but instead, show us that it is normal and that feeling ‘OK’ after the death of a loved one takes time.  We need to reclaim our relationship with our ancestors so that death no longer feels like isolation.  We need to educate ourselves about death, take it out of the closet and get to know it a little better.

Locally and nationally there is an organization known as ‘the Death Cafe’ http://deathcafe.com The Death Cafe is not a storefront, instead, it is a group gathering that sets up shop in coffee shops, libraries, and local gathering holes.  The group is open to anyone wanting to talk about death…people who are dying, people who have recently lost someone, and people just fascinated with death are all welcome.  In Vermont, we have groups in Burlington, Montpelier, Johnson, Manchester, and more…

In my work as a Medium, I often talk about the importance of keeping our dead alive in our thoughts and deeds.  This does not mean we pretend they are still alive, it means we interact with them as if they are still vital members of our family.  In my family, we speak of our dead so often, that my children could tell you stories about ancestors who died way before they were born.  They not only know the larger than life stories, but some of the simpler things, like the fact that Grammy Brown loved to smoke cigarettes, and that her father had a still on the property where he brewed moonshine back in the early 1900’s.

When the holidays come around our Beloved Dead are not forgotten.  Often a plate is put out for our ancestors, that is filled throughout the day with their favorite treats.  This tradition started with our Celtic ancestors who left our a feast for the dead on holy days, such as Halloween/Samhain.  A traditional Dumb Supper is done on or near Halloween night, some sources say as close to midnight as possible.  A table is elaborately set, as you are having a feast.  Food should be thought out, including favorites of your ancestors and loved ones.  The table is set for all living guest as well as all that are in spirit.  At the dinner, everyone remains silent, in observation of those who cannot communicate with us any longer.

Over time traditions change, as the pattern is woven with personal beliefs and additional ethnic spices.  My family, for example, is Irish Gypsy & Native American, creating a hodge-podge of hillbilly magic that is all our own…, We do not reserve the feasting of our ancestors to Halloween night alone.  They get plates at Thanksgiving, Yule and other family festivities.  We do not sit in silence, for that is something that does not exist in a loud Irish family.  Instead, we simply place a plate for our ancestors and fill it throughout the gathering.

Here is a simple way to honor your Beloved Dead; family, friends, loved ones and ancestors, this Halloween and in the upcoming season of holidays.

family altar

*Set up a small altar in a corner of the kitchen, dining room, or living room.  Place pictures of your loved ones who have crossed into Spirit on the altar, as well as small items of memorabilia that remind you of those you have lost.

*Place a plate on the altar, choose something special, perhaps something from your grandmother’s china, or a piece your sister made in pottery class.  You are giving your Beloved Dead a place of honor.

*Pick one item of food to place on the plate that you know will be appreciated by your loved one in Spirit.  Then tell others that they are welcome to leave a treat as well.

As the day goes on, the plate fills up with all sorts of goodness.  Drinks can be left beside the plate, as can smokes, after all, I know my Dad would appreciate a beer and a smoke.  Sometimes we eat whats on the plate.  Some people would frown on this saying that whatever you leave for the dead belongs to them.  But I am from poor stock, and my ancestors know that food should be eaten and appreciated by the living.  If you decide to munch from the plate of the dead, make sure to share a story as you do.  If you’re eating one of Gramma’s cherry chocolates, you damn well better be telling a story about her love of them.  If you smoking your dad’s cigarette, make sure to savor it and imagine all the times you saw him sitting on the porch having a smoke.

More then anything our Beloved Dead want to be remembered, talked about and part of our lives.  The more often we speak of them, and remember them through simple ceremonies, such as a plate at Thanksgiving, the easier it is for us to heal and feel their presence around us.  Remember our Spirits want to make contact with us, they want to reassure us that they are OK and that there is something after death.

I hope you have a fantastic Halloween season.  I will be celebrating quietly this year, with deep personal journey work and ventures into Spirit for myself.  As a Medium, it is easy to tell myself that I spend a lot of time in the Spirit world, but the truth of the matter is I am working.  I am helping others to connect to their Beloved Dead, it is not the same as honoring and connecting to my own Beloved Dead.  I hope you enjoyed the read folks, and that you find your way to connecting to those who have been lost to you through the veil of death.

spreading love-Salicrow

STORIES OF SPIRIT…The Solitary Samhain [Halloween alone with the spirits]

I woke up this morning with a feeling of loneliness.  As I perused through the images on my Facebook feed of ‘Witches High Tea’ and spiritual retreats, I felt a longing for the days of my past when I would be preparing with my coven or druid order for the upcoming Samhain/Halloween ceremony.

There is something beautiful about being part of a group, a deep sense of belonging and collaboration.  We humans, seek out such connections because it helps us identify ourselves.  We inspire, give support and challenge one another.  In many ways, we learn who we truly are when we interact with others.  Our similarities and differences of opinion and values help forge us into the individuals we are.  I love the idea of being part of something, but like most relationships, the people in them evolve, roles we take change and often we move on.  I suppose I am one of those that move on.  It’s not that I cannot commit, but more that my life often takes me on the winding road, with paths so narrow that I must often walk alone; part of the balance required if we are to truly know ourselves.

Loneliness is powerful, it has much to teach us about ourselves.  Many people try to avoid it at all cost choosing instead to fill their days with endless social media check-ins and the mindless chatter of superficial conversation.  Few people are comfortable with the thoughts that speak to them from the shadows of their mind.  We have become accustomed to identifying ourselves solely by the value that others place on us.  This is unfortunate for the shadow has much to offer us.  The path of one is also powerful.

I have no group to work my All Hallows magic with, I have groups I can join, and groups I can lead, but I have no group to which I currently belong, and yet I feel the call of my Ancestors, asking me to prepare for their holy night.  I am comfortable with my solitary position and accept the loneliness as fitting for embracing the veil of death.  I know that I have many friends who are waiting for me on the other side, reaching out for contact.  As a Medium, my days are filled with speaking to those who have passed on, to the Beloved Dead, but they are not mine, they are the loved ones of others, of the people who I help with my work.

I don’t know what Halloween will hold for me this year.  I wanted to do something fantastic, to go the extra mile in helping others have a truly spirited experience, so that they may walk away knowing what it feels like to cross the veil.  But there has been a hesitation, a delay.  I have not put out the announcement, and invited others to join me…instead I have paused, taken a deep breath and without intention chosen the solitary approach.  I feel that this year, I am being asked to go through the veil alone and that something/someone in that depth has need of me without the bonds of others. There is a teaching waiting for me in the shadow, and I must find my way there.

I feel regret for those of you who have become accustomed to joining me in the Betwixt & Between, crossing the veil at this time of year with my guidance and will indeed hold such space for you again in the future.  But for now I must follow the path of loneliness where it leads me.  I have prepared a Samhain Celebration for those of you who would like a little guidance in honoring your Beloved Dead this Halloween season.

ANCESTOR HONORING & the THINNING OF THE VEIL

You will need-

*Pictures and mementos of your loved ones

*A white Candle

*Offerings for your Beloved Dead (their favorite food, drink, smoke, flowers, perfume, etc)

Your altar should be a thing of beauty.  Choose your mementos wisely.  They do not need to be the most expensive, instead, they should hold sentimental value.  Prepare yourself for the ceremony as if you are going to a wedding, funeral, or church.  For you are having a very important date, and it is a sacred thing.

*Dim the lights in the room, light the candle on your altar.

*Imagine yourself surrounded by white light, that emanates out from your heart chakra (the center of your chest).  Take approximately 5 minutes to create sacred space.  With each breath out, the light around you is strengthened.  This white light is a protective bubble, allowing only the spirits of your Beloved Dead to be present.  With every inhale, call your loved ones to you with your mind.

*If you have offerings for you Beloved Dead (food/drink/smoke/perfume), speak to your dead of them, how you remember their favorites and have brought this offering for them.  Its ok to partake in the offerings, as long as you are doing so as an offering for your loved ones in Spirit.

*soften your gaze, allowing your eyes to focus on the light of the candle while allowing your peripheral vision to become enhanced. Wide angle vision is the same type of viewing we use to make pictures pop out in those 3d art pieces and the gaze that hunters use to keep their prey from feeling their eyes on them.

*Breathe deeply and stay relaxed.  Spend time with your concentration soft, allowing your loved ones to present themselves in whatever way that they may….scent, sight, hearing, touch.

*When you are finished close your circle, by thanking your Beloved Dead for being present and ask them to go in peace.  Blow out your candle, and leave your altar up for a day or two if you can.

*Take note of your dreams the following nights, as dreams are an easier place for spirits to make contact.

 

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

Stories of Spirit…Spirits Among Us

Spirit Orbs on the Morning before Halloween.

Spirit Orbs on the Morning before Halloween

Mornings are magical for me & a lot of inspiration happens around my first cup of coffee in the morning.  This morning was no exception.  As I stood staring out my kitchen window; patiently brewing the elixir of the gods, the sky did an amazing little dance.  The dark clouds broke and a truly glorious beam of sunlight broke through the morning horizon to shine directly in my face.  I was truly moved by the break through of such intense light in such a cloudy, dark sky & ran out my front door to capture it the best I can with the camera on my phone.  I was not surprised when I saw the picture held orbs.  Orbs or light patterns that show up on pictures are often Spirits making themselves known.  As a Medium I see the Spirits every day, but am still always pleasantly surprised when I get to capture them in a picture.

As a Druid I see moments like this as powerful & the breaking light in the darkness hit me square in the mind with a moment of Awen (the Spirit of Creativity).  Halloween/Samhain is a time of inspiration; a time where our imaginations are so ripe that we cannot help but begin our journey to self that Winter holds for us.  It is a time when we are truly surrounded by our Ancestors and connected to the journey that we share as a collective group of souls.  For our path upon this planet is directly entwined with the threads of our family members who have passed before us.  If not for their choices we would not be sitting at this very spot in the tapestry of life.  Without the guidance of my Grammy Brown I may not be sitting here writing to you about the Spirit World and my life as a Medium.  Without my Father/Richard Brown & his amazing Charisma, I may not be comfortable gathering with groups of people night after night; connecting them with their Beloved Dead.  Without my Spirit-guide Adam, I may never have had the confidence needed to tell people the things that the Spirits tell me.  Without my friend Mike, I never would have been brave enough to do things I was not perfect at….When talking about my Ancestors, I do not just see my biological family members.  I see the friends and loved ones who influenced me in life and still influence me in death.

This time of darkness when winter sets in and our minds gently take us inward, is important.  It is healing and regenerative…giving us time to remember & to dream.  Tonight, tomorrow or the next night-in this window of Samhain (summers end)/Halloween take the time to think about your own path and the relatives and friends who influenced you.  The Ancestors who have passed into Spirit who’s lives and nature you choose to emulate.  Think on the ones who taught you what ‘not to do’, and the ones that truly showed you what it meant to be alive.  Not all of our Ancestors were Wise-ones, but every soul in it’s own way is a Wisdom Holder.  Take a bit of time this weekend to honor those who have helped weave the tapestry which you call life & remember…You are not alone!  Your Ancestors are with you, supporting you and influencing you in whatever way they can.  Sit quietly and remember, ask them to join you for a Halloween treat & allow them to show you they are with you in whatever way they can.  Often the easiest communication is a smell or just the simple feeling of ‘knowing’ they are there beside you.  Dreams & quick flashes of shadow in the corner of your eye are also ways that Spirit presents itself.

Well I am off to get ready for a weekend of celebrating the Dead.  I hope you all have a Spirit-filled Samhain & a Happy Halloween!  Thanks for reading Folks…stay safe & have a spooktacular good time.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

Stories of Spirit…Gravestones, Cemeteries and Burial Grounds [places of remembrance]

Druid pigramage to the UK 040There is a peace among gravestones that settles the soul; as if the world around is holding its breathe while we remember love and loss.  As a child I was fascinated by cemeteries.  I would go with my grandmother to place plastic flowers on the gravestones of family & friends (I always thought plastic flowers were weird, but they lasted longer and it was the 70’s.)  Later as a Girl Scout I sent silent prayers to  fallen soldiers on Memorial day during gun salutes as we marched around town from graveyard to graveyard.  The energy of these hallow places was always unusual, for they are places betwixt & between.  They are tended by the living, but all occupants are of the Dead.  In Spirit Communication, contact is often made easier during times of Betwixt & Between…when we are not really fully in one world. In our solar year we have times when the veil between the world is thin, such as Halloween and Beltaine (May 1st)…and each day holds hours such as this, at Dawn & Dusk.  The light and dark are balanced, and the veil between the world of the living and the dead is thin.  These are times when communication with the dead is easier, allowing more people to have personal communication or contact.   In many ways Gravestones are physical location markers that too exist in both the world of the living and the world of the dead.

People have been marking burial grounds and graves forever…(ok, I really don’t know how old the oldest grave marker, tomb or whatever is but its ancient).  Religion and culture have told us time and again that such places are sacred, and to deface them in any way is seen as unholy.  Our need to stay connected to our ancestors is ancient, it is in our blood and soul to honor those who have come and gone before us.  Throughout time we have also used these locations as places in which to speak to, pray for and connect with our loved ones in Spirit.  When we enter a graveyard we leave behind our cluttered mind, no longer entangled by our daily worries we come for the soul purpose of visiting those we greatly miss.  Here is the cool part, because they have been used throughout time as places of honoring and prayer our Ancestors know when we are there.  Kind of like having the doorbell ring.  When we stop by the cemetery our Beloved Dead know we have come & they join us.  They come to listen and watch as we spend time thinking of them.  They visit us in other places as well, but graveyards are an easy one.

Approaching Gravestones for Communication-

When you approach a gravestone for communication it is important to remember that this space is holy and sacred to many people and we must be thoughtful of others beliefs and wishes.  We are there to reach out to our Beloved Dead, not to disturb the peace of others (living and dead).  Be mindful of where you tread and the volume of your voice, for this is a place of reverence.

Offerings for your loved ones are always a nice idea, whether they be flowers, charms or items from the earth.   In some traditions it is custom to give offerings of tobacco and herbs.  Remember leave little behind…so keep your offerings small and biodegradable.  No food unless you plan on taking it out with you when you leave…It is important to remember that offerings to those in Spirit are about the essence of the thing, not the thing itself.  So bring the real flowers, not the plastic ones.  The plastic ones may hold their color and form longer, but they hold no real essence.

Be sincere!  One of the most foolish things about us humans is the way in which we hide our true feelings and intentions.  Often we go through life holding back our true expression.  Let us not carry this attitude over to our dealings with the Dead.  Speak truly with heart and soul, speak out loud if you can.  This action helps separate us from the chatter of our mind.  Worry not if they can hear you, for they can.  It is much easier for those in Spirit to hear and see us, then it is for us to see them.

Quiet your mind and open your eyes.  When our mind is quiet we are more likely to receive messages from our Beloved Dead.  When we practice mindfulness and calm our internal voices we become more aware of other beings around us.  Remember Spirit is often subtle, bringing us sounds, smells and sights in a gentle way.  It helps to soften your eyes so that you are looking with your peripheral vision.  (think about those 3-D art books of the 90’s)…this vision “wide angle vision” is very helpful in viewing Spirits, as they exist in another realm.

Do not base your experience on whether you received a message that very moment or not.  Often things such as this take time as both you and your loved ones in Spirit need to work on connecting.  Go back often and look for signs.  Hell (no pun intended), I would even ask for a sign.  Stick to something that is reflective of your loved ones nature…such as cardinals for your grandpa who loved them.  Ask them to reach out to you with the sign you have chosen.  Be patient….It is important to remember that like all things skill in Spirit Communication is different for different people, just as we are all not rocket scientist or marathon runners.  Remember why you have gone to visit…that you are visiting your dead out of respect, loss and love.  It is enough to honor them.

Most importantly we need to remember that gravestones and cemeteries are not the only way to reach out to the ones we love….but they are a powerful way to go visiting.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Celebrating Halloween

walkinsalicrowWe are quickly approaching my absolute favorite holiday of the year….Samhain, or Halloween as it is more commonly known.  Samhain  is one of the cross quarter dates, falling directly between the Autumnal Equinox & the Winter Solstice.  In the Celtic Wheel of the Year it is the beginning or New Year.  It is a time of mystery and shadow, a time betwixt & between the worlds…when the veil separating the world of the living, the world of the dead is at its thinnest.

Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is the name most commonly used to refer to the holiday that falls on October the 31st.  In the culture of modern day United States it is celebrated with costumes, candy and everything a bit scary.  I love Halloween…first of all I am a self confessed costume geek, so any chance to put on my finery I am there.  I often have a series of costumes over the holiday, because one is just not enough.  I also love candy, yes I truly do…But if I were to take away all the costumes and sugary delight I would still find this to be my favorite holiday of all.  For Samhain (the original name for Halloween) is really about honoring our Beloved Dead.  Giving thanks and remembrance to those who have entered the land of the Dead before us.  It is a time when the spirits of the dead are know to be closest to us.  To the Celts this was a time of reverence and homage as well as a time when the local folk tread lightly for fear of offending the spirits.  Many of the traditions we celebrate to this day got their start in the rituals of Samhain & the Celtic people who gave honor and respect to their dead and the fae spirits at this time.

I love seeing how things have carried over, from one culture to another, the traditions of modern day Halloween & their origins in the Celtic Samhain.   For example the jack o latern…got it’s start in  Ireland where they were originally carved out of turnips & beets.  They were carved with faces to honor the spirits and at the same time ward them away.  They did not seek to ward away their own loved ones, but as the Veil is particularly thin at this time they wanted to make sure that lost spirits did not show up uninvited.  The Irish brought this tradition with them when they came to the United States &  with a little adaption of course to the pumpkin our Halloween Jack o Lantern was born.  If you really want to dig into the juicy business of where things came from I recommend you read “Halloween” spells, recipes and customs by Silver Ravenwolf or hit the google search engine.

My personal celebration of Samhain & Halloween is a month long affair with costume parties, ritual celebration, personal ceremony of honoring and of course treats.  I start my embrace of Halloween pretty much as soon as I see the calendar say October.   This is a powerful time of year for the Dead and as a Medium that means a busy time of year for me.  I do a lot of public events allowing people the opportunity to witness and experience personally the realness of the Spirit world.  First and foremost this is a time of honoring for me.  I start by setting up a family alter with pictures of my Beloved Dead…my Grammy Brown, my father Richard, my doorman Adam, and the rest of my spirit family.  I place pictures & items of remembrance on the Alter so that I am thinking about them and honoring them every day.  This is a simple tradition and one I encourage you to do.  You will not only find it heartwarming, but it blends in with the traditional decorations of Halloween nicely.

CREATING A FAMILY ALTER FOR SAMHAIN

familyalter

If you do not have an alter space in your home already, no worries its super simple.  Find a shelf, counter, end table or top of a book case.  Clean it of all debris, paperwork, odds and ends.  Now go collect pictures, jewelry, and mementos that you have of your loved ones who have passed.  This is easier done with small items, but not to worry…if you have a quilt made by your great grandmother, pull it out and put it on your bed or couch for the holiday season.  Once you have collected your pictures and family items set them up on your shelf, arrange them so that you like looking at them.  I like to add a candle to my alter.  I light it each day for a few moments and give thanks for all who have walked before me, my ancestors and guides who have made my life easier or more full from knowing them.  Some cultures will have you leave items of food as an offering for the dead, although I find that this has its purpose it is not necessary.  What is necessary is the honor and love that you put into your alter.  In seeking connection to ourselves it is important that we look at that which we came from.

CEREMONY

ceremony

I spend a lot of time in ceremony during the Samhain season.  This year my sister Sandy & I will be offering an extended weekend of Spirit Communication @ the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT on the weekend of November 13th, 14th & 15th.  For details check out the events page for the Resort at lakemoreyresort.com   I spend a lot of time helping others make contact with their Beloved Dead and Ancestors during the Halloween season, as important as I find this, it is also important for me to honor my Beloved Dead, as well.  That I save for Samhain/Halloween itself…

MAGIC AND PLAY

harleyred&dad

Costumes, revelry and a bit of indulgence also play a key part in this holiday.  As I said earlier I am a serious costumer…I don’t just wear a costume, I become the character.  Whether I head to a friends party or go celebrate with the natives of the Kingdom, I will most certainly be celebrating.  I love to work manifestation into my Halloween happenings and often the field of play is where this happens.  I like to take the opportunity to let loose of the norm and play with the possibilities that are abundant at this time for Samhain/Halloween is also a harvest holiday.  It is the 3rd harvest holiday (Lughnassah, Mabon & Samhain) and is considered the New Years Eve of the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  Like New Years eve in modern culture it is a time to make commitments to oneself, and propel our dreams into the betwixt & between, that which has not yet become.  Weaving dreams into our world is easy to do when you have a dance floor and some good music.  Just hold onto your thought and move to the rhythm.   Know that dreams we weave at Samhain will have time to gestate over the long winter.  Just like the Earth we are part of we will be moving into a time of dreaming, a time when our outward movements are subdued and our imaginations are ripe.

Spreading love-salicrow