Stories of Spirit…The Holidays [boundaries, new traditions & self care]

I love the holiday season.  I love the lights, the music, and the holiday cheer.  I do not like expectations, over-doing, and giving for the sake of ‘have to’.  I gave all of that up a long time ago.

About 15 years ago I had a major opening to Spirit which I refer to as ‘the November Incident’.  It was so all-consuming that it takes up two chapters in my book Jump Girl, the initiation, and art of a Spirit Speaker.  (release date-2/13/2018).

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

During the November Incident, the world of spirit opened to me so intensely that I had a hard time keeping up with my daily life; let alone performing the holiday magic I had done for so many years.  I even struggled with being present at my favorite holiday party; spending 15 minutes locked in the bathroom, trying to regain a sense of center.

Now, I understand that the shamanic opening I experienced during the November Incident is far outside of the normal range.  But all the same, it taught me that I like many people do way too much during the holiday season.  We run around in a hubbub of ribbons, candy and shopping centers, filling our obligatory list of buying, visiting and celebration.  But the pace that most of us keep at this time, and the to-do list we create for ourselves has a tendency to suck any holiday spirit we may have from our tired, over-stimulated souls.

During the November Incident, I was forced to slow down.  I did not have the mental capacity, nor the physical energy for hours of shopping, nor did I have the focus to withstand hours of holiday parties I didn’t really want to be at.  Instead, I chose to slow down, do less, spend less, and be more present.  The functions I did attend, I did because I wanted to.  The gifts I gave came from my heart.  I stopped the bullshit of ‘I need to have something for everyone’, and chose instead to give of myself.

Many years have passed since Spirit ripped the veil from my sight, but the holiday traditions I chose at my time of opening are the ones I continue today.  I have stepped away from shopping malls, and ridiculous baking list, instead choosing to spend time with people I love.  I send Yule cards instead of buying gifts, some are real with my handwritten blessings inscribed on paper, some of virtual, but they all mean something.  My gift giving list has been greatly reduced, as I feel we all have way too much as it is, and no one needs me to buy them a cheese slicer with matching knife set.

My opening gave me permission to stop doing.  I was able to step back from the obligation that the holiday season has become and found in it the feeling of happiness, and celebration I knew as a child.  I love coffee dates with old friends, holiday music playing on the radio, and I love the lights & greenery.  I do not want presents, and specifically ask my children and family members not to give me gifts, unless they felt a deep calling to do so.  To my children and grandchildren, I give gifts of things they need, like tires, car batteries, bed sheets, and socks.  When it comes to toys I choose wisely, I ask myself if they will still enjoy it after the ribbons, bows, paper, and sugar have worn off.

When approaching the holidays this year I suggest you ask yourself a few questions.  “Do I want to do this?”,  “Will my item be appreciated, or am I just buying for the sake of giving?”, “What do I need?”  “What do the people on my list need?”, “How do I want to celebrate this year?”

Traditions are not just something from the past that we must recreate.  They all came from somewhere, at some point they were new, fun and worth repeating.  Which means we can create new traditions now, traditions that fit our lifestyle and beliefs.  We can choose to have a tree or decorate a houseplant.  We can choose to not decorate at all.  We can choose to eat pizza for Christmas dinner instead of holiday hams and hours of cooking.  We can designate a pajama holiday instead of a fancy dress event.  We can choose to be happy for the holidays instead of overstressed, sugar bombed and broke.

My work with the Beloved Dead has shown me that we do not give a flying-fuck what we got for Christmas from Grandma when we were 8.  What we remember is the house filled with laughter, the smell of yummy food, and the feeling of love.  We remember emotions, events, and silly stories.  So go out and make memories that feel good.  Stop doing what others expect, create new boundaries that keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season, and remember to spread love.  It’s what it’s all about folks.

spreading love-salicrow

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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…Love is Good Stuff [be the change you want to see in the world]

Brigalovefest16People often refer to me, as an optimist, and I suppose that is true.  That being said; I am not blinded to the plight, humanity is facing in this time of tremendous change.  To be an optimist, does mean we stick our head in the sand & wait for all the bad stuff to go away.  It means; we choose to embrace the goodness of life, to tune ones vibration into the beauty, kindness, and joy, that life has to offer.  Being an optimist is a choice, one that starts with a simple mindset…

Be the Change you want to see in the World. -Mahatma Gandhi

Seeing myself as co-creator, of my life and world; I live by the this motto.  I often say, that ‘God does not help the lazy‘.  This is not in reference to bumming around in our jammies, or wanting a simple life.  But more a way of saying; that we are responsible for our own happiness.  In life attitude is everything; for we all face hardships, each and every one of us.  And, yes it is true; some people have far more hardships then others.  But, that does not mean our struggles are insubstantial, because someone has it worst then we do.  How we choose to experience those hardships, is what makes us who we are; better or bitter.

Love-QuotesI chose LOVE, a long time ago.  I am not sure when, or if it even happened in this life time.  But, the truth of the matter is I chose to love the world around me, and the people in it; including myself.  That does not mean, I like everyone. What it means is I choose to be kind.  I choose to be compassionate, and as a general rule, I spread love around, as often as possible.  In doing so, the world loves me back.  For, genuine compassion and caring, is often responded to with….NEWS FLASH…compassion and caring.  That’s right folks, what we give to the world, returns back to us.

Love is not limited to the intimate relationships of partners, parents, children, & siblings.  It is something that should be shared with all, and often.  It cost nothing, not a single cent; to be kind.

I find myself talking about love today, as the old ‘Red Heart Holiday’, is just around the corner.  Valentines Day, in my opinion is a Hallmark Holiday.  It is a way for Greeting Card companies, Florist, and Chocolate makers; to get a bit of a boost to their income.  It is also a holiday, that makes many people feel like shit.  Simply, for the reason that they do not have a partner.  Hell, they may be perfectly happy with that decision 364 days of the year, but on Valentines Day; they are reminded that they are among the ‘partner-less’.  Which some how translates to unlovable.  But we must remember…love is limitless.

imageI propose that we start a revolution of LOVE.  That we collectively, choose Valentines Day, as a day to dedicate ourselves to LOVE.  Now, I am not asking you to picket the streets with banners and megaphones; declaring your love for the world (although, that would truly be an awesome sight).  Instead, I am asking you to make a pledge to yourself; to share kindness & compassion, with yourself and others.  It is amazing, how much a simple truthful compliment, can effect others.  If you see an old lady wearing a smashing hat…say something.  If you notice, the hard work your neighbor has put into their yard…say something.  Buy an extra can or two of soup, when your out grocery shopping and drop it by the local Food Bank.  Take 5 minutes out of your day, to talk to the lonely, old-guy; standing behind you at the post office. Look people in the eyes, look into their souls, and for a brief moment…share love.

While we are on the subject of sharing LOVE.  I would like to point out the most important, starting place LOVE….ourselves.  We must learn to love ourselves.

amazing youI believe the brain, is like a super computer.  And, like a computer…it can be effected by bad programming and viruses.  No child; new and fresh to this world, hates them self.  That is a fact!  The hate, and disapproval, we lavishly smear upon ourselves, was created by an outside force.  The voice of an un-approving parent, a harsh teacher, or mean spirited peers; first created the negative language we speak to ourselves.  Over the years, their voices fade, & our brain starts repeating the insults, in our own voice.  When we repetitively spew hate at ourselves, we begin to own it.

One of the most powerful truths, I hold…is that I love myself.  I truly do.  Perhaps that is the secret to being an optimist; self love.  Self love, can be learned.  But it takes patience and dedication (back to God/Goddess not helping the lazy).  Our dedication to love, needs to include ourselves.  We need to speak kindly to ourselves; acknowledge our strengths and show compassion for our weaknesses.

Here is my go-to, Self-Love Generator.

lovemirror

Every day, spend 5 minutes looking at yourself in the mirror.  Eye contact is crucial, so this is not a scanning for blemishes, pinching our belly-fat, cursing our hair kind of exercise.  In fact, it is completely the opposite.

As you stand in front of the mirror, connect with yourself; through looking deeply into your eyes.

Now, say something nice about yourself.  I don’t care what it is, but it must be truthful.  “I am good with children”, “I have a great voice”,  “I am have beautiful eyes”, “I am a dedicated partner”.

Notice, that the statements were made in the affirmative, with a focus on eye contact.  This is crucial, as most damage/bad programming, come through statements that were made to us…declaring we were something.  Many times these negative statements, were also made with eye contact.  Our eyes are portals to our soul.  Powerful healing can take place, when we use these portals (eyes), for positive programming.  This exercise is meant to be done often; like daily…for weeks.  But remember, it only takes 5 minutes.  I will not lie to you, it is very hard to do.  I have recommended this exercise to many of my clients over the years; and they all come back telling me how hard it was to do.  In the beginning, you will most likely struggle, with kind things to say to yourself.  But after awhile, you will find the truth & recognize just how amazing you really are.

Well, there is my rant on love, optimism and change.  I hope you take the time this Valentines day, to start a Love Revolution, in your own life.  I also hope, that you find it in you to spread love, wherever you go.  Can you imagine how awesome the world would be; if we all chose to be compassionate, kind and loving.  I hope you enjoyed the read Folks.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Imbolc [for the love of Brigid]

brigid's crossImbolc is one of the 8 holidays that make up the Celtic Wheel of the Year.   It is a celebration of fire, hearth & home that honors the spark of inspiration that prods us in the deep of winter where we slumber…waking us to plan.   Sacred to the Goddess Brigid it is a great time to seek inspiration & begin planning for the year ahead of you.   Imbolc takes place on February 2nd & this year it will happen during a New Moon.    Actually it is the 2nd New Moon of the month which is called a Black Moon.  Black Moons are pretty rare, happening about every 2.5 years.  New Moons/Black Moons are all about planting seeds, inspiration and Awen (the spirit of creativity).  Looks like a pretty good line up between the two events to set things in motion.   I prefer to keep things simple.  Set yourself down with a candle or in front of the open fireplace if you have one.  It’s about the flame…spending time with it, meditating…allowing it to take you within.  If you know what you want to grow with the returning of the light…dedicate yourself to it.  If you are  not sure what it is you need…ask for guidance.

As I said Imbolc is connected to Brigid…the Goddess & Saint.  Brigid started her life with the Irish people as a Goddess & was later transformed into a Saint when Christianity came into Ireland & the  people would not set her aside.   The lines that separate the two are so fine it is hard to determine where one ends and the other begins.  According to medieval historians, Christian monks took the ancient Mother Goddess and wove her tales into that of Saint Brigid.  I saw this first hand when I visited her home in Kildare, Ireland last spring.   It was pleasing to see that the Goddess Brigid had not been set aside, in fact her story as goddess as well as saint was present in the church as well as the home of the Brigidine Nuns.  Brigid is connected to flame-that of the hearth as well as the smith, she is ever the blessed of the crafter, poet & magician.  Brigids blessings are called upon at birth, she is benefactor of the poor, caretaker of the earth & connected to holy wells.  The flame of Brigid was considered sacred and cared for in pre-christian times by 19 priestess’s.  The flame burnt continually for hundreds of years, each of the 19 priestess’s took turns guarding the flame and on the 20th day Brigid herself kept her flame going.  When Brigid was tranformed into Saint the stories of her kindness and miracles continued and so did the tending of her flame.  Brigidine sisters/nuns took turns tending the flame of Brigid…each in turn for 19 days and on the 20th the flame was left for Brigid herself to tend.  It is believed that the tradition was carried out until the 16th century when it was extinguished for Christian fear of its connection to a fire cult.  In 1993 it’s flame was relit by Brigidine Nuns in Kildare.  Since then it has been cared for in the fashion it was intended, with the 20th day being that of Brigids to watch over herself.

I have been a practicing pagan Celt for most of my adult life &  have  honored Brigid with fire and fed her my dreams at Imbolc for many years.  My personal connection to Brigid however is much newer and carries an interesting tale.  In the first year of my Druid training (2008) I was gifted with the flame of Brigid.  My teacher Ivan McBeth had received the flame in a ceremony years prior when it had been brought from Ireland to England by Brigidine sisters.  They carried the flame alight from their home in Kildare by ship to England.  Upon sharing it with others they explained that once a candle has been lit with Brigid’s flame it can always be used to call upon her, you simply relight it and ask her to join you.  This made it a lot easier for Ivan to bring it into the United States as you can imagine.  Receiving this gift & its history was an honor.  In the ceremony as we all awaited our time to light our candles and connect with Divine inspiration (the heart beat of the bard) in song.  We sat around a fire chanting a simple song, holding space for the others as they approached the flame of Brigid and looked deep inside themselves for Awen (the spirit of creativity) & the blessings of Brigid.

CHANT TO BRIGID... Rise up oh Flame, by thy light glowing, show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

CHANT TO BRIGID…
Rise up oh Flame,
by thy light glowing,
show to me Beauty, Wisdom & Joy

Brigid entered my life in many ways during my bardic year of Druid training and has stayed on as a guide.  I often use the time of Imbolc to journey with Brigid in search of what my life needs.  This searching through journey work is what brought yoga into my life.  In fact she pretty much told me plain and simple that I needed to do yoga.  I seldom get glossy, poetic answers from the divine…short, simple and to the point seems to be the approach for me.  *Now I know I have mentioned it before, and I will mention it again.  God is god is goddess to me, it matters little how you get there or what you call it. *   In my journey I  was told I  needed yoga in my life.   Long story short, a few days later I was driving through town and saw that a yoga studio had opened.  That was 4 years ago and I am still practicing Ashtanga Yoga, so I would have to say she was right…I did need yoga in my life.  Along with her inspiration Brigid has also amazed me with the synchronicity of her nature.  Last year when I went to Ireland I traveled to Kildare, it was among 3 of the planned ventures I had on the itinerary.  I went to Ireland with an open plan of areas to explore but  3 things I knew I needed to do & visiting Brigid’s home in Kildare was one of them.   We were staying on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare (where my mum’s people come from) & Kildare was across the country almost to the East coast so about 2.5 -3 hours by car.  It was one of our planned day trips and well worth it.  When we got to Kildare we did the touristy thing and headed to Saint Brigid’s Cathedral: walked the grounds, visited the ancient fire temple & went inside the cathedral.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the information on Brigid the Goddess inside of the Cathedral as well as her history as a Saint.  I was however disappointed to not find her flame.  My husband and I walked around the town and were told at the historical center that the Brigidine Nuns tended the flame at their home Solas Bhride.   The woman running the shop helped us to connect with the sisters of Solas Bhride and we were soon on our way for a visit.  Before leaving she did tell us that Brigidine Nuns were not like traditional nuns and did not dress in the same fashion as the other nuns we had seen around the town.

sistermaryMeeting Sister Mary Minehan was an Exceptional Moment of Spirit.  The first thing I noticed was she was wearing a leopard print sweater & the first thing she said upon greeting my husband and I was “when I speak of God, I am speaking of the energy that has been present in the Universe for millions of years”.  She was kind and generous and being in her presence you knew she had truly dedicated her life to her faith.  She shared Brigid’s flame with us and I told her how I had received it years before from my Druid teacher.  Here is where the synchronicity lies folks…Sister Mary Minehan had been one of the sisters who took the flame of Brigid across the sea from Ireland to England.  This same women had been involved both times when Brigid’s flame was given to me.  Oh…I just love how the Universe works, it is simply Magic!  All the people in the world and we still make such fabulous connections.    We spent about an hour with Sister Mary, drinking tea and  talking about the environment.  The Brigidine sisters are building an ecological center in Kildare.  Their focus is on human rights, education and earth activism.   They are really fantastic ladies, living their light out loud.  I was delighted to see that the sisters of Brigid are the same as the image I have held in my mind of the ancient priestess’ of Brigid.  One of the things that gave me such great happiness was when Sister Mary told us to visit the old well not the new one.  She said that the sister gathered their sacred water from the old well.  I felt a bond of kinship with her.  It is always beautiful to see the light of god/goddess/universe in others even if you don’t share the same exact faith.  After all it is more about getting the connection then how you get it.  Just the year before the Dali Lama had been in Kildare and carried the flame of Brigid in a ceremony in the village.   There were pictures of it in various places in the town.

Brigid's Old Well

Brigid’s Old Well

We visited Brigid’s well, both of them.  The new one was beautiful with statuary and prayer stations.  It had been built to make a more gentile place for visitors.  The old well had little marking it, in fact if you didn’t know where you were going you would miss it.  It was on the outside of a Japanese Garden, an enclosed center people can visit, like a fancy park that you pay admission to.  I am sure the garden was lovely, but we didn’t come for that…we had come to be blessed with Brigid’s water.  Wells throughout the Celtic lands are sacred things.  They are springs that come to the surface, their water is sacred as it is said to connect both the world above with the world below.  Many holy wells are known for their healing qualities and the blessings they bestow.  To me they are indeed sacred.  I see them as the life blood of the planet, the mana that carries the deep, powerful blessings of Gaia.    Sitting at a sacred well is like sitting in church, or meditating deeply, it effects you, you just plain feel good near them.  And they make me emotional in a good way.  I found Brigid’s well especially so, for Brigid had shared so deeply of herself with me.

The Divine is alive and wheres so many faces so that we all might find comfort in connecting with God/Goddess.  I invite you to take time over the next couple of nights and reach out for inspiration.  May the year to come be filled with Awe…

Spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…the Sound of Music [Heartfelt Holiday Tales]

As a Medium, Death has been a constant companion of mine.  My experience has not been limited to the Spirit World (talking to the Dead), but also includes standing present in the face of Death itself.  I consider the moments that I walk hand & hand with Death to be among those I most treasure & my work as a Spiritual Midwife the most sacred.  Death is a teacher that shows us what really matters,  for it teaches the importance of supporting one another and the true value of LOVE.

evanneMy story today, is about my first experience as Death’s handmaiden…a treasured gift given to me by a special woman named Evanne.  She was was a teacher at my children’s elementary school, but I find that the word teacher does not fully illuminate all that she brought to our community.  In fact most people in the community remember her through music….Balkan Chorus to be exact.  Through Evanne’s guidance,  junior high girls from our tiny-hilltown (average student pop. k-8=42 kids) performed Balkan Music throughout the region & beyond…they produced CD’s, took the stage at Carnegie Hall on the Prairie Home Companion &  were featured in the movie ‘In the Bedroom’ starring Sissy Spacek.  Along with this magnificent gift of culture and worldliness, Evanne also taught a summer Humanities camp @ the school each year.  Which brings us to how she came into my life.

The summer Evanne found out she had cancer, she made the decision that she was unable to offer the Summer Humanities Camp.  As it turned out, I was the first parent she contacted to explain her decision.  To make a long story short…that phone call turned into a friendship & me taking her on as a Reiki client.  My work with Evanne was one of the greatest treasures I have ever been given.  Before Evanne, I was scared of Cancer; I had lost a dear friend to Cancer (way too young) & watched as my grandfather loose his life to it as well.  With Evanne, I was able to see the gift that a slow Death offers as well as the pain & fear.

Meeting weekly for Reiki, I was able to witness the introspection that the Long-Death offers.  It gives us time to look at our life, to reflect and to love…I saw that there was so much more to dying then the end.  There were moments of bliss, pools of emotion and truly amazing insight.  I saw how community members stepped forward to support Evanne in whatever way that they could; from opening their homes for her care, to fundraisers and children sending gifts of books, cards and silliness.

As the holidays approached and Evanne’s condition worsened, her Balkan Chorus girls arranged a benefit concert in her name.  The day before the concert her health took a deep, downward spiral.  I  was not scheduled to visit her on the day of her death, but after news of the rapid change in her health I headed over.  Walking into the home I was greeted by one of my neighbors (the community took turns watching over her), & could feel the heaviness of death.  My neighbor informed me that Evanne was a bit off & kept talking about how she needed chairs to be brought into the living room; around her bed.  She insisted that she was going to have a lot of company that day.  At first we thought she was confused and that she was preparing for all the visitors  who would be coming after the concert; which was the following day.  But as it turns out we were the ones who were confused…she knew exactly what she was talking about.

15 minutes after I walked into the home; Evanne began to die.  Her breathing took on a deep rattle & then she stopped breathing.  She did not have a DNR (do not resuscitate), so I immediately began doing CPR on her as my neighbor spoke to the emergency dispatcher.  Within moments of starting CPR, I felt Evanne’s Spirit separate from her body & I knew she was Dead.  That being said, I had to continue doing CPR until a medical professional arrived, which means I spent 15 minutes breathing life into a body that would not receive it.  This sounds horrid, but in fact it was a truly profound experience; as I could feel Evanne standing next to me as I attended her body.

The first medical professional to arrive was a local nurse, who immediately took over the situation.  Time slowed down & took on a stretched feel as I stood with my 2 neighbors & the Spirit of Evanne, around her body.  Then the strangest thing happened….As the Ambulance drove up,  neighbors and friends also started arriving.  Soon the house was filled with people who loved Evanne, all this happened before anyone but the EMT’s had been called.  Somehow/someway; like a radio signal from Spirit,  she called her loved ones to her.  As it turns out, she was right…she did need those chairs that day & her room was full.  As I left the house, I heard Evanne speak to me…”I’m so sorry you had to do that Sali”. (referring to the CPR).   I feel Evanne chose me as a companion for her death, as our friendship was developed around her dying.  She was constantly thanking me, but I truly felt like walking through Death with her was a gift to me as well.  In that moment; so many years ago, the fear of death was taken from me & replaced with a deep respect & gratitude.  I saw how Death removed suffering, and allowed a person to step fully into their Soul.  Standing present with her Spirit, I felt honored by the teachings Death had given me.

The concert went on as planned the following day; albeit with a different flair.  Girls & young ladies filled the stage, singing with the love they held for the amazing woman who gave them so much love & inspiration.  Evanne’s touch can still be felt in the little town of Newark; it’s heard in the voices of the Balkan Chorus (now led by former students of Evanne) &  seen in the yearly cultural events she started.  Most of all Evanne’s touch can be felt in the hearts of the people who were fortunate enough to know her.

Today, telling this tale…I cry.  I cry for my friend, I cry for the beautiful gift she shared with me & I cry for the beauty of Death in it’s many faces.  I hope you enjoyed the read Folks.  May your hearts be filled with Love!

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Oh, Christmas Tree [Heartfelt Holiday Tales]

runetreeOne of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas; was the year my Dad let us all get our own trees.  We trekked out into the woods, through snow that was above my knees.  I’m pretty sure we were Gypsying it up, meaning we were wondering around the woods cutting down trees without permission.  There were no tree-farms then in NH, at least not in the North Woods.  In fact just bringing up such an idea would peg you as a ‘flat-lander’.

While on our grand-Christmas tree adventure, my sisters and I convinced our Dad to let us get our own trees.  He agreed, and we all proudly picked out miniature trees to set up in our bedrooms.  That tiny tree I brought home ended up being a remarkable memory & one of my favorite Christmas’ of all time.  I spent hours, upon hours making decorations for it.  Then hours more making presents for all of my dolls to give to one another.  I had been sewing & crocheting since I was 8, so by 10…I was a pro & made some great little gifts for them all to share.  I even wrapped the gifts; with white paper I had drawn holiday images on.  I don’t know if my sisters got as much joy out of their trees, but for me it was truly magical.

As many of you know; I am a serious member of Santa’s Elf Brigade.  I love the Winter Holidays…Christmas, Hanukkuh, Kwanza, Yule.  You name it, I like it.  My family personally celebrates on the Winter Solstice/Yule, but I still celebrate Christmas with anyone and everyone who wants.  I love how the Holidays bring out a joyfulness in young and old, I love the lights & candy canes and hot cocoa & libations.  I love the crazy ways people celebrate…from Yankee Swaps to Ugly Sweater parties to Blowing the bubbles in the Snow @ Yule.  I have been known to wear Elf-ears on more then one occasion & I love, love, love striped socks!  But most of all I love the trees; with their ornaments and lights.

As a Medium I often hear of the special ways families celebrate the holidays.  The Beloved Dead often speak of favorite traditions, food and decorations on the tree.  In fact, tree-decorations are often treasures that remind us of our loved ones who have passed into Spirit; whether given by them or previously belonging to them…ornaments have Spirit.  Just yesterday I was doing a private Spirit Communication session with a wife who had lost her husband.  As he was speaking through me; he brought up cardinals (the bird) and showed me that they were ornaments not real birds.  There was a deep emotional connection around the ornaments.  When I brought it up to his wife, she replied that they had bought 3 Cardinal ornaments for their tree when their granddaughter had been born…one for Pop, one for Bubbi & one for their Granddaughter.

It’s funny, but there really is something magical about Yule trees.  As we age, the decorations and traditions of setting up our tree…how long we have it up, do we buy groomed trees, put up fake trees or pick ‘Charlie Brown’ trees, is our tree themed or do we have a hodge-podge of ornaments.  All of these things hold memories, memories we relive year after year as we set in front of our festive center piece.

Persephoneyuletree

My granddaughter enjoying my Yule tree.

This year my tree was a gifted to me from a friend; groomed on a tree farm.  I usually just do the ‘Charlie Brown’ thing and cut a tree that needs to come down from my Blueberry field.  I received my gifted tree just after Thanksgiving, so this is also an early rise for my Yule tree.  In fact it is the first time in 23 years I have put my tree up before December 10th.  My trees always waited until after the 10th, because it/today is my daughters birthday.   We always waited, so her birthday could be special.  That being said I am fully enjoying my early-rising tree, with it’s crystal (quartz, malachite, serpentine & rose quartz)  & Rune Ornaments….and candy canes (my husband & I have already eaten 2 boxes….it’s a problem).

Well I hope you have enjoyed the read.  As you set up your tree this year, take time to appreciate the memories it holds & remember your Beloved Dead are enjoying it too.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…Everything in it’s Place [Heartfelt Holiday Tales]

salisnowAs a Medium, I get to experience a tremendous amount of Love, when communicating with Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors).  I get to feel their emotions; through a deep form of Empathy that feels like melding with the feelings of the Spirit I connect with.  The feelings transmitted help me to better understand what they are trying to say to their living-loved ones & I often walk away  knowing what it is like to love guest attending my Seances.  I have experienced such devotion between couples; that their separation by Death does not dilute it’s depth.  I have stood witness to tales of love that the Hallmark channel would die for (pun intended…).  The story I tell today is just such a tale.

I was working a Family Seance in the Upper Valley of Vermont when a woman came through to speak to her husband.  She had died suddenly many years before (by many years I mean somewhere around 30 years)…this was their first opportunity to communicate since her passing.   The Wife (Spirit) was overjoyed with the opportunity to connect with her husband, and as she spoke it became apparent that he had not moved on…he still mourned her.  After her passing he had changed nothing in the house.  This is not an uncommon thing.  Often people have a hard time removing items that remind them of their Beloved Dead; feeling that they will forget or loose connection with those they love if they do.  This however, was a exceptional example of that devotion; for the Husband had truly not moved a thing….Her sweater still hung on the bedpost & her makeup was still on the bathroom counter.  All of her belongings had been dusted and replaced in their spots for years, and years, and years.  The Wife spoke to her Husband about the importance of healing & moving on with his life.  She wanted him to know that those things were not necessary for her to stay around, she would stay close because she loved him.

I do not know if he ever moved her belongings, I figure they are most likely just where she left them.  Love is the most important thing of all, I truly believe this…It is what we are all searching for.  Some of us are luckier then others and get to experience that all-empowering-love on a soul level.  Soul level love is not limited to our lovers/partners.  Soul level love can be experienced between parent & child, siblings & friends.  It is those glorious moments when 2 people really get one another.  The kindred spark that lies in Soul level relationships is one that crosses the borders of life and death, life time after lifetime.  I am a fortunate person; I have experienced Soul level relationships in my own life & had the pleasure of experiencing them through other peoples lives.

This holiday season, spend some connecting with the people you share Soul level relationships with.  Pick up the phone, grab a cup of coffee, have a family gathering.  Big of small, perfect setting or 20 minutes  in the school parking lot waiting to pick up the kids…in life & relationships it is often about making time.  Nothing fancy is needed.  I hope you enjoyed the read Folks.  I will be sharing Heartfelt Holiday Tales from now until the Winter Solstice, so stay tuned & share with those you think may like it.

 

spreading love-salicrow