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…The Sacrifice of War (remembering my father)

Today is Veterans Day and I am thinking of my father.  His whole life or at least the life that I was witness to was enveloped around his service in Vietnam.  His thoughts, actions, and values were reflective of this pivotal time in his life, and his physical limitations were created by it.  He carried a pride that had been drilled into him by boot camp sergeants and fellow soldiers, in the essence of his being he was a Marine.

 

Growing up the child of a wounded warrior, I knew the toll of war.  My father was missing an eye, a fancy piece of glass made to resemble an eye sat where it belonged.  As a child of four, I once accidentally witnessed my father cleaning his eye.  Walking into the living room to find him with his eye in his hand and the socket drooping on his face I was horrified.  I screamed and had to be comforted by my mother.  For days I was afraid of my father, not understanding what I had witnessed.   I have found myself revisiting this moment time and time again in my memory and can’t help but think how terrible it must have been for him, knowing that his appearance had scared his own child so.

Many of my father’s wounds were visible, the glass eye being the most noticeable.  He had physical markings to show that he had been damaged beyond repair, that war had taken a great toll on him.  But he also carried many deeper wounds that were not visible to the eye, wounds that affected how he saw himself and the world around him.  These hidden wounds were far more painful than the loss of an eye, for he was haunted by his actions and the things he saw during his time of war.

Mike Emory (my father’s mentor), Grammy Brown, My father Richard, his younger brothers Teddy & Eddy.

My father grew up very poor, raised by his grandmother in the deep North Woods of New Hampshire.  He lied about his age and joined the Marine Corp at 17 so that he could send money back home to take care of her and his younger brothers.  Having grown up wandering around the woods, his skills made him a natural for reconnaissance work.  This was what eventually took his life at 62.  He did not die from the grenade that had taken his eye and left him with shrapnel in his brain, in the end, it was the exposure to high levels of chemicals (agent orange) that destroyed his body.

He was thankful for the years he had between the grenade and his death, seeing them as borrowed years.  Years that allowed him to get married, have 3 children, and many adventures.  But those years between were not all good.  Along with the physical ailments the grenade had bestowed upon him, he also lived with nightmarish memories.  In trying to escape the thoughts that plagued him, he turned to alcohol and other substances for comfort.

redemption…re-connection after 13 years of not speaking.

My father’s story, in the end, was one of redemption.  He eventually found a path healing, after many losses and many bottles.  He lost his family to his own alcoholism and then found it again through sobriety.  He found a deep spiritual center inside of himself and embraced the gifts that were his birthright, seeing himself for what he had been all along, an intuitive medicine man.

Medicine Man

My Dad’s final goodbye

My experience growing up the child of a wounded veteran shaped me as it did my father.  Living with him, his addictions, and his pain, I gained a deep understanding of the hidden anquish anyone who has seen war experiences.  This exposure has led me to work with many veterans.  I have a great respect for the price they pay, and an understanding of the wounding they carry.  I do not think there are words deep enough to express how much respect I have for those who have served.  Whether I believe in the war they fight or not, I respect the soldier.  I know that there are many reasons why they enlist, choosing to fight for their country.  For some, it is a deep feeling of patriotism (something my father also had), but for many their choosing is much more practical.  They see military service as a way out of poverty, a way to provide a better life for themselves and the ones they love.  They take the gamble, rolling on their lives and mental stability, with hopes that they will be among the lucky.

I would like to take a moment to pause and send love and healing to all of our men and women who have experienced the service of war, and I ask you to join me.  Here is what you will need…

*a candle, *a flag or item that makes represents military service to you, * photos of your own loved ones who have served

Set up a small altar with the items of memorabilia & photos & light your candle.

Focus on your Heart Chakra, directly in the center of your chest.  Take deep even breathes through your nose.  With every inhalation imagine you are filling your chest cavity with love, with every exhalation imagine sending that love to everyone who has served in the military, starting with those close to you and expanding outward.

Do this for about 5 minutes then speak clearly out loud “Thank you for your sacrifice”, and blow out the candle.

Remember not all wounds are visible, not everyone is walking around with a glass eye or a prosthetic leg.  Most of the wounds of war are buried deep within.  Support your local VFW, and Veterans home.  Buy the red poppy from the guy sitting at the grocery store today.  Hell, donate more than is convenient, after all, we can not come close to matching the donation they made.  Remember to thank them, truly and deeply for they deserve our thanks.

I would personally like to thank the men and women who have served this countries military.  I have deep respect for the sacrifices you have made and understand the price it continues to ask of you.

spreading love-salicrow

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…Turning Down the Volume [healing after death]

As a Medium, I meet a lot of people after they are dead, and in doing so I often get to experience the wisdom they have gleaned after crossing into the world of Spirit.  People/souls do not stop growing and learning when their body stops functioning.  Death is not only a place of rest, but a place of healing and growth.  In death we review the lessons we have learned in life, from the vantage point of the observer.  We not only see our actions played out for us to review, but are able to see how we effected the world around us.  We can shift perspective to bear witness to how those around us loved us, and why those who hurt us, did so.

The idea of spending the afterlife reviewing the events of this life, can be daunting to some people.  If our life is one of pain and struggle the last thing we would ask of Death, would be to watch our life over and over again.  But the universe is kind, and we are not sentenced to review the experience in it’s emotional fullness.

One of the gifts of Death, is that is that the volume level of our emotions is turned down significantly.  

Imagine your emotions could be adjusted, like the volume on a stereo.  One is so low, that you really need to be paying attention to feel at all.  While, ten is so loud that the only thing we can do is experience our emotions.  Most people go through life with their emotional volume set at about 4-5, allowing them to experience things through their emotions, while still focusing on other things.  Some however, have the volume set way above the comfort level; around 7-10, and are forced to go through life with their emotions taking front stage, every moment.   Unfortunately, the volume in which we experience emotions in life is not easily adjusted.

Traumatic events can jar the volume control of our emotions, leaving many of us to walk through life with a concert of emotions distracting us, and overwhelming us.

I hesitate before continuing my writing, wondering if my words could somehow make people see death as a cozy alternative to life.  That people who struggle with their own world; their living existence, may find the idea of their emotions being turned down, an inviting option.  In fact the idea that my words may be misinterpreted almost made me trash this blog article completely.  I am a firm believer that people do their best healing while still alive, and that we have come into this existence to experience and grow.  When we cut our life short, we are often required to experience similar events in our next life, so that our consciousness may expand.  

Death is a place of review.  With the volume turned down, we can experience things that may have escaped us in life.  We become aware of the why of situations.  If we had an abusive parent, we are able to see the situation from their perspective.  Witnessing their struggle, self-hatred, and the abuse that they experienced.  We get the back story on every moment that effected us in life.  With the emotions turned down, we can look at these moments with clarity.  The experience being more like watching a show on television, then living it out as our story.  This perspective often gives people a better understanding of themselves.  They know what they could have done differently, as well as the key moments that triggered damage in their psyche.  This adjusted view of ones life, is more noticeable when a soul has had a while in deaths domain.

Another interesting fact, that should be noted, is that coming in contact with a Medium turns the volume back up again temporarily.  The Medium makes the experience of communication, more real or life like, for the dead.  This is why it is a good idea to give the Spirit a bit of time for healing, if they have died traumatically or by their own actions.  A good Medium will use their guides to intervene, or stand between them and the dead, in these cases.  When I work with Spirits that have experienced trauma in death (from another or themselves), my doorman Adam is a necessity.  He often stands between me and the Spirit, they speak to him, and he passes the message onto me.  This is a simple way of keeping the volume level in tact, for Spirits who are still deeply in their healing process.

The time in between lives, is when our Spirit heals and recaps the lessons of our last life, as well as the lives we have experienced thus far.  In death we become all that we are.  Becoming whole; all that we are,  helps a soul to heal and become more.  For we can add the experiences of the life we just lived to the mix of that which we have already been.  In death we exist as our ‘higher self’, the self that is us with all of its parts.  Every life time lived adds to that which we are, our heartaches and sorrows are just as important as our achievements and loves.

The soul is a complex thing, one that is ever evolving.  We need to be patient with ourselves, and patient with those who suffer in ways that we cannot understand.  Recognizing that people can feel emotions at different degrees of volume, helps us to comprehend how the same situation can effect different people, in dissimilar ways, providing insight in regards to depression and anxiety.

How can we learn to dial down our emotional response while living?

This is a tricky one, and there is no one answer for everyone.  I am not a psychiatrist, and by no means am I suggesting you step out of the care of your counselor, if you have one.  I am simply trying to shed some light onto the subject of emotional volume, as shown to me by the Dead.

Mediation is helpful…  Learning how to center ourselves when the world around us is moving really fast, and our emotions are screaming at us is invaluable.  I prefer to use Sound in my meditation, often focusing on my own voice as I  ‘tone’.  Vocal Toning is the extension of vocal sounds, particularly focused on the sound of vowels, and harmonics.  It is pretty simple and requires no choir skills.  Vowel sounds are considered sacred in many cultures.  Prolonged vocal toning has a peaceful effect on both the energetic and physical body.  (For all you local folks, interested in learning Sound Mediation, I offer a weekly class on Tuesday nights at my studio in Lyndonville, VT).

Whether you feel drawn to sound healing/mediation, or simple breath exercises, mediation is something that works better with practice.  The more often we do it, the more easily we can slip into its gentle, peaceful embrace.

Mantras work...Mantras are simple statements, we repeat in order to create interpersonal change.  They work best if kept to 4-5 words.  When the stress of the world ways heavy on your brain, and your mind is spinning on its personal hamster wheel from hell, simply repeat your mantra 5 or 6 times.  Example…I am at peace with myself.  When you do, you will find your mind pauses, steps away from the hamster wheel for a moment.  The thoughts that haunt you will come back, but again go to your mantra, repeating it over and over again until your mind finds its quiet place.  The more often you handle your mind-fuck with the simple compassion of a mantra, the less often it will come around.

The biggest lesson I have learned from the Dead, is that life is worth living.  When we die, we miss the simple things of life…the taste of our favorite food, the smell of our favorite flowers, the color of the sky, the richness of textures we feel through touch, the embrace of our lovers and friends.  These are the things that come up, over and over again when I connect with the dead, even the ones who suffered in life.

spreading love-salicrow

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

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

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

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

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

It was not!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Passing Angels [gifts from the dead]

labradoriteangelI am not particularly fond of Angels.  Not that I have anything against them, I am just not someone who collects them, or feels overly drawn to their energy.  No Angel wings, ornaments or halo’s for this Crow.  I am however aware of the significance such imagery plays in others understanding of the afterlife.  Angels are often used by both the living and the dead, to represent protection, and spiritual guidance.  They are used to bring comfort, and to remind us of the afterlife.

In my experience as a Medium,  Spirits will often talk about Angel ornaments and imagery, as something that connects them to their living.  When they bring it up, my living clients confirm that they have been collecting Angels since the death of their loved one, or that they often see images of angels when their loved ones are around.  By this statement, I mean they find themselves noticing Angel ornaments, and pictures wherever they go, and know that it is their Beloved Dead, trying to make contact with them.

Lakemorey2Every March, I spend a couple of long weekends, working the Ladies Retreats @ the Lake Morey Resort, in Fairlee, VT.  It is a good time filled with Ladies looking to refresh themselves, by stepping outside of their every day routine.  I am there doing Psychic Readings, Spirit Communication and teaching workshops.

The last three years, I have done Gallery Spirit Communication on Friday nights.  It’s an event that draws the majority of the guest, which is around 2 hundred people.  Gallery Readings are entertaining, and heartfelt, but there is no way I can get messages through for everyone.  A handful of people get messages, and the rest are there just for the experience.  These events are moving, and I usually walk away with a story or two to tell, of how Spirits go out of their way to make meaningful connections with the living.  This year my story came after…

I had just finished the Gallery, and was walking upstairs, making my way to my room.  People often stop me along the way, to ask me questions, and share personal stories of Spirit they have experienced.  This time  I was stopped by a group of women, who’s friend had lost a child.  She had hoped desperately that her daughter would come through at the Gallery, and when she didn’t her friends set about getting her an appointment for a personal session.

My appointments fill up quickly at these retreat, and management has made it clear that I need to pace when I put out my schedule.  I can list the available times for Thursday night and Friday morning, on Thursday afternoon, Friday evening appointments can go up Friday afternoon, and so on and so fourth.  This makes it so people who arrive later in the weekend, still get a chance at an appointment with me.  That being said, people are usually waiting at the board when I walk out to put up the next times.

I advised the ladies looking for a personal appointment for their friend to do the same.  They missed out on the Saturday appointments; as there were already people waiting behind me as I wrote the schedule on the board.  Not wanting to miss out, they took things to ‘elevensies’, guaranteeing they would get one of my last appointments on Sunday morning.  Instead of just waiting for me to come out to the board, they snagged the markers, so that I when I went to put up my next schedule, they were no where in sight.   They then walked up to me with the markers, saying they had held onto them so no one could sign up before them.   Now I am not sure that was actually fair, but I will give them one for effort and cunning.  They were determined to get an appointment for their friend, no matter what.  Just saying, those are some damn fine friends!

They all pitched in money to help pay for her private session, and when she came to the Parlor for her appointment on Sunday morning,  there were 6 of them in tow.  Now, I normally only allow 1 extra guest for Individual Spirit Communication sessions, but I agreed they could all join us, as long as they stayed quiet.  I also informed them, that this was a special accommodation I was making for them, and that it was not my normal practice, as holding space for many requires more energy from me than focusing on an individual.

A little while into the communication, the woman’s daughter began talking to me of angels.   The mother agreed that Angels were very important, and that she had collected Angels for her tree ever since the passing of her daughter.  While I was asking the mother if Angels were significant for her and her daughter, the Spirit girl walked behind me, and started getting into my bag.  She was showing me an Angel, saying there was an Angel in my bag, for her mother.

As she said this and kept pointing into my bag, I realized that there was indeed an Angel in my bag.  I had been given a small labradorite Angel, the day before, by another women at the retreat.  It had been gifted to me, along with a rose quartz heart, and  I had not opened the gift until that morning, shortly before seeing the woman who’s daughter had passed.

Now I am not really much of an Angel person, as I said earlier, so when I received it I understood that it would stay in my company, until it was meant to be handed on.  This is common for me and crystals to begin with.  Often they come and stay for a while, then move on when the time is right.  

I gave the labradorite Angel to the woman saying that her daughter wanted her to have it.  I then explained how Spirit has given me gifts before; sometimes I have had to buy them myself, and other times, they have been handed to me by strangers, but always I know they are gifts from those who no longer have the means to purchase such things themselves.  Gifts from Spirit are truly treasures, and are meant to be a reminder that they still care, and are still active in our lives.

After the women’s session was over, and she and her friends stepped outside the parlor, I heard one of her friends say to her “I hope you recognize the significance of the timing here”, she continued “Your daughter couldn’t come through on Friday night at the gallery, because Salicrow didn’t have the Angel to give you until Saturday”.  It was an ‘exceptional moment of Spirit‘, in which Spirit went out of their way to make a big impact.

Her words were a reminder to me as well, of the effort and planning that Spirit goes through to make meaningful connection, and of the Spirit network that exists in the unseen world.  Did she speak to the guide of the woman who held a gift for me, did she know that I would soon have an angel in my possession?  Personally I believe she did, I believe she planned her communication, to make the most impact on her mother and on the other family members who would hear the recording of the session.

I am constantly amazed at the efforts Spirits go through to make meaningful connections with the living.  Spirit gifts are among my favorites, for they give us something tangible to hold onto, something to connect with, to hold and to cherish.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks, I am back to the grind working on my book.  First draft is due to the publishers on April 1st, and it’s due to hit shelves February of 2018.  Good stuff in the making.

spreading love-salicrow