STORIES OF SPIRIT…Entering the Otherworld [connecting with our Beloved Dead on Halloween]

Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot) is tomorrow, October 31st.  It is a time of honoring our Beloved Dead; our friends, family, loved ones and ancestors who have crossed the Veil into the land of the dead, entering what is often referred to as the Otherworld by spiritual practitioners.

The Otherworld is a place of Spirit.  In many traditions, it is seen as a realm inhabited by not only our Dead but by the Fae Beings (fairies, trolls, elves and the like).  It is an ethereal place where the body is not as important, a place where the eternal soul is paramount.  In the Otherworld form is mutable, beings residing there are not stuck to one shape, one form, one incarnation of self.  It is a place of creation, where communication comes not only in the form of words but through imagery, sound, feeling, and knowing.

I have traveled to the Otherworld many times, starting as a child when I would visit Spirits on the other side of the mirror; although to be quite honest, that was more of a video conference of sorts.  At this time, I also visited the world of Spirit in my dreams, particularly those that were Lucid (Lucid Dreaming-to be conscious/awake inside your dream).  Over the years I have visited this realm over and over again, in my dreams, while journeying (active spiritual dreaming) & by slipping through the veil with my physical body.

My experience of entering the Otherworld became of great importance when I was 30, and had a hugely significant spiritual opening; which I refer to as the November Incident.  Those of you who have read my book JUMP GIRL, the initiation & art of a spirit speaker, can refer to the 2 chapters dedicated (and titled) to this experience for more details.  During the November Incident, my spirit guide Adam taught me rules of engagement while in the Otherworld.  We spent many hours playing games in my mind in which we would transform from one image of self to another.  In many ways, this was familiar to a video game or a Bugs Bunny cartoon, for we would often trap on another and then figure out how to escape.  He would turn into smoke and I would suck him up with a straw, only for him to turn into ants tickling my esophagus until I coughed him up and out.  I would become a lioness only to have him form a cage around me, to which I would become a crow and fly free of the cage.  We spent many hours this way, developing my ability to change form at will while in the world of Spirit.

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

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

The Veil thinning between the worlds does not just mean that Spirit is more likely to show up in our world, but it also means that those of us brave enough (or chosen) to venture may find ourselves in the Otherworld.   This is not a place one travels with their body, it is a journey we take with our spirit.  One that requires safeguarding, trust, and the ability to experience with an open mind.  We must put aside the idea that the only reality is the solid state of matter in which we live and the belief that what happens in our ‘mind’ has no effect on our physical reality.

Preparing for a Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot) visitation to the Spirit World-

For those of you who have never journeyed before I will give a brief logistical overview to make your voyage safer and more comfortable.

First, we must remember that we are in control of our body.  In short when it comes to this world, and our incarnation here in the physical, having a body means you have more power.  It means that the body you inhabit was assigned to you, this ownership means that Spirits can not inhabit your body unless you have asked them to, or allowed them in through the fearful belief that you are powerless.  One of the most important lessons I learned during the November Incident was that Spirits were no more important than the living.  Just because someone has died it does not make them more powerful.  Fear is what makes us powerless when we give over to fear we make ourselves vulnerable.  This is why I recommend only working with/seeking out your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) when you are beginning your work with Spirit.  For all beginners, and as a safe practice that before doing any Spirit work we call in a friend or family member in Spirit, who we trust, asking them to be our doorman/guardian on the other side.  This is a simple practice that not only helps us to feel stronger, but also offers us the benefit of having someone familiar with the Otherworld looking out for us.  Whenever I do Spirit work, whether it be personal or for clients I always start with inviting my doorman/spirit guide Adam to join me. 

PREPARING TO JOURNEY-take time to set up an ancestor altar in the room you will use for your astral travel.  Place pictures and mementos of your loved ones in Spirit on the altar, as well as flowers, crystals, holy symbols and whatever else brings you joy and remembrance of them.  Incense and candles are fantastic for setting the atmosphere, and good incense is often created with sacred herbs and resins that help alter the mind slightly, allowing us to slip into a deeper state of relaxation.  Don’t forget to place their favorite food, drink, smoke, treats on the altar as well.  This is an offering the dead love!  Make a comfortable spot for yourself to sit or lie down.  Dim the lights and spend a few moments relaxing your body.  I prefer a simple breathing technique for this.  *Aside note-sometimes it’s helpful to be lead through a journey, especially for beginners.  If you would like to take this approach, I suggest recording yourself reading the below information so that you may listen to it.

family altar

Before beginning your journey, check and make sure your altar is to your liking, light a candle, and incense, and take a few moments creating sacred space.  The easiest way to do this is to imagine there is a dot of white light in the center of your chest, as you breathe that light spreads our around you until it fully encompasses the room you are in.  At this time, you may call in whatever guardian spirits and/or deities your work with.

*Circular breathing- with your spine straight, eyes closed, breathe deeply in through and out through your nose.  On the inhale count the length of your breath, as you slowly inhale.  Now exhale through your nose for the same count.  Do this for 5 full breaths.

*Relaxing your body-As you continue to breathe deeply; trying to keep to a rhythmic pace of equal time inhaling as exhaling.  Now bring your attention to your toes, and allow your consciousness to pull energy from your feet/the earth slowly up over the back of your body, all the way to the top of your crown, and then back down over the front of your body until it touches your toes/ground again, repeat this for 5 full cycles.

*At this point you should be deeply relaxed, and ready to begin your journey (this is the part you may want to record yourself reading)…

As your breathing becomes deeper and deeper, you find yourself standing at the edge of a forest.  As you look around your perception awaken, allowing you to observe your surrounding with whatever senses are strongest for you.  You continue your deep breathing, and remind yourself that every person experiences the world of Spirit differently, there is no right way or wrong way, only your way.  The woods around you is vibrant and teeming with life, pay close attention to what you perceive, taking in all the details you can.

Before you lies a path, leading deeper into the lush woodland.  There is a mist laying heavy along the forest floor, adding a feeling of mystery, and there seems to be a warm glow coming from a sun you cannot see.  Again your awareness is pulled to the details along the path, as you wind your way deeper and deeper into the green.  Pay close attention to any creature/animal/being that presents themselves to you.  Staying in the role of observer, remembering that now is not the time for analyzing what you see, it is a time to be present & aware.

As you make your way along the path, you see the remains of an ancient building ahead of you.  It is in ruins, the remains of what was, a place of betwixt and between, where memory lies heavy.  Allow yourself the time to take in the details of the remains that are before you.  As you walk around the site, you notice the mist has become thicker, making it hard to see the ground on which your feet trod.  As you make your way around the ruins, you notice a stairway leading into the ground.  There is a deep feeling of magic around the stairwell, a feeling of mystery and something that feels like the tickling of a memory.  This is a place you have been before, although you may not remember when or how.  There is a feeling of dreaming about you.

You step onto the top stair and remember to invite your spirit guide/doorman to join you.  You feel a familiar presence stand beside you, you may observe them in whatever manner comes to you, trusting your senses, and being careful not to make expectations.  You begin to descend the stairwell, as you place your foot on the step below, make note of what you see, what does the stair look like? what is it made of? what are you wearing upon your feet?  You descend the steps, counting as you go…9….8…..7…..6…..5….4….3….2….1…

At the bottom of the stairs you find a door, again it is familiar to you.  Make note of whatever details you can.  You open the door and before you is a room, with 2 chairs and a fireplace.  You take a deep breath in and out before entering the room, allowing yourself to feel calm and present.  In one of the chairs, someone is waiting for you.  You step into the room and make your way to the empty chair, making note of the details of the room as you cross it.  As you sit down in your chair you see/sense/know who it is sitting in the chair next to you.  They are one of your Beloved Dead, a loved one in Spirit come to visit with you on this All Hallows Eve.

Allow yourself to sit for a moment acclimating to your surroundings, permitting yourself to observe and emotionally connect with the Spirit that has come to visit.  In this time, in this space, you are completely protected.  Take a few breaths here, as you do not want to rush.  When you feel acclimated to the presence of your loved one, ask them if they have any messages for you. Take a few moments here, breathing deeply, and receiving whatever communication they wish to share, remembering that some Spirits communicate in words, some in images, some in a deep sense of knowing.  Whatever way your message comes through be thankful.

You now may share your own feelings/messages with your Beloved Dead, you may also at this time offer up to them the treats (food, drink, smoke) you placed on your altar, knowing that what you offer here in the Otherworld is also being offered on your altar in the world of the living.

As your time in the Otherworld comes to an end, your Beloved Dead presents you with an offering, a gift that they believe will help you on your spiritual path.  Make note of what they present to you, for it is an item you should seek out in the waking world.  As you accept your gift, give thanks.  You are beginning a relationship in spirit that will be a profound asset to your waking life.  The item they present you with will be a key to connecting with them in the future.

It is now time to return, you say your goodbyes and turn for the door.  As you walk across the room, once more take note of any details you perceive.  Upon opening the door you see/sense the familiar stairwell in front of you.  You take a deep breath in & out and begin your ascent to the surface.  1…2…3….4….5…6…7…8…9…

You are again standing in the misty ruins deep in the forest, the path leading home stretched out in front of you.  At this time, thank your guardian/doorman for accompanying you on your journey.  As you leave the ruins the mist begins to dissipate until the trail you are following comes to an end in the room, you inhabit in the waking world.  You see the altar you have set up for your ancestors and the familiar body that you call self, sitting and waiting for you.  You slip into your body and begin to become aware of the Waking World.

Begin by wiggling your fingers and toes, then move onto a soft slapping of your arms in legs, connecting fully with your physical body.  At this point say out loud, my work is complete, I am fully back in my physical form.  Do this for a couple of minutes, then pick up a journal and write down whatever you experienced.  Knowing that we all experience the Otherwold differently.  To complete your work (after journalling), pick up your candle, and walk counter-clockwise around your room, thanking all the spirits that came this night, those seen and unseen, reminding them that now is the time in which they must leave your space and return to their own.

So mote it be!

I hope you enjoyed the read and the journey.  The Otherworld is as real as ours, only different.  Visits from our Beloved Dead come in all shapes and forms, what we receive in a journey is ours, and may very well be like no others.  Some people are naturally proficient in journeying, while others struggle at first.  If you are a person who struggled, you may repeat this exercise daily for 3 days after Halloween.  Making a note each time in the journal of your progression.  We are all spiritual beings, and this is not foreign to us, only forgotten.  Our Ancestors have used the art of journeying to communicate with their Beloved Dead for time untold.  I wish you a magical Halloween (Samhain/Alfablot), may your Spirits bless you with a visit.

spreading love-Salicrow

salicrow.com

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Stories of Spirit…The Power of Intention & Community Kindness

A couple of nights ago I reached a breaking point, in which I found myself sobbing uncontrollably like a toddler behind my steering wheel as I sat in my driveway, my emotions were so overpowering that my husband had to take my coat off me when I got in the house and hand me a cup of tea.  I was not crying out of despair, I was crying as an emotional release; letting go of all the backed up fear, and chaos that I had been wading through the last few weeks.  The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.

Many of you know that my sister and her family have been going through a lot…illness, surgeries, near death experiences, infections, ambulance rides to Dartmouth, and emergency surgeries.  While most of the acute issues have been experienced in the last month, the journey has been much longer than that.  Now that the water seems to be clearing and we can see the shore, I find that the heaviness of emotion; particularly fear, is too much to carry any longer.  It is no longer needed, yet it still must be released.

Being Psychic does not mean you never experience fear.  In fact, fear is something that can blind Psychic sight.   If the fear is strong enough a Psychic can actually generate false answers for themselves.  I did this once when I was much younger.  My husband; who is pretty good about communication and being on time, was suppose to meet me after work.  When he didn’t show up, I was surprised.  When he still wasn’t home by the time we were supposed to be meeting friends, I became alarmed.  The later he was, the more I became convinced something had happened to him.  When I looked at my cards, they quickly confirmed my fears, and by the time he rolled into the driveway I was running across the yard crying, as I had believed him dead on the side of the road somewhere. In reality, he had a beer with the people he was doing work for at the end of the day and had no cell reception.  Because of this experience, I learned how important it was to center myself before searching for psychic information.  But from time to time I need to be reminded.

When my sister called me to say that both she and her son were facing life-threatening situation her crying triggered me.  We are so deeply connected, that even though we have a year and a half between us, we consider ourselves twins.  After getting off the phone with her  I found myself floundering, in a quick and powerful spot of fear.  It wasn’t until my husband said to me “Have you looked at your cards?” that I even considered scrying.  Moments after being reminded I was able to calm and center and know that all would be well.  That being said my body still experienced an adrenaline dump, it had gone into fight or flight mode before I was able to center.  This type of energy does not simply dissipate, it requires a release.   When we do not release this emotional sludge it affects our health and well being.

Most people go through a crisis like a horse with blinders on; focusing on that which must be done, the goal at hand.  We deny ourselves the luxury of wading in our emotions for there is no room for them.  When the crisis is over it is not uncommon to find ourselves exhausted, and emotionally sensitive.  This is because our vessel is full.  We can not just go on with our lives, we must first release our burden and fears.  This must be done for true healing to begin.  Whether we are the one experiencing the trauma or the support for others going through it, the emotional heaviness of the situation must be addressed.  My release often comes in the form of tears.  In fact, whether I am happy, sad or angry tears are likely to show up.

This read is about community, intention, and kindness so I will spin you back up to my opening paragraph…The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.  

I had not had a day off in almost a month, that I was not in a hospital holding space for surgery, sitting with my sister as she recuperated or going with her to a doctors appointment.  The emotional roller coaster of the month had finally seemed to slow and I was looking forward to time off when my husband got sick.  As we run a cafe/wellness center someone had to take his shifts and that someone ended up being me.  After the second day of doing his job and my job, I was truly feeling beat.  At the end of the day, I hoped that no one would show up for my sound meditation class, as I really wanted to go home.

The first person to show up was a friend of mine who is solid as the earth and has blood that runs a bit gnomish.  I told her if it was just her and I that I was going to cancel, then another of my regulars came in; who lives on a family farm and is a solid, salt of the Earth kind of person.  I decided to cancel and the three of us just stood around talking for a moment, me giving them the update on my sisters family.  Then my farm-guy, plow-man neighbor came in, another solid, reliable, kind person.  When I explained we were closed and he walked over and gave me a hug.  Then came another from my salt of the Earth woman, and then finally from Gnomie.

I was OK, until about 5 minutes into my drive and then it hit me.  I think it was their solidness, that reminded me of all the love and support our family has received during this stressful time.  Their hugs represented all of the prayers, reiki, and love that people had shared.  I was overcome with how lucky I am to live in such a community, where people genuinely care about one another.  All too often we are shown the terrible things that human beings are capable of.  It is so refreshing to be reminded of the beauty and kindness that we are also capable of.

The power of intention is an amazing thing that can be used for good or bad.  It is also something made stronger by group belief.  The more people believing in an outcome, the more likely it will come to be.  With this in mind, I encourage you to start monitoring your thoughts.  What goes through your mind on a regular basis, are the things you are thinking about what you want to see come to pass or what you fear?  If your mind wanders toward fear, hate, and anger, redirect it.  Give it a different focus. Focus on the good you want to see in the world…make it so!

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Stories of our Kin [the strength of ancestors and stories]

I woke up this morning thinking about Grammy Bickford, my husband’s grandmother.  Grammy was a tough old bird, with a whole lot of sass, and a deep well of love.  She was on my mind this morning as I was thinking of how hard this winter has been for many people…broken furnaces, car problems, emotional/mental exhaustion and brrr freakin’ cold.  I thought of Grammy like I do often in the winter, I thought of her stories of growing up in a logging camp, of snow blowing through the cracks in the walls and of walking to school with plastic bags around your socks to keep your feet dry.  I hear her voice telling stories of eating lard sandwiches and sharing a bed with her siblings for warmth.  She did not tell these stories with sorrow and pain.  She told them with laughter and a sense of victory, for she had overcome such battles.

When the world seems dark and filled with obstacles I think back on my ancestors and I am thankful for the coziness of my life.  Like Grammy Bickford, my own grandparents lived in a similar way.  I suppose it is why she instantly became kindred to my heart, she reminded me of my own grandmother, who was also a woman of great strength and love.  My life has always been one woven with the threads of my ancestors.  Their stories became my stories over time, and I found that by remembering their hardships and victories, I felt less alone when things were tough.  I knew that like them, I had within me the ability to find happiness and joy even when the world around me was challenging and filled with hardship.  I was more than my single vibration, I was part of a symphony.

I believe this year is going to be a powerful one of change and opportunity, but like all things, we must experience the good with the bad.  There will be hurdles to overcome and fucked up moments to navigate.  It is our mindset that truly determines our happiness in life.  Like Grammy Bickford and my grandmother, Grammy Brown, I choose to approach my obstacles with a bit of humor and an understanding that this too shall pass, that the moment I am in is simply a part of that which I am becoming.

In all of the grand stories of adventure, there are always hardships to endure, and obstacles to overcome.  Bilbo didn’t mosy off into the enchanted forest to frolick with singing elves.  He was not delivered on flying unicorn or magical chariot to the doors of dragon treasure.  He was not welcomed in by the dragon, given a pipe and welcomed to warm his feet by the fire.  He persevered, he endured; he laughed, he cried, he was dirty and hungry and yet what a fuckin story he had to tell in the end.  Life is about change, and change is never a straight shot to happy-ville.  It is a learning experience.  My husband likes to say “God does not care about your comfort, God cares about your character”.  I believe this to be true, for many of the most amazing people on this planet have become so while experiencing hardship.  Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…there is a whole lot of struggle in those stories.  There is also a whole lot of beauty, kindness, and love.

I invite you to step into this year with the heart of an adventurer, viewing obstacles as an opportunity to become more.  When things do not go according to plan, look around and see what the universe is presenting to you.  What pieces of beauty and humor lie on your path while you are navigating the difficulties.  Who presents themselves to you as allies, what ancestors come forward in your mind and heart to share in your journey.  Remember, we can think thousands of thoughts at any given moment, what makes you think of them?  Perhaps it is because they are thinking of you.

Our story is woven together with the stories of those who came before us, and those who come after us.  Together our blood sings the story of our people.  The stories would be a hell of a lot more boring if everything always went according to plan, and we did nothing but sit around under a cabana with our feet in the sand drinking mimosas.  We need challenges to show us what we are capable of.  We need hurdles on the road so we can learn to problem solve, we need wild paths through the wilderness of life so we can learn to navigate the unknown.  We need magic and mystery, and we need companions so that the road seems less daunting.  Remember this when times are tough, look into the future and imagine with a grin, how you will tell the story of your adventures to those who follow.

We are co-creators of reality…how will you create your story?

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Darkest Night {winter solstice, reflection & permission to change}

I love Winter.  I am not an avid outdoors person, I do not ski, nor do ice-fish, ride snow machines or partake in any of the other winter hobbies New England is associated with. I love Winter for the dark and cozy.  I love the nestled in sleepy day feel of it.  Dark skies do not make me sad, in fact, I crave them for they make me want to look deep inside myself and see who and what I am becoming.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year.  In the Northern Hemisphere it is the time when we are the furthest away from the sun. It is a time that has been celebrated for time on end, culture after culture recreating the stories behind the celebrations that all share a common thread…rebirth.

Rebirth, the very sound of the word brings up feelings of deep change and letting go of what no longer serves us.  It speaks of cleanliness of the soul and of opportunity to recreate who we are and what we stand for.  Many of us consciously take part in this alteration when we speak our words of resolution on New Years.  We state to ourselves and others that we are going to make a change.  Unfortunately, most people do not follow through on their resolutions.  I believe this to be in part because we set our resolutions to unrealistic levels, like losing 50lbs & giving up cigarettes cold turkey.  Not that these things are impossible, but without a plan they are unplausible.  Most people do not take their desire for change beyond the initial idea, they do not create a plan or direct their energy at it willfully.  What would happen if we did?

First and foremost we need to give ourselves permission to change, we all have the right to change direction and become someone different.  I say permission because most of us are unwittingly controlled by who we see ourselves as/the story we tell of self, and who others believe us to be.  We follow patterns and routines that reinforce our story, often to our disadvantage.  We use words like ‘always’ and statements like ‘that’s just the way it is’ to tell ourselves that we cannot change.  We do not do this intentionally, but we do it so often that we move through life like a car stuck in a rut; pulled by the direction worn before us.

How many of you do this?  How many of you speak to yourselves in words that prevent change?  How many of you have gone beyond the odds and transformed yourself into who you wanted to be?

True resolution comes through looking deeply at that which we want to change.  It is about seeing it for what it is and telling ourselves that we have free will.  We can continue to follow our life as set before us, or we can direct our will to make the changes we want.  We can only do this if we are honest with ourselves and look at the why of what holds us back.  Why do we continue to take self-defeating actions?  Why do we set ourselves up for failure?  What are our biggest challenges?

These questions help us get to the root of our behaviors, and show us what our true obstacles are.  If we know who/what we are up against we will be better prepared to face it.

How does all of this connect to the Winter Solstice?  Resolutions…

I am a big fan of manifesting.  I believe we are co-creators of our reality, that we actively engage in creating the world we live in.  If we are seeking to make a change, to alter our path we are wise to use all of the tools and allies available to us.  Which includes astronomical events; such as the Winter Solstice, and the mass belief of others.  That’s right use the belief of others to our advantage.

The power of belief is amazing, and the more people believing in something the stronger the likelihood of manifesting it.  Which means, if millions of people see the dark of winter as the best time for making changes, then it is.  For we will have the collective will to support us in our endeavors.  This has always been available to us, just most of us haven’t thought of it from this perspective.

The Winter Solstice is about celebrating life, and the return of light.  It is about dreaming and looking forward to, about rebirth and recreation.  Whether you choose to set your change in motion on Solstice Night (December 21st) or wait for New Years does not matter.  What does matter is that you take the time between now and then to really think on what you wish to change, what you want to let go of, what you want to become, what obstacles you will need to overcome and what allies you have along the path?

When my children were little I use to tell them that “God does not help the lazy”.  This was my way of saying you can’t just sit around doing nothing and expect God to come clean up your mess for you.  You need to actively be working on fixing and creating the life you want to lead.  When we do that we become activated.  We become change makers and creators and then we feel the hand of higher power helping us along the way.

I am not saying God/Goddess doesn’t care about the downtrodden, the sick or the helpless.  I am saying if you want to make a change then you need to be actively involved in doing so!

For those of you living close to the Kingdom, I will be hosting a Solstice Candle Ceremony @ the Grindstone Cafe on Saturday the 16th at 2pm. Come join me, light a candle and put your dreams into motion.  For those of you reading this from afar here is a quick little something you can do at home.

You will need- a candle (any kind), yourself and an item to represent your desired change.

Sit quietly in a dark room with only the light of your candle (and maybe the Yule tree)

Imagine a spark of white light in the center of your heart chakra.  With every breath it expands out around you, above you and below you, surrounding you in an egg shaped sphere of protective energy, filled with love.

Call upon God/Goddess in whatever way fits you best, ask them to join you.

Call upon your ancestors, particularly the ones who you feel would be most helpful in the work ahead of you.

*speak out loud…this is important, in speaking our words out loud we are setting them in motion, we are demanding they be heard, by ourselves and the universe.

Speak clearly of your desire for change; making your statements in the affirmative.  “I will become healthier and stronger in the year to come.”  “I will create a better relationship with myself”. etc.

Next, ask the Gods & your ancestors to help you with the obstacles.  “Please remind me to take healthy chances.”  “Please remind me that my voice matters.”

All the while holding your item in your hand.  See the item as a talisman, a sign of your commitment to change.  Like a lucky rabbit’s foot or a holy symbol, it is there to remind you of your goal and of your dedication to self.

When you have finished your dedication to change, thank your ancestors and the gods and close your circle by blowing out the candle.

*****************************************************************************************

No matter how difficult it may seem, we are all capable of change.  We do not need to follow the rutted path before us.  We can manifest ourselves into that which we want to be.  We all have a story, and that story holds wounding.  It is up to us to decide how we use that wounding.  Will it be a weight that holds us down, or will it be the fire that forges us?

My own story of being beaten into form at the forge of life is in my book ‘Jump Girl, the initiation and art of a Spirit Speaker’, which comes out on February 13th, 2018.  Here is a link for those of you interested in my story.  As always, thanks for reading folks.

spreading love-salicrow

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

 

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

 

 

 

Sacred Travels…Fairy Trees, Rainbows and Stone Circles [The Piper Stones of County Wicklow]

There are alignments that happen in life in which you truly feel the presence of magic, even if you are unfamiliar with such things.  For most people the feeling is associated with awe, Druids would call it Awen.

Awen is the spirit of creativity, and Druids believe that for anything to manifest there must first be a moment in which thought is transformed into being.  We have all experienced it.  For some experiencing Awen is accompanied by goosebumps, for others there is a deep sense of knowing.  Like when you wish upon a star, and know that wish will come true.  It is a time of deep magic.

I experienced such a moment while visiting the Piper Stones in County Wicklow, Ireland.

We had traveled through the Wicklow Gap with our host, the O’Hanlons. The gap itself is quite stunning, with mountains covered in icy mist and winds that could easily knock you off balance.  It was a place of raw energy, that made me think of the difficulty early man endured…for I was wearing a long raincoat, an insulated under jacket, and high leather boots.  Early man had traveled through such terrain wearing nothing more then sandals, scraps of wool wrapped around their legs, and woolen cloaks.

The Piper Stones, also known as the Athgreany stone circle is not a tourist destination.   http://www.megalithicireland.com/Athgreany%20Stone%20Circle.html There is no monument center, or tour buses.  It is relatively unknown to anyone but locals, or those obsessed with such things who know how to Google search.  There is a small sign on the side of the road, next to a pull off, and a short walk through a field populated by sheep.

The circle is on the top of a small mound, overlooking the surrounding fields.  It consists of 14 granite stones, most standing upright but a few lying down.  There were originally 17 stones, but 3 are now missing.  In early days, farmers often re-purposed stones for use in stonewalls and the likes.  Along with the stones, there is a beautiful Hawthorn Cloutie tree https://salicrow.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cloutie-tree/ present in the circle.

The Piper Stones was one of two stone circles I visited on this trip to Ireland.  As much as I love them, my visit was filled with other sacred spaces, such as the Giants Causeway, the Blarney Stone, Newgrange & Knowth.  So naturally getting to stand within the stones was powerful for me, as stone circles are often aligned to astronomical and earthly locations.  They were places of worship, particularly by those with a close relationship to the earth.

I placed my prayers among the Hawthorn cloutie tree, and opened myself to the energy there.  I gave offerings and sang songs of Spirit.  It was powerful, and I felt truly blessed.

photo credit-meagan o’hanlon

 

When as I stepped away from the Cloutie tree, I saw another Hawthorn down in the field and it called to me.  To say it called to me, means that I felt its presence from a distance.  I knew it wanted me to visit it as well, and I knew that in many ways it held deep personal magic for me.

As I approached the tree, I began to sing to it.  I noticed that plants grew at its base, plants that I knew to be sacred, known for their healing powers and magical potency…nettle and holly  surrounded the base of the tree.  I reached out to the touch the tree, feeling that my presence was welcome, and it communicated to me that I was allowed to harvest thorns from it.

Hawthorn is a magical tree, with a deep connection to the Fairy folk, it is said that one should never take anything from a fairy tree; particularly one standing in a field by itself, unless permission is given.  My advice here is “If you are unclear to whether permission is given or not, then it is not!”

In my case permission was not only given, but instructed.  I was allowed to take take 7 thorns for myself (the Hawthorn tattoo on my left shoulder has 7 thorns on it), 3 for my sister, and 8 for the magical family, I reconnected to in England last year.

I was deep in trance as I collected the thorns, singing and listening as I went.  I was completely in tune with the tree, knowing that I was taking part in a magical blessing and receiving a powerful gift.  After collecting the last thorn, I looked up from the tree and saw a rainbow before me, or the end of a rainbow more accurately.  Seeing this brought tears to my eyes and reinforced my belief that I was receiving a great blessing.

As I was down in the field near the Hawthorn tree, my husband and our host/friends were standing in the stone circle.  The rainbow was fantastic from where they stood.  They told me later they had tried to get me to turn around for the picture, but I was too deeply involved in my work to hear them.  I think the picture is better this way, as it shows the nature of what was really going on.

Small acts of magic happen all the time, but most of us miss them.  Sometimes though we are blessed with exceptional moments of spirit, that we simply cannot help but see for what they are.  My time in the Piper Stones was one of those moments.  I am sure to return there in the future.

An interesting fact about the circle is that when we arrived there was a local man rolling up a yoga mat.  He said he came there daily to meditate.  What a joy that must be.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  I will be back in the States on September 13th, ready for the Mabon season and my work with the Beloved Dead.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

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

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

I did not expect the transformation to start so quickly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agreed…

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

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

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

spreading love-salicrow