SACRED TRAVEL…Down to the South I Go [Little Rock]

When you have lived in the North your entire life there are preconceived notions of what you will experience in the South, the biggest being racism and conservative values.  I am pleased to announce that my short visit to Little Rock showed me a different view of both.  I traveled to Litle Rock, Arkansas as a guest presenter/author at the Little Rock Literary Festival.  I went alone, as a snaffoo on the part of the organizers left me without my hotel or flight information until the prices per ticket were over $800.  As much as my husband likes to travel with me, we both agreed that $800 could pay for 2 plane tickets to a place of our choosing, and a trip longer than 2 days.

As I flew over Arkansas, approaching my destination, I couldn’t help but notice how the city was surrounded by open fields, winding rivers and greenery…trees, parks, and nature were everywhere.  The Arkansas River runs between Little Rock & North Little Rock; twin cities that together are about the size of Burlington, VT.  In fact, there were definitely aspects of the city that reminded me of the Queen City.  I was greeted in the airport by a sweet woman, holding a sign with my name on it.  Her kindness and charm were delightful, and upon talking a few moments I found out that all the authors were picked up and dropped off by volunteers.; local folks, who like literacy and thought picking up a writer might be a fun time.

My literary duties began an hour after landing, with a meet & greet, dinner & drink thing, in which the public could come and meet authors.  This was my first time as such an event, in which no-one really knew each other and we all had to interact by reading name tags.   However, as you all know, I am quite social and did not lack abilities on the introduction level.  The interesting part came when I told people what my book was about.  Here is where I was reminded that I was not in my liberal, cozy corner of the universe.  Most people were interested, but there was about a third of the people who responded by stepping back a step or two.  Curiously enough, 1/2 of those who stepped back, thought of Mediums as bullshit, the other half that stepped back were doing so for religious reasons.

My response to their back-step depended on the reason they were doing so (the benefits of being Psychic).  For those that thought of Mediums as hokie (this group was primarily other writers)…I made sure to let them know that I had a book contract before I had a book written.  My way of saying…”Hey, I am the real deal”.  The second group, those with religious leanings on the conservative level (mostly local), I made sure to tell them of my family background; being Irish Gypsy & Blackfoot Indian.  With this information, the local conservatives visibly opened to the discussion.

Happily caffeinated Salicrow

Things that were difficult in the south…coffee & food allergies.  I experienced the same thing while visiting Florida a month ago.  Northerners are way ahead of the curb on the food allergy spectrum.  In fact, the writer’s party/meet and greet had a lot of lovely food…all of it made with wheat and the majority of it also containing dairy.  Seriously not even a veggie platter.  But what the lacked in food options they made up for in free drinks.  LOL, so needless to say, I drank my dinner that night (I am a serious light-weight so it wasn’t much).  And coffee…well I believe Northerners are almost cultish about good coffee.  We will  (I admit doing this) walk block after block in search of a decent cup of coffee.  

 

The real eye-opener came the following day when I met my moderator; the person who would be assisting my book-talk.  I met Russell in the author’s room half an hour before my talk.  He had read my book and was prepared to ask questions during the talk if needed.  Upon being introduced to him, I discovered that he was a Chiropractor and a leading member of the local Unity Christian Church.  He had stepped back from his work as a Chiropractor and was primarily working in ministry and counseling for his church community now.  This fact made my thoughts do a side-step, a Christian Minister in the South had been chosen as the perfect match for my work?  After a few moments of talking to him though I was delighted to hear that he practiced energy work, led meditation at his church, and that they believed that God consciousness resided within us all.  Holy Shit!  This was not the South I had prepared myself for.

When my book talk came about, I had a pretty full room & I was prepared to let it all hang out, as I always do.  I read from the early part of my book, speaking of my experience with Spirit in childhood, of communicating with myself and Spirits though mirrors, and I ended my discussion with speaking about ‘the November Incident’; my walking the line of crazy, spiritual opening.  It was generally well received, all of it…the only person who seemed put off by it was sitting in the back room with his wife, but he didn’t leave early, nor did he have anything rude to say.

I do not expect everyone to understand the path I walk or even believe in the experiences I have had, but respect and politeness are a lovely thing….and the South has that in accolades!

After my discussion, I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted.  I decided I needed to walk, and chose to walk the downtown area, check out shops and get some food.  After eating, I was in a small art gallery/store connected to the library system when I ran into an older lady who had come to my discussion, and waited patiently in line to have me sign her book.  Mary, a spritely 80-year-old was truly delightful.  After talking to me for a few moments in the store, and my talking about how much I loved nature, she said “Alright then, let’s go walk the river walk”, and like that, I was off on a journey with a complete stranger.

As we walked along the river, Mary told me tales of her city, and of her life.  She had lived in Little Rock for the majority of her life, and apparently, I was not the first stranger she had hooked up with before.  She was a retired school teacher, with a keen mind, a strong intuition and a great deal of kindness.  When I walked her back to the library she invited me to come stay with her the next time I came to Arkansas.

On my voyage along the river, I was again delighted to see that my view of racism was also not completely true.  Now I am not saying that there is no racism in Little Rock, what I am saying is I was surprised by the number of mixed race couples I saw.  In fact, there were almost as many couples of mixed race or same sex as there were heterosexual couples  of the same race.  I found myself thinking on this, and questioning if this was the result of the ‘Little Rock 9’ ‘https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/central-high-school-integration.  The Little Rock 9 in short, refers to 9 black students who enrolled in a formerly all-white high school in Little Rock in 1957.  There enrollment was due in part to the Supreme Court ruling school segregation illegal in 1954.  It is a tremendous story of bravery that you really should take the time to read (see link above).

After my time with Mary, I attended a panel discussion featuring cartoonist who wrote about important political and ethical issues.  I was there primarily to see Trina Robbins; a prolific feminist writer, who I had met at the Authors dinner party the night before.  I had found a natural bond with Trina (also a spitefully, delightful senior) when we realized we were both carrying Wonder Woman purses. (Trina was the first woman to draw a Wonder Woman comic).  The other panalist were also waving their liberal flags…Erin Nations, a transgender man who bravely writes the comic series Gumballs, which speaks on transgender issues, and MK Czerwiec a nurse, who writes comics for the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 is about her time spent working with HIV patients in the 90’s.     Way to go Little Rock, for bringing in writers (and cartoonist) who are rocking the real word!

After listening to the panelist I headed out to the river walk again, this time to do some work.  I made my way down to the Clinton Presidential Park Wetlands, where I did a bit of earth magic.  Singing/toning to the wildlife and water itself.  If your interested in seeing what I did, go check out my Facebook Live video on my page Sali Crow.  I delighted in seeing the abundance of turtles in the water (I saw at least 50), and the biggest bat-house I have ever seen.  I continued down the river, stopping periodically to sing to the Earth and place crystals here and there (I placed some in other metropolitan areas as well).

All in all, my trip south was a refreshing view of Americans.  Almost all of the local Arkansasians said the same thing “There is a strong current that runs below the surface of most Arkansasians”.  They are in general, or at least the folks I met, more open-minded than I ever imagined, and genuinely interested in meeting people.  The highlights I will keep securely in my mind are those of meeting Russel, and his open-hearted soul, and of Mary taking me on a journey without even blinking an eye.   Thanks for shedding some southern charm on this Northern girl.

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

 

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Sacred Travel…Between the Worlds [Sound Healing & Deprivation Chambers]

While in Connecticut, I got the opportunity to try Float Therapy.  It was something I had been wanting to do for about a year, after first hearing of it while I was in Milwaukee.  Float Therapy is a sensory deprivation experience in which you float in an Epsom salt bath in a blackened room, wearing silicone earplugs.  In short, I loved it!  The experience, however, deserves a bit more explanation…

I was in Connecticut to do a Spirit Gallery and Book discussion for the CT state Tax Collectors, something I had been having fun talking about for the last few months.  After all, it was an unlikely thing that Tax Collectors would hire a Psychic Medium to be part of their annual conference, but such is my life…filled with the wyrd and unusual.  The time I spent with the Tax Collectors was truly beautiful.  They were an open-hearted group of people, eager to expand their understanding of the unseen world.  This alone was worth the trip!

I had planned to stay in Connecticut for an additional day, before taking a plane to Florida as I wanted time to work on the land & water in Long Island Sound, as Earth Healing is a passion of mine.  When I discovered that the resort (The Water’s Edge) was a beachfront property I knew I would need an extra day, so that I could spend time in the morning doing Geomancy (earth healing) & sacred singing to the Genius Locus/Spirit of Place that was Long Island Sound.

As I set up my crystal grid on the empty beach (the benefits of being there in March) I felt the land reaching out to me.  I recognized the ancient rhythm of the land, something seldom heard by the busy throngs of people that populate the sound.  I opened myself to spirit and sang from my soul. (You can find a Facebook live video of this on my personal page Sali Crow).  I was moved by the energy there and could sense the energetic vibration of the Native Americans who had once called this land their home.  I felt a deep sadness for the lack of awareness most people carry within them, which shifted as I remembered the room of Tax Collectors I had spoken to the night before.  Times are changing I heard in my mind, people are waking up, we can make a difference.

This experience would have been grand enough on its own to fill my need for Sacred Adventure, but I knew more lay ahead for me.  For I had booked appointments for myself and my husband for Float Therapy later in the day.  After are time on the beach we hopped in the car and set up the GPS, only to find that the spa we were heading to was not in the same town as us, but 2 hours away in the wrong direction.  I was totally bummed out.  I had thought I was in Westport, CT when in reality we were in West Brook, CT.  This geographical fuck-up, made my husband chuckle.  He told me he was sorry we wouldn’t be able to make the appointments, but that my ability to lose track of regular things; like what town we were in, was one of the things he loved about me.  He appreciated it as an interesting quirk that made all my Psychic abilities feel more balanced.  That even though I had all these amazing gifts, I still needed help with some of the more practical things in life.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement.  Instead of Float Therapy, I was heading to the pharmacy to pick up antihistamines for my Florida time (orange blossoms due me in).  After leaving the pharmacy we decided to take the rural routes to Hartford and see what we found along the way.  A few miles into the drive I just started googling Float Therapy in CT and found a place 20 minutes away on the road we were on.  Better yet we could get 1.5 hours for the same price as an hour in the first location.  When I called they had availability for the both of us as soon as we could get there.  I felt a deep connection to the sea and the sound again, and couldn’t help but think that the strands of Wyrd (fate) that made up my life, had woven me a better pattern; after all, I really wanted to do 1.5 hours not 1.

When we arrived at the spa we left our shoes at the door and were shown into private rooms which held a shower and a deprivation chamber.  The deprivation chamber was quite large.  The ceiling of it was large enough to stand in, and it’s length and width were big enough that you could stretch out without touching the walls.  The water itself was only about 10” deep and filled with Epsom salt & peroxide.

After showering you got into the chamber (naked), shut the door and settled yourself in the water.  The Epsom salt & peroxide in the water making it almost impossible to stay sitting up, and easy for you to float.  The water and air are body temperature, something that makes it easy to lose track of what part of your body is in water and what is not.  There are lights that are easy to find in the darkness that illuminates the tub and the ceiling above in a pleasant blue, for those who do not feel comfortable with complete deprivation of the senses.  I did turn them on at one point just to see what the experience was like with light.  It was still good, but I wanted the darkness and complete deprivation.

Within a few moments, I was losing track of my body and found that I would drift off and come back in a rhythmic pattern.  The longer I was in the water the further into my mind I would go, and the less connected to my body I felt.  The first time my body drifted over to one of the sides and my finger touched the tub wall, I was slightly startled, to be quickly back in my body…but only momentarily.  The word startled may be a bit much as it was more like stepping out of a dream for a few moments, before drifting off again.

The only sound I could hear was the sound of my breath, something I periodically engaged with.  There were a few moments of discomfort for me, as I am someone who can go so far into trance that I develop a form of sleep apnea and stop breathing for a short second.  I have done this periodically throughout my life, so I was not scared, I just returned to consciousness for a few moments and connected to my breath, until I drifted off again.  This is not told to scare you, but to let you know how deeply relaxing the experience is.  The trance apnea as I like to call it is not really that common, but something I have experienced my entire life.  It does not scare me, it is more of a reminder…”Hey Sali, you are still in your body remember it needs to breath”.

The feeling of floating in complete darkness at body temperature, while the only sound you hear is your own breathing is reminiscent of the womb, and the feeling of spaciousness & timelessness is truly remarkable.  I would highly recommend Float Therapy.  That being said, if you are claustrophobic, or not comfortable with your own mind, you may want to hesitate.  It is truly a sacred journey.

I had completely lost track of time, and new this was ok.  Music would gently startup for the last 5 minutes of the session to let you know it was time to get out and come back to reality.  Shortly before this time, I decided I wanted to play with the deprivation a bit, control what experience I had.  So I started to tone (sacred singing) at such a low volume that it would most likely sound like a murmur above the water.  But in the water and darkness with silicone earplugs in, the sound was experienced on a vibrational level throughout my whole body.  It moved through me and filled me with energy (something I carried throughout the entire day, to the point that my husband compared it to sleeping next to an active battery).  The other interesting thing about experiencing the sound of my toning in such a manner as I could see the vibrations in my mind’s eye as well as hear them and feel them.  It was interesting to see how some sounds that appeared solid when I tone normally, were actually more of a quick rhythmic pattern…with short pauses throughout the elongated sound.  This is something I want to explore more in depth and will be searching out Float Therapy closer to home.

After exiting the deprivation chamber, and showering off the Epsom salt mix, I felt deeply relaxed and energized at the same time.  However, I was ready for some espresso, to ground me solidly into form.

I write this from Florida, sitting in the quiet morning sunlight of my in-law’s house. My time here I short, filled with Seances, Readings and Book signings, but I am thankful for the 70+ degree weather, and the green I see out the window.  I will be searching out Float Therapy when I return back to Vermont.  Thanks for reading folks.

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…There be Giants in the North [the giant’s causeway]

I spoke earlier about my journey up Sleive Gullion; the most sacred mountain in Ireland, in my previous blog, now I will speak of my second experience with land sacred to Giants…the Giants Causeway.

When I take part in Sacred Travel, I am careful not to over-plan, as I am aware that the hidden gems lay in the hand of the locals.  That being said, there were two items on my list for Northern Ireland…Sleive Gullion & the Giants Causeway.

Traveling in early September is ideal for missing out on long lines at popular spots, that are considered national landmarks, as long as you are OK with a bit of unpredictable weather.  Me, I do just fine with such thing, and always remember to pack for any kind of weather…raincoat & thin parkas are advised.  There are benefits to traveling in September, such as kids going back to school, which means the crowds are a lot more manageable.

Having experienced this at Blarney Castle, where the normal wait to kiss the stone could be an hour & I was fourth in line, we decided to take our chances and drive straight to the causeway ourselves, skipping the tour bus option.

Where the first part of our travels had been by BusEireann, we were lucky enough to borrow a car from our host; the O’Hanlon family, in Dublin & the North.   (I will speak of them more in my next blog Welcomed as a Druid)   The drive from Mullagbawn; the place we called our home in the North, to the Giants Causeway was about 2.5 hours.  The path we drove was a beautiful one showing us both the mountainous countryside & the city of Belfast.

This journey showed subtle signs of ‘the Troubles’ (the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century), mostly in the form of flags.  It was easy to determine which side of the coin a community sat on, by whether they flew flags of the Republic or the Union Jack.

Like the wise-woman I am, I make it a point not to get involved in battles that have never been mine, and I never talk politics or religion with strangers…OK, well maybe religion/spirituality with strangers, but only when its business.  Generally I choose the path of love, and observation, often thinking of myself as similar to an anthropologist in such situations, I am there to watch and learn, not to judge.  I find this a good rule of life.

When we got to our destination we again were easily able to get into the park.  *I just want to state here that the parks are very reasonably priced, with the funds going to the upkeep and care of the national monuments*

Stepping out the door of the visitors center; into the park itself,  I was nearly overcome with emotion.  Like just about every sacred place I experience, I find myself with tears welling up in my eyes,and my body buzzing with energy.  Looking back on it I am filled with deep emotion, for the connection to Spirit in such places is overwhelming.

My husband humors me, and often teases me on how puppies and kittens seldom move me, but rocks and trees can bring me to tears.

The feeling I had at the Giants Causeway was one of remembrance.  It was a place known to my soul, the cliffs and ocean breeze, the stones with their hexagonal shape were familiar to me. I had been here before in another lifetime.  When moments like this come over me I find myself existing between the worlds, with timelines buffeting me like the waves of the sea.  I am both Salicrow, and more.  I am walking in the present and the past simultaneously.

We had received the hand held device; like all the other tourist, that were suppose to tell us something of the history, at various stops along the way.  But we soon found that to be a waste, as neither my husband nor myself cared much for the tutorial.  I for one, was there to experience the water, stone and nature beings that called the place home.

Even in the quiet season, there were still hundreds of people there, but I was able to find a space on the rocks that was not populated by others.  It helps that I was raised in the White Mountains, and joke about being part billy-goat, able to nimbly find my footing in rough terrain.

Finding my spot, I set out my offerings and opened myself to the Genius Locus/the Spirit of Place.  I sang my spirit song to the rock beings, the Giants of the Causeway, and to the ancestors of the land who had tread there long before the buses and multi-racial people populated it’s stones.   You can find some video footage of me singing there on my Facebook page, unfortunately I forgot my microphone at home, and the wind was pretty intense often drowning my voice out.  

The work that brought me to the Giants was that of welcoming them to the table, calling them forward to share their strength in these trying times.  For I often see myself as an ambassador to the Spirit realm, finding myself traveling about on tasks set before me by god/goddess/universe.   I do this work because I am a communicator, able to speak not only to the Spirits of the Dead, but to those of Nature.  As a Druid this is my role, one I was given by Spirit shortly before my graduation at Stone Hedge.

Laying on my back on a very large stone in the woods of Dreamland (the land in Vermont that I did my Druid training on), I was seeking my role as a Druid.  What was it I was meant to do?  How could I best serve the Earth, particularly in these trying times of climate change and over population?  The answer had come to me quickly…I was to be a communicator.  I often refer to myself as being similar to Deanna Troi in Star Trek, the Next Generation.  My work is that of understanding, and perceiving.  I come to the table without judgement, I do not expect other beings to have the same rules of engagement as myself, and I understand that sentience is not limited to the arrogance of human beings.

Look carefully for the face beside of me

Meeting with the Giants was a lot softer then one might expect.  They had known of my coming, as I had connected to others of their kind before in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and to cousins of theirs in Iceland.

I do not begin to understand what will happen at the table in which I believe all beings are being called to, I simply am there as the ambassador, giving the invitation to attend.

We are all going through these times of change.  It is not just our planet.  We alone cannot be the only players at the game, for surely by now we can see what a mess we have made of disconnecting ourselves from the spirit world, and the world of nature.  Many cultures still hold great value in the unseen world, Ireland being one of them.  Many of their people still hold a strong connection to the lore of the Fae beings, to the fairies, and giants, and dryads, and in other lands the belief in  trolls, huldafolk.  It is time for us to open our senses and perceive that we have the power to make great change, but only when we see that the world is much more vast then we could ever imagine, and there are many more beings living here then the ones we see with the our eyes.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…I will keep them coming for the next couple of days, so keep checking back to see where my journey has taken me.  I will be back in the States on the 13th of September.

spreading love-salicrow

Sacred Travel…Releasing Expectations [walking to the Calliagh Berra’s house]

Let me start by saying my legs are killing me.  Today we walked for 6 hours; up a mountain and back, with very little breaks.  My goal when I left the house this morning was to climb to the top of Sleive Gullion, and submerge myself in the lake of the Hag; the Calliagh Berra of Irish mythology.

When I left the house, I had expected we would drive to the beginning of the trail and climb from there.  But somehow my husband got the idea in his head that we would just walk from the house we are staying at in Mullagbane, Northern Ireland.  When he said this was the plan (he is the directions guy), I immediately questioned his logic, as I could see the mountain off in the distance.  I knew it would take us an hour just to get to the trail head.  But he was insistent that this was what we should do.

Sleive Gullion is considered the most sacred mountain in Ireland.  The name means Mountain of Cuchulain.  It is the heart of an ancient volcanic chain in Northern Ireland, which is truly breath taking.  The legend around Sleive Gullion speaks of a dispute between Finn Mac Cumhail (finn mccool); an irish hero, and the Hag/Calliagh Berra.

In the story, Finn Mc Cool (an Irish hero) dives into the Calliagh Berra’s lake seeking the love of a beautiful maiden.  When he enters the lake he ages rapidly, and his hair turns white.  The feeble Finn, comes out of the water to see the fair maiden is really an old hag.  After a bit of persuasion, Finn is able to convince the Calliagh to return his youth, but she leaves his hair white.

There are some good versions of the story out there, if you have a love of mythology, simply google The Calliagh Berra’s lake.

Like most stories there is a lot more to it, then the simple trickery of the hag.  Some stories tell of Finn’s hunting dog chasing a white stag (considered a magical creature) to the edge of the lake.  In short, he crossed the witch, and she was not pleased.  I like to point out that she returned his youth, when he threatened to empty her lake, drowning all of Ireland.  To me this shows she had great care for the land, and the people of it.

My work as a Druid, and Spiritual adventurer often takes me to such places, places that others may think twice about going to.  I do not fear the Hag, for I see her as the crone…the ancient one, the one who sits at the edge of death.  She has great wisdom, and demands respect, but her gifts are powerful and filled with wisdom.

When it became clear that I would be heading to Northern Ireland on this trip, I knew that I would climb the mountain.  I was also quite convinced that I would need to submerse myself in the water of the lake, facing my fears; not of white hair, but of muck.  I truly have a repulsion/fear of mucky water.

Leaving my house for my journey up the mountain, I still held this as my truth.  I wore my bathing suit under my clothes, packed a towel and change of clothes in my bag, and mentally prepared myself to face the muck.

We had already walked for about an hour by the time we reached the trails head. The path we took was an old road, probably used as a farm road at some point.  It wound back and forth, giving us great views of the surrounding countryside and other mountains that made up the Ring of Cuchulain.  It was not particularly steep, but there were ‘poop mines’ to avoid, as sheep and cows had traveled the road as well.

We reached a gated off area, with a step over next to the gate (a small built in ladder), and crossed into what was being used as a grazing land for his animals.  It was not really a field, being mostly filled with brush and ragged looking trees. This path was more narrow, and wound back and forth, here and there, but obviously looking like a well trod trail.  After crossing the ladder/gate, and walking for about 20 minutes through said poop mines, we came to a most peculiar barricade.

On our side it looked like a downed hawthorn tree, or a heavy stack of hawthorn brush, on the other side it was pallets roped together.  I believe the barricade was designed to keep his cows in, because even cows are not stupid enough to plow through a barricade of Hawthorn (thorn is even in the name).  But me…I love Hawthorn, in fact I have Hawthorn tattooed on my left shoulder.  It is a fairy tree, and a powerful protector.

The barrier was not a deterrent to me, just as the idea of visiting the hag was not scary to me.  If you are friends with such beings, you simply know to respect their customs.

Shortly after crossing the barrier the ground exploded in color…as the hillside was literally covered in Heather in various shades of purple.  It was deliciously intoxicating, in its vibrancy and I soon began adorning my hat.

The other thing I saw of notice when we got over the barricade, was that we were still in the foothills of the mountain. At this point, I realized that the trip to visit the Calliagh Berra for me at least was one I had to earn.  It was not an easy trek, or a quick check in.

We traveled on, and finally met up with the road…yes the road.  There is a road that leads almost to the top, from a few towns over.  Taking the road gives people the option of getting a fantastic view, and if so choosing…a climb of 30 minutes to the top.  Albeit that climb is a steep one.

Where we met the road, we still had a significant walk before the actual climb, but the road was significantly more pleasant then avoiding poop mines and climbing over Hawthorn barricades.

When we got to the parking lot; at the base of the climb, we met up with other travelers.  We told them they could go ahead of us, up the goat climb of the mountain, as we would be most likely walking slow, having traveled from Mullugbane.  They were actually shocked, and might have thought we were a bit nutty.  But such is the way of a spiritual adventurer…

The last bit of the climb was a rocky, goat trail, in which you really had to watch your footing.  Stones had been made into stairs, and I did not take a lot of pictures of this part, as I was too busy watching where I tread.

When we were nearly to the top, we saw the travelers we had met in the parking lot on their way down.  We spoke for a few minutes on their short stay at the top, and I told them I planned on going into the water.  At this point we were really cold, wearing sweaters and rain coats.  They explained that it would most certainly be brisk, but little else.

About 3 more minutes into the hike, and the weather completely changed. It went from being just cold to whipping winds, low visibility, and a cold mist that chilled you to the bone.  We had reached the cloud cover.  At this point, my husband and I decided that I would be a fucking idiot to try and go into the lake, specially seeing we had a 3 hour hike back to our lodging.

By the time we reached the top, there was no way I would even consider it.  The cloud cover was so thick, that we couldn’t even see the lake, until the very end of our stay there (after spending time in the Calliagh Berra’s house), when there was a brief break in the cloud cover.

In the Calliagh Berra’s house, I made offerings.  She wanted all of the flowers I had gathered on her mountain, as well as the crystals and feathers I had already planned to bring her.  I spent time inside her home toning & singing, offering up my voice and energy, in thanks for being able to stand in her energy.

You can watch the video of me singing on my Facebook page… Singing in Calliagh Berras house

After giving our offerings, and spending time in he wild energy, we began our descent down the mountain.  At this point my husband said “Well you couldn’t go in the lake, but you needed to make a sacrifice anyways.  You had to take the long road, door to door, from our door to hers”.

This is an important factor in Sacred Travel. We can set out with the grandest of intentions, our story laid out of what we plan to do, but in the end it is a journey shared between the one who travels and the gods.  It seldom goes according to plan, it is almost always trying, and in the end it is greatly rewarding.  Perhaps I never needed to go into the muck, I just had to set out with a dedication that I would, no matter how difficult it would be for me.  It was the dedication, the willingness that matters.

Our journey was long, it had a lot of aches and discomforts, but it was something I will now hold as as a deep treasure.

We will try to get to the lake again before we leave the North, but only if weather is permitting, and we will take the car as far to the top as we can.  If I never make it into the lake, I will still know that I have been tried by the Calliagh Berra and that I succeeded.

As for today, we are off to the Giant’s Causeway…more work to be done.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Sacred Travel…It’s all about the Underwear [packing for adventure]

I got a surprise yesterday, when I realized that the 29th of September was on Tuesday, not Wednesday.  For the last week or so, I have been telling myself that I was heading back to Ireland on Wednesday, the 29th.  With this in mind, I planned a leisurely lead-up to my departure…I was going to take it slow and easy.  Who was I trying to kid?

Hennaing my hair w/my fox hat on. Last minute self-care before Sacred Travel.

I have been running on squirrel power all day, getting things in order &  shuffling the the mild chaos, that seems to appear anytime I am getting ready for spiritual adventure.

The chaos is something we must all expect, if we are going to step out of our ordinary life, and into the world of the sacred.  It’s like breaking through a wall of bullshit, that’s designed to keep us on the worn path we call normal.

I find that if one relaxes into the chaos, it can be transformed into the stuff of magic, one that weaves a story that is truly worthy of the term sacred.

Spiritual Adventure…sacred travel is something that makes my heart sing.  It is exhilarating to flow in the slipstream of reality.  My mind feels expansive and fluid and my pulse races, as I deeply connect to the truth of my existence.  When I step out of ‘my ordinary’, I step big.  I experience reality as a multi-faceted thing, in which I dance back and forth between now & then…lifetimes happening at once.

Back to getting things organized…

This journey to Ireland is deeply connected to the Morrigan; a Celtic warrior goddess of death, magic and prophesy, whom I have had a close relationship with for decades.  In fact the she is the first goddess I ever worked with, and our relationship spans more then 20 years.  She is a raven/crow, triple goddess, and she is not exactly mild mannered.

The trip she has me on, is a bit unusual.  With my husband as my traveling companion, I will be traveling here and there, about Ireland and Northern Ireland primarily by bus.  My plan is to create a trip that people could do without having to rent a car/drive on the other side of the road, and to do it relatively inexpensively.  On our journey we will be staying in various accommodations…renting a room in someones home (airbnb), staying in a downtown hotel, a hostel, and at the home of a very generous friend a clients.  We will climb mountains, visit the sea, and sacred monoliths along the way.

Seeing how we will be doing a lot of our travel by bus, my goal was to get our packing down to one carry-on piece of luggage each.  Here are some of my tips for doing so…

*wear a nice pair of boots…the right boots can be worn while trekking through the countryside & out dancing

*pack enough underwear for the entire trip…no one wants to be washing their undies in the sink half way through the trip…*choose versatile clothing…particularly in dark colors, as they hide dirt better.  go for light weight pieces that can be layered*…*one or two super-cute pieces that can be worn to for going out at night*…*go light on the accessories…wear the same jewelry the whole trip, a couple of scarves*…*wear your jacket, choose a good windbreaker*

Well, I am off for the night, going to wash the henna out of my hair and get on with the evening.  I leave tomorrow for the land of my ancestors.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Celebrating the Harvest [Lughnasadh & the Warrior Bitches]

I love the company of men.  I find them as a general rule to be straight forward, outwardly competitive, and less likely to engage in drama.  That being said, there are times in which I truly crave the isolated company of my lady friends; the warrior bitches and sacred mamas, who have seen me covered in my own tears and snot.

For years now, I have found myself congregating with my wise-women, during the heat of summer; for powerful, soul-moving work.  Work that is not filled with deep planning and bullet point schedules, but is instead more of a wild-rumbus of magic, emotions, and intoxication.  We come together to let our hair down, (or plate it into viking braids), have late night conversations by the light of a campfire, and to engage in the wildness of magic…the kind that oozes from one’s soul, when we are truly in sync with the universe and the natural world.

When it comes to magic of manifestation, I am not one for large crowds, and find myself put off by the glut of retreat weekends offered up.  Not because I think they have no value, but more because I struggle to let down my guard when the numbers are high, and the people are not intimately connected.  As a Psychic I often find myself overwhelmed in large groups, and immediately switch into the role of teacher/facilitator/counselor, making such weekends feel less about myself, and more about others.  I feel the people who are holding back,  the ones who are trying to hard, and the ones who are just barely holding themselves together, and I step into the role of caretaker.  This takes away from my ability to focus on myself, and my personal work.

We must take time to know ourselves, and to cater to the needs of our soul.  Lughnasadh for me is such a time.

Lughnasadh is the first of 3 harvest holidays in the Celtic Wheel of the year.  (The Celtic Wheel of the Year consist of 8 holidays, equally spread out through the solar year) Celtic Wheel of the Year.  Lughnasadh on a personal level is a celebration of the abundance of life, and the hopes and wishes of what is still in store.  It is a time to step boldly into ones dreams, and reach for ones desires, while consciously being aware and thankful for all that we have received thus far.  It is time of high-magic and potent manifestation.

I want magic to be tangible, titillating, and filled with wild abandon.  I want to release myself to the Spirits of Nature, and be ridden by the bliss of an open Kundilini (complete chakra system).  I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that the person standing next to me has my back, knows the value of holding secrets that are not theirs, and is also willing to ride the rapids of their dreams.  I know it seems like a lot to ask, but it is not impossible.

It begins with intention, with the thoughts and desires to find and create such a community for oneself.  The feeling of trust is necessary, for how are we to speak of our desires, goals and dreams while they exist in the vulnerable place of becoming, if we do not trust those we work with.  Just like a newborn child, we must be careful who we entrust with the safety of that which we seek to manifest.  We do not need know them for years on end, but we must know in our soul that they are worthy of such a duty.

Finding deep friendships, and feeling secure enough to let your wyrd out, is invaluable.  In truth it does not require that participants should or shouldn’t be of the same sex as you.  It has nothing to do with that at all.  I just happen to like the feeling of empowerment that a group of ladies generate, when they come together as their bad-ass selves.  Specially since I am a person who prides myself on not-doing manual labor.  This is where I make the exception.  I put up my own tent, I carry my own shit, I do all the things I prefer to let my husband do, and I do it in style.

When we step outside of our every day self…the self who likes a soft bed, and appreciates cooking in a kitchen with running water, lights, and a nice stove, we invite ourselves to become more.  We are ignited by the flame of adventure, and find we are capable of more then we believe possible.  The chill of the air, the layers of clothing, the roots poking up lightly under our yoga mat/sleeping bag, are all reminders to not get ‘too comfortable’, to stay aware, and to open our mind to the unseen.

This years weekend was all that I needed, and hoped for.  The group has changed over the years, expanding and contracting to accommodate those who can and cannot make it.  But the work remains essentially the same.  We gather in hopes of fueling our dreams, and expanding our consciousness.  We gather to support one another, and to step intentionally further onto our paths.

As a Druid and priestess of the Earth, much of my time was spent hugging trees, melding into rocks, and traveling astrally into holes in the ground & openings in the rock.  I go into the forest to meet with the Fae Folk, the Spirits of Nature whom I consider friends and teachers.  This weekend gave me ample time to do so, as we explored path ways in the Notch (Crawford Notch) that I had never been on.  I found myself preparing for my trip to Northern Ireland, by meeting with stone beings/giants and reacquainting myself with those I had met before.

I know the idea of talking to Fairies, Trolls, and Giants can seem a bit far fetched.  But only if you are imagining with Hollywood eyes.  These beings exist in different dimensions then we do.  They vibrate on different frequencies, and one must be open to experience them.  Over the years my ability to do so has expanded, just as my ability to speak to the Dead has done so.  The longer I do it, the more places I wonder, the more magic I see present in the world, the more beings I come to know as friends.

I find this to be important, as we are living in changing times.  Times when the old ways of magic, and divination are returning.   Expansion of consciousness is not just happening to those who seek it, but to those who stumble onto it as well.  In truth it is far easier to assimilate to if we believe and accept.  Our struggle with the term ‘reality’ can cause many a problems for the masses.

In the light of dusk on the last night of our weekend, we found our way into a cave in the rocks.  It is a cave I have visited many times, one that has expanded physically over the years.  What once could hold only two people close together, now holds 5 comfortably.  Its expansion has been a thing of wonder to me, for it truly has grown both energetically and physically with use.  In the darkness, and light of a small fire we spoke that which we meant to manifest into becoming.  We connected to the nature beings that surrounded us, and opened ourselves into timelessness…we surrendered to the universe, got out of our way and became co-creators of our reality.

The rock walls around us vibrated, and pulsated with the energy generated by our voices and the solid beat of the drum.  We became one with the moment of becoming, and let go…knowing that we had just impregnated something fantastic.  We had seeded our dreams.  The days leading up to the moment in the cave, were as important as the moment itself.  For they were the building blocks, the invitations, and the call to arms necessary to step onto the path of the Spiritual Warrior.  It was an exceptional moment of Spirit, and we were ready.

I know that which I have planted, must be tended.  I cannot now forget it as it is still in need of tending.  But that being said, I have full faith that my work is potent, and that which I seek to create is beautiful, powerful, and filled with integrity.  I give thanks for the blessings of Lughnasahd, the first harvest.

LUGHNASAHD actually takes place on August 1st, so you have not missed the deadline.  For those of you looking to create something magical yourselves this harvest here is a quick do it yourself idea.

YOU WILL NEED- a small fire (candle, campfire, raging bonfire, etc), a piece of paper and pen, any sacred items you like (crystals, feathers, holy symbols, etc), your voice.

Start by creating fire, as you do so welcome in your ancestors  and imagine you are surrounded by a white light of protection. Sit comfortably in front of it and pick up your paper and pen.  Make a list of that which you are seeking to become.  If you are seeking self empowerment, examples may be…more confidence, find my voice, stand tall, value my intuition, etc.

With the list in hand, begin chanting your own name.  You can elongate the vowels and turn your toning into more of a sacred song, or keep it short and sweet, building momentum over time.  Hold onto your paper as you do so.  Gaze into the fire, and let yourself relax into its light.  Keep your vision soft, paying attention to that which appears in your peripheral vision.  Continue chanting your name for at least 10 minutes.  As you do so, imagine you are charging up the paper which you hold in your hands, charging up the dreams you hold.

When the energy feels full, stop…hold onto the energy and speak the words written on the paper aloud, with the force of fact.  Then burn the paper, letting the words and intention go to the universe, where they begin their becoming.

Thank your ancestors, and close your protective circle.

Know that you must continue to tend your dreams, in order to grow them.  Your magic is simply fertile ground, it aids in growth, but work is also necessary.  We must care for and nurture that which we aspire to.  We must believe in our dreams and work toward them, if we want to see them ripen.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks. Now go out and embrace your wild self, and make some magic!

 

spreading love-salicrow