STORIES OF SPIRIT…The Two Headed Monster [addiction, death & the after life]

My experience with addiction is one that goes back to my birth, as I grew up in an alcoholic household.  In the early days of my life, I hardly noticed the relationship between my father’s pain and his drinking, but when my Grammy Brown died the monster known as addiction took control.  It began stealing more and more of my father’s soul, sending him spiraling out of control until he eventually lost all that he loved most.   My father’s case was one of redemption, for in his loss he was able to find himself, and began the hard work of healing that was needed in order to sever the control Alcohol had over his life & eventually restore his family to him.

While my father’s story has a beautiful ending; filled with family reunions, healing, and soul growth, not all who dance with the devil are so lucky.  For fighting the fight of addiction is battled one day at a time.  My father had to fight that battle every time someone offered him a drink, without knowing that they were unconsciously speaking the words of his demon…tempting him with the elixir he had turned to over and over again when faced with his inner pain.

In my work as a Medium, I meet with families weekly who have lost someone they love to addiction.  These Spirits come forward hesitantly, and by their approach alone I know that they were partially responsible for their own passing.  I call it ‘partially responsible’, because they did not choose to die, yet it was not an accident.  They placed the needle in their arm, swallowed the pills or destroyed their liver/lives by their own hands.  Yet they were not alone in their minds, the substance they abused was there with them; like an evil twin, whispering in their ear “Fuck it, fuck it all!”

The families who come to me who have lost their sons, daughters, friends, mothers, fathers, partners, to addiction are often coming with fear and anger.  They fear for the souls of the ones they have lost, and they are mad as hell over the mayhem left in the wake of such passing.  They often do not know what to do with the wild, jumbled emotions they feel.  They miss their loved one, yet they remember the darkness that had swallowed them.  They often feel a sense of relief along with their anguish for the phone call saying their loved one had lost their battle had already come.  Now instead of fear, they sit in grief.

We are dealing with a battle of epic proportions.  One that affects us all, every single one of us has someone we love who is battling addiction.  Some of us do not even see it for what it is, until it rears up like a monster, unexpectedly setting the world around them into chaos.  The media gives us a picture of what ‘Addiction’ looks like…a super skinny, strung out person, usually with sunken eyes and a lot of tattoos.  This is not an accurate vision, and by accepting this image we allow the monster to hide in plain sight.  I have met with families who were completely blindsided when their loved one died of an overdose, or when they discovered that the overweight businessman was addicted to prescription pain medication, or that their super smart, popular child was living off amphetamines, or that their charismatic uncle was a bastard at home; due to the mood swings associated with his drinking.

I am not here to solve the problem of addiction, believe me, I would if I could.  Instead, I am here to provide a way of healing and growth for the families and friends left in its wake.

When I meet with families for Spirit Communication and addiction is a factor, I try to explain to the living family that they need to see their loved one as a dual personality.  In this way, they are free to mourn the beautiful, loving person they lost to the drug & be pissed as hell, at the addiction itself.  For truly that is the battle that goes on in the mind of an addict.  That beautiful, sensitive boy or deeply loving daughter still exists in there, but they are not alone.  They are battling the demon of addiction every day of their lives, and often the demon is too much for them to overcome.

Addiction feeds off of our self-loathing, and the deep wounds that lie within our being.  It is not something that starts with the ‘heavy hitters’, like heroin, cocaine, amphetamines.  In fact, it often starts before we have ever put a toxic substance to our mouth.  It starts with our pain, and our need to hide it.  When we realize this about ourselves and those we love, it is easier to see how someone could fall down this rabbit hole.

I recently had a mother come to me who had lost her adult son to an overdose.  Although she had known he was out of control, partying too hard and distancing himself from those who loved him & would see his pain, she was shocked to find out that he even did Heroin.  When in fact he had been doing it for 2 years.  When his Spirit came into the room during our Seance, (he was not the first guest) his mother who had appeared calm and reserved, did a 180, her anger turning her into a banshee.  She was so mad at him for what he had done, for how he had treated his life and for the mess he had left behind.  She was looking for someone else to blame, wanting him to tell her it was all someone else fault, she needed to believe that the boy she had loved so dearly had not done this to himself…yet he had.

In the time we sat together I tried to emphasize the fact that the boy/man she loved as her son was healing.  That his spirit was now having to review the actions that led up to his premature death.  I explained that when we die, our emotions are turned down, like the volume dial on a stereo, allowing us to review our life more analytically.  I also explained that he had to see how his decisions had affected not only his life but that of the ones he loved…that in death we continue to heal, and that when our family is unable to heal the dead our delayed in their own healing.

Turning sorrow into pain is a natural turn of events for many.  It often feels more empowering to be pissed and continue to hunt for the perpetrator of our pain then to sit with the heaviness of grief and mourning.  Yet, anger denies our healing.  It keeps us in a deep state of expectation, waiting for our revenge, to solve the problem, to get even.  In death, there is no getting even.  Our anger and venom will not bring back those we love.  Your son, daughter, husband, mother, friend does not need you to get even…they need you to heal and if you need a cause, to step up and try and make a difference in the world of addiction.  They need us to turn our wounds into tools of healing instead of weapons we use to beat ourselves with.  After all, this is how many ends up struggling with addiction, to begin with, they beat themselves over and over again for any and every flaw they see in their being.  The pain they struggle with becomes the vehicle that drives the addiction.

If you have lost someone to addiction, or love someone who is currently battling with addiction, remember they are not alone in their mind.  Remember that the support needed is that of understanding (with strong boundaries), and that in all cases of addiction there is something deeper under the surface that the addiction is feeding off of.  Like the demon it is, Addiction feeds off on the loathing, pain, and trauma carried by the addict and those that love them.

How can you help yourself and your Beloved Dead who has passed due to their own hands?  Start healing yourself.  Become educated about addiction, and remember the beautiful soul who lost their battle to it.

HEALING ALTAR FOR BELOVED DEAD LOST TO ADDICTION-

You will need- pictures & memorabilia of your loved one when they were happy & healthy, spiritual items of your choice, a white candle & a black candle, recommended stones-rose quartz & black tourmaline

*Set up your altar on a shelf, dresser, window sill, someplace you will come in contact with often. This should be appealing to your eye.

*The white candle represents love, light, and the healing you are calling in, the black candle represents the darkness you are releasing from your heart; the sorrow, anger, and rage you carry.  LIGHT both candles daily for 5 minutes, and spend time in front of your altar praying for and speaking to the one you have lost.  Speak your sorrow, and pain as well as your good wishes.  Remember you are not only healing yourself but helping them to heal and that requires truth.

*The Rose Quartz on the altar carries the vibration of love and healing and the Black Tourmaline is a great absorber of negativity, transmuting it.

This is a simple ritual you can perform daily, it will not only help you and your Beloved Dead to heal, but it will also help you to form a stronger relationship with spirit.  Remember we are all able to feel/sense our Beloved Dead, but often our emotions block us from doing so.  If you are in need of a direct connection, seek out the aid of a Medium, it is often one of the most healing things you can do for yourself and your loved one in Spirit.

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Connecting you to your Beloved Dead… Salicrow.com

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Stories of Spirit…Welcoming Death [the art of the Doula]

Last night at the end of my Sound Meditation class, it came to my awareness that a fellow Reiki Master, friend, and gentle healer had entered into Hospice.  She had fought the good fight with Cancer only to watch it return, this time with death as it’s companion.  The thought crossed my mind of heading straight to her house and catching a ride home later with a friend, but it had been a long day and I opted for riding home with my husband and making a quick dinner.

Waiting on dinner, I checked my Facebook messages and read “You should come sooner than later.  She seems to be holding on,  enjoying time spent with her boys, but her time is close.”

I put down my phone, packed my basket with oils, sage, my drum as well as snacks, water, and coffee.  When death calls, I never know if I will be going for a short visit or a long.  I ate quickly and got in my car, immediately tapping into my dying friend.  Before I was even out of my driveway, I was singing Spirit Song [song of the soul] and could feel the miles between us dissipate.  I was in duel reality…existing both in ordinary reality-driving my car, watching the road & the otherworlda psychic/shamanic state of existence.  In the otherworld, I was sharing space with my friend; as close as if I were sitting by her bedside.  In this state, I could see her life force and recognized that my decision to see her that evening was a good one.  I felt it as an honor and a duty, that death itself was asking me to come recognize such a beautiful soul as she transformed from body to spirit.  Her work as a healer needed to be acknowledged.

When I got to her house, I was touched by the way her family was already showing reverence.  The love in the house was palpable, and there was a somber reverence that spoke of how much they wanted to honor her in her passing.  We spoke for a few moments about creating sacred space when a loved one is passing, and soon they were walking around the house collecting photographs and special items to place on the altar in their mother/friends room.

Creating an Altar for the dying is a beautiful and thoughtful way of calling in the Ancestors to help with the transition between life and death.  I have given directions for creating an Ancestor Altar at the bottom of the article.

As her family gathered pictures and memories, I began to do Reiki on my friend and to sing gently to her.  My song was a continuation of the song I had already been singing to her during the 20-minute ride from my house to hers.  When singing the song of dying, the words are not important, in fact, I seldom sing with words at all.  The song of dying is sung with emotion and reverence for the person awaiting transition and for death itself.  As a Medium, Death is a friend of mine.  I spend much of my life between the veil, communicating with those who have transcended into death.  I have a great respect for death, and can honestly say that I love it.

By loving death, I do not mean that I love pain and suffering.  I mean that I love the act of transition.  Like birth, death is magical, it is more ‘real’ then any other experience we will have in our lives.  When we sit with death we cannot be anything but what we truly are.  We are vulnerable.

Singing to my friend, I began to loosen the strands of life that were sticky; the places she held tight to her body.  I sang and I soothed.  I could feel her life force & was aware that her death would be soon and did not believe she would live another day.  My song was joined by the soft murmurs of the others in the room.  Her children and friends joining in ‘spirit song’, guiding her soul across the veil.  As I held my tones out long, I felt her sliding on the vibration and her breath becoming slower and slower.

Then it was done, my time with her had come to pass.  She would not pass for hours still, but I felt that it was time for me to leave.  I knew she would be gone before long, but that her last hours were for deep quiet and her family alone.

I left her home at the same time as another friend, and we stopped to talk outside the house.  I spoke of how my need to visit; which had been so urgent, felt like administering last rights…kind of like “Hey there, all is well across the veil, safe travels to the Otherworld”.  In such moments, I connect deeply with my ancient self, my priestess self, the tribal shaman, volva-self.  I see this as the holiest of the work I do, for it is never something to plan on, but something that I must do when I feel it’s vibration.  When death asks me to pay a house call, I do so with great reverence for both the dying and the spirit of death alike.

We are changing the way we interact with death, we are remembering the old ways of honoring and reverence.  Families are interacting deeply with the presence of death through hospice, as well as with the art of home funerals and celebrations of life.  We are remembering the sacred and death is becoming a deeper act of healing.  Years of disassociation with death; death behind white curtains, and sterile environments, and funerals without connection to our ancestors put a serious hick-up in our ability to heal and understand death.  That is changing.  Death is an exceptional moment of Spirit.

My friend passed late this morning, and I am happy to know that her spirit is free and she is no longer burdened with a painful body.  I take heart in knowing that one of her dear friends washed and anointed her body with lavender, showing love and kindness in the ceremonial act of preparing her body for death.

Creating an Ancestor Altar for the Dying-

*You will need- a shelf (dresser, portable tray in the hospital, bookshelf, window sill), family photos of living & dead relatives, special treasures (wedding rings, holy items, crystals, etc).

Set the altar up where the dying and the people holding space can see it.  Even if your loved one is unconscious, set the altar up within their personal space.  Invite your ancestors to join you in the room, and to come aid in the passing of your loved one.

My hope is that ‘ancestor honoring’ become a regular part of death and dying.  We need to remember that we are connected on both sides of the veil.  Our Beloved Dead are waiting for us when we cross, and like our living loved ones sit by our side when we are dying, our loved ones in spirit do the same.  One saying goodbye, the other welcoming home.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…peaceful travels to the spirit world for those who are crossing.

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Best Friends with my Spirit Guide [soul-friends]

My book has been out for 3 weeks now, and people are starting to share their experience of reading it, with me.  Most of the feedback has been in regards to similar personal psychic experiences people have had, and how they gained intuitive insight from reading how I navigated my own Psychic development.  The other sharing I have experienced is that people recognizing the people & places in my story.  This is not all that unusual as I have lived within an hour radius of the Connecticut River for the entirety of my life (minus a few months in Maryland here and there).  Vermont & New Hampshire are my home; particularly the areas of the Northeast Kingdom, and the White Mountains.

Last week one of my community friends brought up Adam when she spoke of my book and how the reading of my relationship with him affected her.  She recognized Adam, she remembered him, she loved him and as she spoke of him tears welled up in her eyes.  At that moment I could feel Adam standing in my space, I looked at the tears in her eyes and I could feel his heart filled with love.  This, of course, made me want to reciprocate with tears of my own.

I changed some names in my book, but not Adams, he insisted that his name and story be mentioned, after all, Adam’s story and my story have been woven together for the last 15 years.  Anyone who has ever done a Seance with me knows who he is.  For those of you who have not, Adam is my doorman; the spirit guide who holds the job of watching my back and organizing traffic in the spirit world.  I call him my doorman because I use to own a bar, and the job is pretty similar.  He decides who come in, who is not welcome and delivers messages for spirits who need a bit of help communicating with me.  Although I knew him briefly in life, our friendship is something that has developed after his death.  I love Adam and consider him one of my dearest friends.

When my friend spoke of Adam she mentioned how tragic it was that his life was cut short.  I understood what she meant for he was a remarkable soul, but I couldn’t help but smile.  My immediate response was to say “He still is making a difference, he is still working toward a goal.”  I often refer to Adam as the ‘hardest working spirit I have ever met”.  He goes to work with me every time I do Spirit Communication, which means he is working a full-time job in the afterlife. Like me he is a healer, helping people to find peace in knowing that their Beloved Dead are ok.

Adam has taught me so much in the years we have been connected.  But the most important lesson he has taught me is that older spirits, ones who have been around for awhile, often continue their work between death.  He has shown me the dedication that spirit guides can carry and how much they are willing to be present in the world of the living. They care about what’s happening here, and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is getting thinner.

I appreciate all the feedback, and love hearing your experiences through reading it.  I hope that you are all fortunate enough to gain the peace of connecting with your Beloved Dead.

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Sacred Melancholy

October is my favorite month, with it’s early darkness and heavy mist.  The colors, the smells, the coolness of the air; all these things bring me to a place of remembrance.  Not the remembrance of old times, but the remembrance of people who have have passed from life, into the world of Spirit.  With the fullness of Autumns embrace, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin, becoming sheer and transparent, allowing those who have even the slightest bit of sight to catch glimpses of the other world.

In my home, as in the homes of my family; the approach of Samhain/Halloween, is invitation to celebrate our Beloved Dead.  Photographs and memento’s that remind us of our family in Spirit come out, to be displayed with honor and thankfulness.  Remembering these people, who walked the path before me, gives me a sense of place, and fills me with a sacred melancholy.

Sacred Melancholy, is a deep sadness or feeling of loss.  It is a romantic feeling really, one that fills us with yearning and remembrance.  It is something to appreciate and immerse oneself in, for it holds great depths of knowing.  When we allow ourselves to connect with that feeling of loss, it is not the same as being depressed and suffering, but more a tender reminder of times past…like savoring the memory of a lovers goodbye kiss…there is a wonderment in the remembering itself.

doorwayWhen I place photos of my departed family out on display, I am consciously choosing to step into that powerful place of remembrance.  I am also inviting the Beloved Dead in the pictures to be present in my home.  I am asking them to infuse my space with their presence, to fill my memories with Spirit.  This is my invitation for them to cross the veil, and pay me a visit.

As a Medium, I am fortunate to have communication with the Spirits I love, often.  I do not need to wait for Holy days, such as Samhain/Halloween, to feel their presence, yet I still go through the effort of giving them honor at this time.  I do this because they appreciate being remembered.

We are living in a time of awakening, a time in which we are finding our way back to the ways practiced by our elders, ancestors and tribal communities, for they have merit.  We are remembering that we remain connected to our beloved ones, even after they have crossed into death.  Our minds and hearts are opening, and we are seeking space for visitation.  When we give them honor, they will come.

It is true, that some people are more adept at feeling them, seeing them, sensing them, but they come for all of us, and they are thankful.

familyalterHere is an easy, do it yourself way to give honor to your Ancestors-

*Find a shelf or stand in your home to use as an altar.  An altar is a space used for things we view as sacred (spiritual, devotional, deserving of special attention).

*Remember everything placed on your altar should be intentional…no junk mail, car keys, or gum wrappers, unless you are doing specific work with such items. Your dead grandpa’s car keys would be ok, if they were used to remember him.

*Decorate your altar with photographs, knick-knacks, and other items of remembrance, that represent your Beloved Dead.

*Place religious, or spiritual items on your altar if you like, to give blessings to your Ancestors.

* Place a candle (doesn’t matter what kind) on your altar, that you can light whenever you want to give extra acknowledgement to your loved ones.

*Place a special treat on the altar (coffee, tea, cigarette, chocolate) for them occasionally.  They will not actually eat it or smoke it, but will instead appreciate the energy of the offering you have given.  Make sure to clean it up at end of the day.

*Keep your Ancestor altar up through Samhain/Halloween.  You may keep it up longer if you like, some people choose to keep their up through the holiday season.

Remember, it is the judgement of emotions and sensations that make them uncomfortable.  Melancholy, and sacred sadness are not things to avoid.  We often rush the mourning process, telling ourselves that like all things modern, it should be efficient and productive.  Well that my friends is bullshit.  We need to understand that our emotions are complex things, and the feeling of loss created from the void of loosing someone we hold dear, is immense.  Some of us will mourn deeply, for a long period of time…some of us, will mourn in bits and spurts.  But to hold a place of deep memory for our Beloved Dead is a good thing.  Do not hold your memories to the moment of loss, but instead allow your mind to take you on the journey of knowing the ones you love, while they were alive and vital.  And remember, Spirits can see us and hear us much easier then we can see and hear them.  They are listening when we talk to them, do it often and you may just hear a reply.

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