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…Embracing the Darkness [the wheel of the year, hygge, and spirit honoring]

The first snow has settled on the forested hilltop, I call home, bringing with it feelings of slumber and deep knowing.  It calls to me to get comfortable; put on my sweater pants & neckwarmers, and begs me to go deep into my own being.  We, like all living things, are connected to the planet we live on, and her cycles have a great pull on our lives.  When we listen and flow with the current of nature we find balance and understanding.

I began acknowledging the effects of seasonal change on my life when I was in my early 20’s and started exploring Wicca and other Earth-based spiritual practices.  The rotation of the Wheel of the Year is a significant factor in most spiritual practices associated with nature, for such teachings recognize that we are part of our world, not separate from it.  This belief is a powerful one that makes us look at ourselves and the world around us differently.  It is a lens through which we can perceive that which is hidden, both in ourselves and in the environment.

The Wheel of the Year is a cycle of seasonal holidays observed by most pagans.  It consists of 4 quarter dates, marked by the Solstices & Equinoxes, and 4 cross-quarter dates that note the halfway points between. 

We are fast approaching on one of these markers on the Wheel of the Year-Samhain/Halloween.  Halloween which is known as Samhain in the Celtic traditions, Alfablot (sacrifice to the elves) in Old Norse, and Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead in Hispanic culture, and All Saints Day to the Catholics.  All of these celebrations take place within a period of 3 days; October 31st-November 2nd and they are all associated with honoring the dead (note-All Saints day is about honoring dead Saints in particular).  Coincidence?  I think not…

Until modern times people had to live in close relationship with the Earth, as we were more likely to have healthier livestock and fuller harvests if we knew a thing or two about the cycles of the planets.  This relationship also allowed us to refocus and renew our own spirits, for slowing down in winter gave us time to be crafty and cunning, to tell stories around the fire and to reconnect with our families.  These cycles were not limited to those who experienced the drastic seasonal changes of the North, for all places cycle…

Knowing the cycle nature takes in our area is vital to mental balance.  In the North, the darkness of Winter can be hard for many; Seasonal-affective disorder is a thing.  It is particularly hard if we create unreasonable goals for ourselves in the winter months.  This is not a call to full-on hibernation, it is instead a notice to be kind to yourself, to recognize that your body wants to move slower in the dark season.  To take it as an invitation to sit around the coffee shop and chat with friends on your day off, instead of tackling a major project.  It is a suggestion to pick up a handcraft such as knitting or crochet and become productive in a way that lets your mind wander and dream…for the Winter months are for dreaming and planning.  It is also a reminder that when we connect to the season we do not seek to avoid it.  The Norwegian people have this one down…they call it Hygge!

Hygge {Hue-gah}-The feeling of comfort and cozy, with friends or alone.  It is about embracing the unique aspects of the Winter.

For those of you wondering why the fuck I am talking about Winter when it isn’t even Halloween yet, don’t worry…I am getting there.  Halloween in Vermont very often comes with snow, those of us who live in the North are familiar with the need to incorporate Winter Jackets into our kids Halloween costumes.  (A few years ago, my granddaughter went as a Vermont Wonder Woman, which means she had a jacket under her outfit and a Winter hat instead of a circlet).  Therefore Hygge/embracing the Winter season is important to us now, for Winter is certain to embrace us.

Samhain/Halloween has changed a lot for me over the years.  I am still in love with costumes and the mirth associated with the season, but as my spiritual practices have evolved, my reverence for the Dead and the Otherworld has become paramount in my celebrations.  I take the time to remember my Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) at this time.  When I pull out my box of Halloween decorations, I find resting on top, pictures of my loved ones in Spirit.  I pull them out lovingly and give them a place of honor in my home.  My home becomes a place of memories as I go about my daily life.  I place most of the photos in my kitchen, as that is where my working altar is.  Here along the window sills, and upon my altar I place photos of the ones I love…a picture of Adam walking along the ocean, my father in his Marine dress uniform, the high school photo of my grandmother Eulalie, Grammy Brown when she was most likely my age, my grandfather sitting in the backyard, my friend Mike with his mouth wide open in laughter, my husbands grandparents whom I loved like my own (particularly Grammy Bickford), and my Aunt Sissy & I hugging the last time I saw her.

You can choose to live this way.  It is not a religious thing, it does not require you to say any vows or swear allegiance, it is simply a choice to be connected.  Something we could all use in these times of change.  Hell being more connected to our world, naturally makes us more compassionate and concerned with what’s going on, but it also gives us a sense of belonging…

Here is a how-to on embracing the season & honoring your Beloved Dead-

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What you will need- pictures of your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones, ancestors), memorabilia-trinkets that help us remember, religious or spiritual items if you choose, any candle

*choose a space to display your photos and memorabilia-this can be one shelf or throughout your home, it does help to have them somewhat contained, so my suggestion is to keep it to one room.  I choose the kitchen, as it is where I keep my working altar.

*Keep the photos up as long as you like, but I recommend at least the 3 days before and after Samhain/Halloween.

*During the time you have the photos up, talk about your Beloved Dead, tell stories of them, sing their favorite songs, drink their favorite beverages, eat their favorite foods, REMEMBER THEM…this is the greatest honor we can give to our Spirits, the gift of remembrance.

*Remember the Hygge of the situation, embrace the dark season and the places in our memory it takes us.  Be comfortable while you remember and honor, cuddle up on your couch and watch an old Halloween special, remembering your childhood when your mother/father/grandparent sat with you as you sat fascinated by the magic of the season.

*Light a candle on your altar, or in the room, you have your photos set up whenever you are able.  This is a symbol to your Beloved Dead that you are calling out to them.

Remember that everyone has the ability to feel their Beloved Dead, like a candle flame in the darkness your Spirits, can use to find you.  Although the ways they communicate with you may be subtle…dreams, songs, birds, knowing, feeling, smelling, they are trying.  If you are seeking deep connection with your Dead I suggest reaching out to a Medium https://www.salicrow.com/, for we are more like Light Houses; giving off a much broader span of light and attracting more spirits, making communication easier.

Whether you choose to connect with your Beloved Dead this season or not, I highly suggest welcoming Hygge into your life.  Savor and enjoy every moment, the cold rainy days & the snowy blustery days as well.  Our environment stirs up emotion in us and helps us to better understand ourselves.  My other suggestion is to get yourself good winter gear.  Be warm, you will like it better!

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 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

 

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

STORIES OF SPIRIT…The Sound of Spirit [wind chimes in the corner]

It takes a lot of energy for a Spirit to audibly make noise, whether that noise be cupboards opening, floor boards creaking, or the sound of conversation in the distance.  As the Dead do not exist in the same realm/dimension as we do, they need a source of power from which to receive this energy.  Places in which Earth energy is high; where ley lines cross, are one way in which the Dead can get the energy needed to make their presence known.  Another is through the use of a Medium.

A Medium is a natural conduit for Spiritual energy, which means that Spirits can tap into their vibration, and use their residual energy to connect and communicate in this world.

A trained Medium, realizes they are in control of their energy, and often develops skills, that make it so they determine whether or not they allow their energy to be used.  This is a helpful when it comes to living a normal life.  Untrained Mediums often feel drained, and overwhelmed by the activity they experience when Spirits are around.  Being able to control the use of your energy creates boundaries, and puts the Medium in charge of when and where such contact takes place.

As someone who works regularly with the Spirit world; both that of the dead and that of nature, I prefer to be asked if my energy is going to be used.  I set aside time, and go into my working with intention.  This helps me to feel centered, and gives me the ability to tune-out unwanted visitors.  When working I want to be connected to Spirit and often allow my energy to be utilized, as long as it is not misused.  I have boundaries and time limits.  I treat the Spirits like all other sentient beings I encounter; with respect and compassion, and I expect them to treat me the same.

Toning in Merlin’s Cave, Tintagel, UK (photo credit-Dinysio)

When I open myself to Spirit, I am not doing so blindly.  I am doing so through trained methodology, one that is laden with protection, and guardianship.  The Spirits who make up my personal team, provide me with assurance I am safe, and eyes on the other side, as they are often able to see things I cannot.  There is a routine to the way I do things, a ceremonial repetition that gains strength every time I use it.  Like mantras and ritualistic prayers, my practices are infused with the energy of every time I have done so before, and every time I will do so in the future.  They are connected, each empowering the other through time and space.  This allows me to move more freely in my work, for I trust my team, and trust the work itself.

My rituals and connection to personal Spirits, grants me the freedom to be truly present and open whether I am teaching, doing a Psychic Reading, speaking to the Dead, or doing healing work.  I am open and connected in those moments, and often unusual things can happen.

One of the most remarkable things that has happened lately, involved audible sound and Spirit connection.

A few months ago, while teaching my weekly, sound meditation class, Spirit took the opportunity to emote loud and clear.  The weeks class was designed around Vocal Toning and emotion.  Toning is the use of ones voice for energetic balancing.   In short it is intuitive singing laden with intention.  If you have never experienced it before, check out the video I posted on my Facebook page  titled Salicrow, Earth Day  https://www.facebook.com/pg/salicrowpsychicmedium/videos/?ref=page_internal.

While working with our emotions and Toning, we explored how our voice sounded and vibrated differently when we held the emotions of sadness, anger, joy, and love.  At the end of the class we discussed how this felt to us, and spoke on which emotions resonated the strongest with us personally.  One of the men in the class had recently lost his wife, and was still strongly mourning her presence.  As he spoke of the emotions that effected him most, he was moved to tears.  At that moment there was the sound of wind chimes, loud and clear, from the corner of the room.  Now first of all, I have no wind chimes in my studio, nor do  I have anything that could remotely sound like chimes.  Secondly, there was no wind, stirring the room, as it was still quite cold out, and the windows were shut.  Most importantly, there was no one sitting in the area the sound came from, but we all experienced ‘hearing’ the chimes.

How does did that happen?  You may ask…

Simply put, the Spirit, the man’s wife, took advantage of the vast amount of energy we had been raising in our class, and the fact that there was a Medium in the room.  In that moment, when the energy was full, she pushed her self into the world of the living, choosing something that was very compatible with the work we were doing….Sound!

So the next time, you hear something unexplained, like a creaky floor with no one walking on it, or the sound of music coming from no where, make sure to acknowledge the sheer amount of will, and energy the Spirit is using to make contact.  In most cases those Spirits are our Beloved Dead; our ancestors, loved ones and friends, reaching out to let us know that they still stand with us, they still support us, and love us.

I appreciate your support, and hope you enjoyed the read.  Please feel free to pass it around to those who it may benefit.

spreading love-salicrow