Friday, December 30, 2005

My Guides and I -- Part 2

Angels and Ascended Masters were not something I thought I believed in. Part of my search for spiritual enlightenment included two years at Sacred Mists College an online place of learning for primarily Wiccan studies. I learned a lot there; however, it was not as important as other things I was learning about myself. It was there where it was suggested that I do some research on Shamanism. And it was there where I first learned about Angels and Masters.

As before, synchronicity once more intervened...Chapters had a huge after Christmas Sale. How could I not go?!

Have you ever walked through a book store, not intending to buy anything, and a book literally jumps out at you? And when you pick it up, as you must, the book feels just right. Even the cover is pleasing. It becomes a must-have...superceding the promise you made to yourself that you were not going to buy any books. That's a promise just waiting to be broken.

In any event, Doreen Virtue's Archangels & Ascended Masters somehow ended up in my hands. In the book, the author lists about eighty dieties; their country of origin, religion and alternate names. It's easy to read, and enjoyable. It was not Ms. Virtue's intention, she says in her introduction, to write a long, involved book. There are many books and places for more in-depth study. But it did give me names and history of three of my guides. And a hint of a few I have yet to know.

I have always felt a strong affinity with Hecate; however, she wasn't mentioned in this book. The Triple Goddess was, though, in Brigid and in various others in differing pantheons. Many years ago, I saw my crone as a bride or as a mother; but the time for this has passed. Now I see the wise woman...the hag in the forest. By the sheer force of her personality alone, she propels me forward along this quest for spiritual identity. She is not one I would want to disappoint.

And then, of course, there's Archangel Michael. I finally know the name of the man who walks with me, as he's called by the various psychics who I have consulted over the years. They always comment on him; he stands over my right shoulder. Being given his name, after having nothing other than my senses to rely on with regards to advice I was receiving from him, makes me feel complete.

Michael's chief function, in Ms. Virtue's words, is "to rid the earth and its inhabitants of the toxins associated with fear". He works with the lightworkers, helping them to perform spiritual teachings and healing work. Michael is associated with fire; and as stated in the book, he can make you sweat. It is good to realize that what I thought was a return to unbearable hot flashes is more than likely Michael, giving me advice and aid on some subject or other. His presence feels really hot!

And because I call Michael whenever I feel afraid or unsure of my next step (actually, I even call on him to help me start the lawnmower...he has never let me down), he helps me with motivation and commitment and direction. And he gives me courage to continue with my life's purpose.

I once believed that I should only pray...whether to my guides or Creator...if life was so bad, I had no other choice. I have a far more relaxed and loving approach now. I have taken my teachings from books, seminars and from Shaman Maggie; all of which encourage me to call on my guides whenever I need help, with anything, large or small. Once, when I was complaining to Maggie about my inability to know who my guides were, she suggested I ask them to help me take a shower.

What an incredible experience that was. The usual order of things in taking a shower was thrown out, and a new, presumably better way of showering presented itself. I still giggle to myself as I look back on that shower. I don't want to spoil the surprise of what happens, so I won't go into more detail, but I hope you try it.

I thought, after study and conversations with those in the know, that I had a relaxed, joyful relationship with my sensory guides. But now that I know who my guides are, their names and their historys, I feel so much more open and more sure of them. They have carried me many times in the course of my life; it seems only fair and just that I now do what is expected of me without fear and compromise.

After all, my guides are here to help me with my life's journey, whatever path I take. If I know who they are and what their purpose is, I can pay back by being the best that I can be, at whatever task is set before me.

With my guides' help, eventually I will even understand Shamanism, and why I chose such a difficult and joyous path. Once I was told, "There will be answers" and I really believe I am getting a little closer to finding them.

As strange as it may seem, we all have our guides...each and every one of us. But unless we call for help directly, asking their advice, they will not help. It is the free will thing...guides will gladly help after you have decided first where you want to go, even if it is a very wrong path. They will watch you stumble and fall, they will pick up the pieces, and set you on your way once more. But they will not interfere, unless they are asked.

And when you have chosen the best path for you to take, your life's purpose, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is right. Everything will fall into place with a smoothness you never knew existed and synchronicity abounds. Optimism, happiness and joy are your primary emotions.

And you will make your particular set of guides and allies very happy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Guides and I

The more I write about my guides and allies, the more I get asked how I found them. Truly, I am the worst person to ask. I didn't believe I had any. How inflated was I, to think that I may be worthy...yes...worthy of a guide or an ally? Who was i in the scheme of things? Nobody mentioned guides and allies when I was a child. I just had my "imaginary friends"... never telling anybody about them.

And because I didn't interact with my "friends" in later years, no longer believing in such things, I lost them. But just for a time. In my recovery from alcohol, I became very aware of my guides. It was an accepted thing among the other alcoholics I suddenly found myself with. I was among people who understood who I saw and were aware of the spiritual events that happened to aid my recovery.

I learned to speak with my guides. I learned to "feel" them when they were around me. It was a very long, drawn out process, over many years. The ability to sense my guides was accelerated when my daughter died. I spent a year learning who they were as they carried me through hell on earth. Once again, when I needed a huge crutch, there was never any thought that they would let me down.
I could sense them very easily; but only twice have I actually seen them, as physical beings. There is an old crone who gives me the stimulus to write. She does not mince her words; her sarcasm is legendary. But at the same time, when she appears, I am surrounded by the most loving energy, filled with it. She gives me the courage to stand and face my fear. She is a warrior.

There is a very large man, one whose hands are as large as ham hocks. He has appeared to me only once, and yet I know him as well as I know myself. His energy signature is imprinted into my soul. He has been with me since birth, and has carried me through two divorces, child rearing, a grandchild, the death of my daughter and myriad other disasters and joys. He is my protector.

I can easily use my senses and feel these two guides, and others. And I would ask for guidance, and hear or feel the answers to my questions. But I didn't know who they were. I didn't know what their history was, or if there even was a history, which led me down that rabbit hole for awhile. Practicing Shamanism and Reiki can lead me off the main path a lot, studying the reasons behind the reasons. My point being, it took a very long time before I felt a very urgent need to know more about these beings who walked with me.

And then, in the way of the Universe, I had a homework question to answer for Shaman Maggie. Who is your favourite Ascended Master and why, or, if you don't believe, why not? That's when I started my research into the beings who inhabit the Upper World, the spirit world. Who lived here? and what were their names?

To be continued next post...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Medicine Wheel


Last June I built my Medicine Wheel. It is a permanent and very personal Wheel. It will no doubt change over the years, as I gather talismans presented to me by my allies. I built it in the early morning, waiting for the sun to pass over Grandfather Tree. Eagle even came to watch, letting me know that he would carry my intent to spirit. He spun a few concentric circles, and then went on with his day.

When Gray and I bought our home, we were both impressed by the huge tree growing in the backyard. It was the only tree, and of a kind neither of us could identify. Eventually, we learned it was a Sequoia, a species that is not indigenous to our northern area. But it is grand…very tall, with a trunk that seemed to grow upwards in a spiraling pattern. It exudes power.

It was struggling a bit when we came; we have fertilized and watered and Reiki’d it, and it has repaid us over and over. Last year, I felt we required a definitive ending to the lawn, from where the protected root area of the tree began. The cedar logs, originally used and discarded by previous owners, lay behind the fence…and we restored them, in a rather haphazard manner, around the tree. Immediately, the tree gained even more stature, if that were possible. And then, when we were rockscaping the back yard, we placed three very large boulders around the tree. Again, the gain in definition.

Then we left it. I knew full well there was more work to be done to honour the tree…but I needed to contemplate and speak with him. A season passed, and then two. Work that needed to be done in the yard had to be put aside while I nursed a hip injury. And then a lesson from Shaman Elder Maggie on the Medicine Wheel arrived. My musings and reality collided…where was I going to put a Medicine Wheel? The answer was obvious.

But would it harm the tree, me messing about among its roots? I wanted the grand old tree to know I felt the logs around it made a beautiful, personal wheel. I asked the tree to care for the plants I intended to place inside the wheel…much the same as it did for the baby sequoias that clustered around its trunk. It declared its happiness and joy with my plan by seeming to dance with the wind with much more gusto than ever.

I started by planting the boulders, to look as if they had been there for eons. I planted hosta and ferns, always apologizing and assuring Tree that I would not dig deep enough to injure the fine feeder roots, and then I filled the small pockets with the plants and compost and soil. As I planted, Wind blew thoughts into my awareness. It told me which talismans to use for the wheel. It told me we needed Wind chimes, to welcome crystal clear thoughts and ideas. Wind brings power, it tells me I can do anything, and gives me incentive. I knew I must honour Wind. Now, when I wander around my Medicine Wheel, the chimes softly speak, reminding me to pay my respects to the Wheel and Tree.

I chose talismans and tools I had received over the years to add power to the Wheel. The first, my scrying stone, is one I found on the beach. This is an oblong stone that time and sand and water created a tunnel into one end. I first learned of my scrying gift looking into the rain water that collected in the tunnel's pool. The blue glass rock that was left to me by my ex-husband’s mother, a rock given to her by a shaman from New Mexico, is nestled within a craggy fold in the tree’s trunk. There are seashells, pinecones, and birds nests clustered around the boulders. Tree tells me it requires a water feature in the West, and I become overwhelmed. I ask for help from my guides to help me find the features Grandfather Tree desires.

My guides send me dreams of my completed Medicine Wheel. I see a bench, made of stone, snuggled under the tree’s branches. I see it so clearly, I know it isn’t far away, and I know it will manifest soon. And it does. Only a few days further in time, and I find what I perceive at first to be the perfect rock bench. Wisdom was etched into the faces on the slabs of rock, but somehow I knew it was not the one that was destined for Grandfather Tree. My rock bench will be made by my own hands...perhaps not so different from the example the Universe sent me.

I was in a dream state while I worked, one in which I communed with the tree, rocks, plants and other objects. I used my intuition, and later discovered every talisman had been placed in the correct position. East, West, North and South...their properties were all honoured by the tools I was directed to place under Grandfather Tree.

The tree, already so powerful, became immensely so…a benevolent power, and one which aids both Gray and I in practicing Reiki, or in trance dreaming. It has a purpose now, and I can feel the relief, joy and peace emanating from our spiral Universal Tree.

Now that Winter has arrived, our meditations are taking place indoors. But, in the night, as I lie in bed waiting for sleep, I hear the Wind chimes singing their song, as if summoning my soul. As I drift into dreaming, Grandfather Tree, the Medicine Wheel beneath it, and the chimes are the ones that direct my dreams, that tell me stories of mankind.

Those dreams tell me which path to follow, as I continue my Shaman apprenticeship. And as I walk this sometimes rocky path, the Medicine Wheel is where I will go to find the answers I need...the Wheel and Grandfather Tree.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!


This is not my favourite time of year. It is a season of so much stuff! Stuff to remember... dates to circle, dinners to plan, shopping to do, music to listen to. It assaults my senses, making me feel easily rattled and off balance. And this year is an easy celebration...I've already done it! A Different Christmas
But on the hour, in the town I live in, the Town Hall chimes out a Christmas carol. The chimes seem to have been made for me...with regularity they remind me there is another reason to celebrate Christmas. A reason behind all the hype and anxiety of the Season.

The chimes catch my heart, blocking my throat. The music floats on the air like a wisp of smoke, sometimes gathering and growing and sometimes fading away with the breeze. The message always brings me back from any negative pool I happen to have sunk into. It is as if my guides send an hourly reminder.

And my guides send other seasonal helpers...yesterday a little girl who, in the summer, had thrown a corn cob at my head (over the fence, too! she's only about 7 or 8...she has a real arm!) gave me a smile and a Merry Christmas! The little altercation we had seems to have withered away.

Then there are the Christmas cards that arrive so unexpectedly from very old friends I thought were lost. There are the emails from the kids in Mexico, assuring us of their safety and wishing us a Merry Christmas! And there are the spiritual visitors in my dreams, who wish me Merry Christmas! by their mere presence in the dream, leaving me with such a feeling of well-being upon awakening.

Come to think of it, everybody says Merry Christmas! Strangers who might have mumbled a hello any other season greet you with a smile and...you guessed it...Merry Christmas! And those smiles send out rays of joy and positive energy. Rays that are sent out into the Universe, dispelling the dark, negative bodies of energy that can gather in ever growing clumps.

It is so easy to say, as I did in the beginning of this post, that this is not my favourite season. But maybe I should rethink that. The words "Merry Christmas!" automatically make me smile. Try saying these words without a smile or a joyous inflection. We light up the dark when we say those words.

I said at the beginning of this piece that this season is full of too much stuff. I take that back...there can never be too much joy and too many smiles. There can never be too much positive energy. And when I started writing, my mood was less than positive. It's wonderful how my guides taught me a lesson, right here and now.

So here is as much joy, peace and well-being as I can muster as I say to you all, with a big heartfelt smile, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Hidden Closet


It wasn't until I took a Feng Shui course and tried to draw a floor plan for our house that I discovered the walls didn't match up. Of course, when we found the area that for no good reason we could see was closed in, the first thing I wanted to do was poke a hole into the wall. I didn't, of course...the look on Gray's face when I suggested such a thing deterred any urge I may have had in that direction.

So I figured when the time was right, we could create a closet...much needed in a house that has virtually very few. And tried to forget about it.

But visions of gold bullion stashed in a boarded up closet, or perhaps a box full of paper money, or even a body...at the very least a box full of letters and pictures...plagued this writer's imagination, and the balance meter notwithstanding, the stories I was coming up with were becoming more and more lurid. So my attempt at forgetting about the closed up space were haphazard, at best.

And it turns out Gray wasn't totally forgetting about it, either. He suggested, as a kind of by the way, perhaps we could cut a very neat hole into the gyproc. This led to a few excited moments where I forgot the mundane life, and was transported into a completely different reality. I had to clamp down hard when my emotional body spun totally out of control, trying (with difficulty) to let the mental body's logic and clear thinking have some say in all this.

But that's Gray's job. I will enjoy the flights of fancy that can overcome me at times of adventure like this hidden closet. And so, I held my breath, as Gray cut easily through the wall.

As he cut, my guides reminded me to protect and shield myself. I had a fleeting moment to do so, as he took out the board and insulation. Neither Gray nor I felt any bad energy of any sort, as we both peered, one at a time, into the hole. Shining the flashlight up and around, we noticed the interior of this space was a completely finished closet. Right down to the raised tiled floor. Painted and shelved and finished. In a house with only one closet.

It was empty. We puzzled about it a bit, trying to imagine why this closet had been closed off. Typically, Gray's logic led him to thinking about possible construction problems, while I imagined a small child being so frightened of the closet his parents had to close it off, thereby depriving future occupants of much needed space. Gray put the board back in place, until we further dismantle the wall, and I mulled over unanswerable questions.

During the next few days, I noticed a feeling of sadness hovering over the area in this room. On the Winter Solstice, I smudged the area thoroughly, invoking the help of my guides and allies. I felt a wonderful rush of energy course through my body as I did this.

In this old house we are trying to bring back to its former beauty lie many secrets. And as we uncover more of these secrets, perhaps we are releasing trapped energy, good and bad, stored throughout these many years. I certainly felt a release the following day, described in Messages From Beyond cont'd., where many signs from the Creator were presented to me.

Releasing old stored up energy that is no longer helpful is what I'm learning to do, as I uncover the layers of secrets stored within me. This process really is rejuvenating.

And then, in the closet, there's still that raised floor...

Messages From Beyond (Continued)

I had one of those broken, horrible days yesterday; the ones where nothing is positive and everything is negative. Gray and I are in a relatively new relationship. Sometimes things come

up that can tear into the delicate fabric we are attempting to weave together.

After we came to a tentative solution...where Gray's amazing calming presence did its magic...we were besieged by messages from beyond. Almost as if the Universe was clapping...as if cheering the breakthrough in my old, erroneous belief that was clogging the flow of feeling between Gray and I.

To digress a moment...I think I will make the post Messages From Beyond a continuing series. With my Dad's recent passing, I am receiving more thoughts, feelings and manifestations than usual. Hence the continuation in the Title.

And so, our nightly meditions were much more powerful than usual. But more celebratory gestures by the Powers
were in store for us. Even Grandfather Tree became a part of the show.

Tree always has an aura, of course. It used to be a grayish white, telling me Tree was lacking in nutrients of some kind...Grandfather Tree was suffering. We showered him with attention. I researched Sequoias. Our particular Tree loves to grow at the side of ponds and creeks. In other words, he loves water, which we gave freely. And his aura changed a lot, to where brightness and colour appeared.

But last night, Grandfather was showering us with energy...his aura pulsed and arced, danced its way across the yard. Gray is a Karuna Reiki Master, and the fact that he was sending Tree energy may have had a lot to do with it, but the showers of colour Tree sent out with such spectacular, Northern Light results were awe-inspiring.

And Lucky, one of our dogs, who is usually off searching out creatures of the night along the fence, stayed close by Gray's side, his nose pressed into Gray's hand. (Lucky and Grandfather Tree have a long association of strange happenings...an idea for another post.) The dogs are usually the first to fully experience any unusual visitors or happenings. It used to frighten them, but now they only become very alert.

The evening was spent with remarkable optimism and peace; a huge turn-around from the black cloud that had covered the house for most of two days. And then an early night.

But the Universe still had more in store. I was drifting off to sleep...and my daughter appeared. It's been almost nine years since she passed. I see her only rarely now, always a wonderful occasion. Tall, slim and absolutely beautifully dressed in something both white and dark, she was leaning against a doorway, beckoning to me. We communed for a long time; although no words were spoken, I understood her completely. And then she faded, still smiling her wonderful smile. I woke startled, knowing I had passed some test, that some belief had completely shifted within me, and that Katrina was sending her congratulations and support.

And during the black day...a visitor. My Dad, someone whom I never understood well, came and suffered through the angst with me. I heard him speak, I heard his words, and they were remarkably gentle. His words and speech were rarely gentle when he spoke with me during his life, but they were yesterday. They were extraordinarily comforting.

I am amazed at his strength and ability to understand that his mission is not complete. As I've posted before, he has unfinished business. A month after his death, he is giving my mother unbelievable strength to survive this huge change in her life, at the age of 84. It is my belief that by doing so he is trying to make amends. It means a great deal to him. It makes me look at my Dad in a new light. Perhaps there is a lot yet to learn about my Dad.

Awareness is key. These visitations, dreams and messages are illusory and happen very quickly, in a blink of an eye. I find I have to feel completely balanced before I can communicate with any degree of success. Practice, again, is vital.

Today, there is a wild storm outside. Wind, always an Ally that clears my head and sharpens my words and wit, is blowing fiercely, and Rain is battering my windows, further clearing and cleansing. It feels absolutely great today and absolutely right.

The messages from beyond told me so.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My Intent


During this time with Maggie, I am tentatively walking a path I chose long ago. Because this path fills me with apprehension, I realize it is the correct way for me. Otherwise, the apprehension about this part of my life will forevermore follow me, and I want no regrets when it is time for me to take my place amongst my ancestors.

So I will fight for balance and impeccability, and I will learn to contact my guides for advice more and more. Awareness of nature and synchronistic events will become second nature to me. I will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am never alone.And with the knowledge I amass, I will teach others to walk their path…by telling a story or two about events that happened to me along the way.

This is my intent. Just as Gray in the photo at last reached the summit of the wall he was climbing, with full intent, so will I live my life in a Shamanistic manner. And I find the higher I climb, the better life is.

For awhile, I thought I would never be able to assimilate the teachings...Shaman Maggie is a hard task master (and she won't let you get away with anything!). And I felt as if I had to learn it all at once. I felt overwhelmed and tired, convinced I would never get it, whatever 'it' was.

And then, suddenly, the comprehension was there. And things started to change for the better. The consultations I had with my guides and allies made me see I was never alone. And if I needed reminding, Maggie was always just an email or IM away. Once I let myself believe in this different road I was traveling, it became so smooth and easy.

And I have just started the climb.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Spring and Winter

Yesterday, we had one of those absolutely gorgeous December days we can sometimes get after a long period of foggy, muffled weather. The fog, of course, kept the temperatures a bit warmer overnight. But it stayed clear during the night and when I got up this morning, the whole yard was covered in frost.

And the sunrise was incredible. What a gift! Sometimes, when the Winter solstice is almost upon us, if the sunshine touches us a certain way, I can feel Spring.

Spring...with its sudden bursts of brilliant colour dotted amongst (love that word) the cold muted background of the Winter hibernation. Spring, when the sun's rays tilt a certain way, catching the Heart and the Throat. Even though the ground is frozen outside today, the warmth of the Sun will melt the white frost, and I will catch a glimpse of the promise of Spring.

That's what Spring is all about...rebirth, hope and transformation. But right now, Winter is present, still. And in order to experience the herald of Spring, I use Winter to prepare. Winter is the time to hibernate and dream, the time to go inside myself and nurture the roots which will burst into bloom in the Spring.

To everything there is a season...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Retreat Journey

This picture was taken years ago, in the back of my former neighbour's property. During the years I lived there it was very much a retreat for me. It was where I went when I needed to
process an event in my life, whether it was happy or sad.
In summer, it was a shady haven, with a superb canopy of trees. In winter, the ferns and the grasses showed their beauty.

And the smell! As long as I live, I won't forget the smell of the dark, fecund earth and the mouldering leaves that surrounded this pond. To this gardener, that scent is full of the promise of wonderful fertility.

It was a great spot for a retreat. But time moves on, and I moved with it. Now, in my lessons, it was time to find an inner space...a place where I could find safety and peace in an ever-increasing chaotic world. I would journey from here and seek answers to my questions. I would talk with my guides here.

I meditate under Grandfather Tree. I remember Maggie's directions, breathing deeply. I ground and centre. And then I travel to where I find the doorway. There is a fire, sending fragrant sage smoke over the area.

I bathe myself in the sage smoke, take my blue stone, and look out the doorway, through the leaves, at the paths ahead. A caressing breeze directs my eye upward, and I see Mother Goose flying above me, circling, her long neck stretched forward. Aho, I say to her, which path would you suggest I take? With a long honk, and another circle, she veers off over the West path, towards the Ocean.

I hear an odd boom behind me, and even with my mind taken up with the Ocean path, I turn to look…

I am standing beneath a fallen maple tree. Its root system offers much protection from the elements, some of them howling about me with full force. And just ahead of me is a sandy cliff, at the bottom of which, Ocean is adding her crashing cymbals to the symphony of the storm. It is a most wonderful day! It lifts my heart to the heavens.

And I notice, just to the left of me, sheltered by Maple tree roots, is a hut made of earth and grass. The rounded roof is ablaze with fall’s last concert, with coneflower, rudbeckia, coreopsis and grasses completing a riotous painting. Every flower dances to her own song in the wind, whirling and waving about with mad exuberance.

Behind the hut, I can see an herb garden. Most of the herbs have been harvested now, but there is still much evidence of parsley and rosemary, two of my plant helpers. Pink Dawn roses cling to an arbour over a path leading to the little patch of herbs, their delicate blossoms somehow withstanding the force of the wind. I smell the earth; deep and woodsy and fecund. And the smell of stirred up ocean waters—fresh and clean and briny. The scents combine with that of the wet, mossy earth after the rain squall just passing.

I walk to the entrance of the sod hut and enter. Darkness. A warm, comforting velvety darkness enfolds me. I feel protected and warm. The sounds of the storm outside are muffled, like a muted stereo. Background music. I take a deep breath, and open…really open… my eyes.

A fire in the stone fireplace ahead of me burns, at times sending sage scented smoke into the room. Shelves of books, with all my favourite authors…King, Myss, Estes, Sheehy and many more, line the fireplace wall. On the other wall sits a computer desk, with filing cabinets, a computer and more treasures I will become familiar with. I place my blue stone amongst them. Two overstuffed chairs face the fireplace. Candles burn on every available surface…and yet even with the candles and the smoky fireplace, the air smells sweet and fresh.

I enter the kitchen area. Brick ovens emit the faint scent of countless fruit pies cooked to perfection many times before. Herbs line the window shelf, and dried bundles of herbs line the ceiling. The smell of bread rising stimulates my appetite. This kitchen is all about the scents involved with food…all about the love poured into the dinners, lunches and breakfasts prepared throughout the ages. This kitchen immediately makes me feel at home.

I wander back to the fire, and sit in one of the chairs. This one is my chair, I tell myself, it fits my body perfectly. I place my feet on the ottoman in front of me, wrap my red shawl around my shoulders, and watch the flames. I feel at peace.

I wake in my chair in front of Grandfather Tree, knowing I can go back to my Retreat any time I feel a need. It is a place sacred to me, and I will take my time learning and honouring this space. It is protective…the smell of sage, the herbs in the kitchen, Maple tree…all tell me so. Nothing can hurt me here. I give thanks to the Creator for giving me this wonderful hovel…for that is what it is…a hovel with all the conveniences!

A hovel right beside the ocean, in the forest…could anyone ask for more?

Bear, Owl and Condor


I thought I would write a little more about my Power Animals, as I did in the post Totem Animal. The characteristics and meanings of these animals resonate deeply within me. When they appear, I know to be extra aware and vigilant.

I have always known about Bear. I was given a stuffed teddy when I was born, and my dreams reflected the animal in my arms. Before I went to sleep at night, I would imagine being warm and snuggly in my cave. Thus caves, consequently, also engender a great fascination, both fearful and comforting, in me.

Not long ago,I experienced a hot springs cave.When I walked through the silken, warm water that swirled around my knees, I let my fingers touch the walls of the tunnel I was in. Sensual and slick, they felt like the imagined walls of a womb, and I could feel the vibrations enter all of me. Much dialogue passed between the walls and I, wandering alone, lost in awe. It was Bear that showed me such beauty and peace in the womb of Mother Earth.

Bear is the creature of dreams. I am a dreamer, and I can get caught up in the dreaming, as Bear people are wont to do, making small progress in waking reality. Bear gives me the confident courage to face change and transformation in a firm manner, standing and facing my fear. His gift to me is astral travel, and visionary dreaming, where he is my protector. Bear tells me when it is time to withdraw, go deep into meditation into the beyond, and grasp the answers that are mine, if I dig deep enough with Bear’s clawed paws. When Bear appears, in any new phase in my life, it is written that the new endeavor will take two years to mature, during which time Bear will teach and give me strength to endure.

Owl, too, appears at the beginning of new paths. Owl gives me the courage to follow my instincts, my intuition. He gives me silent wisdom, vision, hearing, the ability to pinpoint subtleties of motives in people. Owl is the link between the dark, unseen world where I sometimes travel, and the world of light. He helps me understand my shadow self. Shortly after Gray and I moved in together, Owl appeared in the back garden, not fifteen feet from where we were sitting. We have two large dogs, and Owl knew this…he bided his time until the dogs went in and we stayed out…not something that happened very often. He sat and communed with us for a long time…and then he flew right towards us, right towards the house, and over the gate.

Now he reminds me of his presence when I sit on the stoop during a sleepless night…his call is a welcome one for me. It tells me Owl is watching out for me with more awareness than I alone could ever muster, especially in the shadowy fields of the dark night.

Bear and Owl are two animals I have always known. Just a few days ago, however, during a deep trance induced by a Reiki treatment, to my complete surprise, Condor appeared. I had absolutely no knowledge of Condor…it is not a bird that lives in my area, or a bird that I ever evinced any interest in. In my dreaming, he was sitting on a ledge, a precipice. Far below, I could see a valley and trees, with a creek burbling over small stones. Fish were teeming in the stream. It must have been a spawning period, for there were carcasses everywhere on the bank of the creek. Bear appeared, grunting his gratitude with the bounty that was swirling around his belly. Condor, with his keen eyes, helped me see a great distance, made the scene crystal clear.

In my research, I find this poem...

To A Buzzard Swinging in Silence


I never knew how fair a thing
was freedom, till i saw you swing,
Ragged, exultant, black and high,
Against a hollow, windy sky.
You that with such a horrid gait
Lumbers and flops with red, raw pate.
I never knew how beauty grew
from ugliness, until you flew
With soaring, somber, steady beat
Of wings rough-edged to grip the fleet
Far coursing horses of the sky--
To ride, to ride them gloriously.
Oh, brother buzzard, you whose sin
On earth is to be shackled in
To horror, teach me how to go
Like you, to beauty, sure and slow.
Like you, to slip some carrion ties
And lift and lift to high, clean skies,
Where winds and sun and silence ride,
Like you, oh Buzzard, glorified.


~Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Condor, or vulture, cleans up messes, the detritus left behind from animals, or humans, usually after the primary killer of the animal has eaten his fill. Condor is telling me I have created a physical and psychic mess, one I don’t want to deal with. By not facing and remedying the situation, my mess has actually wreaked havoc on my system. Condor will help me to eliminate old patterns and character aspects that no longer serve me.

Condor will make me conscious of my transformation, giving me balance and harmony. He purifies the soul, showing me divine, deep love. He gives me the gift of auric vision, so that I may see with full awareness. And he will introduce me, clear the path for me, towards conversations with my guides. Condor has given me permission to use his power, surprising as this may be to me, and I will ask to speak with him further. Perhaps Condor will help me clean up my psychic “mess”, will help change permanently any beliefs I have that are hindering me.

Already, Condor has taught me that answers to our inner questions come in the most surprising of ways, and he has taught me keen awareness of the work required to truly change my beliefs.

All of these animals deal with transformation, Shamanism, death and rebirth. I realized the other day that I was fighting terrifically hard to not “know” this side of myself, not utilizing my writing to its fullest potential, and not using my healing knowledge, all gifts which when not used, spurns spirit and God. And I asked myself why. Why was I trying so hard to deny the spiritual side of myself, when this was the only way that made me happy and at peace? How had I created this mess? It was fear of being different, of having to defend my way. It was my fear that I was not good enough to be in the company of the wise, my belief that I was too odd to be part of the ordinary people. It was my fear that I may not ever fit in anywhere. So I never tried.

Bear, Owl and Condor truly give me power and understanding to change this belief, and consequently my reality.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Different Christmas


Gray and I have already celebrated Christmas twice this year...Heidi, Darren and Bree are off to Mexico, and so are Scott and Leanne. We didn't manage to all get together at once; hence the two events.

This Christmas I notice my acceptance of life's moments...be they good or bad...is much greater than in previous years. Practicing Shamanism, and assimilating it into my life, has finally brought balance, and with it, a huge measure of serenity and peace.

We have had problems with the Christmas season...it was during the holidays that my daughter died. It was a very long time before I was able to enjoy Christmas again. Two years ago, however, Gray gave me a Reiki treatment that finally, finally removed some of the blockages in my chakras; and enabled me to see the rest far more clearly. And then Shaman Maggie and Shamanism came into my life. Instead of viewing the world through pain-filled memories, once I put the balance meter in motion, and practiced the exercises Maggie gave me...things fell into place. Rather easily, so easily in fact that I felt suspicious of this new found grace I had been given. It took some time before I realized the tools I had discovered, along with asking my guides for help, would work in any situation.

And so I applied the balance, help from guides, and Reiki to Dad's death. This event could, a few years ago, have placed me in a terrible place...one of depression and anger and pain.It was the memories, you see. Any event that displayed a likeness to the time of grief I experienced with my daughter's death would trigger strong waves of grief. It still happens, after almost nine years. But now, I no longer have to reel under the strength of the waves...I have learned, as a surfer does, how to ride and balance the powerful surges.

Christmas, this year, instead of being celebrated under a pall of grief and sadness, was an extremely happy, joyous occasion. Gray and I did well on our choice of gifts to the family...not always the case when giving to a different generation. I received a lug made out of entirely recycled materials, filled with exquisite presents; the socks alone, made out of some soft material, made me feel so pampered. And Gray is still anticipating using his Home Depot gift card. Gift cards are so delicious in that the joy is given threefold...once, when you receive it, twice, when you think of all the things you could use it for, then the third time...when you finally buy the long thought out item.

And because the gifts were taken care of so early--- we have the next two weeks to appreciate the spirituality of the season. To relax. To listen to Christmas concerts, and Christmas videos. To watch the moon and stars and reflect on times past...times that led to this path I am presently travelling.

A different Christmas, to be sure. One of peace, love and happiness. How incredible is that?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

An Early Christmas Present


Gray's son Scott and his girlfriend Leanne gave me a Buddha board for Christmas. I received it early because they're both going to be enjoying Christmas holidays in Mexico.

This is an incredible gift, to this wannabe painter. The board sits at an angle on a black base. I filled the base with pebbles and water. A brush has convenient storage on the base. I paint what I consider masterpieces, and watch as the water dries, creating foggy images that somehow look better as they fade.

I use it to practice drawing Reiki symbols. Sometimes I'll ask a question for my guides and watch as the water dries to see if an answer shows itself. Watching the water drying is recuperative, soothing. The board is very conducive to clearing the mind of intruding, harsh thoughts in preparation for meditation.

The buddha board, according to the information on it, can be found at www.buddhaboard.com . I know nothing about it, really...I don't even know what kind of material it's made out of. But I so enjoy people just picking up that brush, and painting whatever comes to mind, knowing it will only take a few minutes to dry and so erase whatever was painted, whatever emotion prompted the image.

Sometimes, I'll get up on the wrong side of the bed, and paint a scream, or perhaps a happy face, if I feel great. Sometimes I'll wet the whole board, revelling in the soothing black void it presents. Not stable enough for children, the board gives adults a chance to remember childhood fingerpainting.

Someone came to the door the other day, collecting for the Cancer Society, and as he was waiting for me to find my purse, he edged closer to the board. I suggested he try it. An older gentleman, he seemed a little embarassed as he painted a circle, stood back, added eyes, stood back, and painted in a mouth, turned down at the corners.

Oh, I said to him, he doesn't look very happy. No, he said, but I feel better now. He never elaborated on his comment, but he did look a little brighter when he left.

And that's what the board does. It gives balance to my creative and emotional bodies. It lets me forget the worries of mundane life. As I watch the image fade, it is as if problems fade with it.

So, thank you, Scott and Leanne, for knowing me so well, and for bringing this incredible tool into my life.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Awareness


Before I studied with Shaman Maggie, I practiced awareness as much as a person with limited knowledge of what she might be looking for, could. I remember (here we go, down memory lane…it’s MY blog, heehee) taking my granddaughter when she was a baby down to what she had aptly named the Secret Forest. We owned three acres, and the back part of it was wild forest. I would point out tiny plants…wee stars and trilliums, violets and many mushrooms. I would show her the fronds of the ferns as they unfurled their leaves in the spring. We noticed many things on those walks. We practiced and the more we did that, more would show themselves to us.

Partly as a result of this practice Bree, my granddaughter, has honed her intuitive awareness. It gives her sureness, and a very positive outlook. In order to make her appreciate her homework (Huh!), I tell her knowledge is strength. She shrugs her shoulders, and then proceeds to tell me she just “knows” inside her tummy and heart. She is far and away more aware and has more faith in herself than I ever was. And she’s only ten.

But I have really digressed. I could write about Bree until the snow settles in summer, and probably will. Be warned.


As I study with Maggie, one sentence in a lesson on Allies, really resonated with me, and that is “As you progress through your studies your level of awareness will expand to include things you barely noticed before.” Other people ‘see’ their allies in dreams and meditations, but I only hear them. My auditory sense is turned way up in a meditation or a visualization; and in dreams, sounds are amplified for me.

Convinced that this would be another exercise in “hearing” my allies, rather than seeing, I spent a lot of time listening for words of wisdom from all sorts of beings, including the Sequoia in my yard. The Sequoia told me in no uncertain terms he was not only an ally of mine, though, he was much more than that to me at the present time, and he advised me not to look so hard. The Sequoia told me to relax a bit, and to have fun, while I was searching. He told me my allies were all around me.

“Huh!” said I. And then sat back, took a long drink of my water, and prepared myself for a relaxing, fun meditation. Never let it be said I don’t do what I’m told, I said to myself, especially when the advice came from the mammoth tree whose power resonates throughout our property. Both Gray and I have always been aware of his strength and influence on our lives since we moved here. Once again, I felt it was prudent to honour the tree, and listen carefully, and with intent.

Concentrating on my breathing, I checked my balance meter and my chakras, and felt myself slipping into dreaming. I was sitting directly in front of the tree, and became assimilated into the gnarly bark…and then there was no tree, or chair, or yard. I was tumbling through a spiral of colours…mostly greens and purples, which became deeper in tone, until I was surrounded by a deep purply blue. Plummeting further through the soft, sensuous night-sky void, I felt only awe and wonder…wanting the gentle twists and twirls I was undergoing to never end, inhaling the blue into my very soul.

I rolled into a smooth, unforgiving, very hard boulder. My fingers slid over its smooth, undulating surface, one that vibrated and sent out messages to my touch. The light was shining from behind the boulder, although I could not see the source. The back lighting gave the boulder a halo, and put the crevices in its hide into sharp relief. The boulder grew and grew in my vision. And then, in a deep, gravelly voice, it spoke with me, slowly and ponderously. And its words dripped with wisdom and age.

I felt the power of the rock melting into my solar plexus, bathing me in golden light. Rock’s words calmed me and filled me with resolve. Rock used hard language, albeit in a gentle manner…words that reverberated and vibrated within me. Words I had always known, but had forgotten.

Rock asked me questions. He did not expect immediate answers…he asked me to listen to the questions, and find my own answers. His queries were delivered in a slightly sarcastic manner, as if he knew this was a comfortable and humourous way for me to hear. Rock asked me why I was convinced my totems and allies were hiding from me. Why was I not seeing? What did I expect? Was I not aware of places and beings that made me feel secure and warm and good? Was I not aware of aid I was receiving on a daily basis, just by walking around my yard? Did I not read and research the internet on a daily basis, learning about allies and totems? What was it I did not understand?

Rock asked me to touch his face. Angular and chiseled, round and softly molded, sharp and wicked…all those descriptions flashed through my mind as my hand slipped through the cracks and crevices of the stone visage. Rivers and waterfalls coursed down his cheeks, making him appear sad, but the twinkle in his soul belied the fa├žade he showed outwardly. My hand caressed his face, and waves of familiar energy coursed throughout my body, instilling instant peace. And knowledge.

I suddenly knew why so many rocks and boulders were delivered when we landscaped the back yard…a mistake made by the supplier, which we didn’t even have to pay for…which made me joke, for a time, about the quarry in the backyard. So many rocks that I easily placed, making raised beds around the perimeter of the back yard and the vegetable garden. It was the ease with which I “planted” the rocks that amazed Graham. He said he had never seen anyone work with rocks the way I did, so quickly and effortlessly. And it was, and still is, a real joy for me to heft and place a stone or a boulder, touching and communing with it. The boulders underneath Sequoia were picked out of a pile, and three of them became part of the Medicine Wheel constructed around the tree.

I was surrounded by allies. Rock knew the instant I made the connection, and a long rumble, which I assumed was laughter, issued forth from deep inside him….deep in the caves and fissures, right from his core. I chuckled with him…there is not much I enjoy more than a good laugh at myself, when I can get all bent out of shape about something, and then find how simple it all is.

Feeling the blue beginning to surround me again, I thanked Rock and watched him fade, swallowed up by the swirling colours of blue and purple and gold that took me back to my chair. Blinking, I woke staring at the ragged looking Sequoia bark, feeling the tree shiver with delight at my comprehension of my allies. It was a good joke on me!

I have dishes and pottery bowls filled with pebbles and rocks from various places around the West Coast of North America. I have, for a couple of years now, immersed myself in the study of rocks and crystals, use many crystals in healing…and have even placed two special rocks in the shower. People gift me with rocks…Scott, Graham’s son, brought me a beautiful, flat sandstone rock from the river. I saw the presence in Scott’s rock…a diaphanous, luminous being, a long slender reed of light…and I remember the warning given to me by Rock. He said that stones have been around a long time, and their stored energy may not be a match for mine, and to be discriminatory. I have since read the old Shamans sometimes stored their souls in stones, and the unknown author in that article advises leaving those stones alone. I cannot say for certain that all my rocks have pleasant personalities, as there are so many of them, but I handled each and every one, and felt no negativity…and the garden is thriving! To be sure, I will prepare a blessing for an early morning, when the world is asleep and I should be…

Wind, water and fire are all equally allies of mine. Wind, with its whisper soft messages or howling rages, gives me inspiration and clarity of thought. Water cleanses me, will take my troubles and wash them away, and soothes me in the form of misty rain that drips from my window. Fire comforts me, with its warmth and beauty. Fire takes my intentions to the Source, and its smoke cleanses and replaces negative energy, in myself and my place.

Even though my immediate world is filled with stones, I never associated them with my allies. This tells you where my head is at these days…something as obvious as Rock as an ally was passed over, even though I had read they could be strong allies. Stubborn and slow, they possess an unparalleled sense of humour, and I love and honour each and every one.

And when I tell Bree, she smiles a secretive little grin, and goes back to collecting the stones and pebbles she’s gathered since babyhood.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Visualization Practice

I love to look at this picture. It is high summer here, and I can smell the roses and hear the bees buzzing amongst the flowers. It is a view from Milner Gardens...the house is behind me. Wouldn't this view be amazing to wake up to every morning?

Can you hear the birdsong? The cry of Eagle, as he circles above, searching for food for his young who are snug in a nest high atop a tree in the Milner Forest, reminds me to keep my spirit healthy and alive.

The smell of the Ocean, far below, is sharp and crisp, this day. Sometimes the smell of the water can be heavy, but with the brisk Wind that's blowing, it smells fresh and briny. I can see myself standing at the fence, holding my head back, and letting Wind blow fresh thoughts and ideas into my mind.

Or, perhaps, this is a very warm day, with not a breath of Wind. I want to sink into the soft cool grass, and let Sun do his healing work. On very warm days, my body doesn't ache, and I can transport myself back to summer, if I want.

I've found photos to be an amazing source of inspiration for meditations. And the picture of Milner Garden's viewpoint of the Ocean is one of my favourites. There is such peace here!

With pictures, I can have a fierce Wind, no Wind, a little breeze...it gives me practice in changing my viewpoint. Try it...what can you see and hear? And how do you feel? I'd love to hear about your experiences looking at the Ocean in this picture.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Finding my guides


Finding my guides, when I first started studying with Shaman Elder Maggie, was an exercise on learning patience. I have always talked to the ones who walk with me, but I did not know they could be my guides. I wasn’t thinking, obviously. I’m one of those people who just accepts the world may be a little different for me, and if others didn’t believe…I’d shrug my shoulders. Wasn’t any hill of beans to me.

And once I accepted the fact that having a guided life wasn’t anything new to me( I was already very proficient in asking my guides for aid) it was like the Tower in my Tarot deck…a complete collapse of old thoughts and patterns…a complete change in my life. Suddenly, events, people, places and things were sooo much easier. I asked my guides for help with everything; from showering to help with finances. And my life became better and better. It took a couple of weeks of intense concentration and awareness of the messages which were being sent to me for this new way to incorporate itself into every hour of my daily life.

But I had only a small inkling of who my allies and totems were. So I asked for help from my guides, and I became super aware of my surroundings. They directed me to Spider, who leaves her webbings strung like Christmas lights everywhere in my early morning home. Spider is the creator…the one who spins her silken webs with such surety, inspiration, and patience, making her the weaver of illusion. Grandmother Spider is the animal spirit that I will ask to help me in my journey. It is a good thing I have woken to her call…three times she bit my neck last week. These were not teensy bites, either, but it took me awhile to grasp her message. Spider will help me have a completely new perspective on my beliefs, and my reality. She will give me a clearer understanding on where my niche in life lies. She will centre and ground me in my journey. She’s the dream weaver, after all.

Spider owns the magickal energy of creation, uses assertiveness with her creative force, and uses spiral energy – the links with the past and future. Spider makes a formidable ally, because she also has the guardianship of the ancient languages formed by the geometric patterns found within her web. With these attributes, Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. I am trying to “weave magic with the written word” as Ted Andrews in Animal Speak so eloquently puts it, and according to him, I probably have a spider totem.

And, just this morning, as I was trimming back the lavender, I heard the Canada Geese honking and shouting their joy with the day. I turned and looked up…two groups were flying towards me in formation. As I watched, they dipped lower until I could see their tucked up feet, and their round, full bodies, with wings spread wide, as if embracing me. I heard them say, “Happy Journeying,” and I burst into laughter, as I waved and shouted back, “Happy Journey to you, too!”

I felt such a rush of joy when I saw them. It moved me to tears. And I knew then they were sending me a message too. Grandmother Goose tells me it is possible to be well grounded, and still fly to the spirit worlds. She tells me I will have adventures in multiple awareness and imagination, that I have a gift for story telling, and that when I journey, I will have a safe return. Grandmother Goose sent me the questing call, when she flew so low over my head. I will ask her, also, in my dream, if she will walk with me awhile.

My guides have already introduced Grandfather Tree, Grandfather Rock, and Grandmother Parsley to me. But I must ask a couple more spirits. A plant Spirit I take wherever I go is Rosemary. She embodies the spirit of my deceased daughter. The scent of Rosemary…an herb for fidelity and remembrance…brings my daughter’s face instantly to mind. If she agrees, I will take Grandmother Rosemary with me.

And a sea spirit! For many years, I was showered with turtles from friends and relatives on my birthday. I have them still…they are now dotted all over my garden, mostly hidden in the greenery surrounding the pool. Extremely lifelike, they have surprised the odd visitor who catches a glimpse of them.

Turtles are Navigators. Turtle will help me find the shore where I seek to land. He will help me hold my vision, strong and true, in my mind, thereby helping me reach my goal. Turtle carries an immense amount of wisdom…he has lived on earth, unchanged, for 200 million years. And has watched as thousands of other species have come and gone, giving him the knowledge that nothing lasts forever…that the only real death in life is stagnation.

Turtle, if he agrees to join my group of guides, will teach me patience, and will ground me. I live in my intuitive and emotional bodies most of the time, and turtle can teach me to work with rationality in my dreams and visions. Turtle knows how exposed and vulnerable I can feel, and how I can keep to myself, drawing my hard, exterior shell completely around me. He will show me that I am created from parts that I like, and parts I don’t like…together, they make me whole…and I will learn to work with the undesirable parts…to channel them constructively.

Awareness. Turtle is very aware of what is happening around him. He knows that by moving slowly and calmly, he will allow the doors of intuition to open. Turtle’s imagination is boundless…and he will show me that along with daydreaming, I will see new possibilities and the easiest way to reach them. He is very aware of boundaries…if Turtle appears threatened, he will pull into his shell, where he will take time to watch, wait and scout out the situation before re-appearing. He will pull me back when I rush into situations that may not be all they are cracked up to be, and will calm my anxiety when I have to be patient and wait.

When I think about the above, I am filled with a warm rush of joy…some people call it love. These animals and plants feel right for me now, at this time. They will change…other allies and totems may show up here and there, feeding their bits of knowledge to me as we pass by. My awareness of these events grows stronger daily, and my acceptance of their knowledge and wisdom is boundless.

Finding guides, allies and totems will be different for everybody. The Net is filled with sites where information on how to do this is free, just a click of the mouse away. And then the rest is practice, practice and more practice.

And suddenly, the world is a far brighter place.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Recognizing Messages From Beyond


Quite often, when people die, the life they leave behind has some unfinished business. And before they leave on their new path, sometimes those souls will hang around until things are to their satisfaction. In this case, people who are close to the deceased can often sense or see the loved one.

Dreams play a large part in my ability to walk with a departed soul. I have read or studied somewhere that appearances in any way other than dreams by the soul takes an enormous amount of energy. That is, moving an object, ringing the telephone, making sounds or appearing physically takes more energy than appearing in dreams.

So, especially when a loved one dies who is close to me, I can sometimes sense the time of death. At times, I will feel a sharp pain in my skull...always a harbinger of someone's death for me. In my Dad's case, he died suddenly...but it took a very short time after his death for me to be in touch with his soul intuitively, hearing his footsteps, experiencing an upgrade in synchronistic happenings. Now he has shifted his attention, in large part, to my mother...but he has started appearing regularly in my dreams. He gives me his messages...they vary...but his appearance is growing younger and younger.

There were many months of appearances by my daughter when she died. It took an incredible amount of intent for her to keep appearing for as long as she did...and about two years ago, she told me, with tears streaming down her face, that she would only appear once in a while to me. And that is when I was able to let her go...when I knew she was in pain, torn between two very different paths.

I have practiced walking with a departed soul for the very first part of his new journey for a long time, and I am aware of the messages that are sent. But very often, a new way to send a message appears...spirits are intensely creative. One close spirit banged on my daughter's ceiling for hours one night...neighbours heard and complained. But there was nothing to be seen, although we both knew who it was. The phone rang constantly after my daughter died suddenly; but nobody was there...just far off noises.

When the soul returns after death, I am always engulfed by memories and pain. That is the sense I draw on to know the soul is near; and I do everything in my power to reassure the soul that pain alone does not consume me anymore. And that they are free of any unfinished business with me, free to follow their own path without holding any negative, lingering ties to the past.

And then sometimes, I will walk with them for awhile, using the tools I've been given in both Shamanism and Reiki, to comfort and lend support.

But in my Dad's case, he has things to attend to, still. He will only go when he deems it is time to do so, and no daughter of his will ever tell him different. I have found the characteristics a soul departs with don't change just because they have left the physical plane. There is a progression towards where the soul evolves, but it is not immediate.

So Dad is still as stubborn and opinionated as he was when he was alive, just about three weeks ago. He will appreciate my help when he needs it, and not when I think he does.

Ever thus.




Re: Thoughts on my Dad

I am still learning to blog...and most of the time things go awry. Shaman Elder Maggie Wahl's link didn't come through correctly...here it is...http://Come Walk With a Shaman.com. She's great, and has provided lots of free info on her site.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thoughts on my Dad


My Dad died last Tuesday of a massive heart attack at the age of 77. His death was unexpected; my mother is 84, and he was her primary caregiver for the last twelve or so years. Mom is not mobile, and so now, care workers will stay longer with her, trying to fill the huge hole my Dad left in Mom's life.

I remember my Dad best through the golden haze of childhood memories. He was younger, then, of course, and now that is how he appears to me. It was not long after his death...a matter of hours...before I could sense him. He gave me advice...he wanted me to remain clear headed and balanced. And he wanted Mom to be safe. He wanted her daughters to work together.

Our family is fractured, but I felt, at a time like this, we could put aside our differences and work together. Not so. The negative bodies had attached themselves strongly, and were in a feeding frenzy. It was the first time I actually saw the negativity...I have always had the ability to sense it...and I was humbled and in absolute awe as to how quickly my words were banished by the black amorphous cloud of energy that swept over the room. And in the blink of an eye, my concentration and intent wavered. It was enough to let chaos reign once more.

My teacher, Shaman Maggie (http://Come) tells me I am not the only one that will have to bring the family together. My Dad now has many more abilities than when he was alive, and can orchestrate the meeting of the minds in my family with or without my help. And so it will be.

But Dad continues to appear. It is unusual, at least for me, to see the soul who has passed so often. I can usually walk awhile with a passed soul, offering reassurance and comfort and gentle persuasion to go further on their new path, but my Dad will not go. He was bull headed and very convinced he was right when he was alive. And now, he very much wants peace in the family. I believe he will manage it, too.

As much as he appears to me, in dreams and in meditations, I miss his physical presence. He always seemed so solid to me. Born in Germany, he played the Teutonic male all his life...even after immigrating in 1951, a long time ago, he never lost his accent. And that accent punctuated his personality, strengthened his words, even if he didn't mean them to.

He never liked any of my boyfriends, or husbands, for that matter. Once, when I was very young, I brought a boy of German descent home...it was one of the few times I heard words against his countrymen. And I knew then there would never be any pleasing him with regards to the males in my life.

Dad made me a swing in the backyard. There were two very tall shaved logs, set in concrete deep in the earth, and another for the crosspiece at the top. Two thick long ropes were attached to a plank. And there were the logs that strengthened the vertical posts. It still is the best swing I have ever had the pleasure to use. There will never be another exhilarating moment quite like the ones I used to have pumping so hard, and reaching for the sky with my toes. Because the ropes were so long, it felt sometimes as if I were swinging high enough to go right over the top. But my Dad assured me it couldn't do that...and it never did.

There are so many stories...I am still hearing about the things Dad used to do; or more often than not, things that he wouldn't do...he never minced words. He never knew I had become one of Shaman Maggie's apprentices, but he does now. That is how he discovered he could still contact me. And, true to form, he expects me to listen...and finally, finally, now I will.

I miss my Dad.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Spiritual Travellers

We had old friends of Gray's visit us this weekend...I only just met them a couple of years ago, but Gray has known them forever. I find when friends come to visit, one of the first comments is how this house feels so complete and peaceful...from the mouths of all of us old hippies...it's got good vibes.

And amongst the million things we talked about, is how during the seventies we were into Castenada, yoga, herbs and meditations, and practicing spirituality really hard. Then the children came along, and we all, with few exceptions, got caught up in different rhythms of life. I suppose we sometimes remembered how we used to approach each day, as we worked and brought up children, but it was vague and hazy. And then the old joke...if you remembered the sixties and seventies, you weren't there...would rear up. You'd giggle a little, feel nostalgic for what you remembered was the best time in your life, mourn a little for a different cadence that once surrounded us, and move on.

But we all remember those times, and learned our lessons well. What we practiced so many years ago is coming back to the forefront of our memories. We have the time now, our children mostly grown, and we remember spiritual journeys taken wayyyyyy back then. I love it when I revisit a place, a retreat within myself, where I drew comfort in my early adulthood. The good energy I drew on never dissipated. I had just forgotten it was so easily accessed. It is wonderful to remember that little nugget, and to re-experience it.

And so I have become a spiritual traveller, revisiting those old, almost forgotten ways of youthful idealism. The difference is that I have learned a measure of wisdom I didn't have in the seventies. Applying that wisdom to youthful ideals gives me a broader, much more experienced vision of life's lessons, but the background of the sixties and seventies produced a fertile field on which to grow.

It seems, too, that in the second half of my life, I am finding those people who have the same outlook and beliefs I have. The majority of Gray's friends are mountain climbers...people who faced very extreme conditions many times in their climbs. This experience had an impact on their youthful spirituality, an impact which would continue throughout their lives. It's fascinating to hear the climbing stories. These climbers, experienced as they were, were no strangers to fear. But they faced it over and over.

The more I hear those hair-raising stories, the more I realize that when they climbed, they felt alive, attuned to all the different nuances of nature. They were aware. Their intent was to reach the summit, of whichever mountain it happened to be. Their knowledge of the mountain gave them power and strength. And they had to be, by necessity, the best they could be on the face of those mountains. Other people's lives depended on it.

A difficult path, mountain climbing. And so is life, whether it's the tiniest seed that grows to a huge sunflower or the infant that learns to face his fear over and over as he grows to maturity and beyond.

I went backwards in time a little, this weekend. It's good to remember that I once practiced a new and different way for the times. It makes it so much easier this time around.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Totem Animal.


My totem animal, the one that stays through thick and thin, who is always with me, is the Bear. I haven't seen him in the wild for some time; but he appears to me in other ways...we might rent a movie about a bear, or I read something on bears, or I have a dream about him.

When I was a baby, I had a wonderful stuffed bear that I lost when we immigrated. He was my confidant and my comfort. I was very young when he stayed behind (he was a very big bear, and would have required more stamina than my family had to carry him onto the ship and across Canada) but I never forgot that bear.

Grandfather Bear hasn't appeared to me in the flesh for awhile. I used to live in the country, and there were few summers when I didn't catch a glimpse of him...when the salmon were running in the creek, he was a fairly reliable presence. But I live in the middle of town now, and it would be very unusual if he were to turn up in my backyard! So now I have to work a little harder to have a conversation with him.

For a time, every gift for Christmas or my birthday was bear orientated. I have plaques, dishes, sweaters and pyjamas, charms and pictures of Grandfather Bear. Totem animals are representations of yourself, and bear fits me very well. Bear's medicine gives me the power of introspection...helps me to quiet my mind, enter the stillness within, and gives me the ability to find inner answers. Bear encourages me to discover my natural healing gifts, and gives me the courage to walk a different road.

I am a quiet, thoughtful, meditative person. Sometimes, after a busy day, I can easily see why Bear hibernates in the winter. I seek the cosiness of my warm bed, where I can rejuvenate, just as bear seeks his cave. I try and find the answers to my questions by going deep within, and I feel comfort when I know Bear walks by my side. He is big and wise, warm and soft...and can be very ferocious. Exactly who I need when I venture on a journey...with Bear as my totem animal, there are few beings who will easily threaten me. Even though he is near-sighted, just as I am, Bear is extremely aware, highly sensitive to his surroundings, and I hope that ability is something Grandfather Bear can teach me.

Grandfather Bear is my life totem. I have many other animals that I can call on for wisdom and teachings, and which will change through the course of my life, but Bear is stable and continuous. He represents my basic self, my personality, my spirit. I trust him to bring me safely back from the Inner Worlds. I trust his strength and his awareness, his gifts of being able to survive in severe conditions.

Grandfather Bear is as constant to me as the sunrise depicted in the photo above. He has much to teach, and he shows me a new day and a different way of being. Even when I lose my way in life, I have only to call on him, and he will show me the way.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pictures


The photos placed on this blog are pictures of some of my favourite places, plants and people...and don't necessarily have anything to do with what I've written about.

I mention this in case people think the Primulas are Parsley. Or that Sage grows by this pond. Or that the house is mine...in my dreams, it is.

And this blog is all about dreams...

Pretty Parsley...a Plant Ally






I stood on the deck this morning and surveyed my garden. After a thorough watering last night, every leaf on every plant stood at attention, radiating health and abundance. I wondered which plant I should pick to write about, as they are, each and every one, important to me in some way. But I remembered my lesson from Rock. Which plant in my garden was as plentiful as the rock bodies that delineated my garden beds? And by a large margin, that plant would have to be Parsley.
Parsley entered my life at an early stage…my mother did not have enough chamomile to make a poultice for my earache when I was three, so she added Parsley. The scent that I remember wafting from the warm poultice still comforts me, although I realize it was an unorthodox use for Parsley. And still, for me, no meal is complete without Parsley added to it…her green herbal perfume calls to me as much as bacon, or frying onions calls to others…she stimulates my appetite.
Years ago, it was understood that only witches could grow Parsley. Her seed was reputed to go to the devil nine times and back before it would sprout, people said…it took a long time. For me, it sprouts everywhere. I don’t remember planting it, and yet I must have, since there were no plants in the garden when we moved here. However Parsley arrived, she makes herself welcome wherever she grows. She situated herself right beside the rose garden. In my research, I find that planting Parsley beside roses stimulates the health and scent of the rose. Parsley already knew that, of course, and where I used to grow tomatoes, beside the roses, she has taken over the whole bed. I couldn’t bear to tear Parsley out, and so she stayed, growing lushly beautiful, seeding now to continue her ownership of the bed.
There are many properties for Parsley, including protection and purification. Parsley is a diuretic and promotes lust (although I’m not sure if those two properties occur at the same time). The Romans believed wearing or nibbling on parsley sprigs would enable them to drink more wine, and not become inebriated. Raw Parsley cleanses the blood, dissolves sticky deposits in veins, maintains your blood vessels’ elasticity, facilitates removal of kidney and gallstones, treats deafness (and ear infections! My mother knew the old ways!). Chewing parsley relieves bad breath, and helps the digestion.
Parsley is full of nutrients, becoming one of nature’s preventative medicines. It is high in Vitamin B, potassium, and has high iron, chlorophyll, calcium, and phosphorus. It reduces the release of histamines. A powerful Herb!
As I stood and gazed at the myriad pockets of Parsley in my garden, I ran over what I had learned of her in my mind. I decided to pick flat leaf parsley as my Plant Helper, but it did not have the sheer energy and bounce of the curly Parsley. And I couldn’t see the being inside the specimen of flat leaf Italian parsley. I chose the brash, strongly scented curly Parsley instead. And in her, I felt the power she was known for.
I asked Parsley’s permission, and picked a bundle from amongst the umbels of seed and leaves. As soon as I picked from her, the familiar strong green scent enveloped me and a voice told me to sit under Tree, where I do most of my dreaming. When I am told to sit there, it is a force like no other…it is almost as if hands are propelling and pushing me until I sit down. There is no way to resist the force, and after attempting to resist once, I always sit. The only time I did resist, Tree never left me in peace…sitting there was all I could think about doing.
Thus I knew Parsley had something to tell me. I settled myself, and eventually found myself in a leafy green forest. Large green bugs flew and buzzed around me. The trunks of the trees were striped in burgundy and green. A golden light, tinged with green, shone all around. Above me were the familiar seed heads, dropping large seeds here and there on the forest floor. The air was cool and crisp, like a cold, fresh iceberg lettuce leaf…refreshing and reviving. I instantly realized I was in Parsley’s home place.
I walked between the tree trunks, marveling at how large they and the bugs all around me were, as compared to their true size on the mundane level. The bugs paid me no mind…they were busy with their own agenda. They seemed stolid and bumbling, intent on their work, which seemed to consist of alighting upon a leaf and picking it over, and then flying to another leaf, where the same exercise prevailed. I walked on, looking for the being that resided here.
I had a vague sense of a tall, turreted building, and then, suddenly, she was beside me. She was androgynous in looks, wearing a gossamer shirt over flaring white pants. Her face was not human at all. Her headpiece, all in silver, covered her hair. Her eyes were large, luminous and black. I do not recall a mouth, or ears. Her arms and legs were long and lithe, with three tapering fingers on each hand. She moved quickly, as quickly as the hummingbirds that loved to taste her blossoms in my garden. She was the parsley Deva.
The pale golden light engulfed Parsley, and followed her as she flitted about, telling me about herself. She has memories, she said, of a time long ago, when no household kitchen ever considered itself complete without her. Her memories reach far back in time, to a time when animals roamed the earth, and the golden sun filtered down and covered all who lived. She will lend me her memories, if I ask her for them. There are many that will be of benefit to me, Parsley said. She said she will lend me protection, as she has done for the roses in the garden, and has done for humankind for eons, if I wanted it.
All the while she told me these things, she moved…gracefully, looking airborne. She reminded me of Peter Pan, only dressed all in white. I felt comfort in her presence, and love of a different sort…a cooler love than what I’m used to…surrounded me. Her eyes, unblinking and luminous, conveyed her thoughts to me, and I realized I was to say something, although I had no idea what. Stumbling over my words, I thanked her for living in my yard, and asked for protection and knowledge of her memories to help me further on my path. She nodded, and disappeared.
I found myself back in my chair, under Tree. Blinking, I stared at the corrugated bark of our Tree, startled to be looking at the brown trunk, and not the wondrous spring green I had so recently been surrounded by. I looked at my yard, and the whole yard had a grey cast overshadowing it, as compared to the world Parsley lived in. No wonder Parsley fills me with wonder…her green beauty is one of the first plants to greet the new Spring season, and she lives throughout her life as green as she was when she first popped up from the soil. Her green strikes my heart the same way a certain pink…the colour of a New Dawn rose…does, and those two colours correspond with the heart chakra. Those two colours mean home, love and peace to me.
But it seemed very strange, when I returned from dreaming. This is the first time the colours surrounding me in the mundane world seemed to lose their brightness when I returned from a dream. It concerned me for a moment, before everything slowly regained its luster, and lost the dull, grey shadow hovering over my garden. It still worries me a little. It was as if I was looking at a photo that was over developed. And it took a few minutes for the light to return to my garden, although I felt no fear…a little anxiety, maybe. More a feeling of “let’s wait and see what happens” and when it changed again, I thought to ask you for help with this one.
This visit with Parsley took up most of my day. I cannot imagine how much time Shaman herbologists have to spend with the plant spirits in order to know them as well as they do and as many as they know. There are plants in my yard that I could shake hands with…the connection and knowledge of each other is that strong. Sometimes there will be instant knowledge, and I will just “know” what a plant requires from me, but this is the first time I saw a Deva. It is the first time I spoke with one. Her lessons will have to be mulled over and dreamed about…I am happy about the protection she offers me. I am happy that such a joyful, loving plant decided to take up residence right by my back door, amongst the roses and just outside the kitchen, reminding me of the heart chakra’s purpose each and every time I go outside.
This was one of my favourite lessons. I could do it over and over, each time with a different plant. It was extremely interesting, and what Parsley taught me has little to do with vitamins and the make-up of the plant. She is teaching me that she and I are one, and that her memories are mine, if I will only take them. Parsley is teaching me a little more about the Universe.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

White Sage and New Window Shades


New window shades were delivered today. These were not my first choice, and it took me awhile to warm up to them. I think a lot of my negative thoughts about them were because they were new, so I decided to do a white sage clearing. One never knows who or what may have infused these innocent looking blinds with negativity, although I think a lot of my reticence about them may be because I am also in the midst of quitting smoking. But white sage clears a lot of junk quickly, and I intend to smudge myself at the same time.

I find Eileen Nauman's information on Sacred White Sage. She writes of Sage's uses for clearing negativity...our inner and outer selves, our living spaces, and our auras. Sage emits negative ions, she says, just as running water does. Our auras hold positive ions, which are like dust in the aura, making us feel tired or sluggish, disinterested. Kinda like I feel about these shades.

Sage's smoke meets the positive ions, clings and neutralizes them. All I know is I feel lighter after I smudge...like having a shower. So, following Eileen's Protocol for the Use of White Sage. wherein (great word...wherein) the first rule is....you never stop the sage from burning, when the ions have been neutralized, it ceases burning on its own.

I will watch for the smoke's quality...thin, light smoke will tell me the area is fairly clean, while thick, rolling smoke means there are a lot of those negative ions hanging around. When I am done smudging, the rule is to let Sage burn out until it is done. Sage knows what is required and where to go. I will watch to see if the smoke drifts to any particular place, which will tell me that is where the catalyzation of energy or healing needs to take place.

Keeping all the windows and doors closed, I light my Sage wand, and blow out the flames. I want the smoke to tell its story. I have already meditated with my guides, asking for their guidance and help, and I feel their warmth hovering around me. I waft the smoke from the wand towards the ceiling from my feet in each corner and also in the center of each room. I pay extra attention to the blinds. At first the smoke is relatively light, but picks up in volume around the new window coverings. I have left them half open...an oversight..they should be all the way down, so I send a little Reiki to help Sage. After I do each room in the house, I go to the center of our home and send the smoke, which is fairly light by this time, to the ceiling one more time.

I sit and meditate, centering and grounding myself. I thank Sage for coming to my aid in clearing the negativity from the home. Sage is a very useful plant ally, and I intend to keep in her good graces, so I remember my manners. I thank my guides, and then I tend to the sage wand, which is still burning lightly.

Sage knows when to stop burning, and it took her an hour to do so. Every once in a while, a billow of smoke would appear, but mostly it was just light smoke. I watched where the smoke gathered. The smoke billowed in the north bedroom...the guest bedroom...and again, in the entry area to the front room, which also faces north. There are histories from many people in these areas...and it has been awhile since I last smudged. Any negative bodies left behind by others will be taken care of with this smudging.

Even with the wand still smoking lightly, the scent in the home from the smoke is hardly discernible. And within the hour, my body begins to feel lighter, not so burdened with the mundane realities of life. The house feels roomier, less closed in. I know Sage has worked her magic.

Smudging is a very old method used for clearing. So old, it was ridiculed as a pagan rite, and dismissed. As an apprentice to the Shamanistic principles, I am learning to re-member the old ways, and I was shown today how many clues to my life there is in the smoke from Sage. In the chaos that often surrounds our world, I want to remember what I can use, what tools there are, to help me walk this path I have chosen. The tools are all there, they are all free for the taking, but it is taking a lot of focus on awareness. It becomes easier with practice.

And the window shades are free of negative entities.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

An Introduction

This isn't meant to be an esoteric blog; there are plenty of those. Shamanism and its principles can be very difficult to assimilate. These are my ideas on how to work those principles into my life...a life like any other.

I am no different from any middle-aged woman you see shopping at your local grocery store. I live in a small cottage situated on a crossroad, with two addled hounds, one black and one red, and my male partner, Gray. The reason I differentiate on the gender is I used to just call him my partner, until I was asked if I was gay. I'm not.

But after a series of crises and disasters that seemed to happen often in my life...I had the thought that I may be on the wrong path. And so, I investigated all the alternative beliefs, and believe me, there's a lot. But I was drawn to Shamanism, learned as much as I could stuff into my brain in a short period of time, and then decided to apprentice with a Shaman. I believe it was pre-ordained, but I like to think I chose it...and I hear my guides enjoying a good belly laugh! The joke's apparently on me.

Ahhh, you say to yourself. She's not like any woman in the grocery store...she talks with her guides! And I do. In this blog, I will share some of the conversations I have with them, and the teachings they give me. And how do you know the woman in the grocery store isn't having a good long conversation with her guides? It's not as if I go wandering around talking out loud (unless I'm in the garden, of course, and then only if the dogs are near).

I've had some wonderful visualizations, when the time was deemed correct for me to do so. For example, there was the time I tried to find my allies. I practiced and practiced, thought about it, dreamt about it, and even tried to force it, but no luck. I discovered I couldn't control this one...and then that led to a whole long lesson on patience and control...you get side-tracked a lot with Shamanism...one lesson spirals into many others. By the time I noticed I was entirely surrounded by Rock and Parsley, I had a whole lot of beliefs I was holding change. After that I found my retreat...a place where I go to meet my guides, where lessons are learned and journeys begun.

I'm new at Shamanistic story-telling, and I intend to practice writing some stories here. If you read this blog, and I hope you will, please keep an open mind and believe in the wonderful possibilities that are ours, just for the taking. Or, at the very least, acknowledge that I believe them, as do countless other middle aged and not so middle aged men and women, and that my life is a whole lot better as a result. Shamanism is just re-membering the old ways, after all. It's the assimilation of those old ways into my life that I want to write about.
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