Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Power Places

There are certain places that resonate deeply within my soul...the Columbia River Gorge is one. Gray and I visit our friends Jerr and Melissa there. It's a place I've only recently come to know. Even before I heard Melissa's stories of the history of the property they live on, I felt the familiar rush of energy I feel when I re-visit a place from another time.

Every log, stump or tree is covered in ferns and moss. It rained a bit while we were there, and was misty most of the rest...but that only added to the feel of an ancient power embedded in the soil of the land. There are certain trees on their property where energy is concentrated, making the urge to listen to the trees irresistable. It is the kind of property one walks every day, as Melissa does, in order not to miss the words of wisdom and comfort coming from the land.

Out of two old stumps that overlooked the lake they are situated by, beside the Columbia River, Jerr and Melissa had the artist follow the vision they had of an eagle and a turtle. They sit side by side, these two, lending their wisdom to any who care to hear.

Eagle is Spirit, and Turtle is Mother Earth. Between the two of them, the power they impart is palpable. It is like an altar to the spirits, there where they sit beside the water.

Turtle is known for her honour and words of ancient wisdom, stability and protection. Eagle, as a Spirit Messenger, brings clarity, vision and inspiration. What a beautiful thing, to honour the old stumps by letting the messengers inside show themselves!

And these two figures sit right outside the dining room doors, where their presence becomes part of the daily family routine. I think that is the ticket...when I make Mother Nature and her messages of wisdom a part of my everyday routine, it becomes much easier to hear.

Turtle and Eagle hold the stories of Jerr and Melissa's land. Next time I visit, I will spend more time with these two, in their Power Place. And I will ask them to tell me the stories they think I need to hear...the ones with the age old wisdom that permeates the Columbia River Gorge.

Power Places are like that...they call you back.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Synchronicity and the Call to Shamanism

I was very young when I first started exploring spirituality. I went through all the childhood things...having secret friends, talking to my guardian angel...I didn't know who my angel was, but I'd read that everyone had one. During the teen years, there were the inevitable occult experiences everyone talked about, wondered about. Early adulthood brought Castaneda, freedom and the desire to live life a different way.

There were strategic times that a teacher would appear, although I didn't recognize them as such, in my youth. Only in hindsight can I see that I would meet people who would help me with each crisis or circumstance as they happened. I was not aware or knowledgeable enough to realize when I prayed, to whomever at that time, I was being heard. And I was being carried without knowing it.

My spirituality took a giant leap when I joined AA. I was surrounded by people who believed in a Higher Power. And then I went through Women in Recovery, a programme that had just started when I quit drinking. For six weeks we were taught a different way, one that included journalling and prayer every day. Prayer here was much different than I had been taught. It included smudging, fires, candles and meditation. This recovery programme taught us to speak with whoever or whatever we wanted, during our meditation period.

We learned a little about awareness, about how Mother Nature plays such a large part in our learning, that she sends messages that would help us, if we could only understand. We were taught about alternative healing methods, and I became enthralled. This was what I had been looking for.

I started to read everything I could about the meaning behind my life. This was before I owned a computer. It seemed as if relevant books just appeared and I devoured them all. Tarot cards helped a great deal as I embarked on this inner journey. They gave me direction, and forced me to look deeper inside with each question asked. Those cards did not let me live with denial.

Because of the cards, I learned to face truth...to some degree. This whole voyage has evolved by degrees. But through it all, on looking back, I can see how one thing led to another, orchestrated by a Power I did not know or understand at the time. The call had been sent; it was up to me as to whether or not I would answer. But first, I would have to understand and hear it.

The way was paved by synchronistic events. So many that even I, a dreamy Pisces, began to notice them. And eventually, as time went on, I discovered that asking for something, or praying, always brought it to me. I might have to wait awhile; but it never failed. Were my thought patterns predicting my future? Were good thoughts sent to the ether giving me good things and were negative thought forms giving me bad experiences?

What was it all about?

My personal life was in upheaval... had been for a few years, even before my daughter died. I've decided my contract in life included these experiences in order to understand other people's pain. Going through them wasn't pleasant, but necessary, if Shamanism is the path I am meant to take. My friend Jerr had an uncanny way of predicting, if I continued on a course, what would happen. It was because he had already experienced whatever event it might be; and therefore was familiar with the twists and turns. The wounded healer. I am an expert with the wounds, now I am learning the healing.

There were many big events to learn from...two divorces, many deaths, my child's death, alcoholism, births. Eventually, as the wheel turned, I learned. And was rewarded with a certain amount of serenity and peace, as another transition took place. Gray and I embarked on a new life, this time together.

I had time and intent now to explore my spirituality. I became a student of The College of the Sacred Mists. Shamanism was introduced as more than a vague subject to me there. It was suggested that perhaps I had been given the call to walk the Shaman's path ( an article by Monica King in The American Chronicle entitled On Shamanism gives a concise view of what Shamanism is).

And that was when Shaman Maggie appeared, as I was surfing the web one day. Her site carried a message, it seemed, that was directed at me. I signed up. Even though everyone has free will, I felt this path was the only choice for me...I could have fudged around for a few more years, as I tried to find....something... but it was done.

Now I see synchronicity when it happens, am becoming aware of how life works if I heed the messages given. I am learning a different language...one where the appearance of a hawk and eagle on the same day signifies spirit is sending a message.... one where I am told the time is right to follow missions and dreams, and that courage and purpose are being sent. I am learning to have total faith in my guides, and in messages sent in dreams and visualizations.

This is the path I will walk, with intent and impeccability, for the rest of my life. And as I stumble along, sometimes clutching and clinging to stones and branches as I go, I will be given the tools I need to advance. This I know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The first time I had actually heard of Abundantia is when I read Doreen Virtue's book Archangels and Ascended Masters In my research, I also found Annie Zalezsak where Ms. Zalezsak has manifested her vision of Abundantia in her paintings.

Since I started calling on Abundantia, she has sent small miracles our way. She doesn't just help with financial matters, although we are very appreciative of that, but she sends us daily gifts. For example, Gray might be given fresh shrimp, during the course of his day, or I might be given a discount on something I'm buying.

It makes me smile, knowing the reason why things are going so well. Everytime it happens, I chuckle...Abundantia is such a happy guide! She is absolutely carefree and full of faith. It is not that I even expect a discount when I go to the cash register; it just happens. Suddenly there are freebies everywhere.

Abundantia's beautiful kind image was placed on Roman coins centuries ago. She is also known as Abundia, Habone, and Fulla. Ms. Virtue describes her as "a gracious hostess, constantly asking if you need anything, and then lovingly fulfilling every wish." And she does this so easily.

It made me uncomfortable to ask for success, prosperity, abundance and good fortune...Abundantia's forte. In Ms. Virtue's channelings, Abundantia says she becomes ecstatic at the sounds of gratitude and joy when she rescues someone with her financial interventions. She says worry and concern about financial affairs can rule over you, leaving no time or freedom for healing projects.

But it was an old belief...where I was not worth asking for abundance for myself. When I recognize this, I find a certain amount of freedom and gratitude for the recognition. I realize how differently I feel about this. I am worth it, as are we all. Abundantia asks for nothing in return other than faith in the Universe's readiness to help.

And she makes a great guide...she directs me to places where there is opportunity, or she'll come to me in dreams with ideas for financial abundance. When I shop, I invariably find something at fantastic prices, sometimes with potentially huge payoffs. And I shop at places now where it wouldn't have crossed my mind before. All the while, I hear this tinkling sound (at first I thought it was her laughter, but it was too repetitive...) and I have come to believe this is the sound of the coins falling off her figure, as Ms. Virtue describes.

Abundantia makes my life so much fun! She's hilarious, she brings tears to my eyes with the happiness she showers upon me. I still worry, at times, about financial matters (a hard belief system I am trying to work through) but her lovely laughter is never very far away. It is awesome.

Abundantia, in my life at any rate, does not just give abundance in financial matters. She showers me with abundance in all things...a hugely beautiful sunrise, a flower that transcends beauty, such happiness in being...is it possible it was always thus? Is it possible Abundantia helped me change an old outlook on my life? And by doing so, changed a belief?


Abundantia...worth far more than her weight in paltry gold.

Friday, January 20, 2006


My granddaughter, Bree, and her friend Ash are coming to spend the night. It's been a long time since I've had them overnight together; it used to be a very usual occurrence.

But I moved away from their town. And with all the activities Bree is involved in, it gets harder and harder to have overnight visits. And even harder to coordinate the two girls for a night together. So tonight will be special.

There are certain things that are a tradition, when the girls come to stay with me. And so I gave in to nostalgia. Even though the two have gained a few years since they last came together, I think kids love that continuity... the feeling that things are still the same, in many ways, as they once were, gives the gift of security. They know I love them, and think about them.

And so I laid in the snack foods...the special ketchup chips (dill pickle, too, just in case), the drinks in their favourite flavors, chocolate milk, whipping cream, popcorn, and chicken soup with O's (not a vegetable in sight in this soup!) And Gray has even consented to having dinner at MacDonald's, although I think I can get the girls to agree to go somewhere else...they are starting to enjoy good food, now, too. Maybe.

I went to the stationer's this morning and laid in new supplies...stuff more suited to their advanced ages. And as usual, I made sure Ash had the same things as Bree, although they will have to share some things. But how different these two are now! Difficulty in sharing is a thing that belongs to the past, when it was very important that when the two were together, everything they did was equal.

And all bets concerning nutrition are off, when they're here. I think Gray was even surprised at how much latitude there is, but he is still in parenting mode. He hasn't been a grandparent before. He's learning, though...the girls and I don't mind teaching him. Pickles and cheese were a great snack, when the girls think maybe it's time for something good for them. Oranges are a hit, especially when they're frenched. And the important thing is, that there is no set time for any of these foods. Soup for breakfast is the order of the day, still. They'll eat two bowls apiece, with chocolate milk and whipping cream as a chaser.

Before bed, this time, they wanted a Sno-Cone. I got that 'look' from Gray...I smiled and said, "Sure"! Poor Gray...he's been fighting the flu for the last couple of weeks, but he had promised them one...earlier. Far earlier than ten o'clock at night...but he suddenly couldn't refuse them, either. Even when I gave him an out of the situation.

That's what happens when you're a grandparent.Those angelic brown eyes...eyes that are connected to your heart chakra, which opens and blossoms like a full-blown rose...grandparenting goes hand in hand with spiritual awakening. It shows you what unconditional love is and can be, if it were used in other situations,too.

We only had a short time together, the girls and I. It didn't take long to retrieve the easy comaraderie we three had shared. And to introduce Gray further to the circle. The girls agree he fits right in.

But they made their bed before leaving! And tidied every single thing up. They still required the bags of snacks and a drink for the ride home. And now there is a new tradition...before I drive Bree home, we stop at the Cat Rescue Shelter, where Bree connects with the kittens and cats awaiting a home. We still have our wonderful chat on the way home, where we discuss school and friendships and trips and on and on.

How wonderful for me to know, even with all the upheaval and changes and grief over the last years, some things never change. That unconditional love I spoke about just grows with the grandchild. I had that same love for my kids as they were growing up, but that was parenting love...a whole-hearted love, to be sure, but parents are teachers of the mundane. Whilst grandparents, in most cases, are free to do whatever their natures tell them.

So kids grow up, with all the transitions and changes that entails. Along with the wonderful nostalgic memories of the infant, toddler and elementary years, we are now gathering pre-teen remembrances. And it will go on, with my heart chakra just bursting with love, whenever those brown eyes connect.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

An Early Quest

One of Shaman Maggie's requirements was for me to go on a quest in search of Shamanistic tools. These tools would be used in preparation for and in conjunction with future journeys. I was to find which senses were most powerful in me, to look for a forest path, a desert path, an ocean path and a mountain path, and the feelings generated by each.

I am still in the very beginning stages of shamanic journeying... the visualizations I do are in preparation for true healing journeys. I am building experience and knowledge to face the beings I will encounter. I was only intending to come back with tools in this visualization; but, as is the way at times, I came back with a lot more.

After the usual preparations, I visualized a cave, with a small campfire in the centre. There is a cup filled with liquid on an old oak table. There are various artifacts and tools arranged on shelves around the cave. There are sleeping pallets, some filled with sumptuous, silken pillows, others covered with furs. The cave is lit with candle light and the glow from the bonfire. It feels warm, safe. The air feels soft; sound is as muffled as it was when, as a child, I would hide under a dark, woolen blanket.

I hear drums, although I cannot see the source. But it is there, filling the cave with a rhythmic, muted beat. I feel myself expand. And then for awhile I watch myself, as I roam around the cave, before I feel safe enough to experience the cave without that added awareness. I notice the cave opening, just the outline of it apparent to me. When I look at the entrance I feel apprehensive...I am to go through the door in due course, and I am not sure what is in store for me there.

I warm myself by the fire and notice a bundle of dried sage, some braided, sitting in a basket next to a well-worn wooden bench. I pick up a small amount and throw it on the flames. The smell of sage, sharp and familiar, envelops me, and billows around the room. I become aware the small amount thrown onto the flames is not enough to create the clouds of smoke that I see. But before I can do more than wonder, the smoke clears and the air becomes pure and clean...the aftermath of burning sage.

Suddenly, Michael is there, beside the table. His figure is large, larger than any human figure. I have asked for his protection, during this visualization. I have also called Grandfather Bear, but I don't yet see him. Michael points to the cup on the table, and I realize he wants me to drink.

The cup is filled with a glowing, blue liquid, with silver swirling throughout the fluid. I drink, and warmth floods my body…I watch it flow throughout my system. It tastes like silken cream. I notice the warmth stays centred in my throat, and I place my hands over it. I know I am sending Reiki to my throat chakra, when the familiar joy and comfort flows through me.

Michael leads me to the shelf on which various stones are arranged. The stones are all glowing, and it takes a moment to pick which one is brightest. It is hard to tell, but I believe the blue stone has a particular luminosity surrounding it. The smell of sage becomes stronger as I pick up the blue/silver stone. I remember to place it against my third eye, and the scent of sage becomes overwhelming, making me feel a little dizzy. I feel a warm touch on my shoulder, centering me.

I hold the stone, feeling it nestle in the palm of my hand, giving comfort. I feel protected by this new stone. He is a being I am unfamiliar with as yet, and I will spend time learning his ways. But he is with me now, and I intend to look out the cave’s entrance, with Michael and the blue stone as guides.

The leaves almost obscuring the door is my old friend Maple tree. Grandfather Maple and I go back a long way, directly to my childhood. The leaves would turn in the fall, making my heart hurt with their beauty, and there is nothing else that quite sums up the turning of the wheel to me as much as Maple Tree.

It is 2 PM; there is that particular airlessness and stillness in the air which whispers of wishful visions and dreams that appear on a drowsy early fall day. I step out of the cave, blinking against the sudden bright light. For a moment, everything is gray, and again my equilibrium is steadied by the hand on my shoulder and my stone, wedging itself perfectly into my palm. But gradually, I see objects regain their luster and more…every plant, mountain, sea, down to the smallest insect… glows with its own life force.

I see the paths, and know immediately the forest path is the one I walk most often, the one where I have done most of my soul’s work. I could skip down that path right now, without any qualms whatsoever. The mountain path calls, too. But it is the ocean path that seems dark and forbidding. I am surprised!

It is to the ocean that I go when life throws me a curve, when the dark times seem to take over. The movements of the waves have soothed the beast inside me too many times to count. Give me wind and ocean, and I am complete. Why, suddenly, does the path seem so dark?

It is because I take the pain and sorrow that engulfs me, and throw it to the waves and the wind. And I think I have healed those hurts by doing this act. But I have just closed the door on these events; I have not dissected and healed from them first. The ocean and the wind hold my thoughts thrown to the tides tightly, and by doing so, protect me until I am ready to walk the ocean path with intent.

And if I walk this path, with Maggie as my teacher, I must be prepared to face the wonders of my life, good and bad. Because I threw some of the good in the water, too…as a thank you, at times. The joy in a life can be a painful thing to face again, too. I hold the blue stone tightly and feel Michael behind me, and know, if I want to heal, I must revisit the ocean path. But I find myself back inside the cave.

I am happy to return to the smell of sage, happy that Grandfather Maple has closed the door behind me. I must take time to assimilate the ocean path, and what it means to me. The ocean has my memories, and it will return them to me when I ask for them. There is time. I have so much to learn, and I want to enjoy feeling free of the old baggage the ocean and wind keep returning to me on the tides every so often.

I stand in front of the fire, warming my hands for a moment before I retreat to the green sleeping bag, the one with the sumptuous pillows. I am tired, and as I snuggle in, I feel a tremendous urge to redecorate this cave…to make it mine. Drifting off, I know ownership of this safe place is not far off...

It was a very satisfying visualization. I discovered the sage smoke takes me to other realms too quickly, and I need to learn how to control the speed.

I have discovered I require the colour blue and its properties, that blue energy attracts me. My throat and sacral chakra need work; no surprise to me…I have targeted those two areas intensely recently. I thought feeling would be the most prevalent of my senses, and this exercise told me my sense of smell was very strong, also.

Maple Tree gives me such loving comfort. He carries my earliest memories. I am middle-aged, and I visualized the middle of the day. I have learned many of life’s lessons. I find here that there are more hours to go…

The forest path…ahh, yes. As familiar as the back of my hand, the forest path is where I struggled with alcoholism, where I learned acceptance and letting go, and where I mourned…

The ocean path is where I rushed, in the middle of my darkest travails, for strength and power to see me through. I left an enormous amount of negative energy just floating around…beyond the blue. I have to find those pockets of energy and heal them…give them back to Mother Ocean cleansed and refreshed. And in this way, face my demons once and for all, not just deny them.

This quest corroborated my intuition, which has already told me of the problems in my body systems I have to work on. Every time my intuition is validated, I am carried a little further on my chosen path, with trust as my ally. It made me aware there are negative bodies still attached( some of which have since been identified).

It showed me that just going through the motions...as I did when I thought I gave the ocean parts of me that still needed cleansing...and then to try and forget (or deny) was not dealing with the problem. It was shelving them, only to have the negativity surrounding them reappear over and over again.

And it gave me my blue stone.

Friday, January 13, 2006


My friend Rodney created this clay figurehead, which hangs on the wall at the entrance to my home. The entry faces north, and I placed it there in honour of the North Wind.

I watched Rodney create Wind, as I call him. Wind's face changes frequently during the day, as the shadows and beams of light pass over him. He is enigmatic in many ways; but is honourable and just.

At times, I feel as if he doesn't quite approve of something I've done, or a decision I've made. Sometimes his face shows concern and comfort. Another face shows laughter and joy. Sometimes there is sarcasm. And because Rodney, well known for his quick wit, created him, Wind often speaks to me with Rodney's voice, always with faint laughter not far away.

But at all times, Wind is there to listen. Just as his creator did, when my marriage broke its painful past wide open to the winds. Both he and his partner Roger were my bulwarks during that time, a port in the storm of emotions that felt as a if I was living in a hurricane.

Wind listens, and then comes back with some of the wisdom I heard from the guys next door:- don't be a victim, fight for what is right, get stronger, you can do it...and on and on. With Wind, I get the same kind of no-nonsense advice as I did throughout the years of upheaval. When I moved, I left the closeness my neighbours and I had developed; yet, Wind hangs there and continues to reassure.

Last night, Wind reassured me Mother Nature was blowing off steam, as I sat by the fireplace with my two dogs listening to the howls and moans from outside. Every once in a while, the house would shudder as a particularly strong gust blew. Grandfather Tree is not far from our bedroom window, sitting in very sodden ground from flooding and tremendous amounts of rainfall.

Since I couldn't sleep, I felt safer in the living room. Gray, well-known for his sleeping abilities, slept unabated throughout the storm. Next to Grandfather Tree. Before I went to bed, I went outside to speak with Tree, and watched as he reeled back at times when a blast of wind hit, as a boxer might after a strong punch. He looked well able to withstand the storm, and he told me so. Gray has strong faith and beliefs, giving him ease of mind.

But in the dark of the night, hearing muffled booms and crashing noises, feeling the house shake, I can easily go into that 'what if' frame of mind. Hence the huddle with the two shivering dogs in the living room. Normally, I love the wind, he is one of my allies, giving me clarity of thought. I glanced at Wind hanging placidly on the wall and asked him, along with Michael and others, for protection during the wrath of the storm. I was immediately reassured by the comfort I felt...so very much like the comfort given so freely from my two neighbours, not so many years ago.

And with that comfort I was able to enjoy the storm. I felt safe, remembering the teachings I had learned about Wind blowing at this time of year. Last night, the wind blew and swirled in all directions, it seemed, but it was predominately a North Wind. It is the cleansing wind that blows in January...clearing out the old negative patterns that hang about. It embodies Spirit, giving and receiving energy. Quite often, when I am really aware of Wind's power, as I was last night, I am left with the feeling that a transition is about to occur in my life. And not a gentle transition, either...Wind's message last night was powerful and strong.

So, once more I prepare for a change in my life, centering and balancing and grounding myself regularly. I have an idea of what the change may be, just a glimmer of understanding...but I am by no means sure. The only thing I am sure of is there will be jolt in the natural order of things in the near future; apprehension and anticipation go hand in hand with this surety. But I've found out not all changes are disastrous...a new belief. Changes also bring joy.

I heard Wind shout, 'you can do it' last night. Just as the guys next door did, when I was bogged under with changes. And I am grateful to have Wind and Moon to remind me of times past when I approached life with such fear and caution. To remind me to walk the new path I have chosen with intent and authority and impeccability...and no fear!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Goodbye and Hello!

When I met Mary, this photo illustrates how I looked at the world...as a place where I could participate only if I first climbed through the barbed wire that encircled it. I was at that place where just living...drawing a breath, putting one foot in front of the other...took every last bit of strength I had. That place where any more changes would have torn me to shreds.

For a period of years, I would see Mary, my therapist, every month...sometimes every week. Her appointment card on my fridge dragged me through, gave me hope, until I could see her again. Her job and mine was to take the person I had become, and show me...make me understand...that I was really someone very different, underneath the jumble of other peoples' beliefs I had taken as mine.

It was a daunting task. There were times when revelations came so thickly and quickly, I had trouble keeping up. I would go to an appointment, and walk out of there having absolutely no remembrance of what we talked about. But Mary had a way of asking questions that would pop up, out of nowhere, during the course of the next few days.

She asked me one two days ago, by email, as we discussed my next appointment. And again, it surprised me and yes, Mary, I was surprised by their reaction! I am still mulling that over...I need her ability to cut to the chase and 'see' very clearly, without seeming to! By using that approach, Mary was able to draw out my confidences, listening hard, but looking as if we were discussing the weather...and then zap me with a comment or question. She had a way of sending me reeling, when I least expected it.

And that was how I started to learn who I really was, underneath all the bull. And to face it honestly, no longer trying so hard to fool myself. Knowing if I continued to fool myself, I was never going to survive.Living other people's visions of their hopes, dreams and realities could not sustain my soul, withering away as it was without any outlet for its own creativity.

Mary led me through some hard truths, taught me to look for the other faces in a given situation. She encouraged me, was concerned for me, was interested in me and what I could do.
She taught me to open myself again, to other people. And then to face the fear of my undesirability. She cheered me along...and I began to learn I wasn't crazy.

It was a long process...a lifetime of living for others made me deride any decision I had to make for myself. And it was like I was living in a long, dark tunnel. The light at the end of it only very gradually became apparent.

I took a jog in the path Mary and I were walking together and moved to another town. Appointments became fewer, not only because of the distance, but because I was suddenly healing on my own. I would save up situations over the times between appointments; then spill them all out when I saw her. I don't really remember the situations or the answers now; but it all contributed to the whole of my healing.

And she was and still is so interested in me. It was a first in my life...the feeling that I might be interesting. I just never thought about it before.

Her appointment card, once displayed so prominently on my fridge, is now a business card, one more amongst the hundred others tacked on the appliance. But my eye found it early on, and I know exactly where it is. And when the inevitable crisis or change happens, and I can't see the forest for the trees, I'll reach for that card knowing, without any doubt, Mary's far-seeing eyesight will immediately be able to pinpoint the nut of the whole thing.

But, at the moment, I am saying goodbye to the therapist and hello to a new relationship...one where I'll email her with news of what's new, just as I would any other friend. And that's what I hope Mary and I will become, as I walk into the unknown future...good friends.

A friendship with honesty and trust as the cornerstone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Brooms and Beeswax

On a trip to Queen's Bay in the Kootenays a year and a half ago to visit good friends of Gray's, we took a side trip to Crawford Bay. Gray was very familiar with the area, having spent many holidays with John and Clo, and he knew how I loved brooms.

The North Woven Broom Company is a tiny log barn on the side of the Hwy. 3A in Crawford Bay. They are situated on Kootenay Lake, across from Nelson.

It was a cold, clear November day when we took the ferry across the lake to Crawford Bay. Not many leaves remained on the trees. Winter comes early to the Kootenays, and I was reminded of that as we walked into the log barn. There was no heat; and yet the broom weavers worked on, weaving the corn into the most amazing brooms I had ever seen.

And there were brooms everywhere! It was a broom lover's paradise. I bought a Shaker flat broom, an untrimmed natural branch broom (the one in the picture) and a turkey wing whisk. I think about the weaver of my broom each and every day, admiring her artistry and strength.

I use the Shaker broom for sweeping, be it bad energies or just plain dirt. The untrimmed natural branch broom is one of my tools I use for smudging and cleansing. When it's not in use, it sits against the fireplace in pride of place.

The owners weave Marriage brooms. These are brooms that use a forked branch as the handle, and couples, traditionally during a handfasting or other wedding celebrations, hold hands and jump over the broom, ensuring good luck for their union. To give a new broom as a gift is considered to bring good luck to the recipient. And couples stepping over a new broom on their home's threshold will also bring good luck, according to a Welsh custom.

The Shaker broom is two years old now. Very few of the broom corn stalks these brooms are made with have escaped the tight weave. It has been used at least twice a day in my home, and outside on the concrete. It works as well as it did the first time I used it.

We also picked up some beeswax candles made by The Kootenay Candle Company. We weren't lucky enough to go to their workshop, where visitors can watch the candles being dipped, but we were happy with the quality of the candles. I rarely burn any candle other than beeswax...it is the only fuel known to science that releases a negative ion as it burns. According to The Cheeky Bee Candle Company negative ions are proven to eliminate dust, pollen, mould, smoke and food odours, and pet dander, as well as airborne germs and bacteria.

As I can attest, having allergies and two dogs who live in this house, roaming with carefree abandon from room to room, the beeswax candles do work in combatting the worst of dog dander and bettering air quality in general. I could burn beeswax all day long, and not have a stuffy nose or runny eyes. And they leave behind the most wonderful honeylike aroma which puts me in mind of sunny summer mornings, eating toast with butter and honey for breakfast.

It was a great holiday...the Kootenays felt very spiritual to me. John and Clo live on the side of a mountain overlooking Kootenay Lake. Clo took us on a ramble up the mountain ( for this non-climber, it seemed like a very long ramble!) and there were many places where I just had to stop and listen to the whispers from the land.

The spirituality that is so apparent in this part of the province leads to alternative styles of living. It seemed to me that people here were very involved with listening to what the land, the trees and mountains, and the lake itself were saying. It is an area I would very much like to know better...I felt as if I had come home.

There are a few places I have visited that have that coming home feeling. The Columbia River Gorge is another. These places speak to my soul, with very ancient words of wisdom. And if I can name two places just like that, then I know there are many places in the world that will teach us, if we would only listen.

And, as a bonus and a gift, I found tools for living in the brooms and the candles, made with very spiritual hands, as a reward for listening to the whispers and stories that abound in these power places.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Painful Memories and the Chakras

The study of the Chakras is a fascinating subject for me. Watching Caroline Myss’s DVD "The Energetics of Healing" has immersed me even further. I have finally realized how the energy vortexes work within me…because although I had studied the chakras, I did not relate the information to my own body. Then I re-membered…

Many times throughout my life, if I received a direct hit or insult from someone, I would feel the most unearthly pain in my first and second chakra. The “pain” would almost make me vomit. The rush of hurt and sorrow I would feel would rush through the centre of my body…through the chakras, and settle in my groin area. Even a few years ago, I did not understand what this feeling was, even though I recognized it very well. The “hit” would bring instant tears, and I would wait for the rolling rush that would settle in my groin, knowing I was very, very hurt. I didn’t know how or why it would settle there. I knew so little about it.

Now I believe that each and every time the pit of my stomach felt hollow, empty and without hope, the insult or hurt would settle and lodge in my first or second chakra. Then, if another situation arose similar to the first, it would activate the darts that had already taken up residence and build on it…adding layers to the original hurt. The whole thing became a vicious circle.

In order to heal myself, I believed that counseling would help. And it did. The problem was that many of the hurts were forgotten, and not dealt with in counseling, until an identical circumstance happened. And then the pain would flare, sometimes all out of proportion to what was said or done. I believe the hurts grew bigger, adding more and more layers, until the four bodies were actively involved…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The only thing was, I did not understand the concept of the chakras, and the holding pattern they were engaged in. I became more and more confused. I had dealt with these past hurts, hadn’t I? Hadn’t I dragged experiences out, talked with my therapist about them, and then put them to rest? What more could I do?

I decided that I would have to accept that part of myself. If the rush of pain hurtled through my body, well, it was familiar to me, at least. And other people didn’t speak about this odd sensation I was experiencing. I convinced myself it was probably another one of my strange ways. Accept, and ignore…deny what was happening, I told myself. It was not real. And it could not affect me further.

How wrong I was. Graham gave me a full Reiki treatment the other day. Graham is a Karuna Master Reiki practitioner. And after a couple of years of daily practice, he is very, very good at it. Something always shifts inside when I receive a treatment from him, and this time was no exception.

Graham used a symbol for past life therapy, I believe, on my second chakra, but I may be wrong. I know that I was very far away, and suddenly back in my childhood. Such wonderful memories came up for me, and I wondered why suddenly I was remembering my sister’s blackberry cupcakes, swimming in the river, feeling hot summer sun, smelling the hard-baked, dusty earth. A lot of childhood memories came up, not one of them filled with fear and anger. At the beginning of the treatment, I did not know he was going to do this, so after being treated, I mentioned how weird it was that I was right back in my childhood.

He asked me how I felt. Joyful, I said, it was a wonderful time, and even as I voiced it, I wondered what had changed within me…my childhood, I thought, was anything but joyful…at least what I thought I remembered. But Gray says my whole face lit up, with a huge smile on my face, and sparkling eyes. I suddenly realized there WERE wonderful memories…but the bad ones had taken up primary residence in my chakras, shading the rest of the remembrances of my childhood a very dim, dark and dull colour. Suddenly, daylight hit the dingy corners of my childhood recollections. Suddenly, the whole world brightened.

And then, when he asked me what age I was at, as I recalled a happy moment, I realized I must have been about 8 or 9 at the time. I realized, with all the bad ones, there were happy times, too, giggly times…I can feel the giggle bubble up, the one I used to let flow out of me without restraint, the one I hid. I practice using it, and it feels so good.

Now, as I walk this new path to which I am being introduced, and as I learn the lessons relating to the chakras, I realize I am being given a very valuable tool in understanding the chakras and how they relate to MY physical, mental, spiritual and emotional bodies. And then, ultimately, to knowing myself on every level.

I already know I have work to do on my 5th Chakra, the throat, connecting back to issues arising out of my root and sacral chakra. I am finding that more and more and more people are opening themselves to me, telling me their fears. If I have difficulty voicing my intuitions, I cannot help them. I am not sure why I “clam up” so quickly, perhaps fear of failure, but I would heartily endorse the absence of it.

But it all takes time. I would love to be able to inhale all this information in one fell swoop. I remind my self to be patient…it took a lifetime to get where I am, and it may take the rest of my life to learn where the wrong turns were taken.

Negative Bodies

It took me a long while to understand the concept of the negative bodies that can attach themselves to us, easily, if we are not aware. After struggling for a long time with this, one day it just clicked...an aha! moment.

When I realized and understood that each of us has different ways of understanding ourselves, I eased up on myself. My way of understanding negative bodies is not necessarily the other person's way (whyever should it be? ...someone reminded me the other day that I have always thought differently and kind of weirdly, he thought...heehee.) but that's okay!

So, in order to understand this convoluted idea I was presented with, I put my own spin on things.

I 'see' my negative bodies as actual entities. I visualized myself as a bright, egg-like shape, with the colours of the corresponding chakras shining through the luminous covering. Over a long period of time, neverending, I revisited my life and my memories of events. I 'felt' direct hits to the chakra openings, and I 'saw', again, the pulsing, dark bodies that had attached. They reminded me of the bloodsuckers that used to attach themselves on me when I played in a swampy pond near my childhood home.

Some of the bodies that have attached I have no memory or sense of what they are, or where they came from. These are the ones that require a Reiki spirit cleansing and/or a journey. When I first started this quest for knowledge about myself, these bodies were firmly attached and rooted, gleefully feeding off my energy. And, for most of my life, I never knew they were there. Because I was always living someone else's reality and beliefs, I didn't even know what my own beliefs were. But a lot of those old bodies have released through subsequent Reiki sessions, and changing my belief about something.

Some of the bodies I knew well. They were old enemies, created by marriage breakups and deaths, most prominently the death of my child. These bodies were firmly ensconced. They were comfortable with me, and I with them...I carried them around willingly for a long time. This behavior, of course, took away any energy I might have given to more enjoyable pursuits, but I held on.

But, as in the way of the Universe, all things are dealt with, when the time is right. Synchronistic events occurred, and Gray started to study Reiki, very intensively. He needed to practice what he was learning...I was constantly receiving full body Reiki treatments. Those treatments catapulted me into facing those comfortable, dark, dank negative entities that were slowly eroding any chance I had for joy and serenity.

My body reacted...I went through a series of sessions where, when the entities released, my entire body shook and shook. Tears...great gulping sobs, the kind I don't remember ever having burst out of me without any restraint. I wanted, on some level, to stop this search for living life a better way. But I could not deny my soul peace and happiness. I wanted balance and serenity...and the only path I saw ahead where I could truly be happy involved standing and facing these bodies. And releasing them with love, and filling the space left behind with love and a new belief.

Then I learned to embrace the new belief with as much strength as I could muster, using it as often as I could until the belief became as comfortable as the old. The difference was, these new beliefs didn't drag me down; they energized me instead. And made me laugh. And giggle. And sometimes, I walk around, as my friend Jerr says, in a state of grace, experiencing pacific moments. So much better than the weight of those old beliefs.

To keep the negative bodies from having such an extreme hold on me involves keen awareness. This, too, develops with practice and more practice. I use visualization daily; it is as if I am having a daily shower, I check all the 2000 body parts for any niggling seeds of doubt, of negative thinking. I don't always find them; yesterday, during a Reiki session (again!) I visualized a couple of negative, skeletel entities, melting into necrotic decay and finally disappearing altogether. I do not know who or what they represented; however, today is a great day. And it's due to the expulsion of those rotten bodies.

It's so much easier to live life with my focus on the positive side of things. It is so much easier. I have learned to enjoy anticipation of a new day...just the day. It doesn't even have to be a special day, with a special event...just the sun shining its golden beams in my window, or the wind that carries special whispers to me, or the rose that blooms in the middle of winter...these are things I now notice that sustain me. These are true miracles.

I would not have been aware of them much, before.

Visualizing those bodies, learning how to banish them, and then learning how to change my belief and embrace a new reality, one filled with happiness, really fills me with awe. How amazing this is! And, in hindsight, how very simple.

I think I get far too involved in what is considered the 'right way'. When I do that, I deny myself the ability to figure it out, to listen to intuition, to learn who I am and what I believe.

And I like using the tools I have been given, and doing it my way.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Off to Africa!

What a whirlwind the last few days have been! Gray's son Scott has left for Cape Town, and along with the excitement of experiencing a new culture, came the inevitable sadness at leaving loved ones behind.

But this is the way it has been and is for eons when the youngsters leave on a quest. I remember (oh,oh..) when I left home...and had I been more aware at the time, I might have realized that I was also leaving on a lifelong spiritual quest.

Life changed completely for me, almost as soon as I closed the door of my parent's home behind me. The changes happened so quickly, it is only now that I am able to look back and process them, and how they impacted my life, in those early adulthood years.

And it is now that I realize how much each event included choices. Every choice I made had another possibility, and another life, had I chosen those. Some of my paths I chose were so obviously wrong when I started on them...it amazes me how I didn't see the pitfalls. But I was young, and invincible, I thought. And full of enthusiasm for living my life... my way.

But that was only to last for a very short time. Marriage and babies took over ( one of those choices I mentioned) and my way of living was now, once again, someone else's choice. I lived other people's ways and ideas for most of my life.

Then the world crashed...my daughter died and my marriage dissolved. It became so obvious, even to this dreamy Pisces, that I wasn't following my heart's advice, or my soul's purpose. It became obvious because my life's path was only getting rockier and harder to traverse.

I spent a few years with my inner self. Alone, I immersed myself with learning who I was. The Universe and the Powers That Be gave me this time, and I am so thankful for it. I listened to other peoples' opinions, took what I could use, and left the rest. I finally learned to listen to myself, first and foremost. Without guilt.

It is easy to see where I went wrong, with hindsight. It was not so easy at the time. And of course, Scott will have choices wherever he goes, and he will also feel invincible. But he is nowhere near as naive as I was, has so much more wisdom than I did at his age. And he has a father who shares his experiences and wise words with his son, who always listens.

My wish for Scott is that he will follow his heart. That he will listen to his soul's advice. That he learns what his intuition is telling him. And that all the paths he will follow in his life will go as smoothly as his trip to Africa, where he will do his practicum with Downhill Adventures

When Scott returns in three months, he will have made and executed many choices...and the boy we sent off to Africa will go further along his path towards mature manhood.

It seems growing up still has those wonderful choices as soon as we close the door to our parent's home behind us.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Thoughts and Wishes

The beginning of the New Year seems to bring with it the anticipation of new beginnings. It is as if the old saying 'out with the old, and in with the new' finds inspiration within each one of us.

That's how Daisy views her life upon awakening in the morning until bedtime...as an inspiration and a new adventure. The joy she projects to everyone she meets is handed back to her a thousandfold. With her quick step and happy grin, Daisy teaches us all a lesson on how to face each day with optimism, fearlessness and joy.

And she never quits.

It's as if she's an emissary from the Source. In this, the Chinese Year of the Firedog, Daisy's unquenchable good humour and fearless demeanor will keep her on the "A" list. Her owner, Margaret, herself a feisty, spirited woman, describes how Daisy has her "regulars", people who wait for Daisy to come into stores with her confident aura preceding her.

She brings good cheer...every day. She's broken her legs twice, I think, and through it all, she couldn't wait to greet whoever she saw, huffing with importance and self-confidence. Changes don't bother Daisy.

Her good humour always, is something I want to emulate. A grin, a smile, a shared laugh with a passing stranger makes me feel joyous, over and over. Daisy is a wonderful inspiration, as are all dogs with their loyalty and faithfulness and persistence in believing each new day is a gift from God.

I wish all of you a year filled with good humour and joy, even through all the inevitable changes...