The winter always stirs me into a creative frenzy. I want to organize and simplify after the holidays. I empty containers, pots, jars, drawers, small boxes...anything I have mindlessly put something into at some point in the hustle and bustle of autumn. I go through things, read the notes I wrote months ago, and to-do lists, then throw them out. (Goddess, that feels so bloody good!) Releasing, organizing and de-cluttering might not sound creative, but right after I am done with that work, the muse fills me, and I must create. Nature abhors a vacuum as we say, and I just want to fill this emptying with artwork and writing.
This is the time I energetically decide what I keep for the new year, and what I am ready to release. What is ready for release? What is ready for more of my energy? The problem with this process is that it is just me in my head, and I have been living with this stuff all year. It is hard to see the tree through the forest. All my stuff seems important or it wouldn't be my stuff! Sometimes you just need another set of eyes, another perspective, to remind you of what is redundant, what is extraneous, what is holding you back from a lightness of being.
The work for me is never about bringing in what I want. I know who I am and what I want. Maybe too much. I'm a leader, and a go-getter. I tend to have big dreams and enjoy projects, work, and offering myself to others. In fact, I often overschedule, over-do, overwork...this isn't always a good thing. I often have this nagging feeling that I am forgetting something, or that there just isn't enough time in this life for everything I want to do. And then in my darkest hours, the statement that haunts me, "I'm not doing enough!" What I do well is surround myself with people who challenge me. Not just friends, but a few strong spiritual advisors, and I also pay for support in the way of therapy, coaching, and healers who help me clarify, simplify, and re-prioritize my life in the most important ways. All this asking for help and direction has also informed what kinds of offerings I supply to others. If I need it, certainly other people need it.
After taking part in a Sankalpa retreat many years ago, I connected and understood my soul path so clearly that everything I envisioned, drew, and journaled that one day more than five years ago has come to pass. I can see how so much of what I visioned in that day clarified what is important to me, and what was standing the way of achieving it. Because of that day and my own struggles with simplifying and distilling what is important to me through other healers and coaches, I began offering New Year Visioning Retreat day at Alta View Wellness Center. This is the fourth year offering this vision board workshop. But it is SO MUCH MORE than just a vision board class.
I combine my studies in crystal healing, earth medicine, shamanic practices, art, tarot, meditation, and circle leading in all I do, but this workshop particularly reflects it. Watching people create vision boards these last three years only strengthened my resolve that setting intention in sacred space intensifies the spiritual work, creates a fertile place to manifest any intention and amplifies the creative fire for others. It creates a higher vibration and higher consciousness so we can achieve our beautiful goals. Most of us don't want to be rock stars, or write the Great American novel, but some of us do. For those with intentions of the peaceful, small-life variety, or those with big, meaty, lofty goals, I created this workshop to help you first figure out what is holding you back and then what you are ready to bring in.
We start the day in meditation and prayer, circle up. I drum and guide you in shamanic journey, and guided visioning through writing. We move here and there to find more creative flow. The energy of the morning is being in a waking trance state, almost, in and out of journey world, to write. I simply ask questions to spark your deepest wants and desires. From that spark, you begin to stoke a fire within you--the one that holds your truths and intentions. As we move through the morning, we journal as simply as possible. (What are you ready to release? What do want for your health, for your friendships, for your romantic life, for your work, for you?) And we uncover and distill what is most important to you and how to achieve it.
After our morning of visioning, we eat clean, homecooked food lovingly prepared by me. I cook vegetarian soups and salads for us. This is a retreat, after all, and I want you to feel cared for and loved. So all my food is created with love and Reiki.
Then we move into our time creating a vision board to hold the visions of the morning. Whether you want a new couch, a new job or a new perspective, we help you find photos, words, and images to hold your intentions and release anything standing in your way of the best you. This process takes most of the day. It is amazing how quickly the time flies. We laugh so much, and talk, and share space with other people also ready to make shifts in their life. If you have more questions, or want to register, just give me a call, 717-770-9109.
When we see an animal die before us, what are we supposed to interpret and understand from that medicine?
On the way to our last circle, one of my students hit a deer. She was devastated. The deer most certainly will die, or already had died. She asked me, “What does this mean?” As a circle keeper and an earth medicine walker, I found myself stumbling over my words. Why does this happen to us who walk an earth medicine path? Others chimed in with their thoughts—the deer knew you could hold space for its transition; it was destined to die; better you than someone else.
A few years ago, after a circle, I was driving home. I live in the boonies, as we say, out in the sticks, where I worry about hitting deer. Pennsylvania ranks as the second most deer collisions in the country. So, I drive slowly, cautiously through the fields, and frequently stop for all kinds of wildlife. But I was still in the city, headed home, and bam, a deer ran into my car. It hit my front quarter panel. I pulled over and the deer laid on the side of the road, panting, clearly injured. I called the police and sent Reiki. I envisioned the Reiki energy repairing the deer’s legs and head, and strengthening it. I did this Reiki for almost 15 minutes, and the deer stood up, steady and whole, then ran right out into the street to get demolished and killed by a massive truck.
The truck tore the deer apart. I shook and cried as well.
What does this mean? Is it still medicine for us if we see our medicine dead on the side of the road? And how do we interpret it?
As I meditated on the death of the deer, I could see this interplay between the deer’s medicine and the encroachment of humanity. The medicine of deer resides in its deep vulnerability. When deer interact with humanness and urban environments, we begin to see just how vulnerable these magnificent creatures are. Humans have disrupted the balance of the predator and the prey. Our ancestors decimated the predators—wolves, mountain lion population, the bears—who would have hunted the sick and weak, keeping populations down. Massive deforestation also affects deer populations. Whitetail deer flourish in edge environments, right where the forest meets the suburbs. Streets and cars encroach on the delicate ecosystems. And hunting is down around the country with the ease of shopping for meat in the supermarket.
So, deer medicine is not only a medicine about the individual deer’s vulnerability to predators but the species. Deer, particularly those with antlers, have a strong connection to Spirit. Their antlers are said to reach high to our guides and angels as antennae for messages. Deer connects with the subtle energy system and has heightened senses from hearing to vision to smell. They are always sensing the disruption in the force.
I could not help thinking as my student told me about the deer and her accident that this was part of the critical message for her. Knowing that she is going through a beautiful spiritual opening, deer medicine can come in this way to remind us of our vulnerability during our spiritual opening. When we experience all this light and love that begins to channel through us from Spirit, we live in a bubble of good vibes. When I started opening, I just was always blissed out and only able to tolerate other lightworkers. When we take all this gentle light and vulnerability into the real world, our first encounters with the sickness of our society, the toxicity and negativity of people, the harshness of the news and the suffering of others, we experience this world just like the deer, hit out of nowhere by real life. This modern world is cruel to the vulnerable. Deer medicine embodies vulnerability, quiet, and gentleness. Nothing is more profoundly indicative of the imbalance then when nature interacts with urban life. Where we see how pollution hurts wildlife, or cars kill deer.
This grounded, counter energy to very high vibrational work is part of the medicine lightworkers need to carry as much as the light message of our power animals. When you open in profound ways, you are, of course, more susceptible to those deep wells of grief and compassion. But it goes deeper. There is nothing natural about carrying vulnerability or being an empath in a narcissistic world. We also have to experience and learn about the shadow medicine of our animals. Shamanic work is not always easy or light or fun. It is mostly about challenging ourselves to go beyond the surface, to experience the more profound message, to become stewards of the Earth, spokespeople for the Mother. When all of this starts, we want to live in that amazing Other World of Spirit. When we practice earth medicine, we become intrinsically tied to Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon, and their incredible cycles. Life and death, happiness and grief, masculine and feminine—this delicate balance becomes second sight to us We can see it without trying. Impermanence and suffering of life and of the human condition is part of our medicine and the spiritual experience. We must hold space for both light and darkness, birth and death. As we begin our opening, this can be a harsh reality.
If this happens to you, or you are driving and notice an animal sacred to you, dead on the side of the road, my suggestion is to begin asking what is the medicine for you—both in the animal’s living experience (how does it live, love, eat, hunt, raise its young, etc), then as your medicine interacts with the brutality of this world.
We can also show reverence for the medicine of that animal by creating a prayer stick. This is a way of honoring your deer and helping its Spirit make its way upward. You take a stick. I suggest about a foot to a foot and a half long. I would walk in an area where the animal was killed, or an area sacred to you. Do not take a stick off of a living tree. Forage on the earth for it. Remember to sing and leave an offering for found objects. Tobacco is traditional, but lavender, a piece of hair or other offering is proper. Hold the stick, and commune with it. Talk to it. Take all the bark off of it. Bark represents the ego, and we take the bark off to humble ourselves before Great Spirit. Sanding the stick, and working with it in some way is important to connect your energy to the tree energy. You can decorate it with red leather or red fabric, crystals, feathers or other offerings. You can paint it with colors, or symbols. Attach leather or yarn to float in the wind. Feathers are traditional because they carry the prayers to heaven, also the soul of the deer or animal hurt. Take some red flannel and make a little offering or prayer tie to Spirit (tobacco or sage is traditional) and tie it to the Stick. Some traditions use a Y shaped stick. Then place it in the earth. This grounds your prayer and gives it a solid foundation. Also it connects Mother Earth and Father Sky. If you want, you can place it where the deer was hit, or you can place it in a sacred place in your yard. Sing a song to offer its soul to heaven/Great Spirit. I did this for the Vulture I harvested last year, and it felt important and honoring of the medicine and nature.
If you are able and feel up to it, take the hair or an item from the animal that was killed (always remembering that if it stinks, it will always stink. If it has bugs, your house will have bugs, so only newly killed animals can be harvested, but that is another post) and use it in ceremony. As medicine keepers, we need to honor the medicine and the allies and giving them a good death is part of this process. You can use that medicine you harvested on your altar or in a medicine bundle.
One thing I know is that none of us aim for the deer or squirrel or bird, so release guilt. Guilt is the illusion of control (if I did something different, it would have changed the outcome). Just be with the profound grief. That is enough suffering. Create a ritual of honoring the medicine of the deer. Sit in the discomfort of your humanness and the ways in which we can mitigate the harshness of our living on the earth. Allow the tears their flow. Fall into ritual and ceremony.
Remember anything, all of our human experience, can become our medicine. To ignore the death, suffering, and violence inherent in our animal medicine is to ignore the full power of its medicine. May you walk gently on the Earth, friends.
it’s been a while…that’s not from lack of love. In fact, every week, I put my weekly love letter to you on my To-Do list. When I write to you, my heart takes over, and even when I’m promising myself I’m not going to go deep, suddenly, there I am talking about that thing that I didn’t want to talk about.
It’s that way with this work I am called to do too. We want to stay light and shallow, but Spirit has a way of asking more of us, demanding we get honest and authentic right now. Presence, in fact, is just being where we are and honoring that walk.
I revisit grief this month, as my close friend lost her battle with cancer at age 45. Grief is this deep global, ancestral and cultural experience too right now, as we move through October—the month of collective honoring of the dead, and then on the heels of the hurricanes, earthquakes, fires still raging in the West…with all the natural disasters, racial violence, the shooting in Las Vegas (hell, the shootings every day in the US), with our own private and personal tragedies, we must sit with this extreme discomfort. I have no special magic trick for doing this work, except to just do it. Just sit and weep. Talk about how uncomfortable you are. Write long poems about injustice if you must.
I did this in August when I traveled to Niagara Falls, NY, to spend the day with Marybeth Bonfiglio at a writing workshop called Of Blood + Belonging. It was so good. I mean, so good. We explored the ancestors and this deep cultural grieving we are all going through. We cannot shift, raise our consciousness, ascend without pain. It is painful to let go of unhealthy ways of being—when we quit coffee, we get a headache; when we quit racism, misogyny, anger, violence, we get protest and violence and discomfort. When we hurt our environment for centuries, we get an Earth in revolt.
Marybeth asked us to ask how we belong, and how we be-long. And I thought about this so much since then, as what I see in the news and in the media sometimes makes me feel very Other. But that is not what I do anymore. I reject Other. I want to be Of. I want to be in your tribe, and in the tribe of all, even the ones who hate me. And so I wrote this:
I belong to the Earth. I belong to the morning. I belong to the Moon and her mysteries. I belong to the group of misfits and outcasts that belong nowhere with nothing, moving towards the abyss in the sacred dance of the wounded. I belong to Shadow and Light and Shadow again. I belong to the darkness that mines my suffering, my sins, my losses to bring light to another in the depths of the valley of hurt and grief.
I belong to all people, to all the people who don’t belong anywhere. I belong to the tribe of the untribed, to the citizens of the liminal spaces, that walk between life and death, between whiteness and brownness, between hetero and homo, between sober and drunk, between American and Immigrant, between the worker and the master, between the singletons and the twins. I belong to the exiled. To the runaways. To the orphans. To the unmothered and untethered. To the betrayed and the betrayers. To the spies and the sell-outs and the druggies. I belong to the Vultures who circle overhead, transmuting the rot, eating away the parts of us that no longer work.
I belong to the ones who are afraid of death and afraid of life, and manage to make that sacred. And I be-long, I mean, I long to be of the fearless, those that fear nothing and no one, who fear the boundaries which keep us from recognizing we are one. But I belong to the afraid who do it anyway.
Sometimes anger and bewilderment is our starting place.
This is what my work is about—creating a circle of seekers and misfits. I have some amazing classes coming up. I want to share them with you. In my circles, my center is about helping you process all this, and belong somewhere, even if it is among those that belong nowhere. There is space for doubt and for discomfort. Join me.
As a Tarot Reader, I am privy to the most interesting questions. People often come to me in places of confusion about their relationships--marriages, lovers, clandestine affairs, friendships, frenemies, parental/child relationships, co-workers. When we feel strong emotions on either end of the spectrum, we know something important is happening within the relationship. Deep wounds AND deep healing come from relationships.
There is no mistake that the Lovers card of the Major Arcana features Archangel Raphael over the lovers (the Devil's dark card comes from the same imagery as the Lovers), and that in the Minor Arcana, the Two of Cups, has the Caduceus--the two snakes wrapped around the staff of Hermes has represented Medicine and Healing for a long long time.
At times, healing in relationship confounds us. We don't always understand why someone provokes such strong reactions in us. Why someone's benign comment leads us to anger and another person's same comment sounds comforting. Or why we continue to attract and have the same types of relationships. Or why no matter how much therapy or talking or healing we do, we cannot repair the relationship with our mother, or father. When we get to the end of the line, we often ask questions like "What am I missing here? What is my lesson with this person? Do I have past life karma with this person?" People ask this if they feel deep, immediate love and connection for someone and if they feel the other extreme--revulsion, anger or deep hurt.
This layout came about after a reading with a friend of mine. She asked me what her past life relationship was with her husband. They had been together for over twenty years. She wondered why she felt so obligated to the marriage and to him. She asked if we could find this out via the Tarot Cards.
Sure. Why not? I had never asked such a question of the Tarot before, but the Celtic Cross is incredibly versatile. As I laid it out, I began changing the meanings of the positions and moving some of the cards around. After I was done, I realize I had naturally created a sacred spiral. I had done another reading like this connecting with someone's passed over loved one (I'll post this layout soon). In crystal gridding, I use a spiral for past life grids, to open to the deep knowledge within, like unscrewing a lid of the jar to view the past life.
We have done this spread many times in Tarot Share, playing with questions for each other to see how this layout works. One night, we did this for everyone at Tarot Share, looking at our past life karma with each other. It was fascinating to find out that when we ask about those people who have created deep love and deep anger/resentment/fear, we often get lots of Major Arcana cards. We see archetypes. We see reversals (lots of reversals). We see a spiritual journey, suffering. Do not be surprised if you see these kinds of things in this layout. It may be disturbing, but it also validates that the strong emotions you feel. Major Arcana always deals with soul journey. When we would read for each other (people who get along and often only interact during Tarot Share), we had all Minor Arcana and not too many reversals. It is not that we didn't share a past life, but that it was easy and light, and often in the context of a village or family environment where our souls and soul work is more removed from each other.
In the best case, these cards reveal their deep past life meanings to us easily during this layout. It can be hard to discern exactly what is going on in Past Life readings, but try to expand on what you already know of the card. And have fun playing with this layout. Comment here or on one of the social media platforms where I share this layout about how it worked for you. I'd love to hear!
One of the gifts of Tarot is how versatile and beautifully flexible it can be with our own spiritual work. Tarot flows through our own journaling and work in whatever way we need it. I've been journaling my daily Tarot readings again, after taking a wee hiatus, and it reconnects me to my Higher Self, my guides and my daily self-care regimen.
As a professional Tarot reader, I sometimes fall out of the habit of journaling. When I connect with Spirit for other people, I end up taking something away that I also needed to hear. And to be honest, sometimes I get burnt out from the cards. I know what they mean, so I'll throw a reading, then look at it. "Meh, yeah, I know. Quit harping on me, Tarot." But the truth is--Tarot has so much nuance and layers of meaning that this thought is just me being lazy. When I journal, I take a new deck, and use the book, or I go really in-depth with one card in relation to my question.
The best part of this new journaling journey is that I have been creating so many NEW layouts for myself and others. This time, though, I am creating graphic layouts to help others go deeper with their cards.
Of course, this new eclipse energy is kicking my ass. I mean, really. So much shadow has reemerged, and I realize now that this eclipse energy emerged for me in June, and has grown darker and deeper through this summer. We are at a culmination of release energy. I created an eclipse tarot layout at look at this shadow work. This layout can be used at any new moon, not just eclipse new moons. It is about going deeper with your own discomfort. One thing I always find confounding is this idea of Letting It Go (Elsa, I'm sorry!) I mean, sometimes I just look at someone with the head turned to ask, "UH, HOW?!?!" This layout has a card that asks just this question, "How do I let it go? How do I release?" I also ask, "What do I need to forgive?" Forgiveness work seems the key to this eclipse energy. Forgiving the self, forgiving others, forgiving our childhood, forgiving our bad decisions...so, that was my thought here. Forgiveness, shadow, release.
I hope you enjoy it and I would LOVE to hear your experience with this layout. And as a sidenote, I thought tomorrow that I might do a Live Reading on FB of this layout for the entire audience. I do offer distance readings, if you are interested in having a reading with me. Send me an email at email@example.com
The breath catches in my chest. The cold hits me, energizes me. I am drawn outside. The winter air calls. I want to hike in the snow--to walk and walk and walk until I am way up in the mountains. The sound of my breath echoes in my ears, the cloud of it leading me deeper into the wood, higher into the ether. The sun flickers through the pine trees. It doesn't matter to me that it is cold. I dress warm, and stop when I grow tired, watch for signs of life. But that is not what happens when I step outside, daydreaming about walking for hours, rather a little one pushes through my legs and pops out the door ahead of me with no pants on, giggling wildly. I have children with me always. I wake up with a kid draped on me, his little feet finding a place to knead, a head finds its perch on a shoulder. When I close the door to wee in private, the door flies open, like the black hatted villain in a Western just slung open the Saloon door and is saddling up to the bar. Then it is the insistent, persistent calls for Mama, MAMMMMMMMMMMMA. Where you at? as my two year old says.
I was born maternal, nurturing my twin in the womb. Stuffed animals and baby dolls and then naming each fly that landed on my arm, and feeding it bits of water and fruit. Mothering is encoded in my dna, and writ on my body now is silvery stretch marks across my belly. I had three children in three years, then my fourth five years later. And I left my career to be there for my children. My body now is all mother--soft and low hanging breasts and lines around my smiles and eyes that show the love and joy my babies bring me.
For me, for many of us, mothering grants a daily spiritual experience. We bring this absolutely vulnerable being into this world, and then nurture it, watch it grow stronger. We love without conditions. We accept without limits. We give selflessly to them without a scorecard. Whether you mother human bubbies, or little fur babies, or your writing, or your artwork, or your home, or your own healing, the heart chakra cannot help but burst forth.
And then imagine if we love ourselves this way.
We would start a revolution. A wild love warrior revolution where we say to those negative voices, to the ones saying we aren't enough, or have enough, or give enough, "You are wrong, and I love you anyway too." Spiritual women and men often get teased about nurturing their inner child, as though it is a joke. And yeah, maybe it makes us sound a little woo-woo and emotional, but hell, I am a little woo-woo and emotional. I'm okay with that. The mothering of the Self is such a vital important part of us being able to mother anyone else.
As I continue on my work with Earth Medicine School in the second level, Pixie takes us deeper into who we are and what we do. And it has been an absolutely fascinating discovery into who I am. When I listed who I am, my first word was Mother.
I am a mother.
This is what I do all day. If you follow me on Instagram, I may post some artsy pictures of communing and meditating and doing cool artsy, bohemian stuff, but most days I am in the nitty gritty with a rambunctuous, curious, awesome, goofy two year old and two big kids with bigger emotional needs. I try to also post pictures of my kids crying too, because that is my life. It is all of it. The other day, for example, the baby had a bit of diarrhea, and screamed in ten minute increments on and off since he woke up. Because his bum hurts and he keeps pooping and he doesn't know what to do. And my job is to just hold him and rock him and change that smelly diaper and smooch his head and make sure he's hydrated and keep a stream of beauty coming so he can make it through an awful day.
When I go to work, I deal with people from all walks of life dealing with all sorts of issues, but maybe they too are in the same place as my son. They feel uncomfortable and don't know what to do.
I recenter my practice in what I know. When my children are feeling out of control, it is time to center. Breathe. Then I begin asking the questions:
Are you thirsty? Drink water.
Are you hungry? Eat an apple.
Are you tired? Nap.
Are yousad? Cry.
Are you lonely? Call someone.
This is the same with my clients. Let's get simple. Let's breathe. Let's assess. Let's figure out your goals. What is uncomfortable for you right now? Is it your spirit? Is it your body? Is it your mind? Is it your heart? How are you uncomfortable? Are things too tight? Are they too loose? Is what you thought you had gone? Is it too heavy to carry? Is there a hole that needs to get filled? This sounds very basic, but it is the checklist I make in my head when I talk to a client.
Nurturing comes by from setting boundaries some days. Other days nurturing is a warm blanket and tea with a good book. Other times it is saying yes to help. We don't mother each project the same nor do we treat each issue the same in session. With clients, I am a source of acceptance and non-judgment. How could I judge? I have worked on all kinds of people. People that look scary, people that look beautiful, soccer moms, alcoholics, witches, Christians, Buddhists and everything in between. I've worked on ex-cons and drug addicted moms and people with cancer and people who have survived the unthinkable. And whenever I close my eyes, their guides come. ALL of their gorgeous angels and spirit guides, animal guides and ascended masters come in droves expressing absolute, perfect love. They don't smell the cigarette smoke or judge that this person cusses when ordering take-out. I can feel that perfect love for each person. There is never judgment there. Only a suggestion, a reminder of our ability to release what is no longer serving, sometimes a redirection, but the thing that blows me away every time I work on a client is the amount of immense love, overwhelming love, Spirit has for us. It is profound. It is unconditional. Spirit loves us like we love our babies, with absolute awe and wonder, with reverence and endless compassion. And Spirit says what I so often tell my clients, "I wish you could see yourself the way Spirit sees you." As light. As love. As a heart. As a baby. As a wise sage. Who am I to judge when Spirit does not? It is overwhelming powerful and humbling.
But mothering isn't just about love, it is about constructing frameworks and boundaries, teaching ethics and how to behave in lovingly firm ways. I am not necessarily warm always. I am pretty masculine at times, blunt and to the point to avoid confusion about my expectations, but I like to laugh. And practice loving my clients as I love my children with awe and reverence and patience.
How are you showing up in your life? Who are you and how does that filter through your work? What or who are you mothering these days and how does it differ from the way you mother yourself?
from my newsletter, january 2017. You can subscribe here.
I've been a terrible penpal. Truly.
I suppose you can say, I haven't been writing about my work, I've just been doing my work. This autumn I started not one, but two psychic development circles with women. What amazing, interesting, gifted women! And each circle has its own personality and beauty. It is always a gift to sit in circle with women open to Spirit, honoring their path. I have also been diving deep into my second certification with Pixie Lighthorse in Earth Medicine School. It is very personal work that will bring me closer to you.
One of the beautiful questions Pixie asks us is "Who are you? Who are you not?"
Who am I?
I'm a mother.
All day, I am elbow deep in diapers and kid toys and listening to violas being played and having balls thrown at my head and eating around multi-day games of Monopoly with my three wee ones, but I also mother in circle. I nurture my clients. I set healthy boundaries with them, and give them gentle direction. So, yeah, mother seems to fit.
I am a daughter of the Earth.
When I was a child, I would run to the nearest wood, even if it was two tree deep, and construct long stories about the kingdoms there. I would curl up on a patch of moss and sleep. I would climb vines, and swing down and take journeys into the woods, studying footprints and scat, searching for arrowheads and interesting rocks, collecting bones and feathers. In my circles, I guide women and men into shamanic journey, I describe the scene to them, which often looks like the woods around my grandmother's house, the stream to the right and the deer trail which is perfectly suited to me and you together, the fallen tree we need to step over. When I walk in the woods, I am the most me-eyes full of wonder and awe.
I am a bone picker.
Vulture picks through death. My beautiful Vulture totem isn't for the faint of heart, but her job is invaluable. She transmutes death, the rotting unusable parts of us. She finds the goodness in the most unlikeliest of places. My job with clients is to pick through all the stuff, the assets and defects, the things no longer serving--can we let this go? Are you ready to have a sky burial for this anger that once served the purpose of justice, but now holds you back from love? Can we release the stuff that clutters your art desk? Can we let go of your sabotage?
I have been doing this for myself this autumn. As my autoimmune issues flared after a particularly stressful October, I found myself looking at it all. What needs to go? What needs to stay? What no longer serves, but has been here so long, I don't think is possible to go. I felt such weight on me, emotional, mental, physical weight. I began praying each morning with another person, staying accountable, then I decided to release my hair. It was holding energy, heaviness, and clouds of bubbles. Truthfully, it felt like a dead limb. So, I started slowly. 14 inches came off. I wrapped it into bundles and mailed it to a place that makes wigs. My hair was still at my shoulders. A few weeks later, I went to my friend and said, "It is still too heavy. It needs to all go." And when it all went, I was naked. Standing in front of everyone. Where is my sorceress hair? Where are the curls, the twists of fate, the curious streak of whiteness underneath? Where is the cover I had so you didn't have to see me?
When we release, we not only stand with lightness, we also stand with vulnerability. Who am I when you take away my anger? Who am I when you take away two feet of hair? Who am I when you take away the boxes on my art table and I can create again? Am I still me?
Who am I?
Who I am not is that I am not someone who uses hair as an identity. Who I am not is someone who is ready to hold onto something that holds me back from allowing the world to see who I am.
I am the bone picker and this first bones I have to pick are my own.
I intend to write more to this beautiful newsletter, and write more about myself and write more about why I do what I do and how to live this life. What do you want to hear about? Who are you? What bones are you picking? What are you releasing?
Email me and let me know you too. firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have been revising my website, so check it out and let me know what you think. Under Events, I have the local Central Pennsylvania events coming up. I also do on-line readings and distance healings, so check that out too.
With love, Angie
PS. I am headed to the Tucson Gem Show in February (from the 2nd to the 8th). Are you going? I'd love to meet you and connect in person, so pop me an email (email@example.com) and we can figure out a time. I can't wait!
Two years ago, the snow gently fell all day, as I cuddled next to the fire with my newest little one, Zachary Michael. Though I was scheduled for induction, our little crystal baby decided to arrive early. My water broke and I labored for over thirty hours until he finally made his appearance. In distress, fluid in his lungs, they admitted my son into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a few days until his breathing calmed, his x-rays showing his lung strong and clear again. My arms ached for him. I held myself for fear of falling apart, sending him Reiki from chair outside of his little plastic crib. To say I was in constant prayer was not an understatement. I called all the angels, the saints, the goddesses. I sat still in meditation and asked for Reiki and prayers on Facebook. I placed my hands on this crown and feet--soul and earth stars--helping incarnate. That is what it felt like--he hadn't quite figured out how this body thing worked yet. My friend Jack said, "It is hard for a spiritual being to become human. May the rest of his adjustment be easier than mine." And we laughed.
As I sat in the NICU, watching my son struggle to breathe, I just kept thinking, "Scream, baby." They told me that the fluid in his lungs may have been caused from his easy birth--three strong pushes. That is what I prayed for after all and focused on--for my baby to just come quickly. He didn't scream right away, expelling that fluid in his lungs. He was content, lying on my bare breast after an easy delivery. But all that struggle down the birth canal serves its beautiful purpose of pushing out all the fluid in the lungs and pissing those little babies off enough to scream out the rest of the fluid that may cause pneumonia or infection in the lungs down the line.
I thought about that so much as I sat in the huge room of the NICU with all those very little sick babies. We have to scream and struggle against our own contentness sometimes. One of my Religion professors, my mentor really, used to say that babies cry and scream because they want justice. We come into the world knowing we deserve comfort, love, food, heat, people to care for us. No baby feels unworthy. No baby hates themselves. Babies scream because they won't settle for being ignored and unloved. And they stop screaming when people prove them wrong.
The world talks about gratitude so much at this time of the year. But in this community, it is one of those spiritual principles we talk about all year. It is the elevator of vibration, carrying it up and open. Gratitude elevates our energy, opens us to healing. It is the gateway to forgiveness, love, and spiritual awareness. But I find that blanket statements of gratitude and platitude frustratingly miss the point. I think most of us recognize that we can say, "I am grateful for everything" and be done with it. But listing each of those things, appreciating the gift of them, the work we put into achieving and keeping them in our lives, recognizing their impermanence, focusing on those quiet moments of absolute thankfulness, are more the point.
Gratitude isn't simple. We often have grief, sadness, suffering, illness, death, depression and other circumstances that create a stuckness in our own story. This stuckness can be an essential part of healing. It is the point before the scream. It inspires us to say, "I am worthy of NOT suffering." Think of the baby and mama pushing to get him out for longer than three pushes. They are suffering, pissed off. They are stuck in this tight space, ready for the world. If you have birthed a child, you know, this is the time when you are distinctly NOT thinking about how awesome it is to have a gigantic baby head stuck in your vaginal canal. You are thinking, "GET OUT." And the baby isn't contemplating how much fluid will be pushed out of his lungs. They are in stuckness, and feeling overwhelmed and can't really see the light at the end of the proverbial and literal tunnel. I think we do a huge disservice to tell people to be thankful when they are in that place of suffering. I believe with all my heart that all our suffering is there for a purpose, and yet it is not so helpful to be reminded of that during the suffering.
Struggling with gratitude IS the practice of gratitude. All we have to do is trust that our feelings when they arise are right and important and valuable to the next phase of our healing, even if our contemporaries shame us when we feel negative or sad or self-pitying. So the suffering--the feeling less than, unworthy, stuck--let this be the gateway to the scream that gets it all out. Let it be the catalyst for feeling worthy of not suffering. Can you find gratitude in your own screaming? In your own declaration of your worthiness? Can your suffering be a prayer of gratitude?
When I am suffering, grief stricken or sick, I keep it simple. I look out the window, and find myself grateful for the beauty of a leaf twirling to the ground, for the air, and for my own miserable suffering, which reminds me that I am human and not a Buddha. For me, gratitude is an important spiritual practice, but our holiday of Thanksgiving transcends this individual daily practice. We gather our tribe and not gift each other things, not celebrate an achievement, or a person, or a God, but to collectively appreciate what we share as a family, or group of friends. We take inventory of those values we hold dear, and really appreciate what we have. As a society, we take this time to quiet and focus on home.
That is remarkable. It is wonderful to have this yearly community ritual of gratitude rather than just our personal daily practice of gratitude. And yet, I get why the holidays are challenging for so many who face dysfunctional families, estrangement, divorce, or grief. A few years ago, I took the opportunity of Thanksgiving to talk about grief during the holidays. I republished it yesterday, because I know so many of us revisit grief and suffering during this time. It resonated with so many at the time, and if you face difficulties during the holidays, it might be a helpful read.
But I wonder if we can't reinvent this space of gratitude for those of us who are suffering this year. Rather than shaming those who struggle with gratitude, allow them to scream, abide their stuckness, marvel at their own righteous indignation of their suffering. It is our birthright after all to scream. It lets out the fluid stuck in our lungs. Helps us to take in fresh clear air, filling our heart chakra with the love for ourselves that we deserve.
My son's second birthday was on the 22nd. He turned two and is a bouncy, funny, silly boy who bring joy. I have so much to be grateful for, but I found myself grateful for all the screaming I have done in my life.
So, on this Thanksgiving night, here is my blessing. It is the same blessing I gave two years ago after bringing my baby home.
Scream, babies, and I will be dancing to your beautiful siren song of healing.
This piece is reprinted from an old newsletter published in the Fall of 2013. May you find it useful.
During this time of year, our community explodes with talk about the healing power of gratitude. No doubt about it, gratitude changes the world--or at the very least, it changes your perception of the world. The phrases gratitude and positive thinking, manifestation and abundance, get bandied around without much acknowledgement of the how hard won those words and concepts can be for some people. The holidays are often trying times for those with dysfunctional families of origin, children facing challenges, the widow and widower, the bereaved parents among us, those suffering with depression and anxiety, and anyone facing financial hardship and so many other challenges. It can feel downright cruel to have the joy and cheer of the season thrown in your face while you are suffering.
Our spiritual community teaches principles of positive thinking and manifestation. This is my job as a lightworker too, after all. We do a great job of clarifying spiritual pathways for the seeker, illuminating our soul's potential and beautiful lessons. We love rainbows and positivity and golden manifestation. But to be perfectly honest, I think the New Age and Spiritual community is lousy at dealing with the hard emotions--grief, anger, anxiety, and depression. In fact, those emotions get demonized in many circles as the reason for illnesses, set backs, unemployment...everything from acne to obesity. Never mind that you cannot control the virus raging throughout your body, if only you could think positively, they seem to say, then you wouldn't cause your own illness and suffering.
Not so long ago, positive thinking really pissed me off for just this reason. It put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the suffering for every terrible thing that happens, for every dream that doesn't come true. In 2008, my second daughter died during labor. We were 38 weeks into a healthy pregnancy and all indications showed her to be a vital, perfect little being. She was born still, and they never found a reason for her death. When she died, I felt so betrayed by my body, so betrayed by the cult of positive thinking. I did yoga, meditated, ate vegetarian, burned incense, surrounded myself with positivity. I grieved out loud, so to speak. I wrote about grief constantly, and spiritual awareness or lack thereof. I published pieces publicly about what I was feeling, and wrote a blog about parenting after, how I navigated the world after my daughter died, and how desperately sad I was. I connected with thousands of other grieving parents. Everything about me changed. And I allowed it to change. During those years, well-meaning people tried desperately to shift me out of my ugliness. Some friends tried to get me to stop writing about grief all together, telling me I was not helping myself to dwell on the loss of a child. Well-intentioned people would often say after they heard of Lucia's death, "I believe everything happens for a reason." Or "You shouldn't write about this sad topic anymore. Your daughter wants you to be happy." Deep down, I always believed those things, but it served no purpose to hear them.
By far, the worst things said were "You have a living daughter. Focus on her. She needs you to be happy. You can have more babies." It insinuated that I had no gratitude. So beside losing my daughter, they were telling me that I had lost my gratitude too. Truly, I was grateful. Filled with gratitude, actually, AND I was grieving. Those things are not mutually exclusive. Grief and gratitude often go hand-in-hand, and those grieving know that to be absolutely true. We are filled with gratitude that we had any time with them, whether it was sixty years, or six minutes.
Grief is simply another expression of deep love. We often miss our loved ones because we are so grateful for the amazing life we live. After Lucia died, I had such a deep, newly profound sense of impermanence. I clung to my living daughter, so grateful and amazed that she breathed so easily. When my normal grief was treated as unpalatable, I simultaneously knew that those people didn't really feel that my grief was unpalatable. They just were trying to fix this unfixable reality. They were trying to be positive, to help me see the bright side of my daughter's death. They were feeling helpless and ineffectual and my suffering reminded them that they, or rather, we have no control over this life.
Some in the New Age community say that all of our suffering is what we signed up for before this life--our illnesses, challenges, losses, traumas--to learn life lessons. And you know what? I completely, thoroughly believe that. But I do not think it is helpful in the slightest to tell a suffering person this belief of mine. Remember whether our suffering is self-imposed or not, we are still in pain. Whether our Higher Selves chose this particular suffering in this particular life does not matter. We have to experience the pain of it, the growth from it...we need to walk through it as humans, not as Buddhas. The amazing triumph of the spirit and human spiritual being is that despite our suffering, we manage to find the deeply intertwined matrix of acceptance and wisdom through that suffering. These are the vital soul lessons of a Spirit having a Human Experience.
The only time lightworkers should be in the role of the teacher or sage is if we are asked to be. Otherwise, we are simply equals, compassionate listeners, abiding in another's grief and suffering. To fully be present in our gifts, we need to release any ego attachments to "fixing" or "healing" anything or anybody. We are simply conduits. Remember compassion is nothing like pity. Compassion is deep understanding of suffering. Most lightworkers I have met have come by their compassion through true suffering and rebirth. We must tap into our own memory of suffering to help others. Spirit asks us to hold space, to listen, to open our heart as a conduit for Divine love to pass through us into another, to heal through our deep understanding that suffering is part of our shared humanity. We aren't here to fix anything, but we can make it better simply by letting it be without shifting. Loving without expectation. We are asked to get profoundly curious about our suffering and grief. We ask other people to get curious too. We watch. We grow. We expand our compassion and love simply by allowing the emotion to be felt, then release it. We say we are sorry. We sit with them.
When I hear healers maniacally shifting people out of their hard emotions or tears, telling them these "truths" of theirs, I want to scream, "Shift them further into it, Sister. Don't try to heal. Go deeper. Ask better questions. Get curious." It is normal and healthy to feel immense grief, anger, and depression when we have lost someone close to us, or have been diagnosed with a serious illness like Cancer or Multiple Sclerosis. Lightworkers do a disservice when we don't allow people the normal course of grief and acceptance. Those who cannot sit with death as well as life, with the dark as easily as the light, with our shadow selves as graciously as our Highest Selves have no place in the healing fields. People release all the time on my crystal healing table--crying, laughing, farting, snoring. This is part of being human. Healers remain unflappable. It is only when someone seems stuck without feeling do I try to move them. I may physically open a blocked chakra, but mostly, I ask them to go further. "Go deeper," I may push. What is the real emotion? When we go deep, these emotions stem from two places--deep love or deep fear.
Don't get me wrong--I employed positive affirmations, manifestation principles, prayer, and all sorts of magical thinking to help people create the change they want in their life, but we cannot do it by ignoring the normal, human emotions that arise in tough situations. And that is the key--suppressing your emotion makes you sick, while feeling them propels your spiritual growth. It has never been the feeling of emotion, but the not-feeling of them, that is the problem. As a crystal healer, when someone comes to me with grief, I simply help them become more heart-centered--to feel the feelings they need to feel, then move to the next feeling. Society doesn't give grieving people the permission to experience the entire range of emotions--either we expect them to swallow their grief, or be emotive and unable to experience joy. As healers and lightworkers, we need to be the ones to give our friends, family and clients the permission to grieve. The truth is that grief comes in spurts--sadness and disbelief one minute, relief and levity the next, anger in the third. When the expectation that we aren't supposed to laugh when we are grieving is there, the grieving person walks into a role already assigned them. They are swallowing another part of their experience. Take the person moment by moment, and allow them to be present in their grief.
That was the long way of saying--give the gift of abiding this season without judgment. Don't shift someone out of a hard emotion, push them into it. Get curious. Watch it ebb and flow and the emotion dissipate when it sees the light. Remember this: ALL of the time, bad things happen to good people. Any other way insinuates that I am capable of making a judgment about someone else's behavior and what they deserve and don't deserve. We all deserve love, acceptance, security and safety. We are all good people, AND bad things happen. How we deal with it, how our thinking changes, how we accept life's path, that is the pavement of spiritual growth. Allow it to happen without judgment.
Every so many months, I think about my Word of the Year, Remember that? All the way back from January?
I had decided on a word, then during a visioning class I taught, another wordspoke its name insistently in my ear. Nourish.
The word itself evokes that satiating beautiful contentedness that comes from being filled with what your body needs. Mind you, I said needs, not wants. What I want is entirely different than what nourishes me. When I am sad, I like to be alone, isolated, watching Real Housewives with a carton of ice cream and bourbon. None of those things nourish me. None of them are good for my soul. What nourishes me is time spent connecting, exploring, meditating, walking in the woods, sitting still, praying, moving and dancing, singing, being me without all the chatter and noise.
I don't think about my word every day, but I have spent these months digging deep within me about what is nourishing. I have surprisingly cut out so much of what was not nourishing me from food to habits to self-talk to relationships. The surgeon even cut non-nourishing cells from my body. And I have replaced many of those things with new nourishing routines.
For the years in which I choose a word of the year, it is remarkable how the word manifests itself in my life. Emerge felt like a birth--painful and profound. Roots helped me connect and gain footing in my new home. Nourish has been an important shift for me in self-care and self-acceptance.
What nourishes me right now is earthy rooty teas, like Herbal Coffee from Mountain Rose Herbs, creating grids on these amazing batiked grid cloths by Amanda Johnson of Tie-Dye Bill, eating this amazing Paleo granola in the morning when my energy is low that has coconut, pecan, currants, goldenberries, cashews, raisins, and almonds with almond milk, cuddling with all three children while all three still fit on my lap, running again, journeying with Vulture, and singing chants, prayers, and songs I wrote for the Earth.
Singing is a new thing for me. I have traditionally not been fond of my voice, but I began just not giving a shit, and singing anyway. And it takes me to new heights and understanding. Earlier this year, I began searching for other women who like to sing without giving a shit, and haven't quite found that tribe yet. Someone told me to start the group myself, but I'm not sure I am that confident in the not-giving-a-shit part. I just want to sing earth hymns and pagan chants with women in circle--honoring, praying and connecting. All those things that nourish.
I'll be talking about Voice tomorrow night at my monthly crystal workshop at Alta View Wellness Center. We still have room and would love to have you. Email me or call 717-221-0133. We will be talking about how to use crystals to speak your truth, honor your voice and listen with compassion. I am also excited to be starting a new Tarot session tonight! WOOHOO!! And then this weekend, join us all for the Spirit of Oneness Holistic Expo. I'll be offering mini-crystal healing sessions and doing a workshop on Sunday morning about using crystals for self-love and self-acceptance. Check me out at the Alta View booth.
What is your word of the year, and how is it manifesting in your life?
Ah, the Northern Hemisphere is starting to heat up on its slow crawl toward summer sostice. The Earth tilts toward the sun, honoring its beautiful fire. Solstice is a perfect time to explore your intentions, dreams, and set goals, like in my Creative Visioning class at Alta View Wellness. For each solstice and equinox, I create a seasonal altar and grid to help me harness that energy and maintain the beautiful vibration of the solar and lunar energy of this time. So much of the celebration of the solstices honor the Sun and the movement around the wheel of the year.
I thought I would share some solstice stones to include in your Litha or Summer Solstice altars, celebrations and grids to help you harness that gorgeous vibration and work with it around this time.
Let's start at one o'clock. Fire Agate captures the essence of fire. This stone holds the essence of physicality and strength. It is a stone of vitality and sexuality. So much of that sexual fire translates to creative fire. It inspires, ignites and intensifies one's passions and emotions. I couldn't think of a more apt stone on your Summer Solstice altar.
At five, I included raw Carnelian. My friend Joe from Crystals and Crafts sent me this beauty, which I have been working with in Medicine Bundle since the new moon of the Spring Equinox. The energy of Carnelian vibrates at a physical level. It helps stimulate the first three chakras, and again ignites a kind of passionate dance with the Self. It's an amazing ally for courage and for self-realization. Creative fire sparks with Carnelian, and because of its help with certain literary homework in our house, it is nicknamed "the Poetry stone", as poetry and writing can't help but flow around Carnelian. I love Carnelian in all its forms, you have probably seen it in a thousand grids in my home, but I particularly love raw Carnelian.
At six o'clockish, Sunstone beckons the long Solstice sun. Sunstone stimulates that idea of enlighened leadership. Enlightened leadership utilizes this idea that true leadership is being of service, rather than being in control. And so Sunstone helps align self will and Divine will. It is a strong fire stone, again for Summer Solstice, it is important to honor the element of fire (and often water hand in hand.) Sunstone emanates, as Naisha Ahsian says, the Solar Ray. This is my experience of Sunstone as well, and I often use it in the center of Solstice Tarot readings, and other times I am invoking the sun and Father Sky.
At seven o'clockish is Citrine. This is a natural polished Citrine, and it does have a different vibration than heat treated Citrine, which is not to say one is better than the other. I simply prefer natural Citrine for Solstice altars and work. It holds that pure fire energy, and emanates a golden ray. Most Citrine has smoky quartz within its matrix, and so that combination is amazingly grounding, helping one truly manifest one's desires and dreams, as it grounds the manifestor into realistically setting goals.
At nine o'clock, Tangerine Quartz points toward that sexual, creative self. It inspires curiosity, playfulness and innocence. I used to always shy away from stones with fruit in the name. My teacher says most fruity named stones are dyed or faked, but Tangerine Quartz is an exception. This year, as I battle some sacral issues, I have really worked deeply with Tangerine Quartz. My personal specimen has both a past timeline and future timelink, which was incredibly helpful, as I was healing both my present sacral, past traumas and fears held in the womb, and then trying to heal any future trauma there. I love the lightness of being that Tangerine Quartz brought to my womb. It is a place of birth and creativity, not pain and fear. And Tangerine Quartz seemed to capture that for me. Whereas Carnelian can be a strong, masculine feel in the sacral area, Tangerine Quartz feels less violent and war-like. It is more like a gentle hand on the shoulder, rather than a full metal shield for protection there, and it is incredibly healing.
At the eleven o'clock area here is Dogtooth Calcite, which is also called Stellar Beam Calcite. I just love this rock. My goodness. Stellar Beam is a wonderful ally for connecting with angels and guides. They are a stone of light, and connect the Higher Chakras with Divine Will. I included it with this grouping for Summer Solstice because they carry the golden ray, and in that way, connect with the power of the Sun.
Creating grids is my jam, you know. This Summer Solstice grid is simple and beautiful, and captures the fiery Sun energy for Solstice. Centered with a Carnelian sphere, the first circle includes natural Citrine, the second contains Sunstone, and the third contains Carnelian and white arrowheads to help direct my energy and cut through any blockages arising for me right now. I used a flower of life woods grid from Eternal Glyphics. Another wonderful way to create a grid is to include flowers in the grid itself. Of course, it doesn't last as long, but it is a wonderful addition to a Solstice circle or party.
You can also create your own gorgeous sun drink with Golden Milk. The main ingredient of Golden Milk is Turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory. This is my main reason for drinking it. I am new to the whole Golden Milk thing, but I am in love with it. I could bath in it, honestly. Or marry it, even though my husband would be jealous. It is perfect. When I am taking in tea, juice or drinks as medicine, I like to create a wee grid around it, and charge it with Reiki. Not only does it satisfy my ritualistic itch, it slows me down, appreciate the small beauty we can create around us. And I am worth a little grid making, no?
Golden Milk is a simple recipe--a cup of almond milk, coconut milk or other milk product. I don't do dairy, so I made this one with coconut milk. One teaspoon of dried Turmeric, one teaspoon of Ginger, and a sprinkle or two of black pepper. Then honey to taste. I put the milk, turmeric, ginger and pepper in the blender, and mix is up. Then I pour into a saucepan and add raw honey to tast, warming it slowly. It is simply sun in a cup.
I wrote about Summer Solstice visioning in my latest newsletter. You can read that here: Visioning. I am promising to be on the blog more. I also am going to be rewriting/revisiting some old newsletter topics and re-publishing them on my blog, so let me know if you have some oldies, but goodies you are interested in seeing.
The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God! ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
So, in talking about the Five of Cups, let's talk about Fives in general. Fives in the Tarot have a reputation as being rather, ahem, challenging. We talked about it a few weeks ago with the Five of Wands. They are cards of upheaval, action, and change. Again, it is your view of change that really affects how to look at Fives. As Cups deal with emotions and love, the Five of Cups is about upheaval of our emotions. Our cups are spilled over, as is represented by the fallen cups with red wine flowing into Mother Earth. That red wine looks suspiciously like blood, and right it should, we often feel like we are bleeding and traumatized by loss. There is a black cloaked person, head down, clearly crying. He or she is in traditional mourning clothes, and behind this figure runs a river with a bridge, and into a town. The sky is grey. Behind his view, there are two upright cups. He has lost more than he has, but he still has, the card seems to say.
So, this card is about loss. I pull it when the Seeker is grieving from the loss of a family member, from the loss of a marriage or relationship, from the loss of a job, from the loss of a house. Often the cards around it will give me indication of what this is about--lots of pentacles can mean it is a loss of a job; other key Cups, like the Two, Three, or Ten, can mean the loss of a relationship: Wands can mean the person is facing depression, or loss of energy (or sometimes a creative job, like an acting job); and Swords can mean they are losing a legal battle, or the loss is one of perception, rather than reality. If I pull a clarity card for the Five of Cups, I look for Court Cards, because sometimes the Five of Cups comes as a message from beyond for someone--Kings are father figures, Queens are mother figures, Knights are sibling type relationships, friends, or cousins, and Cups are children. Again, Spirit usually directs me toward this clarity. I had a reading with someone grieving a few months ago, and her reading had two Kings in it. As I was reading, I had a distinct feeling that these were cards of people who passed over, and were father figures, and gave her birthdays they could be--Air signs and Earth signs. Her grandfather was the Air and her father the Earth. She recognized them immediately. So even if you are not a medium, remember that Spirit has a lovely way of connecting our Seekers when they need it most.
For me, grief is a great teacher. I have heard the quote, "Grief doesn't change you. It reveals you." It strips away your reserves, and your facade, and exposes your vulnerability. This is a terribly scary place for those of us who wrap our vulnerability up tight, but we must move into the scary place, rather than away from it. This is the key to spiritual growth, in my opinion. And the key for healing from Grief, which feels wrong for the grieving. They fear if they give into their grief, they will never come back. But it never happens that way, does it? We think if we allowed ourselves to cry, we wouldn't stop. But we stop. We do. Moving into the scary places takes support, love and trust in Spirit. As Readers, we ask our clients to be courageous here, and move into the grief, rather than away from it, to heal. To feel every little feeling that arises and acknowledge those emotions and natural, healthy and right, even when those emotions are dark, scary and petty.
Grief can be the opening for spiritual growth and compassion, if we let it. For grief is a heart-centered experience--it is about love and connection, and the seeming break from that connection. But Spirit connects us, always, across time and space. We see this in dream time when we see our loved ones, or in release rituals where we release anger at our ex-husband and remember the great love once shared. One great gift of grief is that each person in the world can relate and understand those around us who suffer. Grief speaks one language--Love.
We all lose, we are all lost at some point. I wrote about grief and gratitude in November. This is my philosophy of grief. Moving into it, feeling it, embracing it as an expression of Love, rather than Death. I read Tarot books who tell Readers to remind the Seeker to focus on their upright cups rather than their overturned ones. But this is so dismissive to me as a grieving mother and daughter. Grief and gratitude coexist for most of us, as I write in the piece above. I recommend my clients sit with grief, and perhaps try some meditations that help them feel the emotions of grief. Another great practice is tonglen meditation, which basically says, "Since I am feeling grief already, allow me to feel the grief of others, so their grief may be lessened." This meditation is quite opposite of our instincts, but we breathe in suffering, and exhale release. We breathe in pain and fear, and exhale peace. In this way, we are asking to take in more grief, rather than less. The idea is that we help alleviate suffering through our suffering. I do this practice in my painting work, and I made a wee film about this a few years ago. Maybe it will help you to understand the process.
So, back to the Five of Cups...when I get this card, I ask my client about their grief. I tell them to sit with it, to weep, to treat themselves like an injured person, which they are. I tell them to give themselves a time frame for grieving, and just nurture themselves through the grief. The piece I wrote recently about healing from friendship loss--so much of it can be applied to healing from any loss. Because so much of what my writing has been in the last five years is about grief, I might write a post about grief stones, support and ideas for moving through grief. If you would like more information on grieving support, please let me know in the comments.
This card in the reversed position is about moving out of the period of grief. Spirit does this to validate and nod to your experience of grieving. It is a profound life changer, even if you are simply grieving the loss of a job. Spirit doesn't differentiate different suffering in the same way we do on earth. There is no ranking of grief or suffering. The experience of suffering is one that is a Noble Truth for a reason, and Spirit often says with the reversed Five of Cups, "Yes, you have grieved. We held you during your grief. We stood beside you. We wept with you. And now," Spirit whispers, "Now, you may go forward from here, not forgetting, but taking with you only the Love that was always there."
Please let me know what you think of this post, or this card. I'd love to hear your insights as Readers or Seekers, or someone simply interested in these spiritual truths.
So happy I found your site today! I am in need of your help. I recently had a reading done, this lady was amazing and was right on about everything. However, she told me that a really good "friend" of mine..actually someone I consider to be my best friend was sending me MAJOR negative energy, had ill feelings towards me, is jealous of me and does not want me to succeed. This friend of mine is VERY negative I know it, she knows it and one of the reasons I went to this reading was because I was feeling very down, negative, depressed have no motivation to finish school am trying to find my purpose in life and am always down on myself, I've never felt this badly. I know black tourmaline will help me of this, just wanted to know if you have any extra advice..I will continue stalking your site now! lol..
Thanks again can't wait to hear the feedback!
I am so glad you are here, and that you asked this question.
What you described is WAY more common than people realize. I receive questions about psychic protection in my practice, in readings, in emails, and on this blog quite frequently. Sometimes people want to know why they are so exhausted when they are out in public, other people have issues with certain people in their life. Whatever the case, this is about protecting one's energy. When it is with one person, it is occasionally called a psychic attack, which is simply a purposeful projection of negative thoughts or energy on another person.
Often the person sending the negative energy which drains, saps and hurts you does not even realize they are affecting you, even though they may be focusing or obsessing on you specifically. Though some of these kinds of attacks are intentional, more than likely, your friend has no idea how she affects you. Her jealousy or the feeling of being less-than, or unworthy (a very common belief for us in this society) creates this unstable vibration (negativity knocks your vibration into a chaotic resonance). For me, it is not about higher vibration or lower vibration, but rather stable vibration. Meditation helps you maintain a more stable vibration, self-care does too--healing work, prayer, sitting in nature, waterfalls (negative ions), soul work, yoga, gentle movement, crystal healing, Reiki, music, artwork, energy healing...all these self-care tools we have to maintain a stable vibration.
We entrain with the vibrations around us. When we are around happy people, we feel happier. There is simple science behind this. We are energy, and we all vibrate at a certain frequency. Humans have a chaotic resonance to begin with--our heart vibrates at a different frequency than our liver or our root chakra, which is why each chakra is seen by people who have this particular talent with different colors. Colors are also a frequency, right? Humans search for homeostasis, a word most of us have heard before, or rather, they look to stabilize their naturally unstable resonance.
This is why crystal healing is so effective--crystals are geometrically perfect and hold a stable vibration. So our vibration stabilizes and entrains with the crystal vibration whose dominant oscillary rate promotes healing of that chakra, or issue. Higher vibration is not synonymous with enlightenment or higher consciousness, though it is used that way often. The key is stable vibration. When we hang out with negative people, our vibration becomes more unstable--making us exhausted, sapping our energy, making us crabby, while your more stable vibration evens out your friend's vibration. Your vibration entrains with your friend's vibration. She feels better, and you feel worse. I also do believe that people who are sending off negative vibes directed to us can affect our vibration from a distance too. It is a purposeful negative thought against you, and it is the definition of a psychic attack. (If we can affect healing over distances, then we can drain energy over distances too.) Again, most people don't consciously send bad vibes, they just cycle in negative thinking directed at someone. It is particularly difficult for empathic, psychic, intuitive or sensitive people to manage this kind of negativity.
All I can say is that once we realize these things about the people around us, we can limit our interactions with them, or really bulk up our protection when we are around them. I understand that is rarely possible--we work with emotional vampires, we are related to negative people, we interact with strangers nearly every day. But what we can do is learn how to create boundaries--energetic, internal, and external--that can help shield our energy, protect and strengthen our electromagnetic field, keep us safe, and transmute negative energy. It means saying no to people who cross our lines, and keeping our self-care as our first priority. It also means treating ourselves to a daily protection regimen. It shouldn't take a ton of time, but it is valuable to invest the minutes it does take. This is about keeping our energy to ourselves, and other people keeping their energy to themselves. Psychic protection helps keep your energy and vibration stabilized no matter what chaotic vibrations are going on around you. You remain grounded. It is like wearing a space suit in the world--you control your oxygen, your core temperature, and your vibration.
For Ashley or anyone who is feeling some of these symptoms--depression, exhaustion, feeling drained, grumpy, like your energy is sapped (whether this is from someone you know, or if this is from being empathic, intuitive or psychic and being drained from every day life), or any symptoms of empathic fatigue, I would recommend a good aura cleansing and chakra balancing. If you do Reiki or energy healing, awesome. Do it on yourself with the intention of cleansing your aura. If not, you can find a good Reiki practitioner, or crystal healer in your area to balance your chakras. (You can certainly check out Hibiscus Moon certified Crystal Healers for some incredible healers. ) I would ask for an EMF blocking layout, or protection layout. Protection involves a great deal of grounding, so if you can, get barefoot and begin the steps of grounding.
This is such a vital aspect of our self-care. I cannot emphasize grounding enough. You can do some simple techniques for grounding like going barefoot, walking outside on Mother Earth, hugging a tree, getting your root on the Earth (sits bones [or your ischium bones you massage therapists out there] touches Pachimama). Drink lots of water. Eat clean food. Normal self-care helps clear up so much of our auric debris. Truly. When I set the intention to do anything in my life, I usually create a crystal grid to hold the intention. Protection grids are wonderful additions to your sacred space. Amethyst, Black Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz, Clear Quartz, Selenite, Onyx, Black Obsidian, Hematite as well as countless other protective stones are wonderful to work with for gridding. My grid above was to broadcast protectiveness in my healing studio.
But you can also absolutely cleanse your aura at home. So, I always always always take a salt bath after interactions with toxic people, or negative people. Salt is a sacred purifier and a wonderful ally for all. I actually have a heavy duty protection bath salt in my shop. This bath is precisely for this kind of circumstance. It is intended for empathic/sensitive people, of which you clearly are. It contains herbs and crystals for a high density auric cleanser.But you can create an effective salt bath with dead sea salt and epsom salt combination. (I use black lava salt in my protection bath). I always like ritual, so I light black candles (black is the color of protection) or white candle on two sides of my bath (like you are walking through them) In my bath, I call Archangel Michael for his protection and to clear my aura. I ask him to take away any negative energy that might have built up on my aura, or any energy not serving my Highest Good. I get a bowl of some kind and dump the water over my crown, making sure it is covering my entire body. Some people dislike baths. You can still use salt in the shower by making a salt scrub, or getting a wonderful salt bath soap to scrub your aura. Sage is also an amazing ally, and I am absolutely in love with Athena's Body Smudge Artisanal Soap.
Visualization is an important technique in nearly all this psychic protection work. One important visualization tool I use is to literally zip myself up in a protective white cocoon. I close my eyes, and imagine myself in surrounded by white light. Sometimes I imagine stepping into this white egg shape, or like I pick it up and pull it up and around me. I then bend over and zip it up from my Earth Star Chakra to my Crown Chakra. I imagine this white protective shell repelling any energy directed at me, and it helps me maintain my own vibration.
Smudging oneself with sage helps clear the auric field and takes away negativity. There are a ton of different herbs you can use for different reasons--Sage is great for blessing, clearing and cleansing negativity from your person or your space. You are literally brushing the aura, which is a great technique with a smudge fan or feather. This is good for after seeing someone draining, or entering your own home to cleanse the negative juju from other people off yourself. I smudge with Palo Santo when I want to bring positive energy in, or heal in some way. So, I might smudge with sage, then Palo Santo. Again, Athena has some kick ass smudge bundles and tools. Sage Goddess rules my roost. One day, when I have my little farm, I'll be growing and bundling my own sage, until then I trust Athena's amazing tools.
As an empath and intuitive, I start my day with shielding and protection. One way I do this is to wear black tourmaline or amethyst around my neck. When I am in a situation around someone very toxic, I carry a combination of Black Tourmaline, Onyx, Obsidian, Amethyst and Clear Quartz in my pocket--a combination from my teacher Hibiscus Moon which I passionately endorse. I find Obsidian to be a heavy duty protector. Black Tourmaline is a wonderful transmuter of energy. What that means is that when negative energy comes at us, Black Tourmaline takes in that energy and transmutes it, or changes it, into useful energy for us. So, what does that really mean!? It means it takes chaotic vibration and stabilizes it beautifully. One way it does this is by grounding it, or helping it to stabilize to the Schumann Resonance. Wearing Clear Quartz helps enhance and clarify your energy, but it also enhances other energy, so if you are confident you are protected and zipped us, go for the clear quartz. Selenite is a protective crystal to wear. Black and grey stones tend to be wonderfully protective stones to wear--Smoky Quartz, Onyx, Black Obsidian, Snowflake Obsidian, and I love Hematite for helping to strengthen my EMF and to guard my own energy in public. It is my county fair stone, or rather, the stone I wear in public. Turquoise (real Turquoise) has the reputation as being a wonderfully protective stone for psychic work. Of course, I love wearing stone in jewelry, and one of my favorite combinations is Black Tourmaline on Copper--I have some earrings, a pendant I made...just a great combination. You can also create awesome protection grids with any combination of these stones.
One technique I use is cleansing my auric field with a Selenite wand. I created a little video to help demonstrate this technique for you.
There are literally a thousand more techniques for protecting your aura and energy from being sapped by others. These are but a few suggestions and techniques. Please post any questions or comments below. And if you have a question you would like me to cover in a long, drawn out blog post, please do not hesitate to ask me in the comment section here or anywhere on my blog. Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Abrazos, loves.
In my newsletter this week, I began writing about vulnerability and shame. It morphed into a piece about friendship losses. Losing friendships has been such a profoundly difficult part of my life--one where I feel most vulnerable perhaps. Friends truly are the soul family we create. I have valued each person I call a friend throughout my life as a teacher, a collaborator, a spiritual partner, and a gift. Upon reflection, some friendships were there to show me parts of myself I would have rathered stayed cocooned in the back closet of my soul, yet those instances have been the greatest teacher, catapulting my spiritual growth. You can read the newsletter piece here. I wanted to share thoughts and tips on how to deal with friendship loss on an energetic level and healing oneself. I am not going to be giving any words on how to heal the broken friendship, but rather how to heal the broken heart.
Here is what I believe is important to care for yourself and nurture your spiritual growth through a friendship loss.
1. Don't call every person you mutually know to tell them about your friendship fall out. Allow yourself one telling of the story to another person--your sister, best friend, mother, therapist, or sponsor. Gossip lowers our vibration. When you retell the story, you stoke your anger. You feed that particularly wolf. If we don't play back the storyline of injustice that we are inventing in our head, and just sit, we can begin to feel the feeling that we've been pushing off and ignoring. So, just allow yourself to feel the hurt, rather than tell the story. See how the first is heart-centered and the second is not. The latter is getting yourself out of your hurt, and moving into other fiery places like your sacral and root where justice can be perverted into revenge.
2. Take responsibility for your emotions. Your friend did not make you angry. You felt angry as a result of your friend speaking her truth. Very different. If she is purposely trying to hurt you, then take responsibility for not putting up your guard. It is not that your friend is not culpable at all, it is simply that we must be able to, as the Serenity Prayer says, "...accept the things we cannot change...change the things we can...." We need to understand what is our emotion, and what is an issue in the friendship. I had a friend who told me she needed space. First thing I did was shoot off an email to her telling her I was there for her. She just told me what she needed, and I did exactly what she asked me not to do. In my desire to fix things immediately, I overstepped the boundary she created. So also take responsibility for your role in the friendship loss. It is important, without beating yourself up, to own your role in the friendship. That takes pure heart-centeredness and self-compassion to own your role without taking all the responsibility. It takes practice to not judge yourself, so allow yourself to be quite terrible at this in the beginning. Just know you'll get better the more you do it, and the more heart-centered you are.
3. Remember you are hurt, injured, and grieving, so treat yourself as such. Self-care is A Number One. Baths. Meditation. Lots of rest. Detox from Social Media. Eat clean, whole foods. Don't drink alcohol or use drugs. Feel the hurt. Cry. Practice Reiki or energy healing on your heart chakra. Or get energy work done. Surround yourself with stones for self-love--rhodochrosite, rhodonite, rose quartz, green aventurine, jade, watermelon tourmaline (or rubelite or pink tourmaline), and any other heart chakra stone you have close to you. I often do a grid for self-love during these times. I use aromatherapy for the heart and healing--rose, bergamont, sandalwood, orange, lemon, neroli, ylang ylang.
4. Write a letter from your Shadow Self. When you are fired up, a great tool is to allow your Shadow self to write a letter. See, your Shadow (a term coined by Carl Jung) is your shame, the part of yourself you might not accept. Maybe you want to believe you have evolved so fully from being petty, angry or unforgiving that giving your Shadow any voice would give her power. If we do not accept these normal human parts of ourselves, our Shadow comes out in all kinds of dark ways. Give her voice. Listen to her. What you are listening for is where your hurt stems from, what places in your childhood this situation is activating, what other situations in your life (past or present) does this pain remind you of, and what you can release. I reassure my Shadow Angie that she is not alone, or that she is not diseased or a damaged person. This is a key to healing. It is not the suffering that is the problem, or the failure of a friendship, it is the feeling of shame, isolation, and loneliness that leads us to numbing behavior, seeking revenge, or self-punishment and depression. "I am the only one who feels this way," our terrible suffering tells us. No one is ever the only person to feel that way. Even if it is the ugliest, most horrible thought, others have had it.
I allow my Shadow Self to have a say. I let her write a letter to God. You can address it to your guides, the universe, or your Higher Self if you struggle with God. Just sit down. Alone. No one else in the entire world will read this. It is secret medicine, and it is the point of the thing. Now, with your vulnerable, most open self, write about every feeling you have had regarding the loss of this friendship (this works with nearly all issues that come from shame.) All the ones you have called ugly, petty, shameful. Write it all. Don't hold back.
When so and so did that, I was so mad, I wanted to punch them in their stupid nose. How could they be so cruel to me? Don't they know who I am? Why don't they like me? Why do I keep suffering like this? I will never love another person again. If I could talk to so and so, I would tell her that She doesn't know what she is missing. I'm a great friend. When she said I was self-absorbed, I was so angry, because my grief is a big deal, and I need to be self-absorbed right now.
Spirit can handle all these thoughts and does not judge. Give them release. When you are writing, you may cry and get angry and say WHY ME?!? a thousand times. That is okay. Give those shadow thoughts a voice. Let them see the light of day. What is giving them power is their darkness. And in the sunlight, you will be able to see that you are just a hurt person. Not a bad person. Here is where you tell the story for the last time. And then you fold up the letter, and put it in a box that can be a kind of God Box, or a Spirit Box. Some people use a shoe box, or a wooden cigar box. Once you put that letter in the box, you have now turned this entire situation over to God, or to your guides. You are allowing them to take it from here. So stop saying the same thing in your head that you just wrote down. Once you put it down, you don't have to pick it up again.
5. Invite your Higher Self into the Conversation. I journal after a God Letter, and ask the question, "Spirit (or Higher Self), what do I need to learn from this situation?" This is where I invite my Higher Self into this conversation. Compared to your Shadow Self, your Higher Self is the part of you that knows your Soul Purpose, your life lessons, and taps into the Divine Source. You can get there through meditation and receptivity. Breathe deeply. Create a Sacred Space. Ask for guidance.
I first write the things I have recognized from my Shadow letter. We hopefully learn the things we need to release (and accept). In my fake letter above, I ranged into self-pity. I also thought I should close my heart chakra. I had a lot of unexpressed emotions for my friend, which is a throat chakra issue. I also had that deep-seated feeling of being rejected. As an adult woman, I can work with that little Angie and comfort her from the rejection she felt as a child. These are things I then write on slips of paper--Self-Pity, Closed Heart, Shut Off From Speaking My Truth, Rejection. I write those out, then I write them on separate pieces of paper as transformational statements:
I transform self-pity into self-compassion.
I open my heart and trust that my Guides will provide me with friendships that are meaningful and important.
I speak my truth with compassion, calm, and love.
I am accepted wholly and fully, just as I am, by Spirit.
One thing to remember, when I asked the question, "What do I have to learn from this situation?" in a Spiritual Counseling session with Rita Strough, she told me, "You are ascending and need to attract like-minded spiritual beings. These friendships fall away so others can come in. You did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong. You are just making room for new people." That truth I see over and over again in my own readings with people--friendships fall away, so people with similar vibrations can come in. There isn't anything wrong with person A or person B. When we raise our vibration, we attract people with similar vibrations, and release the ones who don't resonate with us. Why would that make us angry? Even when someone hides their fear in attacks against us, we need to realize they are simple not resonating with us. Isn't that a much different perspective than "I am a bad person" or "I'm not likeable"?
6. Release what is not serving your Highest Good. I find ritual very cathartic, and so on release days--Equinoxes and Solstices, as well as Full Moon rituals, when I am absolutely ready to be done of this friendship drama, I might burn the God letter with the slips of paper containing that which I want to release from this situation. If you are working with a medicine bundle, or intention setting, remember that Spirit often gives us these situation specifically SO we release the things not serving us. I keep my transformational statement to carry in my medicine bundle or on my sacred space/altar. I say them every day for a moon cycle. When you are releasing something using the moon cycles, I release during the Full Moon or waning moon period. I set intentions during the New Moon period, and ask for growth in the waxing moon period. And also, I don't just do this. I wait until I am ready to release. Give yourself time to process your loss and understand what it is you are releasing and why.
7. Forgive easily and often. My first and final act (so this should be 1 and 7) is to pray for my friend. I don't know how to forgive in any other way than to begin praying for the other person. It requires nothing but willingness. I don't even have to release any anger or guilt or hurt. I actually get on my knees for this one, because it signals to Spirit that you are ready to embrace the humility needed to heal. Ask for your friend to have everything you want for yourself--peace, friendship, health, happiness, joy and understanding. Ask for your friend to know Spirit. When and if you have more karmic work to do with your friend, ask to bring them back into your life in a way that is peaceful for each of you. Express gratitude for the lessons (no matter how hard) they brought to you, and for showing you the places where you need work releasing attachment and ego. This is the way I have learned to forgive someone--to see them as a Divine Being of Light, as a hurt person, as someone who needs healing in the same way I need healing. If you have a healing or love grid, add their name to it. And add your own. I pray for them, whether I am still angry or not. I believe prayer (to the universe, or God, or your angels) activates your readiness to forgive. Does it mean the anger or hurt immediately dissipates? No. It means, you are showing Spirit you are ready to have this anger removed.
8. Ready yourself for new friends. I do this by working on my heart chakra. Heart opening crystal grids and layouts are wonderful. Yoga can be a great way, and just practicing self-care. Lots of self-care.
What do you think about the end of friendships and healing? What do you do when a friendship ends? Share it in the comment section of this blog.