“He thinks that animals give him direction, you know, tell him right from wrong,” she said as she rolled her eyes.
This was a typical water cooler conversation. I didn’t say it out loud, but I thought – ‘Hey, I believe that animals give messages too.’ I’m the psych and he’s the client and we are apparently on the same page with this one.
A spiritual tool I cut my teeth on was Jamie Sams’ Medicine Cards. These cards act as an oracle rather than as a tarot. They can be used in different type of spreads and they were the first cards that I used as a divination instrument. Each animal depicted in the deck may describe a characteristic or way of being. I used them all the time, learning what animals were actually my allies. I read about the ones that were hanging around to help me out and what characteristics of myself that I needed to be wary of and which to value. Living in the city when I was getting acquainted with the ways of animals, from birds, to mammals, to fish, to insects, you name it, I realized that I could communicate with a moose despite the fact I was sitting in a kitchen in New York City.
When I heard that the client believed that he can communicate with animals, I thought, the first thing these folks need is to broaden their horizons; the second is to find out about the spiritual and cultural belief systems that frame his life. There are so many different systems that it’s virtually impossible to know the details of all of them. We may have expertise in some things but not everything. This gentleman’s thinking may be distorted in a psychiatric context or quite canny in a spiritual one. The situation needs more exploration, education and acceptance. I’d be happy to chat about it with him and others who are excited about the idea of communicating with animals.
I know for myself that when I drive and a certain bird careens near my car that I need to be on the alert. Deer may be crossing at dusk; an SUV may be throttling for all its worth at me or someone may be too buzzed to pay attention to that stop sign. It’s all happened. I know when I see a blue jay fly near me that it’s a time to honor that fierceness that’s within me. I only know this because of the years I’ve spent sitting with the Medicine Cards or Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak , meditating and by developing relationships with the real animals that come my way. I’ve dealt with buck, bears, buzzards, snakes and skunks in the woods behind our house. Each one has brought a special message to me that I’ve had to examine myself about in terms of its meaning. The dream world brings me close to other animals that I am not in contact with during the day- yet are other important communicators.
There is so much to share about and learn and I am open to what you think about this! Tell me who you listen to and who warns you of danger coming down the road, I’d love to know!
I am feeling great today; in fact, I’ve just finished a twelve mile run in preparation for a half marathon I will be doing in two weeks. Today is also Mother’s Day. There are so many messages of love everywhere we turn. I had a conversation this morning about celebrating Mother’s Day and the expectations of that as opposed to showing one’s love every day, holiday or not. I prefer the latter. So with lots of thoughts tumbling in my brain I smudged and centered and asked Graciella, my Gitana, what her message is for us today. I didn’t want my opinions to get mixed up in this at all. The first thing I felt was Graciella’s unbounded love for me. I had the image of her taking a lacy type of necklace and putting it around my neck as a Mother’s Day gift. She said she did it because she wanted to, that simple. This gift from the ethers I will cherish in my heart. I’m sure when I wear it there may be a few who will actually see it. This is divine! Graciella pulled the card and I wanted to cry. It was the Caridad card. What love there is today!
Image: There is the image of a pair of hands that are opened. They hold a beautiful flower. On the wrists are bracelets. One is a simple bangle; the other two are more ornate. There is an object at the side. It is difficult to decipher what it is.
Words: Charity, the sweetness of giving without expectation of reward because the gain is in the giving. Providing service for others is the stepping stone for liberation of the self.
Read: Opening one’s heart to give and receive love may be a challenging feat for many. I see the object to the side of the depicted hands today as some sort of a piñata. During the well awaited piñata opening at a party, there is the blinded batterer who hammers away attempting to gain candies and toys, in this case, analogous to love. The usually beautifully decorated piñata is, with luck, opened up but cast aside in a harsh way, in fact, as a throw away in order for the partygoers to ravage the sweetness that is within. Giving and receiving a kindness, a service and love can be done in a much more compassionate and kind way. We don’t have to destroy in order to receive what we think will be good for us. We don’t have to scurry on our knees, pushing others aside for the sweetness of life, such as the candies from a piñata. Be thoughtful in your thoughts and in your words. The hand you give with is the hand with which you receive. Be gentle with others in each action, listen to the way you speak and hear the messages that you are given. Discern to see if the love you seek is really there. If you are feeling like the discarded piñata then contemplate on the actions you can take to change your situation. Remember, we can’t change others-only ourselves. In this world of tumultuous change, hardship and often, violence, we can be the arrow tips that strike with love, compassion and peace, for ourselves and those around us.
May you walk in beauty!
Most mornings when I arrive at work I drop my bag in a drawer, turn on the computer and take a clear empty bowl to a nearby sink. After I fill it with clear water I bring it back to my office and set it on the short file cabinet. Every once in a while a client will ask me, “Hey, Doc, got fish?”
I’m a water woman. I’m made of about 60 percent of water, love to drink it, play in it and clear my energy with it. Not only do I deal with others’ watery emotions all day long, I also do my best to manage mine. The bowl of water that sits on the cabinet does a lot for me and for anyone who sits in the room with me. Some would say it’s a feng shui thing. I’ve read that water can bring prosperity and wealth. The reason I use it is because it helps keep the energy in my room clear, picking up anything that really doesn’t belong in there, that will bring imbalance. One of my spiritual teachers told me that it brings negative ions into the room and that’s exactly what we want. Just think of the feeling in a room when a window is open and there is a gentle rain coming down outside. There is much spiritual activity that goes on during those times. We receive spiritual messages easily as the rain conducts and facilitates the exchange of energy.
Many times when I’m sitting with clients it’s important for me to determine whether they’re dealing with more of a spiritual issue than a mental health or emotional one. They are very similar in some ways. I take a glance at my water and allow my vision to soften and read the water and take in what it has to say. That’s called scrying. Sometimes I see images in the water and at other times the presence of tiny bubbles throughout the bowl tells me that I am dealing with a spiritual issue. I guess I can say that water helps with the diagnosing and treatment of the problem.
In any event, on the days I haven’t filled my small bowl with water I feel a distinct heaviness in the room. There’s a stagnant feel to the atmosphere and I just feel absolutely wiggly until I can leave and smudge myself properly. I owe the people who sit with me a clean and clear environment. They come for peace of mind and balance of spirit. There are many small ways that can help to make that happen and water just happens to be one of them. Whenever someone asks me whether there’s a fish somewhere in the bowl, I just smile and tell them that the bowl of water is to keep the energy in the room clear. That usually suffices.
Oh, and by the way, I am planning to add fish to my family of pets but these will be kept in their very own aquarium.
There are many things to tend to on a Sunday evening. These typical tasks and errands almost took me away from pulling from this oracle as I’ve promised to do on a weekly basis for Graciella, la Gitana. As I shuffled the cards, Graciella came through in a most flirtatious and vivacious form. Now that I think of it she was actually wearing a feather in her hair. That is something I haven’t experienced before. It is fitting that she would pull the winds card for this reading tonight.
Image: The image is of a female standing in a windstorm. Her face is not visible because her hair is blowing in front of her face. She is standing on what appears to be sand dunes. The dress she wears is sleeveless and has a plunging neckline. Her frothy white crinoline undergarment peeps out as her skirt is also blowing high in the fierce wind
Words: Welcome to the winds of change. They will always embrace you when it is time to change direction. They may be turbulent as in a hurricane or calm. They will not wait for you. Take this time to walk and feel the wind on your body. Let the winds play in your hair. Allow them to clear away any confusion you may experience.
Read: Imagine that Graciella would be wearing a feather in her hair and then pull the Viento- winds card! I take the image of the figure to be standing on a beach. I’ve never seen that before when pulling this card, the dunes always seemed to be connected to the desert. This woman standing on the beach is obviously ill-prepared in her dress. It would be appropriate as an earlier century dress worn by a woman who would most likely be strolling on the boardwalk, hoping her beau would win a large kewpie doll for her to bring home. The setting for innocence is here but there is unexpected change that is occurring. Complete the things that you would like to see done that you’ve not taken the time to do. There are always those tasks that get swept aside because something seemingly more important begs attention. Put things in their places, have your papers in order. You will be charged with taking care of things that require quickness from you and you will not have time to dilly-dally about. I am prodded to remind you that the female figure represents the characteristics of the feminine. Take just a moment to introspect, make a short list and get to those important things that you’ve just been meaning to do. When the changes come you will take comfort in the fact that you can move along with openness of heart and mind.
Sitting with Oh Shinnah Fastwolf, during the earlier years of my spiritual awakeness, I’d laugh when she’d say “you have to meditate, honey, not vegetate.” Oh Shinnah, my beloved Mohawk-Apache-Scot teacher said many things that I’ve come to repeat over the years. A couple of my favorite sayings were “You have to shoot your arrow and follow it, no matter where it goes” and, “When you get to the edge of a cliff you might have to jump because you might die anyway.” These words come from an elder who is filled with wisdom and humor and are the ones I remember whenever there is something I may be shivering in fear about-usually change.
On Sunday, in my PALABRAS spiritual reading, I wrote about meditating. Today I kept thinking about just that-listening to one’s inner voice. Meditating comes in many different forms. I tend to meditate using my quiet morning run, the Emerald Tablets or another form of ceremony. Meditating can seem simple or complex. It may take the form of sitting in front of a lit white candle, in the solitude of a chosen sacred space or sharing the sacred pipe with the two legged and four legged who are in my spiritual circle. I can sit in the white foam as the waves ebb and flow, rhythmically, and listen for the voice of the Great Goddess Mother wash over me. It all sounds very mystical but my favorite meditation was as I sat in front of the vast ocean and heard, “Don’t wear a red swim suit.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought it was hilarious but I got rid of the red and now only wear shades and patterns of blue to my Mother’s shore now.
By meditating one receives the messages meant for them. I love to do readings for everyone who asks but I also encourage learning to purposely listen for messages from Spirit. Praying is talking to your Higher Power-whoever or whatever that might be. Meditating is listening to that same Being. There is joy in sitting in the tranquility of quiet. There is illumination in drawing in knowledge with all of our senses. Opening to communication with that which gives comfort, support and love just can’t be beat.
I have a built-in forgetter, if something’s good for me I promptly forget to do it. That could be eating right, exercising and even going to bed at a reasonable time. So for whatever reason, for the second time this week, I’m moved to write about meditating. We need quiet time. Sometimes when my dog, Chutney, barks just once too often in her shrill high-pitched way, I give her quiet time. She sits in the kitchen for a few moments, gets her bearings and comes out again. The quiet time does her good. It does me good too. This message may be a reminder to myself of the feeling of wholeness and serenity I receive during the act of meditation. So I will try to remember those words “Meditate don’t vegetate.” Hope you will too.
May you walk in Beauty!
I’d just come in from taking a long walk with my partner and our dogs. Here the trees are blooming with delicate white and pink flowers. There are annuals that are showing their proud colors and children and their parents are skating along on board and riding bikes. Today we were showered for a few minutes with a warm rain. Coming inside I prepared as usual to pull a card. I began receiving messages as I pulled out sage, matches and my feather fan. I heard that we should pull up our boot straps and ready ourselves for what is coming our way, that we are in a great transition, spiritually as well as everything else, and that we might consider being open to the opportunities that are presenting themselves, no matter how minute we think they seem. Then I pulled the card and had the image that Graciella sat here in her mature wise woman form. She nods her head as I write this. I asked her, what is it that you would like the readers to know? The card we pulled was the Impasse card.
Image: A road is blocked by a herd of long horn cattle. There is a rusted broken down car that is off to the side of the path that is clearly impassable. There is a man walking with a cane who is head face on to the cattle. We see him from the side and back. He is wearing a small round fedora and a non-descript jacket. The land looks like one that is unused. A bare limbed tree is the only other living thing that is seen.
Words: Things are not what they seem to be. Decisions that seem to be between life and death are not. You have options, therefore, choices to make. Set objectives and goals. Make plans. Steer away from getting stuck in deciphering which road to take. Actions may bring discomfort or distress. You can stop what you are doing swiftly. Let your heart bleed into your brain and create a pure channel from which to work.
Read: I see the image of myself taking a fluid-like form and just bending around what seems to be a huge machine-like obstacle that is standing in my way. When I change form the obstacle no longer exists. I can go through the door if I’d like or I could go under the door too. Whatever I choose to do I can in the new form. Meditate, meditate and you will receive the information that you need to move more easily in this time of great change. We can receive messages from others. I can do a reading for you if you’d like. Probably the single most informative way is by meditating. What you will hear comes from within you, about you, for you. Your meditation can be the practice of your choice. You don’t have to sit in lotus position for 20 minutes, if you can and like that way, then do it. Find a focal point, a quiet space, a comfortable position, take a cleansing breath and find your way to your meditative state. This could be done at home, in your office or at the library. You know where the place is, you see it in your mind’s eye, if you choose not to do it, that’s okay too. Share with someone if you find meditating difficult. There are many of us that will help you along, some of us are visible and some of us are invisible. Make your choice.
Until next week!
The clock glares 3am. My eyelids have once again popped open. It’s as though an electrical switch has been flipped up. Frankenstein’s gadgetry turned on high voltage! I wake up like Frank, too, with a low moan and a stiff stretch. I have the three am blues!
I’ve spoken to so many people who’ve complained about waking up in the middle of the night. I’ve sat there counseling them on the wonders of sleep hygiene as I secretly gloated about my enraptured nights of dreaming. We’ve talked about limiting caffeine intake, no daytime napping, drinking a nice decaffeinated herbal tea in a sweet ritual designed solely for the individual. I’ve even suggested that they write down what comes to mind during this quiet time. The list goes on. I was sure that if they attended to these routines that they would sleep as blissfully as me.
For some reason my nights have changed. I’m really not up agonizing over gut wrenching personal problems, thank the stars. There is no mouse chewing at the corners of my mind. The fact is that I’m just up. Sometimes I’ve been hungry and a banana has done wonders to quell the pangs in my belly. I’ve contemplated making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and placing it next to my nightly glass of water. It will be ready and I won’t have to take the stairs to the kitchen and step on the dogs’ toys strewn on the living room floor.
There was something different the other night about it, though, and I decided to vary my routine. Getting up at six am daily for a very busy life, I despise having my brain turned on in the middle of the night but I chose to go with it rather than against it. I began to listen to the words that were banging in my brain. The images that were playing around in my inner vision were begging to be put on paper. So I shuffled out of bed in that moment of surrender. I began writing the poem that was coalescing in my head. This moontime madness had become an adventure for me. My style of writing was a bit different I realized as I read the words that were flowing out of my fingertips. Suddenly I was very glad that I’d decided to listen to my nocturnal muse. After a few minutes all was quiet. I put my pen down, ate a banana, went back to bed and fell into a deep sleep.
There was a difference in my attitude and in how I allowed the night hours to interact with me in this new way. I believe I was able to get in touch with a slant of me that I hadn’t been privy to since I tend to explore my creative side during the daytime. Something special happened by sitting in the quiet of the darkened sky. My feminine creativity side came shining through as the moon above me did. This interior was dark, a little eerie and totally unexplored before that night. I’m anticipating traveling around it again the next time it wakes me up in the middle of the night.
Having reread my poem in the light of day I know that something special happened when I decided to listen to what had woken me. My writing may take on new forms such as that short rhythmical poem that I wrote. I’m considering rewriting it as a short story. When I sit in front of other bleary eyed individuals I will have something to share from my experience. Waking up at three am I may not have to be infused by the strong electrical current that Frankenstein was but maybe by the softly lit energy of the moon that is just as powerful.
My problem with the paranormal is that it’s become the mundane. Blogging about something that’s about as typical as tooth brushing makes for a challenge. I could ask you what you dreamt last night, whether your thoughts became clearer in the shower this morning or what the homeless man yelled out to you when you passed him on the corner. But recognizing various means of communication is an essential part of living comfortably with the paranormal.
We receive messages via all sorts of media. Some of us see with our two eyes and many of us with the third in the middle of our foreheads. Some of us listen to our iPods and others sit in meditation and listen to their inner voices. Imagine how long our lists would be if we charted down each time we received a message?
Defining the paranormal is simply complex. The definition depends on who is asking and who is doing the defining. Look up the term and you’ll see paranormal is described as being from something ‘out of the range of normal’ to UFOs. That’s pretty vast in itself. I’ve sat with many entities, theoreticians, my own spiritual guides and a bunch of others to discuss what the paranormal means. We all love to give our opinions.
I started writing this on the train to work this morning with the plan to finish it on the way home. As I was walking along Second Avenue, passing another worker, someone I see but have never been introduced to, I heard ‘check your blood pressure.’ The message was as loud as could be. Immediately, I thought, oh no, I can’t tell her this! She’s going to be frightened. My common sense kicked in, fortunately, and I knew that I had to share the message with her. My thinking told me that I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to her and I hadn’t shared the message. So I did. I felt a bit quirky when I turned back around and introduced myself. After about two minutes of small talk I delivered the message. She did look a little fearful but simply said, I understand this, and vowed to get it checked. She also promised to let me know what the result was.
I feel pretty good because I listened and took a decisive action on something that I could have chalked up to my imagination. The larger issue is that I can be of service to another by listening to the voices that tell me some things. There are areas of this that I may not be certain of, but helping another is something I am always sure is taking right action. Pretty mundane isn’t it?
My anxiety soared sky high when I realized that I no longer wanted to blog about blogging. In one of my previous blogs I wrote about what to do and what to steer away from after reading a gazillion blogs on just that. Fine and interesting. I needed and continue to need guideposts on blogging. So keep them coming fellow bloggers but I will bow out of that particular enterprise.
It’s taken me several attempts at blogging to finally find my niche. As I read others’ blogs I thought long and hard about topics that are meaningful to me. Using time is a delicate enterprise. Blogging, writing poetry, an occasional short story and revising my completed manuscripts, while jotting down notes ideas about other novels, takes almost acrobatic skill.
My days are filled with exploring the psychic and spiritual inner worlds of the people who sit with me. We piece together life’s puzzles making sense of the challenges and bountiful goodness that we experience in this incarnation. My writings are filled with these life stuffs so why shouldn’t my blog? Duh.
It’s been affirmed that when a person does something they love that the probabilities for success are higher. Good. I believe that success, measured, can only be self defined. Already, I feel in a great place. So- I’m back to a comfort zone in blogging. Mental health, psycho-spiritual realms and that sometimes broad and, other times, fine space of the in-between…writer’s block resolved.
Submitting a manuscript does a certain thing to me. It enables me to feel the joy of hope and optimism. I give myself whole hearted permission to fantasize about the cover of my novel and to luxuriate in the imaginings of an acceptance letter from one of America’s publishing houses.
I allow myself and my muse to observe, from the recesses of my mind, the scene of sharing the good news with my friends and family. They smile and embrace me warmly while telling me what a wonderful job I’ve done. Everyone is surprised and pleased that it all happened so fast. I’m assured that I’m so deserving of having my words in print.
Receiving rejection letters is another issue that I’ve written about previously. Looking at the awkward responses, I’ve sometimes thought of how I could have written a better rejection letter, about how a particular editor didn’t have decent syntax or that by the tone of their letter that they were afraid to work with the topic. I’ve been sure more editors would have preferred a simple love story featuring zombies and vampires.
To my surprise submitting manuscripts and receiving rejections has become something different for me. Instead of pointing my fingers at others, I’ve taken to doing personal inventories on my process. Doing this has freed me up! I am liberated. Taking suggestions has landed me into a very special time. I’m not in a hurry. I am enjoying reading the multiple books on editing and style like never before. The copies are almost dog-eared now.
My favorite days this past week were spent looking at how many descriptors I’d peppered into my text. I laughed at myself a few times. That felt really good. I even shared about the number of italicized pieces I shouldn’t have included in my work with a certain relish. I’ve told and not shown when I should have- just like the oral storyteller from which I descend. My many errors amounted to that same number of rejections. They are rich and I am engorging myself in their sweetness. I am like the pears that swim in concentrated nectar. I will steep in dismissals and eventually yield with a piece that is the syrup of prose.
While my feelings may last for today, or this hour, it is okay. It is enough.