Today’s Oracles

For the past couple days I have been asking for signs about things on my mind.

Today I forgot to do that, but because I am open to hearing and seeing signs (see Sidewalk Oracles from yesterday) I recognized three signs.

I hit “shuffle” on my playlist when I drove to work and the first three songs were:

Changes in Latitude, Jimmy Buffet

You’ll Never Walk Alone, Rogers and Hammerstein

Pocketful of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield

This is pretty typical of how I receive oracles – through music. I remember shortly after my dad died, I turned on the radio and “My Special Angel” came on first.

Totally not surprised that I was answered,  but I said “yes! thank you!”

I definitely am working on changing my attitude, thank you ancestors and spirits for supporting me, and it is indeed a beautiful sunny day. But even if were cloudy, the sunshine comes from within.

 

 

 

Sidewalk Oracles

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I want to recommend  Sidewalk Oracles by Robert Moss. I first heard about him through some friends, who were also interested in the messages we receive from dreams. Mr. Moss has studied dreams and dreaming,  and based on my friends’ recommendation, I read Dreamgates earlier this year.

And because I tend toward OCD on subjects, I ordered several other of his books. (Book-aholics! Please check out Better World Books for free shipping and to help their literacy project.)

I have always been a strong dreamer and have kept a journal that includes my dreams, for many, many years. Dreams have always fascinated me and I often receive helpful, albeit sometimes cryptic, information from them. I will let you know how the two other books are when I finish them.

So back to this one.

Sidewalk Oracles is an easy read, I was able to finish it over a weekend. There’s a lot of Mr. Moss’s personal story interspersed throughout the book, but it gives you a framework for the information he presents. The meat of the book, for me, was the chapter on asking for, and recognizing, the everyday oracles that are available.

If you’re into this kind of material, you won’t be too surprised by the content. But, I learned new things and new ways of receiving information and validations. If you’re on the cusp about this, check out Robert Moss’s blog and website. He is also on Facebook and posts some of his blog material there.

 

 

More Ancestors

I continue my exploration down the Ancestor Lane.

A couple weeks ago I randomly thought of my grandfather’s two brothers. They both died pretty young, one before my mom was born, so that’s the early thirties. Other than names, I had no information on them. I sat with the “random thought” for a day or so to see where this might lead. Sometimes these things go away.

It didn’t. It didn’t become a full-blown mania, like the time I emailed my great-aunt’s picture to about 30 convents in the Ohio/ Pennsylvania area, in my quest to find out more about her.

But, the thought persisted.

When I stopped to visit my mom, I asked her about these men. She said John died quite young and Anthony and Jeff (my grandpa) were close. She remembered him being around when they lived in Dayton during her first grade. But, he died shortly after. She had no real memory of his looks or voice.

When in doubt, I ask for direction. In my experience, long-dead relatives don’t just pop in to say hello, they generally need something, or recognize YOU need something. Since these gentlemen had been gone awhile, that may be why my impressions from them were extremely subtle, but strong enough for their energy to be recognized.  I have a lot of beloved dead, as do we all, but there was enough of …something… for me to discern them.

monasteryAnyway, after a few days I had the thought to go to the local monastery and light a white candle for each of them. Why this action? I played 20 questions a couple times, mentally asking “how about this?” “what about if I do that?” The candle at the monastery brought a peaceful reaction. Again, nothing was really strong about this experience. The monastery worked, I think, because the family was Irish Catholic and a couple of the women were nuns.

Why do the dead contact us?

In my case, I am looking for help to release some patterns that may (or may not) be a family pattern. I like to keep an open mind, after all. And so far, I’m not getting relief from my “go-to” practices: exercise, breathing, reading, meditating, pretending nothing is wrong. So – I am asking the ancestors for guidance. It is not surprising to receive not-so-random thoughts. They inspire me to be aware of help. Shortly after this experience, I dreamed I was being chased, near the house I grew up in. The scene shifted to the inside, where two men, back-lit by golden light, were there to protect me.

What does honoring the Ancestors entail?

I have an Ancestor Altar on my sacred tools altar. Yes, I am doubling up, but it’s a space issue. Three altars are a lot for one room. Anyway, in the dedicated ancestor space are items that mean something to me, most of them came from journeying. Every morning, since early summer, I sit with the ancestors, those of my blood, of my spirit and of my soul. I smudge the area with Palo Santo smoke and thank them for living well, and dying well, and for the guidance they give me. I am the result of a thousand acts of love. As we all are. And it’s in both of our best interests for me to succeed in my life. Then I ask them to guide me in releasing these patterns. I have a particular Tarot Deck that I draw cards from when I am with them. It’s like a Cliff Notes version of a conversation.

A second experience

My second venture with the ancestors was with my Grandmother Anna. This is my dad’s mom. She died two months before I was born. This is kind of funny: she died in 1958 and I am going to be 58 on my next birthday, so it’s been 58 years since she walked this plane.  I had never been to her grave. One reason was, I thought she was buried in a different cemetery, and it wasn’t all that close. I used to visit the beloved dead on my birthday, to give thanks and honor them. Of course, that’s the day before Halloween, so a win for me that the veil is thin around that time of year.

Anyway, I used Gravefinder.com to find her correct cemetery and Google maps to get me there on my lunch hour. I took her white carnations. It was actually a lovely headstone, and talking to her brought some tears up, so there’s some healing there.

She actually came to me in a dream shortly after my dad died. She was quite radiant, so I know she crossed over well and I have confidence that she will give me proper guidance as I move forward.

What does this mean?

It means the dead are never removed from us. The ancestors have a vested interest in our well-being, and can be a valuable source of support and guidance. A caveat: not all ancestors lived or died well. Discernment is the key when you call on ancestors, just as with any entity from the spirit world.

Trolling

Looky what I found! A Troll Doll.  Throw Back and good memory.

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For no good reason, Troll dolls popped up in my memory several months ago. I remember them from the 1970’s. You could get pencil topper trolls, and by the end of the fad, they came dressed in various professional garb: Doctors, nurses, etc.

Every once in a while I’d think about Trolls, more from nostalgia, like “oh that was a carefree time wasn’t it?” (Ignoring that I was an insecure teen and scared of most people.)

John and I stopped at an antique shop on Friday. He always finds cool little things. Or big things like the milk container on our front porch. Anyway, I was wandering through this maze of a store, and I found this Troll doll. I was nearing the end of my interest in walking around and looking, and for some reason remembered about Troll dolls. In the next cubby, was a pencil topper troll, and on the other side, four Troll dolls.

Ok, it’s a neat coincidence but why bring it up?

About a month ago, the shaman-study group did some ancestor work. One of the exercises came from Frank MacEowen’s book “The Spiral of Memory and Belonging.”book In the exercise, I stepped back in to four successive generations of my ancestors” my dad, his father, his father’s mother and then her father. The purpose was to feel what those people felt, to learn something about their motivation or their lives, in order to see our own lives a little clearer.

What I learned from this, was there was an overwhelming sense of duty to support the family. I felt my great-grandmother Christine scrubbing clothes on a washboard while her child played in a field. There was a sense of not being able to “look up” from her work. I felt my grandfather walking the street home from a job, burdened with trying to feed eight children during the Depression. The focus on work to sustain the family. I felt my Dad being one of eight, and the need to do better, make sure we were fed and sheltered. There was such a sense of working to ensure survival.

And then there was my great-grandmother’s father. This man’s energy was bright and hopeful. He loved horses, and dreamed of escaping the town for the country.

What does this have to do with finding the Troll? I believe it was a gift from my ancestors to remind me that I don’t have to work to survive. That this legacy of determination has served me well in the care of my dad and mom over the last several years, and in my drive to always have a job, even when my husband was laid off. I can always draw on that.

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Ancestor Barbie says “Hi!”. Someone in the line was a comedian.

But, they are reminding me that it is ok to play and be whimsical now and then.

This is the second time a toy like this has crossed my path. About five years ago, for whatever reason, I found a Kangaroo Beanie Baby at a flea market. I walked past it, and went back because when I was a little kid, I had a kangaroo stuffed animal, just about that size, named Matilda.

You may be getting some nudging too. I’m telling you, these things are really subtle and easily dismissed. It does take tuning into yourself to listen to those quiet thoughts, and that’s a practice. It is totally worth it though.

 

 

Managing Expectations

I have a lot of expectations.

I didn’t think that was true, but when I stopped and thought about it, I realized that almost all my assumptions and decisions are based on a set of expectations.

I expect hot water when I turn on the shower.

I expect the coffee maker to work.

Rephrase it, and it’s more like “I assume I will have hot water. I assume the coffee maker will work. I expect to have coffee in the morning.”

I “assume things” based on past experiences. I think we all do (maybe I am assuming here, too.)

When our expectations aren’t met, you get to choose from a long buffet of emotional reactions that, hopefully, lead to a constructive plan of action. Or not. We’ve all been the witness to some spectacular toddler meltdowns over small issues. Small to us, not to the toddler, obviously. Watching such a meltdown can cause a visceral reaction for any spectator.

Anyway, I normally handle things pretty evenly, and I say this, based on the assumption that I have: A) gotten enough sleep regularly, B) eaten normally i.e., regular meals of real food and C) am maintaining some kind of exercise for my body and relaxation for my mind.Shout out to All About Healthy Choices

Losing out on any of those components will throw off my perspective and cause me to mentally make a mountain out of a molehill. And while my meltdowns are not as spectacular as a two-year old’s , they are still damaging to me because I am internalizing a wicked dialogue accompanied by strong emotions. So, I might as well be drinking acid.expections

Case in point: My sister is coming home

My sister lives 400 miles away, and visits twice a year, for approximately 36 hours. This has gone on for several years, encompassing the time my dad was ill and dying. She has traveled world-wide, both alone and with her family, and is not tied down by a job or her teenage sons.

I told her mom really needed more company, and that I was overwhelmed with the many post-hospital appointments that I had to miss work for. Awwww….she felt bad she couldn’t be here to help. I received two Mala bracelets blessed by the Buddhist monastery, and a renewal of the Health and Happiness Candle she lit for me.

Were my expectations met: Yes, my sister lived down to my expectations.

Is this a passive-aggressive post: Yes, I am not above that, Sorry.

Am I having a wicked internal dialogue and choking on my acid reflux: No, because I have done A, B and C above.

Now my buffet of choices is simple: do I carve time out of my day to see my sister, knowing I am making a choice to do so, and to not be an asshole to her? Or do I not worry about this choice because no one else is.

best choiceThe smartest thing someone told me recently was, it was not my responsibility to fix every thing for everyone. So we’ll see. I am not stressing about it.

 

 

 

RAOK

So… tragic week in U.S. again. Still.

This isn’t going to bring anyone back, and it surely won’t change any laws-gun or LGBT protection – but it usually brings a spark of light into a pretty dismal world. Today, practice a Random Act of Kindness.

Smile at the checkout clerk, pet a dog, pickup some trash, give a couple bucks to the sad-looking teen or oldster who’s sitting by themselves. Offer them a smile too. When you’re heart is breaking, offer a piece to the person next to you.

Last week I was missing my dad. A lot. And out of no where, someone gifted me with a hand-made Hamsa (shaman’s hand, healing hand).Kitchen 2

Several weeks ago, she had heard me say that I collect them, thought of me, and brought it to a meeting. I was really overwhelmed, not just by her kindness, but by the fact that I know my dad was hearing me miss him, and this was his way of hearing me.

So last Friday, a friend posted that it would have been her brother’s birthday, the first birthday since he had died this winter. She had some plans for her mom, because it was going to be a really tough day for her. Her mom, Mary, is my neighbor, and this loss…well, burying a child…there are no words.

Anyway, for some reason I remembered this bracelet I had purchased last fall that had angel wings, hearts and green stones. It was intended as a gift, but never made it out of the house at Christmas. I stuck it in my pocket when we walked Miss Penny, and thought I’d give it to Mary if I saw her out walking. Well, I didn’t see her and had some errands to run, so we we drove over to a small town for some produce. And there was Mary buying apples.

Coincidence? I don’t thinks so. After a hug, I tucked it in her hand. I think we both knew it was from Joe, her son. But we didn’t need to say that. So, my day got 100% brighter, and maybe her grief lifted 1%, but that’s ok.

Here’s my challenge: go RAOK like mad this week. It won’t make up for what’s happened to the Orlando families, but it will make you feel at least 1% better.

 

30 Day Gratitude Practice

Gratitude is antidote for almost anything you want to change. Sound wrong? Well, what you focus on, is what you continue to draw to yourself. Mulling over the latest insult from a colleague or the depressing conversation you had with a friend? You’re going to notice more of those things.

Turning you’re thoughts to what you are grateful for is going to change your focus, and draw better experiences to you. Now, I won’t lie, when you’re laying low this is harder to accomplish. However, developing a regular practice, just like your exercise practice or meditation practice pays off. It means when you hit those lows, you have another tool to help you bounce back.

So I am giving gratitude and credit for this post to Kayla over at Fireside Witch, and her YouTube videos at Shakti Shaman. She ran a  contest and I am the lucky recipient of her Gratitude Grows Ritual package. Kayla sent this amazing gift, candle, incense, paper to write what I am grateful for, rose quartz and charcoal. She is amazing, her voice on the videos is soothing and she has great information. You can catch her website here Fireside Witch . Thank you Kayla! I will be starting this on the new moon.

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Working with ancestors, part I

I was inspired by the recent Guardian Gateway Ancestor Telesummit to work with my ancestors. Obviously, I would like to heal my ancestral line, as much as I can. But, I would also like to work with my ancestors in a positive way, and learn their wisdom.

My biggest obstacle to this is, that there is not a lot of Celtic shamanism in the area where I live. Right now, this is where I am drawn to investigate and hopefully embrace and work with. I have some German and some English ancestry but the majority is Irish, so for now, that’s where I’m concentrating my interest.

Jude Lally, (www.celticsoulcraft.com,) was one of the Telesummit speakers. She creates dolls from felted wool as part of her commitment to the divine feminine and in her talk, she spoke of creating a doll to honor the ancestors. So I took my cue from her and created one for myself.

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Clearly, I am not a crafty person because what I saw in my mind’s eye did not accurately translate into what I made. But, it captures the idea.

It was important to me to incorporate elements of nature, so the form is from my healing tree, and the head is a pine cone. In my vision, I saw a silver spiral coming up from, or down to, the head. My paint job didn’t show up too well, and I wrapped the spiral with silver thread, also very light and not showing up too well.

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The woman in the image had long white flowing hair, and a grey tunic. Her clothes where much more flowing than what I ended up with, but in a way, that’s ok because it sort of reminds me of nun’s habit and there were certainly nuns in my family. Plus, you know “back then” there wasn’t a big fashion craze.

There’s a Claddagh pin I’ve had forever, closing the tunic and a clear quartz crystal gifted to me by a tribe sister.

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This healing hand is from a tee shirt that never quite fit me. Nothing goes to waste! I debated this because it’s not really a Celtic (or English or German) symbol, at least that I know of. But I really liked it and liked the idea of both healing and protection.

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And around her throat is the bracelet that came from Peruvian woman, another gift. This may seem like another odd addition, but a way distant ancestor – a man from the African continent – also showed up for me, and this and the texture of the doll’s hair is to honor that spirit.

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With each element beyond the basic image I was given, I let the matter sit for few days. I never got a “no” on any of these additions, so I felt it was ok to use.

Now, what am I going to do with this beauty?

First, I feel I should honor the sacredness by involving the four elements, so I will carefully bury her (earth) overnight, smudge (air), bless (water) and I’m not sure how to involve fire. But I will figure it out.

My intention is to work and honor ALL the ancestors, those of my blood, those of my spirit and incarnations and those of the very first ancestors, who may not be in human form.

Where this takes me, I’m not sure. This has been a month-long project and one of the very few I will undertake during this Fallow Year. I will post updates.