Tag Archives: spirit guides

Being Dead Is Easy. Getting Dead Is Hard.

mystical-door-shutterstock_184672772-webonlyBeing dead is easy. Getting dead is hard.” — Gerrie Glover

Gerrie is a wise and formidable lady, and truer words were never spoken. I thought of this maxim of hers over and over while my mother, Molly, was going through the process that ended in her death on January 22, 2017.

All this time I’ve been writing about the “dead” and the spirit world from a position of being in touch with that reality, but for the most part I was not down in the trenches with death itself and its gritty and messy biological details. It all became immediate and concrete when my mother had a stroke on January 12. I’m going to write about what I observed in hopes that it is useful to someone.

First, on December 30, 2016, our 20-year-old cat passed. She had done astonishingly well for a long time with her failing kidneys, but her body reached the end of what it could handle. Sheena had been velcroed to my mother constantly for a few years, and her death was a hard thing for my mother to get through. We nursed the old lady through to the last, very hands-on because she would not allow herself to be left alone and cried if we weren’t right with her every moment. We were left with her tiny body between us on the sofa, like a perfect sculpture of a cat down to every hair but somehow no longer a cat. My mother wondered what we should do with the body overnight, since it was late and we weren’t going to bury her till morning. “Well,” I said, “no matter where we put her body, she will probably be in your lap.” And at that moment I felt Sheena crawling into my own lap, a small warm weight that stayed till it was necessary for me to get up.

For a few days it was as if we still had two cats, only one was invisible. After that, it seemed that we only had one cat.

Shepherding Sheena through her journey, being the person who listened to see if her heart had stopped, arranging her little limbs for burial, gave me a kind of dry run or rehearsal to help me deal with what would happen with my mother. In Sheena’s case, there were no wrenching medical decisions to make, no questions about whether she might get better. We had known the end was coming and that there was no treatment possible. Things are more complicated with humans and hospitals.

On January 12 my mother suffered a major stroke, affecting areas on both sides of her brain. I think the emergency room doctor had the right instinct. She told us very gently, based on what she saw, that it was time to think about making end-of-life decisions. But within a few hours my mother was able to move her left side again, and within a couple of days she was speaking somewhat intelligibly and swallowing a bit. It looked like she might recover enough to at least sit up in a chair, communicate and feed herself. We exhorted her to rest so that her brain could heal as much as possible, but for a while she was using a lot of energy to make it clear that she wanted to get the hell out of the hospital and get rid of the IV and the other medical annoyances. Which was certainly understandable.

Two and a half days after the stroke, late on January 14, she was able to explain to my daughter that she was ready to go and had nothing else she needed to do. She had great difficulty speaking but was able to get a whole paragraph out and be completely clear. “I’m ready for the sky,” she said, and Lenore confirmed with her that this was really what she meant to say. We’d pretty much known that she felt that way, as she had been weak and had felt rotten most days for a long time, due to problems with her heart, but it was a great gift to hear it in so many words and be sure of it.

The hours and days had a way of running together, and I’m having trouble remembering exactly when various events occurred. It was probably the 16th when she suddenly pointed straight ahead, no trembling in her arm, and clearly called out, “Ann!” That’s her eldest sister, with whom she had had some previous dreamlike contacts. “Is she here?” I asked. My mother nodded. Since the other contacts had been extremely helpful and positive, I was glad to hear it. I couldn’t detect my aunt myself, but I knew that communication with deceased relatives was common near the end of life, and I took this very seriously. My husband and daughter were familiar with this phenomenon as well, and I think that was when we all knew she was turning the corner toward death.

I will spare you the details of the indignities and unpleasantnesses that my mother had to suffer over the next few days. We were told that most people in this kind of situation “just slip away,” but unfortunately she had to take a harder road. We had assumed that the severe agitation she was displaying so much of the time was an effect of the stroke and would likely improve, but if anything it got worse. By the time the palliative care team came to see her on the 17th, she had been through at least a day of hardly any rest or respite and the nurses and I were getting frantic trying to help her. As soon as the palliative care doctor saw her, he recognized what was going on as “terminal delirium.” I had never heard that term before, but apparently it happens a substantial percentage of the time.

The doctor said that we should stop bothering her right away, pull the IV, the heart monitor, and the other devices that could not possibly do her any good. Thankfully, we were moved to a private room where there was relative quiet. We still had a terrible night because the low doses of medications being given weren’t enough to stop the seizure-like agitation. I couldn’t imagine any of us going on like that. The palliative care people agreed and very quickly and efficiently put through an order to move to the inpatient hospice. Their nurse held me and let me weep all over her.

The Kaseman Presbyterian inpatient hospice was a revelation. Instead of a cramped, chaotic hospital room, we found ourselves in a space big enough to walk around easily, with home-like seating and nearly perfect calm, and an atmosphere that felt like it was filled wall to wall with angels and helpful beings. Soon after my mother was brought in and my daughter and husband and I gathered around her, a priest came in to give her the blessing for the sick. The moment Fr. Charles opened his mouth to pray, it was as if the ceiling opened and a thousand more angels dropped into the room. My mother had been stressed further by the ambulance trip there, and this uplifting interlude was soothing to her as well as to the rest of us. I had only once before had an experience like this with being prayed over. Not everyone has that kind of connection to the heavens, it seems.

We more or less lived at the hospice during the next few days. They had a miraculously comfortable place for a family member to sleep, such a contrast with the hospital, and I took advantage of that. The first night, Wednesday, I felt that I was embraced hour after hour by myriad beings of light, wrapped securely in grace and benediction. In that state it was easy to make a strong heart connection with my mother and feel her embrace as well. I was up often to respond to the nurses and check on things, but when I slept it was a wondrous and restorative sleep, and I dozed off and on far into the day, with the staff encouraging me to rest.

Despite that, Thursday night I felt ill and crashed at home. I intended to go back to the hospice in the middle of the night, but never made it. We all continued to limp along through the process, my mother still sedated most of the time and moving slowly toward the end, not really responsive anymore.

Friday morning there was some drama. Her body became extremely hot, not just to the touch physically, but radiating incredible energy all around. The nurse could also feel the heat and energy— I think anyone would have noticed it— and she and I assumed my mother must have had a raging infection by that time, but since they don’t take temperatures in hospice, we didn’t determine whether she had an actual fever. It was far more than that, though. I had never seen so much energetic activity around a person, and I’ve seen a lot. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and wondered if it had anything to do with the nonphysical part of her moving away from the physical substrate. I haven’t found any information or opinions about this, but much later I did see a reference to a dying person’s skin becoming very hot at about the same stage.

I will describe my subjective perceptions of the next stages of the process. Friday night, as I was keeping watch from the sofa bed across the room, I saw what looked like a sudden opening in my mother’s chest, like a door or hatch being opened. Something that seemed whitish poured out. (This was a “mind’s-eye” vision— I was not looking directly at her.) This energy appeared to congeal into a mass near her body, with a sort of band still connected rather tenuously. It looked like a vague ribbon or stream to me, not the famous “silver cord,” though it must have been functioning in the same way as that.

Drifting through the hours in the middle-of-the night state of grace (not dreaming, mind you), I lost track of where that main concentration of energy was. Where is my mother? I kept asking myself. She didn’t seem to be close to her body anymore. Fryderyk was accessible, and I asked him what he could see and if there was anything he could explain to me about what was going on. I said something about wanting to be sure to be present when my mother actually passed and not wanting to miss the moment.

“If you wait to see it, you will already have missed it,” he told me in his usual aphoristic and slightly cryptic way. In images, he conveyed the idea that death is not a moment but a series of steps or distinct events.* I was already witnessing it, he said. And as usual, I realized that he was telling me something that should have been obvious to me already.

The next morning, Saturday, I found a distinct change. Her skin was still physically quite hot, but there was almost no feeling of energy near it at all. My mother’s body was still functioning, more or less the same as the night before, but she was somehow much less alive. She had already been mostly unresponsive, but now she seemed not to be “in there” in the same way anymore. I took this as a positive sign. It seemed much better for her not to have to experience too much of her body’s travails.

My understanding was that beneath the painkillers and sedatives, the body was still feeling some distress. I could detect a strong sense of disturbance in her heart, that is, the physical organ, and I felt pain in my palm when I held my hand near that part of her chest. I mentioned to the nurses that I was feeling pain in her chest, and no one seemed to think anything was strange about my statement. Hospice personnel hear and see all manner of things.

We began to feel like midwives, encouraging my mother to make the leap into the next birth. We talked to her and told her it was OK to go, which we figured she knew, but we thought we should say anyway. We started to wonder whether there was some unfinished business we didn’t know about. As I would with a regular patient, I poked around and looked for any emotions or issues that might show up, and worked to clear the minor things I found. (Mostly, she was concerned about leaving the mess of papers and paraphernalia in her bedroom for us to sort out.) We reassured her that we were fine and she didn’t need to worry about us.

I stayed over again Saturday night, afraid to leave, thinking that it would happen anytime. By mid-morning Sunday, I was wanting to get a change of clothes and clean up, and the nurses were gently pushing me to get out of there. (We know that often people wait to pass, not wanting to do it in front of their loved ones.) “Did your mother spend a lot of time alone?” they asked.  (She did.) “Maybe she’d like some alone time now.” So I went home, and Bob went to replace me a little while after. Hardly an hour later, they called for Lenore and me to come back right away.

It was almost comically anticlimactic to rush back to the hospice only to sit there again just as before. But things were beginning to change more noticeably. An elderly friend who hadn’t been able to come sooner arrived with her daughter, and they confirmed, based on their experience, that it wouldn’t be long. Their perspective and wealth of experience were helpful, but a little disturbing and imposing too. When they came to my mother’s bedside, I moved to the foot of the bed so that they had space, and they immediately told me not to stand there. Huh? They explained that in their belief system, the soul exits the body through the feet, and they didn’t want me to block its passage. I was completely nonplussed by this thought— I’d been brought up Catholic too and had never heard such a thing— and taken aback that anyone would try to dictate anything to me at my own mother’s deathbed when she was so near the end. I moved over, though, mumbling something about having seen my mother’s chest open and her soul pour out that way already, which didn’t seem to get through to them.

Every so often the nurses checked on the color of my mother’s extremities and the sound of her breathing. There was nothing to do but wait as the death rattle set in. I sat very close, and the sound was terrible even though I knew it was normal and expected. I was insulated from the distressing events, though. What I mainly experienced was the warm, reassuring sensation of my mother embracing me as if I were a tiny child. It was an incredible gift. I knew that whatever her body was going through, she was fine, and so was I. I wished that my husband and daughter, and the staff too, could feel what I was feeling and know the same peace.

I was the one who probed for a pulse and announced that it was gone. The nurse confirmed the time of death, then left us to say our goodbyes. We weren’t quite sure how to react. I remember blurting out, “I’m so excited for her!” and really meaning it, since so many new possibilities had suddenly opened for my mother. She was vibrantly present in the room, so I kept talking to her. Her mouth was hanging open awkwardly, and I wanted to close it for a more dignified appearance, thinking that she would not appreciate being seen that way. I kept trying to reposition her head to make that possible, and it just didn’t work no matter what I tried. I apologized for my failure, laughing helplessly. The absurdity somehow seemed natural. We found ourselves engaging in some gallows humor, and I wondered how the other families in the facility were dealing with this kind of thing. It was surreal and bizarre as much as it was sad, and at that moment I was feeling relief more than anything.

I wistfully noted that the individual cells of the body, most of which were probably perfectly healthy, were now condemned, along with the billions of commensal organisms that ride along with us and make our human life possible. But that is the way of things.

My mother was around and available a great deal for the next few days, and others besides me experienced and enjoyed her company. I couldn’t really feel grief-stricken, since she wasn’t gone. She didn’t continue to hang around so much of the time, and I expect that she’s been doing more worthwhile things than watching us, but there is contact now and then. I still haven’t found her current will; I’d thought I knew where to look, but her papers were not arranged the way I expected. When I begged her for help in locating it, she pointed me in a definite direction in her bedroom— but what we found there was her will from 1963… this would be a great time for me to be a much better medium than I am… still no current will to be seen, unfortunately.

But that situation can be easily dealt with. I have no major complaints. My mother is dead but not lost, and I’m at peace with her and with the process of her life and death. I’m intensely grateful to have been privileged to observe and perceive so much of what went on. My only discomforts have been a few small lingering questions about the medical decisions we made. I’m comfortable that we did the best we could with the information we had at each moment, though.

I understand far more about death than I did before, but there are myriad questions remaining. For one, I have been wondering, if a person dies suddenly in an accident, by gunshot, etc., do they go through the same stages, only much more quickly? Or is it a very different process? I’m sure there must be some after-death accounts of sudden deaths out there.

Friends and patients have been telling me about their experiences of the deaths of their own parents and others close to them. I would love to hear anything you would care to share, either as a public comment or privately.

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*Michael Tymn posted this on his blog at
http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/guarding_against_premature_cremation/:

‘In his 1998 book, Light & Death, Michael Sabom, an Atlanta cardiologist, cites an article by Dr. Linda Emanuel, who comments that life and death are viewed as non-overlapping, dichotomous states, whereas in reality there is no threshold event that defines death. “Several scientific observations support Emanuel’s argument that loss of biologic life, including death of the brain, is a process and does not occur at a single, definite moment,” Sabom writes.’

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Inedia, Molecules, and What Are We Made Of?

While working on something else, I came across this page I’d written in 2008 while in the midst of taking a seminar in Richard Bartlett’s “Matrix Energetics.”  It explores some ideas I want to develop soon in these posts, so I think I’ll just submit it in its original form for the moment and whet your appetite.

Yesterday, before the intro to the Matrix seminar, I was reading an article on “breatharianism” or “inedia,” in which people go for very long periods of time without taking in physical nourishment and yet stay alive and healthy. The article, written by psychologist Jon Klimo, did not say that this is necessarily possible or true, but since there are recorded cases that are well studied and seem convincing, it asks whether there might be some kind of theoretical framework that could allow for this phenomenon. Klimo uses zero point energy, among other concepts, to offer possibilities.

(Seems like Chopin was attempting inedia at times, but I think being able to breathe well is a prerequisite if you are planning to live on air….)

I was thinking, “This sounds a lot like what we’ll be talking about in the seminar.” And right then I saw the Matrix Energetics book listed near the top of the bibliography. I’ve had the article for a couple of months, but didn’t read it till now, a time when it fits right in with the rest of what I’m thinking about. This is always happening to me. Sometimes the universe is so nice and convenient.

The inedia article, in part, concerned what humans are made of and what really happens when we take substances and energies into our bodies. This led me to ask a question I hadn’t thought about in a long time: What is Fryderyk made of? He doesn’t have molecules these days—or does he have them, but in a different form? (Just bear with me for a minute here.)

Not that we understand what molecules are made of. They certainly aren’t made of anything solid; if you cut them into smaller and smaller pieces, you find that there aren’t any pieces. There’s just something that could perhaps be called energy, though that’s not a particularly good term for it. I’m not sure what the fashionable term is for the fundamental Stuff at the moment. We could call it Qi, which would be fine with me; Oriental medicine says that everything is made of Qi, and that concept fits my experience. When I was a Rosicrucian, I learned to call it Nous. Whatever. Now we know that what we always called “vacuum” and thought was empty is actually seething with activity, serving up particles of all sorts at every instant and destroying them just as quickly, so that we don’t notice unless we look for them in the right way. “Solid” matter appears and disappears effortlessly and instantaneously, matter and energy transform into one another, and everything seems to do whatever it damn well pleases.

One of the first things Richard Bartlett told us in the seminar was, “You think you matter, but you don’t, ‘cause you aren’t!”

I always thought of Fryderyk and his ilk as being made of Qi, like the rest of us, but missing that one layer that appears to us as matter. In terms of energetic perception, a “dead” person feels very much like a “live” person to me—indistinguishable, in fact, if I am not in direct contact with the Earth-plane person’s skin or clothing.  (One of the entertaining aspects of being in a room containing 560-plus individual humans is noticing the different flavors of their personal fields—otherwise, I pretty much hate it. Some people I would like to have sitting next to me all the time, others I want to get away from as soon as possible, and most, strangely, I don’t notice at all unless I put forth some special effort. The field of the group as a whole, as you can imagine, is pretty overwhelming.)

But we don’t know what Qi is either. Some of the people writing on healing, Qi Gong, etc. talk about electromagnetic energy, but Qi can’t be electromagnetic. I wish it were, since that is something we sorta kinda understand, but it it’s not. It can’t be, because the strength of electromagnetic fields falls off rapidly with distance, but Qi can be shown to act at seemingly impossible distances. These effects are measurable. While there are models within physics that involve action at a distance, the EPR paradox and Bell’s theorem, as far as I know they do little or nothing to explain phenomena like remote healing. They also don’t explain the observed effects, also at a distance, of purely mental interventions like prayer or positive intentions. So saying that everything is made of Qi doesn’t resolve the mystery.

This matter (no pun intended) of Qi-at-a-distance is bothering me increasingly. It’s an obvious reality that can’t be avoided, yet it doesn’t fit known physical laws. Which has to mean we don’t know all the laws yet, because everything is ultimately physics. I don’t know what kind of research strategy could deal with it, and I don’t have the math(s) to even begin to think about this like a physicist might. If physicists were thinking about it, which only a few of them are willing to do. (David Bohm and Nick Herbert deserve mention.)

Metaphysics is physics too, just physics we don’t understand so well yet. I don’t think there’s really a “meta” anything, except maybe metaphor. And whatever Fryderyk is made of, it has to be physics.

One way, one fruitful way, to look at reality is that it is made up of interacting fields. Unfortunately, that is likely to bring us back to electromagnetism, but for a moment let’s postulate that everything is information. Dr. Bartlett said that we were working with fields of information, that that is what we are. Ah, I thought, Fryderyk is a field of information. I think that’s probably the closest I’ve gotten to the truth of the situation. But what is information made of? I have no idea.

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When Is an Entity Not an Entity, and Does It Really Matter?

2012 Marigold Parade, Albuquerque

2012 Marigold Parade, Albuquerque

Día de los Muertos and my dear departed is nowhere to be found.  I am dispirited.  Dispossessed.  Ghostbusted.  Sigh.  But he’ll be back.  He always comes back– so far.

I’ve written a lot about the tremendous, invaluable help Fryderyk has given to me over the years.  My point in this post is going to be that no matter what They “really” are, the positive effects of spirit entities can be huge.

The most obvious and well-studied help comes to those who are bereaved.  I’ve been reminded of this lately by two of my patients.  One has been reeling from the death of a young family member for almost a year, and is still deeply enmeshed in the grieving process.  Other family members have started working with a medium in the recent past, and they’ve received clear and evidential communications that certainly appear to be coming from the deceased.  While this has not wiped out their grief, it has caused a definite shift toward healing.  My patient has not yet had this direct experience herself, but hearing about it has comforted her substantially.  I’ve read about this kind of thing many times, especially in connection with Induced After-Death Communication*, but this is the first that I’ve seen it in action.

Another patient, an 85-year-old lady, was musing about her deceased husband during her last appointment.  She is doing poorly lately in some ways, and she’s been thinking a lot about the fact that she “knows more people in the next world than in this one,” as she puts it, and what it may be like when she moves on.  She had a number of vivid sightings of her husband after his death, which she authorized me to share with you.  He had suffered severely from diabetes and all the worst it can do to a human body, including having his legs amputated.  She particularly appreciated seeing him in one piece in her visions, with both his legs intact, looking happy and healthy.  That was what she emphasized to me when I saw her last, that it meant so much to her to know that he was no longer suffering.

Here are a few of the notes that she jotted down for me about her experiences over the years:

“1998  No. 3… Walking towards me on Stillwell, I had Skipper [dog] walking to him… he had both legs, and he looked good.”

“No. 12, July 1999– Saw him, he was waiting for me with his arms open to me– made me very sad.”

“No. 14, Nov. 1st, 2000 (11 am)   I did not see him but I felt him there at 8711, I was by [daughter’s] bedroom and there was a distinct loud thump in the closet by his gun room– I opened the the door and found [other daughter’s] duvet comforter that we had been searching for.  I know he was there, I could feel him close to me.  His love reached out to me.”

“No. 15, Oct. 10th, 2004   I saw him just for a few minutes, he was very agitated and did not speak to me– it was the day [cousin] had a heart attack– he was running back and forth– I had not actually seen him in four years.”

Communication with the “dead” is so common that it barely makes a blip on my radar anymore, and it is relatively easy to understand– a dead person is fundamentally not so different from a live one.  But so many times Something or Someone is there and the situation is not nearly so clear.  There has been a spate of patients bringing in entities of one sort or another in the past couple of months.  I don’t mean that I was perceiving something around them on my own to begin with, but that they told me about it themselves and asked me to help them with it– fully expecting that I could.  If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I’ve had terrifying experiences with a demonic entity and that I had no success whatsoever in dealing with it.  (See my post “A Case of Possession.”)  I haven’t tried to work with anything like that since, and I’ve pretty much assumed that I couldn’t.  However, apparently the universe has decided that it’s time I learned and that I have to get some practice.

A gentleman about my age complained of feeling attacked by other people’s negative thoughts being aimed at him, envy and resentment and similar discordant stuff.  He has a strong background in healing and spirituality himself, and is psychologically strong and capable of dealing with difficult people, but he couldn’t shake the feeling of being battered by these unpleasant intentions.  I took a look around him and saw a clear image of an arrow, like one might see on a sign, pointing downward toward his head.  It had definite edges and was almost palpable, appearing to be about a foot and a half long and a few inches wide, in a solid dark blue for whatever that’s worth.  I would interpret it as a thought form, but whether it had been created by the patient or by those who were causing problems for him, I can’t say for sure.  Perhaps I was seeing his perception of what was going on, or perhaps the image was formed by my own brain’s attempt to make sense of the situation.  At any rate, this was not a being with its own agenda so much as an energetic sculpture of sorts, and it was a relatively easy thing to clear.  The next week this patient reported that the feeling of oppression and negativity was mostly gone.

It was more difficult with another patient, a lady who has some particularly draining family issues to contend with, and who is very aware of her own usual spirit companions.  Fighting tears and looking absolutely exhausted, she told me that for quite a while she had been feeling like something was obstructing everything she tried to do, hanging around her and keeping her from moving forward in any way.  She had had no luck trying to get rid of it or learn anything about it.  While she was on the table, I looked and found something that gave me a genuine scare.  There was a mass of energy hovering over her chest, creating a heavy pressure.  It wasn’t directly touching her, but that was only because she was constantly pushing it away with all her might.  I joined in and tried to dislodge it, but it was a serious challenge.  It seemed really determined to get at her, and it pushed back with considerable force.  In this case, the thing seemed truly to be an entity separate from the patient, not simply a creation of her own.  But why would it be trying to harm her, and what could we do about it?  I used every strategy I could think of, asking what it was, what it wanted, whether it represented someone close to her, and so on, but I couldn’t find out anything about it and couldn’t get it to move.  Did it represent the difficult family member?  That didn’t seem to be the answer.  Had it simply hooked on to the patient because she was in a weakened and vulnerable state?  I never did get any clarity about what was going on.  Between the two of us we did manage to clear it away, though, I think through sheer brute force– not the way I would prefer to work.  It took everything both of us had to do it, but she did feel much freer afterward.   At her next appointment she told me that she still had the feeling that it was waiting around nearby to get at her again but that she’d been able to keep it at bay.  I am cautiously optimistic but more than a little unnerved about this experience, and will continue to monitor the situation.

++I broke off writing this to zip over to an Albuquerque Baroque Players concert, where Fryderyk made a liar of me by showing up during a set of Handel arias and sticking around for a good while, keeping me warm and contented.  Or perhaps I should turn that around and say that he confirmed that I was telling the truth when I said he always comes back.   I’ll never stay away long either, Fryc, I promise.++

The most colorful of the recent entity experiences came about during a difficult session with a very traumatized mid-school-age boy who has been through a life-threatening illness, someone with a huge imagination, a taste for and wide knowledge of mythology, and a family background that includes some shamans.  He and I were trying to find a way to work with his intense fears about any medical treatment, including the acupuncture he used to accept so easily.  As we talked, he suddenly exclaimed, “I see a demon in that corner!  There are glowing red eyes!”

Oh, crap, I thought, because when it comes to anything that might be a demon, I’m pretty traumatized myself.  The kid had already detected the dragon that sometimes people perceive around me, and I had other reasons to believe that his intuitions were right on track.  So I took him very seriously, and gazed at the area he was pointing toward.  Yikes, I was seeing the eyes too (in my own mind’s eye, that is).  Something was there.  Interestingly, he was pointing directly at my defunct clock, which is covered in a painting of a dragon with red eyes that stared straight at us, but the clock was hidden behind a little tapestry, being used to prop it upright.  The patient couldn’t have physically seen the dragon, but it may have contributed to the imagery that came up.

The glowing red eyes seemed independent of the dragon picture, though.  I tried telling the entity that it needed to leave, and it quite obligingly started walking away.  It looked to me like a flat black silhouette, with a round head with a serrated margin as if it had cartoon fur, and skinny stick-like limbs.  There was no detail other than the eyes.  The thing didn’t seem very scary, I was relieved to see.  On the other hand, as we continued to talk about what we were seeing and what the boy was feeling, and I worked at clearing whatever I could, it was still there, still appearing to be walking away but not actually getting any further from us.  There seemed to be no more progress.

It was as if we were having a shared dream and moving through it together.  Much like what happens when I do “normal” psychic work with patients, but not quite the same.  At length, the creature turned and came back toward us, setting itself directly in front of the boy.  I was alarmed, but then it turned so that it was facing away from him, its hands raised with claws at the ready.  It was trying to protect him!  We had tamed this beast and brought it into service for him, it seemed.  By that time it appeared positively cute and winsome to me, not threatening in the least.

My take on this was that the creature provided a way for this patient to crystallize his feelings into a form he could deal with, in a visual language he understood.  I’d like to say that there was a dramatic transformation in his PTSD, as I hoped at the time, but it turned out to be only one step in the process; he’s still very fearful.  I will be fascinated to see what develops the next time I see him.

Sometimes I’m the patient myself, and invisible beings come to treat me.  Usually it’s been my familiar musical being, or another entity who has been formally introduced to me in some way.  I’ve complained of not always knowing how to tell who is who.  I mentioned this to Christine the other day (see my post “Here Be Dragons”), saying that she is better at recognizing and distinguishing them than I am.  She laughed and said, “I think I just don’t care as much”– that is, it doesn’t matter to her which one is who.  Touché.  Perhaps I am too concerned with understanding intellectually.  But inquiring minds want to know!

In the past few months I have struggled with some new physical discomforts and difficulties that have slowed me down considerably at times, but I have also had a new source of assistance available.  I’m not sure exactly when it was that I started to be aware that there was an unfamiliar entity trying to make contact with me.  She– I had a sense of femininity for reasons I can’t describe– felt distinctly different from Fryderyk, who can come in with a good deal of force.  There was a feathery softness in her touch that wasn’t quite like anything I’d experienced before, surrounding me in the gentlest imaginable way.  I wondered if she might be defined as an angel.

One night in August, not long after my mother had been hospitalized and I’d been ill enough myself to make a trip to the emergency room**, I came home from an unusually long day of seeing patients in the western part of the state with my personal fuel gauge on E.  I’d been OK most of the day, but at that point I realized I had really done myself in and was in a state that was starting to get me a little worried.  It was hard to breathe and my chest hurt.  The angel or whatever she was made herself apparent and went to work on me right away.  Almost instantly I was out of the scary state and becoming much more comfortable, starting to feel normal again.  After a little while Fryderyk came in as well, and I was interested to see how distinct they were from each other.  Whatever they did, it put me completely to rights, and I was deeply grateful, especially since I was scheduled to go out to see my most fragile and difficult patient, an hour away out west again, the next morning.  I feel certain that I could not have managed that without their help.

I can hardly describe how momentous this was, despite my years of experience with Them.  What did I do to deserve this near-miracle?  How did I attract this wondrous being?  I have no idea.  I can only say that there is a kind of healing circle or chain in which someone supplies me with energy and I pass it on to patients and they pass it on to the people in their lives who are in need, and it goes on and on.

The next time I encountered this being, I tried my best to get a look at her and to ask who she was, but I got no insight whatsoever.  Within another week or so, I again had an energetic crash, not as bad this time, with the chest discomfort very prominent.  She touched a spot there  and the discomfort vanished instantly (and then was completely gone for weeks).  It didn’t even feel like she had done anything in particular.  Pretty slick!  By this time I was extremely curious, and I asked again who she was, dropping into a channeling state as best I could.

“I am she who is the embodiment of wisdom,” I heard.  Oh!  I thought.  Sophia!  I already knew someone who channels the goddess of wisdom.

OoooKkkk… here we are again with the same problem I had over contacting Kuan Yin.  A goddess.  Uh huh.  Right.  I don’t really know what to do with that concept.  Maybe something Mendy Lou told me when I described this experience will help, though.  She wrote, “But as for Wisdom, I think that it is not something that we can possess, but rather a thing which we allow to enter into us or perhaps come upon us….”  Maybe personifying Wisdom is not so strange.  But Sophia, as I am choosing to call her, seems very much a person in her own right rather than a personification.  I await further enlightenment on this matter– still, having made little or no progress with understanding it since I wrote about Kuan Yin and the beginning channeling class a couple of years ago.  I try not to worry about it too much.  I have Friends in High Places, and that’s worth a lot whether I understand it or not.

Wisdom and discernment are always needed and in all too short supply, but I think I can benefit from an infusion of wisdom even more than usual right now.  One thing I know is that I can’t run my batteries down to nothing all the time and expect someone to swoop in from the heavens and save me.  I still have to show some sense.  I am infinitely glad to know that They are watching out for me, though, and helping me to watch out for others.

Thank you.  Thank you.

*Information on Induced After-Death Communication can be found at the site of the originator, Al Botkin, http://www.induced-adc.com/ 

You may also want to look at my posts on IADC from March 2010.

**Nothing serious was found and they were able to reassure me a lot; my symptoms have been inconvenient and uncomfortable but there is no major threat to my health.

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“When you play it you are touching my soul”

For some background and a summary of my concerns and conclusions about the Chopin Voice in the Leslie Flint material, you can have a look here: https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/hearing-voices-part-iii%E2%80%93-chopin/

The opening measures of Op. 10 No. 3, manuscript

The opening measures of Op. 10 No. 3, manuscript

I’ve been trying to organize my collection of musical insights gained over the years from communications with Fryderyk Chopin.  In the process, I came across a presentation given by the Chopin Voice to Leslie Flint’s sitters on February 25, 1955.  It contains some comments that so many of us who play Chopin’s works would find greatly comforting, especially those whose physical ability often lags behind their understanding of the music and the depth of their connection to it.  Some of you may feel that this is all too sweet, too good to be true, or too religious-sounding for your taste.  I understand, but it’s worth putting in front of you nonetheless, and what the Voice says does fit my experience of him.

Today is a good day for me to hear this message again.  I’ve been exploring the emotional landscape of Chopin’s E major étude, Op. 10 No. 3, which he composed at the age of 22, too inexperienced to fully understand what he himself was writing, one might think.  It’s one of those pieces that seems like the angels of music must have been whispering in his ear with special clarity.  I’m at a point where I have a solid understanding and deep feeling of the meaning of the piece and the story it tells– or at least, one possible story– but I am not yet quite where I can stay immersed in the emotional and psychological experience and bring all that to the listener because I just don’t have complete physical control of the entire piece.  I will soon.  Really!  It’s exciting to be so close to something so wondrous, but of course you know how frustrating it can be too.

Rose Creet, you may remember, was a great fan of Chopin and a dear friend to this version of him.  At one point in another year, the Voice half-joked to her that sometimes he listened to her playing and said to himself, “Hmm.  She is get a little better.”  I can only hope that at times he says that about me!  I do think that he is often quite aware of what I am doing technically, what the actual sound is, and how close I am getting to a clear physical expression of the music.  But it makes perfect sense that it would be easier for him to perceive a player’s emotional state and thought patterns than to hear the molecular vibrations of the Earth-plane air.

I transcribed this session from an online recording at http://www.leslieflint.com.  Between the Voice’s rather bumpy English and my inability to hear clearly at many moments, there are likely a fair number of errors.  I’ve added question marks in instances when I just couldn’t be sure.  I’ve also bolded passages that I think are of particular interest to players.  Here goes:

Sitters: Rose Creet, Leslie Mannington[?]

Voice:  Hello.

Rose:  Hello?

Voice:  Madame et monsieur, good evening.

Rose and others:  Good evening.

Voice:  Well, you have not said it, but it is me all right.

Rose:  Yes, I know.  Frederic.

Voice:  It is.

Rose:  Yes, Frederic.  And we’re so happy you have come to us again.

Voice:  I was trying to think what I should speak to you about this evening, and I thought the most appropriate thing would be what is common to our hearts, music.

Rose:  Yes, please.

Voice:  I have tried very much to find a way of expressing certain things to you regarding music in the spheres of love, but I don’t know how I am going to find the words which can possibly give you the right understanding.  I think the best comparison, the best way to do it, is to tell you that that which is music to you on Earth, beautiful though it is, important though it is, and essential as it is to those who feel and know and understand these things, yet in comparison to the things of spirit, where music is supreme, it is infinitesimal.  When I think of the compositions, the music that I have written in my Earth life, although I am in a sense pleased with it, I realize it is so small in comparison to that which I have been able to do here.  Here there are no limitations.  On Earth, I used to struggle… ah! the limitations seemed many.  Things that I had in my heart, in my brain, things that were running through me— I just found that sometimes the compass of the instrument was insufficient.  There were notes that in my heart I had felt so strongly, that could not be expressed, for the instrument was insufficient.

Here, there is such a wide range.  You see, here we are not limited as you are.  You can only hear to a certain pitch, or to a certain point.  Beyond that your ears do not hear.  With us it is different.  There is a much greater range of which we can hear.  And in consequence the instruments which we have are composed or [?] made in a much larger scale.  Therefore, we can strike notes and chords and create harmonies which are beyond your imagination.  Take something which you think today on Earth is a grand study, or something that is a great flowing piece of work, with great harmonies, great though it is, it is so small in comparison.  As the spirit is larger in its experience and in its wisdom and in its knowledge and in its expression when it is freed from the physical body and the earthly condition, so is music also.  It is only the limitation of the Earth that limit the human heart, that limit the human ability to create.     

Any artist who is an artist, whether it is in music or in any other field of activity, as you know, often will express the same thing.  He will say, “Ah!  I just cannot get it.  I do not feel, and it just will not come.”  He has the moment of mood, when he knows that he can do a work, and he will go at it day and night until it is accomplished, and then no doubt he will sit back and think, “Well, it is finished, but it is not as I would quite have liked.”  In other words, his materials limit him, and yet what he has created is accepted by the world as a great work, which it is, within the limitations of the Earth.  But here, where there are no limitations, where the power of the spirit is such that a man can become as great as he desires in a spiritual sense, and his work can become also as great, there are no limitations to those who strive, to those who seek, to those who try to express that part of God which is in themselves.  For in music is God, as indeed are in all things that are good.  There is the prize[?] and the heart and the emotion of the Most High.  For we see with the eyes that are not of the Earth, and we hear with the ears that are not of the Earth, and we express in volume and intensity, with things which cannot be confined as you understand it in a material sense.  All the limitations of the artist are broken over here, and he or she can accomplish great things.  And all those things are an expression not only of man himself, but of God working through man.  For God is perfection, and all we who are artists are striving for perfection in our art.  In other words, we are all becoming more like God, part of God, and in consequence our work and art grows also.

And therefore, in the different spheres you find that as those who have gone through one sphere to the other of progress, they leave behind in their particular sphere (the same as when a person leave your world to come to this), they leave behind some expression of God, some expression of the emotion of the spirit and the beauty of the spirit in all its purity and grace.  In my life, I try to leave behind some expression of God in my work, and the artists and the poets, and all those who strive to express themselves, the soul, which is a part of God, have left behind a heritage for those who follow after.  And so in the spheres as we progress from one to the other, as we learn and assimilate and utilize all the opportunities in each particular individual sphere in which we live, we create and leave behind for those who come from your world into that particular sphere some of ourselves, to leave behind in love to help those who follow after, the same as those musicians in your world today take the works of the great masters and find in them great beauty and reverence and harmony and sound of… great, joyous music.  They feel and know there is some part of God in the soul of a musician who has made progress beyond material things.

So it is that we all help each other.  We are all brothers and sisters.  You were surprised, long time ago, when I first come to you.  For a long time you could not really believe it.  You thought, “Ah, it is not possible.  Why should he come to me?” because you are humble in spirit, because you realize the greatness in music, you realize the greatness in art, and you realize too that there was some part of the soul, and you felt perhaps you could not touch it.  But my child, that is exactly what we are striving to do, to touch you, that you might in some measure link with us in harmony of the spheres.  It is our gift to humanity to help those who follow after, that they might be inspired also to express and to give to the world in the darkness in which it finds itself the harmony and the love of the spheres which is expressed in the music that we have been able to give through our sojourn on Earth.  We are all tied together in bond of love and affection.

Music is the harmony of love which flows through all human beings and links us together.  In my music when you play it you are touching my soul, and I am conscious of it.  When you love it and when you try to express it with all that you have to give to it, I am conscious of it, and when I find there is such love, then I am drawn.  And how often we have striven from this side, to make links with people on Earth, who do not understand.  There are here and there a few artists, a few people in music who, though they do not know the meaning of what you call spiritualism, yet in their deeper selves there is a consciousness of being attached through the music with the soul who created it, and they try to express it.  And if they are good artists, if they are talented, if they have a natural ability, then we can use them, as we often do, trying to help those that are struggling in your world as we would have liked to have been helped, and often were, when on Earth.  So we strive to help them.  There are some in your world who I often help, some that you know.  And so, because we love with all the fullness that love means, we do not necessarily only go to those who can become accomplished musicians in the Earth life, but to those who feel so intensely, which sometimes, in fact, I would go so far as to say is even more important than the execution of the music, for where there is an intensity of love, or a great understanding within the heart, to express, in my case, my music, then I am one with that person, and if I can help them, and help their trembling fingers over the keys, that is my joy and privilege, for I come in love to serve.  For my music is to serve humanity, to help them rise above mundane things, into the harmonies of the spirit which I now enjoy.

And so it is that music links us together, much more perhaps than any other form of art, but it is in music that we find such a peace, and it is in music which we find solace in our soul who are in trouble, as I know I did so often in Earth life.  For I have many times gone to the piano with a heart that was broken, and yet found peace and great harmony and great solace in it.  And some of my greatest composition was done in my most terrible hour, for it is always when God calls strongest to the heart that out of it falls the harmony of the spirit, which nothing can take away from the world.  For it is left behind, as indeed it is for service.  For even in death, as you call it, we serve still in various ways.  I am not dead; I am more alive than ever I was when on Earth, more conscious, more able to serve and to help, and greater harmonies I can now create than ever I was able to do in the confines of the material earthly body, which was always a sorrow to me, and ofttimes a nuisance.  But this I know, that your love, your desire for expression of that within you, makes possible that link I have with you, and if you do not execute my work as you know you would like to do it, it is the heart within you that makes possible that link between us, the desire.  It is always the desire, the sincere desire in the heart and the soul that calls to us, more than even the other things which often people around and about you admire most.  I know that there is disappointment and disillusion to the artist, to the soul who strives and feels so intensely and yet whose physical… physical body has not the power to do what the heart tells them.  But nevertheless, you are creating, in some sense, a great harmony, because you feel.  How often do we know of people who execute technically brilliantly the work of a great composer, but there is something lacking which makes it dull and uninteresting, because it is without feeling, it is without soul.  They have not touched the soul of the composer.  And unless the soul of the composer is put into the technique, if it is not behind that which is being done, there is in spite of its brilliance of execution, nothing but deadness, and there is nothing but disappointment.  But those who feel so intensely, those who appreciate music, and yet cannot play it, are the greater musicians, for they have something which the man with all the technique in the world has not got.  He has not got God in his heart.  He has not touched the heart of a musician.  He has not felt that wonderful union that comes between those who so love that which is and which has been created in love.  For in love do we who create music serve humanity.

Every great work of note in your world has been created, through the instrumentality of the musician, in some way, by the hand of God, for it is the hand of God that helps all those who strive to send into the Earth beauty and glorious harmony.  It is the fingers of God that move behind the fingers, often the stumbling fingers, of the humble musician.  For God is knowing all things, and God is expressing himself in all ways, through the artist who paints, through the musician who creates and plays, through the singer who sings the harmonies that others have composed, and all the beauties of the Earth.  Always you find God, and behind the musician, God is.  And when those who feel God in music, though their fingers cannot play the notes, there is a musician, there is harmony.  There is glorious music, for it is music of the soul that swells out and in the spheres is heard, and we are conscious of it, and we are drawn to those who, though they want to do so much, can do so little because of the limitations of their earthly life.  But their hearts are full of love, and their hearts are conscious of all the harmonies of the spheres, and their thoughts are with the great musicians and the great composers who have gone before but who have left a heritage for the children of Earth to follow.  I know how you feel, and because I know how you feel, it is a joy for me to come, and to serve and to help and to bless.  I do not ever feel that I am giving a second away if it is spent with those who love as you do the music that is God’s.  I must go, but do not feel sad, and feel joyous, for there is great beauty in all of us.  For we are all God, in harmony with each other.

Rose (in a reverent tone):  Thank you, Frederic.

Male voice:  Thank you, Monsieur Chopin.

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Here Be Dragons

Told ya there were dragons in my office.

James’ eyes were wide. “It was all around you!” he told me, in an awed tone. He’d just finished doing a set of adjustments for me, and I was unnerved to think he might have discovered some unsavory entity around me– as you know, I’ve had my share of those.

What was all around me?”

“It was so beautiful,” he continued, explaining that “it” was wrapped around my entire body in a spiral, protecting me– a large, gold with red, Chinese-style Dragon. The exact image of the wonderful Dragon friend I already knew and loved, but had never once mentioned to James. He had seen it in a way I never had.

If more than one person sees the same thing independently, without preconceived notions, I tend to think that what they see is real. But what kind of “real” is this Dragon? Does it have its own existence in some other plane of All That Is, as individual and self-aware as any other creature? Does it reside within the collective human unconscious, as an archetype? Is it a denizen of my own psyche, that somehow I can project outward so that it can be seen by others? Does it perhaps have aspects of all these possibilities?

When my first mentor in shamanic studies introduced me to the concept of power animals, I remember telling her, quite sincerely, that mine was probably a Dragon. She looked dubious, and seemed to consider telling me what a silly idea that was, but she was kind enough to keep her mouth shut. Later I was embarrassed to realize how ridiculous I had sounded. No one had mythological beasts for power animals; according to the teachers of shamanic arts, they were supposed to be the spirit representations of our normal Earth-based species, perhaps even the collective unconsciousnesses of those species. But then later still I discovered that I was in fact associated with a Dragon after all, so there!

My Dragon was as vivid as anything I’d ever experienced in the spiritual world, and he certainly functioned as a power animal on my behalf, but I always thought that was odd, since dragons are not real animals on our planet. That is what I told Christine one day in July of 2006.

“Dragons are real,” she replied, with conviction. She explained that she sees them all the time, but that they seem to exist in a different plane or dimension from ours, so that we aren’t usually aware of them. She had toured the stone circles and sacred spots of England not long before, and Stonehenge, she reported, was particularly filled with dragons.

We were at the end of the time available for visiting that day, and I didn’t get a chance to ask for the rest of this tantalizing story. At the next opportunity, I asked how exactly she perceives the dragons. She said that she sees vague outlines, enough to recognize them, but she doesn’t see them in detail. She couldn’t tell me, for example, whether they looked like Chinese dragons or Western ones. Sometimes there is just a “knowing,” she said, nothing visual. She said that other mythological beasts appear to have the same frequency and to exist in the same dimension; I took that to mean that they have the same sort of feel to her.  Her idea is that humans have a subconscious awareness of all these beings, which is why they show up in our art, literature, and religion.

Soon after, I had the opportunity to find out directly what Christine was talking about. She came to my office to check out the place and explore whether she would like to move in with me there. Looking into the treatment room that could become hers, she told me that there was a dragon right there and then. I couldn’t see a thing. She suggested that perhaps she could “put me on her frequency,” and then I might be able to see what she saw.

I had no idea how this could be accomplished. Christine explained that she does treatments mainly by putting herself on the appropriate frequency to interface with the patient’s distressed body parts, and that she can switch frequencies with no trouble at all. She put her hand on my shoulder and led me toward the room.

I still didn’t exactly see anything. I scanned the room from right to left, and as my eyes swept across the center of the room, toward the far wall, suddenly they seemed to “stick.” My gaze was drawn to a particular area about two feet across and four feet tall, directly in front of me. The air seemed thicker there. I kept looking away and scanning again, and each time my eyes were pulled toward the same spot. This, of course, was where Christine was seeing the dragon. It was almost as if something reached out and grabbed my vision, as if I were required to look right there whether I cared to or not. I had a definite sense that the creature was purple, definite enough that I could show you the exact shade.  A purple, living something, hovering in the center of the room.

We went back into the waiting room and continued to chat. Every so often I looked back at the treatment room and tried to tell if the beast was still there. For a long time it was. Eventually my eyes no longer felt that pull or the sensation of density in the atmosphere of the room. I assumed the dragon was gone.

The spot where the something was is now the location of my treatment table. I’ve never run into any unexpected beings there, though as I’ve told you in other posts, sometimes patients do bring guests of various sorts into the room. Last Christmas, Christine gave me a papier-maché ornament in the shape of a small, winsome purple dragon, to commemorate our sighting.

 

When my daughter was a child, she had a great deal of trouble with her health. At one point, desperate to help her, I journeyed to ask for a power animal to come to her aid. I encountered a noble but unsurprising beast, a Bison cow, motherly and comforting. I told Lenore about this animal and suggested that she could ask her for support whenever she felt she needed it. Lenore soon reported back to me that she had tried to get in touch, but that the Bison had refused to speak with her. Instead, she had been put in contact with a completely different creature, something that seemed much like a snake, but with some sort of long feathers or other streaming appendages.

I was nonplussed by the Bison’s lack of response, and went to see if I could find out anything about the snakelike being. I had a strong impression of it, but like Lenore, couldn’t get a really thorough view of it, only bits and pieces. When we compared notes, it seemed that we were talking about the same creature, whatever it was. Long and sinuous, sailing through the air, streaming feathers or something similar, and mainly lime green in color. It had a certain resemblance to a Chinese dragon, but only in its overall shape; it was distinctly different from any dragon images we knew of. We unceremoniously dubbed it The Snaky Thing– no disrespect intended, only description.

Long and snaky, feathered, and flying. That’s Quetzalcoatl, right? Or Kukulkan if you prefer. One early type of representation of this deity depicts him as twining in a spiral about the body of some noble personage as a Vision Serpent– not so different from what James saw when he was treating me. It’s unclear from the descriptions I’ve found whether the Flying Serpent is supposed to have actual wings or not; most representations don’t seem to include them. I don’t think I had an impression of wings with our Snaky Thing, but I couldn’t see it clearly enough to be sure. Perhaps I can get in touch with it again and find out more.

“The Snaky Thing”?
Quetzalcoatl by Dan Staten
(Thanks to ImageShack)

 

Dragon-like creatures seem to abound in the human psyche around the world, sometimes as sources of wisdom and power, sometimes threatening or even standing in for pure evil, as when they are used to symbolize Satan. I wonder at times if there may be some kind of ancient mammal memory of flying dinosaurs– and at least some dinosaurs are known to have had feathers. The huge model of a pterosaur hanging in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, in fact, is meant to be a Quetzalcoatlus. Go figure. This flying creature, though, is mostly wings, with a long narrow beak, and looks nothing like Lenore’s friend, nor like a Mayan stone relief. But perhaps it did have its own colorful and impressive feathers.

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Filed under spirit communication, spirituality, the unexplained

Crow Flies, Phoenix Rises

Last Wednesday was One of Those Days.  Somehow I was wrong all day, over and over, or at least that was the message I kept getting.

In the afternoon I made a visit to White Horse, a shop filled with beautiful fabrics, jewelry, cards, and inspirational items of all sorts, as well as a wonderful feeling of healing energy.  I picked up an amazing card that showed a woman in a reverent posture, having perhaps just been given the huge black wings which stretched out above her.  Crows flew and perched in the background.  It was a little dark and spooky, but I fell in love with it and took it straight to the cash register.

“My Crow is more fun than this,” I said to Jennifer, the proprietor, “but still, I think this card was made for me.”

Jennifer told me that the bird on the card was actually a raven.

Okay, here’s the thing:  When the Crow was first brought to me, the shamanic workshop student who had retrieved him told me, “It’s a crow.”  But I’ve always had to take his word for it.  It’s another “who’s who” issue.  The big black bird has never identified himself to me directly, and I’ve never seen him clearly enough to make out the distinct beak shape of either crow or raven.  I can certainly tell the difference between the physical creatures, but that doesn’t help.  I do know, as I told Jennifer, that at times one of our local crows seems to be trying to catch my attention.  I acknowledge them, I explained, and assume that they are the relatives of my special avian friend, while keeping in mind that he just might possibly be a Raven rather than a Crow.  Raven is such a popular figure in the spiritual world, one of the rock stars of the power animals, but I’m fine associating with an ordinary, loud and obnoxious, intelligent and perceptive, good old New Mexican Crow just like the ones that hang out in the cottonwood tree next door.  If that’s what he is.

So: My feathered mentor is a member of genus Corvus, is solid black, and is profound but lighthearted.  I feel that he’s male.  That will have to be enough for the moment.  And looking at that card again, it seems to me that the birds’ beaks are drawn in a rather noncommittal way, and that they could belong to either species.

******************************************************************

Here is something I wrote on March 5, 2005 (Chopin’s name-day, by the way), in the midst of reading a book* by Tom Cowan, one of Michael Harner’s original students of shamanism:

Yesterday, reading about specifics of our relationship with the power animals, I again felt a great longing to get closer to those who have appeared to me.  I thought of the Crow, and immediately saw it in front of me.  It was only a mental picture, but I saw it as if it were in the room with me.  The Crow hovered before me with its wings outspread as if it wanted to embrace me.  I saw its heart as a spot of light, and aimed myself for that spot, projecting my own heart toward it.  This time I did not quite become the Crow myself.  I asked it what it wanted to tell me and what it wanted to do, or liked to do, as Cowan had suggested.  I could see the Crow cawing and cackling joyously, and it struck me that crows are very noisy.  Now, there’s a no-brainer for you, but the issue that I have been mainly working with lately is not being allowed to make noise, feeling that even the slightest sound I make is too loud and is bothering somebody.  The Crow definitely did not care that he was making a great deal of noise.  I saw his head tilting and turning energetically, his beak wide open and pouring out sound in every direction.

I also saw the Crow picking and tearing at objects on the ground.  That reminded me that crows are among the most intelligent of birds, and they can efficiently pick out the materials they need for food and tools— they have no problem knowing what they want.  They are strong as well as smart, and their beaks can easily tear apart carrion or whatever else may be necessary.  What those things mean to me, I’m not sure.

At that point, Lenore, my 17-year-old daughter, came into the dining room, where I was sitting with tears running down my cheeks because I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that this wonderful being was willing to speak to me.  She asked if I was all right, and I explained that I was having a journey and that it was still going on.  She understood and got out of my way.  Fortunately, the vision didn’t leave me.

Next, the Crow took me flying.  We had flown together before, but though I had a strong sense of soaring movement, I had never seen anything.  This time I saw a stereotyped sort of vision of green fields marked out in squares across the landscape.  Still better than nothing.

After a little while, I asked the Crow the question Cowan had recommended, about whether I had a mission and what it might be.  The answer astonished me.  I felt myself expanding into a ball of brilliant yellow light.  At the center was another bird, quite different from the Crow, a dark blue abstract of a bird shape with the wingtips pointed up.  It reminded me of a peyote bird, but perhaps it was more like a phoenix.  At any rate, it seemed symbolic of the soaring and expansiveness of my (our) true nature.  I have had this kind of vision before, and I believe it is a glimpse of the real me, the being behind this momentary human form.  It grew larger and larger, reaching out into the world.  I experienced huge, tremendous energy and power, something far too powerful to fit into this body.  At some moment, I felt the Crow lifting off the ground with me again; I could see its feet picking up under its body as we rose.  It was all overwhelming, and I felt more tears streaming down.

Instead of pushing me toward a bit of vanity, as you might expect, this kind of experience leaves me humbled and in awe.  I gave profound thanks to the Crow for helping me to remember this fundamental truth.  It was time to go back to my ordinary dining room and get ready to head for the office.

The next day, I was getting into my car when I heard a sudden, loud caw, very close.  A single crow, no others around, was sitting in the cottonwood tree that overhangs my driveway.  Perfectly centered in the doorframe of my car, it was looking directly at me and seemed to be speaking right to me.  I sat there for a while and told it how much I appreciated the message.

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A few years ago, well after that experience, I worked with a patient who had elaborate tattoos that covering much of her body, all of which she had designed herself.  On her back was a large, fairly abstract blue bird, exactly the the color I had seen in my vision, and very similar overall.  At one point, when I felt we knew each other well enough to discuss such things, I asked her if it might be a phoenix.  Indeed it was.  I would expect to associate fiery colors with the image of a phoenix, but my patient and I had both seen that same blue.  Perhaps this is the “real” color of the Phoenix, a strong archetype if there ever was one.

 

*This was probably the book: Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life

http://www.amazon.com/Shamanism-Spiritual-Practice-Daily-Life/dp/0895948389/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339572925&sr=1-1

White Horse website  http://wp.abqwhitehorse.com/

The beautiful card with corvids:  http://shop.tree-free.com/greeting-cards-by-occasion/all-occasion/11156/exodus/

See the difference between crow and raven faces here:
http://www.skullsunlimited.com/record_family.php?id=129

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Digging Deep, Tunnelling Through

Kuan Yin of My Office.
(Officially, a Kuan Yin of the Spring, with a tiny companion, and some incense from her temple at Asakasa in Tokyo. Kuan Yin of a Thousand Arms might be a better representation of a one-person business with its multitude of details and responsibilities!)

Sometimes “Spirit,” in whatever form it takes, tells me to stop asking for help and rely on my own resources.  Like Kuan Yin at the channeling class I described to you, telling me that I didn’t need her.  I recently mentioned this to a Buddhist friend, and he thought that was awfully strange; Kuan Yin is available for everyone, all the time, he said.  Maybe it wasn’t really her?  That thought had crossed my mind too.  There is my perennial question again– how do we know when They are real, and are who they say they are?

I’m willing to accept that it may be important to my learning and development, at least at certain times, to dig deep and strive to discover what I can do that I don’t believe or realize I can.  That’s fine.  But geez, folks, can’t a girl ask for some backup at least?

The past few weeks have been one of those periods that come along now and then, where the universe feels strangely empty and I can’t connect with anyone Out There.  No Fryderyk, no anybody.  One day last week I felt just too lonesome and was unwilling to go on that way.  I went into meditation and asked, as Betsy Morgan Coffman teaches, for the highest and best guide available, no specifics, no preconceived notions.  I don’t normally do that, because normally I know exactly who I’m trying to reach.

Something came along right away.  Whatever it was started tunneling away from me, quickly, like a small burrowing animal in the earth.  I couldn’t see what sort of animal it might be, but it was pulling me along with it.  Then it suddenly flipped me around to the front so that I was in charge of the digging myself!  I found that we were digging in a curve back around toward the middle of my body, which was where we ended up.  Sigh.  It couldn’t have been clearer, or more clichéd.  Find your answers inside yourself!  And did I say something about digging deep?

I was curious to know the identity of the creature who had brought me this message.  Holding the images of various animals in mind, I asked.  Gopher?  Rabbit?  Naked mole rat?  Termite, for heaven’s sake?  When I asked if it was a mole, that picture resonated, and the mole image moved into the center of my chest and settled there in a gentle, comforting, small furry mammal way.  And there it stayed.

All that felt like it involved a being other than myself.  The next experience was less clearly so.

Kuan Yin crossed my mind, called up by the thought of that conversation with my friend.  Was she available?  As I wondered, I found that traditional images of the bodhisattva were descending around me, so that I was inside them, looking out through them, as if I were inhabiting a statue or painting, or rather a metamorphosing succession of them.  The images clarified until I could feel an outline of white porcelain surrounding me, her ornate robes and headdress, her smooth, tranquil face.  It was odd.  To an extent I felt that an energy much larger than myself was pouring into me and fueling this process, but there was not much sense of an entity being with me or in touch with me.  Just me embodying the images, having to be Kuan Yin for myself and I suppose for others.  Still having to find my own resources.  Isn’t that a bit too big of a job for the likes of me, being Kuan Yin?

A thought floated through about challenges some of my friends are going through, and I asked for guidance “for those who are trying to love.”  She, I, or someone replied, “If you are trying to love, you are succeeding.”

I’ve said, and I still believe, that an encounter with a genuine spiritual guide, even if it’s our own higher self, will be empowering and uplifting.  A being that tries to control us or insist that we must follow its teaching is not a source we should listen to.  My sources seem to be almost too much the opposite sometimes– they only allow complete freedom and autonomy, they insist on it.  If I protest that I’m not as capable as they say I am, they keep telling me that I can do more than I think I can.  Fryderyk has made a particular habit of that over the years, and that’s one reason I so appreciate having him for a teacher.

************************************

A day or two after all that occurred, after nearly a month and a half of absence, my musician friend returned, visiting while I practiced some Bach on the harpsichord.  (I had thought that this harpsichord, borrowed from a friend– a miracle in itself– would surely attract his attention as soon as it entered my life, but I was wrong.)  Later, I asked if he had anything to say about the instrument or my efforts with it.  The intense experience this elicited went far beyond anything so mundane.  I don’t understand it yet, and I’m not even going to try to describe what it felt like here, except to say that it was like a spiritual open-heart surgery, a lot like what happened at the shamanic workshop.  I’ve again been changed, and I don’t yet know in what ways.

During that experience, my body and everything around it looked purple to my inner vision.  His favorite color.  One way, I suppose, of identifying himself.

This latest experience, too, seemed designed to help me access my own deep resources; Fryderyk didn’t offer any advice or opinions, but rather pulled something out of me that I only vaguely knew was there, or perhaps had forgotten.  But when it’s really been needed (as at the shamanic workshop), of course he has directly helped me.  I’m afraid the following may make him sound too good to be true, but it’s exactly what happened, without embellishment.  I’m posting this story now because it illustrates: specific, unequivocally benevolent actions by a noncorporeal entity; an insight into some factors that might make spirit communication more difficult; and yet again, a spirit contact expanding my own abilities.

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A weird effect occurred while I was sick in late December 2006.  There was an unbelievable amount of phlegm involved with this illness, and it seemed to perfectly fit the Oriental medicine definition of phlegm, both substantial and insubstantial.  For the first couple of days I had a severe, intractable sore throat, kept going by a constant and copious postnasal drip.  Then for a couple more days my sinuses, nose, and ears felt like they were packed with cement, while the sore throat continued.  During the “cement period,” I was somehow locked up inside my head.  It was exactly like the classic Chinese description of phlegm blocking the orifices.  In addition to the goo on the inside, it felt like there was a thick coating of plastic or something all around my skull.  My spirit, my Qi, couldn’t reach through that barrier for any purpose.  Just a day before I had been able to pull in plenty of energy to help myself feel stronger and more alert, and now I was totally disconnected from the power supply.

What I wanted most to do was to get some help for my throat.  Nothing was working, not acupuncture, herbs, sprays, saltwater, mass quantities of lemon and honey… I couldn’t sleep with the pain and I had had enough.  I was sure that if I could find Fryderyk, he could take the pain away.  I was sure of that because he had done it before.

Back in the summer of 1993, just a few months after I first met him, I developed a persistent, high-pitched, barking cough that went on 24 hours a day for weeks.  I sounded like a Chihuahua. The MD said that it was croup, and that I would just have to wait for it to go away.  He mentioned that it was odd for an adult to get it.  I had a number of odd illnesses that year, though; apparently the cancer that was brewing in my cervix was beating down my immune system.  Whatever the definition of the cough, it was like nothing I had ever experienced, and nothing, including codeine, stopped it.  (This was before I went to acupuncture school, by the way; I didn’t try needles or herbs till after the episode I’m describing. They did help more than the other interventions.)  I took up sleeping in the living room, to the extent that I could sleep at all, to try to get as far as possible from my husband and daughter, but the sound must still have driven them to distraction.

The cough, I was told, related to an irritation of my epiglottis, which was supposed to be the focus of the infection.  That sounded about right, because I could feel a distinct, circumscribed, painful spot at the top of my throat.  Various painful areas came and went as time went on, including a nasty one where my diaphragm attached at the xiphoid process, but the epiglottis stayed sore all the time.

About three weeks into this sorry situation, Fryderyk made an attempt to help.  (And where had he been for those three weeks, I’d like to know.)  This was still a new experience for me, to have him do a really invasive treatment on me.  I remember distinctly the feeling that he was putting his fingers down my throat.  That sounds disgusting, but I didn’t experience it as obnoxious, just sort of ticklish.  I trusted him to know how to help me.  He poked around for a few seconds or so, and the pain completely stopped and did not return.

The cough was another matter.  It felt like Fryderyk was experimenting, trying to find a way to get at the cough, but his efforts kept backfiring.  Every time he touched that spot on my epiglottis, he would set off another coughing jag.  I did my best to relax and help him, but to no avail.  We eventually gave up.  I coughed for about another week, but I didn’t mind too much because there was no pain or irritation anymore.

At that time, I was under the impression that Fryderyk was new to healing work.  I know now that he already possessed at least some mastery and that he was enthusiastic about doing healing.  What seemed to me to be tentativeness did not indicate a lack of experience or confidence.

So 13 years later I was thinking nostalgically about this episode, wishing he would visit, and feeling a bit neglected.  But when I tried to put in a “phone call” to my friend, I found that the lines were down.

I also felt very much in need of comforting, but I didn’t want to get too physically close to my husband or anyone else for fear of passing on viruses.  Not only was I unable to snuggle up to Fryderyk, I couldn’t even make a noncorporeal visit to Bob, something that’s usually so easy.

A day or so later, I felt the plastic coating lift from my head.  The disgusting glop in my sinuses and nose started to drain, which of course was ickier still, but at least it was leaving my body.  And I could reach the larger world again.  As soon as I could, as loudly and conspicuously as I could, I yelled for Fryderyk.

And got a reply.  As I’ve said, I don’t like begging him for help, complaining, whining, etc., but I really did need help.  He didn’t seem to mind the call; as soon as I pointed out the problem in my throat, he did something about it.  This time I didn’t feel anything entering my throat, just warmth in my spine in the upper part of my neck.  The pain stopped within seconds.  This time, too, there didn’t seem to be anything he could do about the cough, but since it was necessary to clear all that phlegm from my chest, coughing seemed like a good idea.

Once I got him involved, Fryderyk kept checking on me over the next few days, which I appreciated.  He did more of a general sort of healing, which did help me to feel perkier and less ill.

As soon as I got back to work with patients, someone with the same killer sore throat needed me.  I was confident that energy work would take care of it, and that I could do the same thing for that woman that Fryderyk had done for me.  And I did, happy to pass on the gift.

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