Life. Death. Love.

“Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.” – Walt Whitman

It is always hard for me to wrap my mind around why people are so afraid of getting old and afraid of death. After all, it’s going to happen to all of us. I can appreciate the wanting to live a good long life- free of disease. But why try to slow down the aging processimages? Why not accept the inevitable— and actually use it to create a well-lived life?

We started to die the day we were born.

When people first meet me, their initial thoughts are usually that I am a dark and mysterious girl with a morbid fascination. After all,  I make jewelry with vertebrae (human and animal). I paint animal skulls. I post images of death in all its forms. My home is decorated with all things death-related– skulls, skeletons, bones. My life is dedicated to the dead.

I have been fascinated with death since childhood. Being born on November 1st, it’s hard not to fall in love with images of death! My birthdays were always filled with bits and pieces of Halloween and All Souls Day. My work with dead goes back as far as I can remember-even within the realm of imaginary friends in childhood.

As I grew older, I began to realize that my life was destined to be entwined between the realms of the living and the dead.

Am I obsessed with death? No.

Do I venerate death? Yes.

I have never been afraid of the concept of death. I understand why most people are. It’s frightening to think about the unknown


I find death comforting. We are all going to end up there. Death is also the one thing in life that does not discriminate; Death does not care if you are rich, poor, what race you are, where you are from, who your family is, what religion you practice, who you pray to. Death is a bit of coming home after a long journey. For me, death is like a waiting lover. Open arms and ready to dance. Morbid? Not really.

My relationship with death has made me love life because Death is humbling. 

When I work with bones–I find it an honor. To hold something so sacred that ones supported the weight of a living thing is a blessing. When I work on a piece, whether painting on a skull or entwining vertebrae into jewelry, I think of what animal once owned those bones. What type of energy that animal had. Where it lived, what it did. I reflect on the essence of the being.

When I work on human bones- its an even greater honor. I think of the person, who they may have been, what they may have done. When I hold a human bone in my hand, I think of my ancestors– of all our ancestors– those who have walked this earth thousands of years before now. Its a sacred honor to me to hold those human bones in my hand.

Imagine if someone told you you had three days to live. Would you really live? Would you break the rules? Would you take risks? Would you be a kinder person?

This is why I love death. It made me learn to live my life with no regrets. I always reflect on the choices

I made, chances I took…things I have said– and I regret nothing.  I am getting older, I am learning that time goes by fast. Age is inevitable. But I have every intention of living my life my way.

In honoring and understanding death- I have learned to appreciate life. Death has humbled me beyond words. Working with and having human bones in my life is one of the greatest honors I could ever have. The dead remind me to live. REALLY live.


So yes, maybe in some strange way- I am obsessed with Death. But its an obsession of absolution. I know that someday I will be like those bones….that will be all that is left of me on this earthly realm. I have no fear of that.

 

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Wrap Yourself in Coils: You Are NOT A Healer

I have been guilty of it myself. I have let it slip in the heat of the moment. “I am a healer.”

 Well, no…I am not actually a healer—and neither is anyone else who uses that phrase. We are conduits for healing energy. Like a giant Tesla coil, we allow the forces (Universal Energy, God Energy whatever you want to call it) to flow through us for the benefits of healing. It’s a gift from The Universe. It was The Universe (or Creator if you will) that is allowing you to be the instrument of healing. Gifts are given and can easily be taken away.

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Maybe it’s my years of practicing Earth based magick and religions. Years of working with various Deities in various forms. Truth is, what is given can be taken away. If The Universe feels you are abusing that what is granted-it can just as easily be abstracted from you.

Sadly, I have met a lot of conduits of healing energy who taught the “I am a healer” phrase—who use it as a means of projecting some form of supremacy over someone else. You are not a healer. You are merely a channel—nothing more.

Sacred Sedona Visit

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Ahhh, I finally have the chance to sit down and write about my visit to Sedona, Arizona. Sedona has been on my “spiritual site” visit list for years-so when I finally had the chance to go I was so excited. My partner and I went the first week in November in celebration of my birthday/new year. I have heard a lot of stuff about Sedona-mostly that as a sensitive, I would have to prepare myself for the energy surge I was going to feel.

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As we started getting closer, I felt the all too familiar feeling up my spine that my energy channels were opening up. It’s usually a tingling sensation up my spine, like a tickle. From there I get a tingling in my left hand and on the left side of my head. It’s usually at that point that I get visions or hear voices. Rather this time, I just felt peace. My energy channels were open and everything was settled inside. For the first time in my life, I felt calmness unlike anything I have experienced.

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The peace and vibes I felt repeated itself deep into the night where I would experience sleepless nights and yet still feels refreshed the following morning! It was like being awake—always, yet never feeling fatigued.

We hiked up Bell Rock, one of the places renowned for the vortexes. The energy there was so strong that you didn’t need a map to know where the vortex was. I felt it the instant I stepped into it. And I cried. I cried as I looked out into the horizon. Sedona strips away everything you are. It divests you of whatever you believed you were. I felt like someone had taken away everything that defined me—everything was boundless and limitless. In that moment, I became someone else, my true self.

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The further we hiked the more I felt the energy. When we stopped for a break and I leaned against the rock, I felt my whole body enveloped by hundreds of primordial arms-embracing me like family. I saw images of spirit, and saw a vision of the Venus of Willendorf-a Goddess I have always felt connected to. I felt her embracing me in her bosom. I felt free of worries. I was home. At that moment I completely trusted the Universe.

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As we were walking back to our hotel, I saw all these amazing Totem trees. Ironically of all the photos I took, the Totem trees were my favorites. The sun shining on my back, I heard a voice that said “its ok.” I felt transformed.

It’s funny how life is serendipitous. While in Sedona we met several people who moved from Massachusetts to Sedona. One of the amazing people we met was Jan Sullivan, a painter and tattoo artist. Ironically she was a transplant from Sturbridge, MA and her friend owns a farm near my home that I used to go to as a kid! We became very good friends, and my partner and I both decided we should get tattoos to remember the experience of Sedona.

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I went for the OM sign—the sound that created the Universe; the sound and symbol of the higher frequency chakras. Whenever I feel like I am loosing myself, I look at my tattoo and remind myself of that moment on Bell Rock. Through the course of the week, the healthier and more restored I felt. I was an amazing experience. Made even better because we made so many new friends and connections!

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Life has a funny way of leading you on the right path when you need it. I have been looking to leave my current job in health care and work in a more holistic field. I had been applying for various positions since August. Upon my arrival home, I received an email for an interview at a holistic health center! The Universe truly does bring to you what you need when you just let go!!!

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Instantaneous Spiritual Awakenings…..

~*Out of respect for those who have positive experiences or believe in the power of ayahuasca, I am omitting names of both people, groups and shamans from this post. Everyone has their opinion and this is solely mine. I know many people who have had life changing experiences and I respect and honor that.*~

Last year, while I was deep in depression and anxiety issues, I started hearing more and more about the magical plant “ayahuasca.” For those unfamiliar with it, I will sum it up this way: It’s a plant from the nightshade family and contains DMT. Done in small doses by a genuine Shaman, ayahuasca is meant to bring a profound and cathartic spiritual awakening. To quote someone who had taken the trip to Peru to try magical plant “its like psychotherapy on steroids.”

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I really needed something to shake me out of the funk that I was in. Drowning in depression, I began to learn more and more about this magical herb, which, if taken correctly is non-addictive (though illegal in the US). I am a deeply spiritual person, and felt that part of my depression was caused by a lack of spiritual communion. I went from daily routine to nothing. At the time, it felt though someone had taken my soul and left a void. I began to meet more and more people who had taken the ayahuasca journey with great success. I thought about it, sought out retreats (most of which are in the middle of Peru) and started making plans to go on a journey and take this magical plant.

After a few months, I began to notice more and more stories and retreats popping up. I know the idea that when you are aware of something you see it more, so initially I thought that was it. But the more people I met in the spirituality community the more I learned that ayahuasca was and is, becoming a new fad for the Westerners. Primarily because most Westerners think by traveling into the jungles of Peru and drinking a concoction of magical herbs and plants, they will receive instantaneous spiritual awakenings.

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When things become a “fad” its more than likely going to start turning into something that is not what its original intentions were. And that is what I began to see happening. More and more people taking ayahuasca…more and more “shamans” available. When I initially looked into retreats, there were maybe 2 or 3–now there are a dozen. Who is to say that the people you are working with are “genuine” ~ Additionally, there are very small groups who perform ayahuasca rituals in the U.S. – and to become part of the group you need to know someone who knows someone. A completely underground world.

The other thing I had begun to notice were those who were painting or drawing the ayahuasca visions–were all drawing nearly the same exact imagery. If there is supposed to be a personal spiritual experience during the hallucinations-why were all these people creating the same imagery. Additionally, some of the people were already using recreational drugs, so ayahuasca was just another “spirit journey” for them. And some of these people still had pent-up residual psycho-social issues. So their contrary words of the power of ayahuasca had really not changed them, aside from taking them on a trip.

Now, I am not saying that this occurs all the time. I know many people who are in a good state of mind and have had magical and transformative experiences with the drug. And I am also not saying that specific drugs, like peyote, under the guidance of a genuine shaman (one who has spent years studying plants) can not bring about a spiritual experience. I do believe in the proper hands, specific hallucinogens and ritual can create a deeply moving experience.

However, my thoughts are this. I believe most Westerners are looking for instantaneous spiritual awakenings. We live in a world where it is a get in now mentality. You can download music rather than go to store, order items on-line and have them the next day. There is no waiting or working. So rather than spend the years that are involved in spiritual atunement, they turn to a “quick” method of spiritual awakening. I have been working on my spiritual path for 20 years. And I am still learning. Spending thousands of dollars to spend time in a jungle to drink something – or finding an underground group who participates in ayahuasca circles, is not going to bring a lasting spiritual experience.

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A spiritual awakening is something you continually have to work on and maintain. And it doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen by smoking or drinking a hallucinogenic. Sure these may “open your mind,” but you get the same effect from deep meditation and relaxation techniques. Or via ecstatic dance and drumming. I believe the people who do have the instant spiritual awakenings are those who have had near death experiences. Only because they have been to the other side and back. They have a new perspective on life.

If you want to become more spiritual you have to spend years working on it. You have to find your ebb and flow. You have to awaken your souls journey and take the long and arduous steps to get there.

There is no such thing as an instantaneous spiritual awakening,

For the Sake of Samhain

In honor of Samhain, I decided to post some paranormal things that have happened to me over the years.

I am an empath/clairsentient/clairaudient—basically what that means is that I can feel emotions/energy shifts of people (dead or living), items or places. Additionally I can hear/speak with those who have crossed over. I also have obtained a strange “gift” of being able to see deceased “crossing over.” Every time different. I remember as a kid, I was always a sensitive. And its rare that I have been scared. My grandmother and most of my of the women on my maternal side–have been able to communicate with the dead in someway. We all have dreams and we all have seen or spoken to spirit. You can say it runs in the family. I am the only one who besides my gran–who keeps myself in constant touch with “the gift.”

The house I currently live in and have lived in most my life-is full of energy. I have felt and seen “portals” within the house. Often orbs or strings of light will appear out of thin air, voices will be heard, animals will appear, smells and strange noises will come. Anyone who has come over and stayed for an extended time has experienced something. I love those orbs! Never threatening. In my experience with the portal, spirits and energy is allowed to move freely from one dimension to another. I always acknowledge the presence of the spirits when they come and ALWAYS make sure that I cleanse my home daily with sage or frankincense.

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When I was in high school, I lived in a haunted house in Brockton. When my family bought the house, we were told that it was haunted by the previous owners. We all had experiences. We heard a mans voices. Heard foot steps. And I was young and stupid–and made used the Ouija Board. I was never fully aware of the gifts I had at the time, though I knew I could communicate with those that crossed over via automatic writing. My mother had given me her old Ouija board–and being young and stupid, I used it. One night my family and neighbors were using the Ouija when nothing happened. We started having a normal conversation when suddenly, I felt my left arm go numb. Whenever a spirit wants to communicate or let me know they are in the room, my left arm always go numb. I told them “it wants to speak” ~ no sooner had myself and my neighbor Bob put our hands on the oracle which did a sharp point towards the bird-cage in the order when all the candles fell over and the bird-cage! The room went pitch black and of course–we all were a little freaked out after that.

Another time, my family and friends (some of who are skeptics) again were using the board when a spirit came through. “NATHANIEL SILSBY”. He was very clear and very open about where he lived and who he was. We wrote everything down and put it aside. A few months later, my cousin and I went to Salem and were walking around the cemetery–when there, before us, was Nathaniel’s grave stone!! I was able to get into the library in Salem and did research on Nathaniel. He died during a house break in. I think he just needed to talk. I always think of him when I go to Salem.

My last experience with the Ouija was definitely my last. My mother and cousin and I were using it..I was in the other room doing automatic writing and they were using the board. I felt sick to my stomach. Seriously sick. I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck. Really bad and frightening images came into my mind. Fire and lots of anger. I suddenly heard my cousin say “stop!” ~ I went into the other room when sure enough, the writing I got, was the same that was coming through the board–and that spirit was pissed off. After that, I locked the board away and never used it again.

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As I matured and studied the magick arts and how to keep myself and those around me safe – I have continued to communicate with the other side. The hardest gift to explain is that I am able to see when someone crosses over. It’s like watching a TV image in my head. I will see the person walking to the other side. What I see is not the idea of “heaven” ~ when I see someone cross over, I see a big green field full of warm sunlight. I always acknowledge them. Sometimes I will see them and they will linger–either wanting to tell me something or asking for permission to leave. The hardest images to see are those who have committed suicide. I have only experienced it once, but it scared me. I can feel the confusion and lost and I can see the person stuck in a room and they are lost. At one point I had to literally shut myself down because the images and emotions I got were painful. Eventually I was able to tell the person it was ok.

For me walking into rooms, I can tell if there is energy or spirits–which there always is. I can tell dark from light. I always make sure to cleanse myself every day. I always tell others, we all pick up energies…and we always pick up others people junk. If we are feeling low, it’s a perfect time for dark energy to stick to us. We all have the ability to work with the other side – but making sure we take care of ourselves is the most important.

And by all means..avoid the Ouija!

You Are Never Broken

Lately I have been hearing a lot about people saying how they are “broken.” Typically its when they have reached a low point in their life. 

Sure, we all feel at times like we have been “shattered”—little pieces of slivers of broken glass all over the floor. At some point we maybe reminded that were “broken” into tiny bits when a wound gets reopened. 

But, we are never broken. There is nothing about a person that cant be fixed. All of us all over the world have issues going on. Whether personal or public. Sometimes our problems are so grand that they leave us feeling like a wet mop in a dark dirty closet. And we see no way out. Sometimes are problems consume us. Its all we can think about.

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We have all felt broken at some point in our lives. Some of us keep it in and weep privately, others are open. There is always that phrase “one door closes another opens.” Its that one bit of advice I hate hearing. Sometimes we are stuck between doors. One that has closed but can still be revisited and another door in front of us that is ready to be opened, but we are not ready to open it. So we remain in a hall way. Stuck between a door of new beginnings and a door of endings. 

My advice is to remember that you are not broken—you experiencing something that will only make you stronger. And depending on which door you choose–the closed one where you can remain–or the open one—depends on how and when you are ready to move on from a situation. But you are never “broken,”

So coming from a person who used to think I was “broken” ~ here is somethings I do to remind myself that I can be put together.

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1. Remember–its all perspective: Easier said than done, I know. But depending on how you look at a situation makes a difference on how you related to it. Losing a job isn’t always a bad thing–it maybe just what you needed–it was The Universes way of telling you that where you were at was not where you were supposed to be. Sure its scary as hell, but seeing it as a new opportunity to find a job or start your own is better than seeing it as a shut door.

2. Remember all the bad times: Yep. That door that was “closed”—well, you can still look back. But just don’t linger there. Think of situations where you felt shattered–torn–broken—a lost soul. Then remember who you have become. Remember that you have a resiliency inside you. If you made it through that–you can make it through another bad time. And truth is, there will always be bumps in the road.

3. Think of it as a challenge: Whenever I feel “broken” I always imagine that I am fighting some invisible force. I need to unleash those superpowers I have and prove to my invisible enemy–that I can win.

4. Don’t dwell to long on the closed door: Or you will miss the one that is wide open. 

5. My mantra: NEVER BROKEN

We are never broken. Just facing a challenge. Make it your own. Learn from is the lesson you are facing–even if you feel like you cant put yourself together again–you are not Humpty Dumpty!

Why Its Important To Know Where You Come From

Today, most people in the West only think of “family” in terms of immediate family, cousins and close friends. In a strange way, we can only see within a limited frame. There is no beyond “grandma or grandpa.” Children are raised to only see familial relationships as those who are close by.

But we all came from somewhere beyond our parents and our parents parents. I never really much thought of my great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents until I really started to delve into the study of Shamanism. All this talk of ancestors. Who was I? Beyond the reaches of what I already knew about my family–I was just me. There was no beyond. And seeing as I am very different than most members of my family–its always been hard for me to “fit in.” Add that to having depression and I sometimes felt like an alien in another world.

With my study of Shamanism, I finally became aware that there is more to family than just what you grow up with. Your ancestors are a part of you. The blood that runs in you is the same blood that has run in your ancestors for thousands of years. You are a part of them even now. Though they maybe long gone–you still have a deep connection with them. And, you can still make them apart of who you are now and who you are becoming.

I really needed to learn my “roots.”

I am extremely close to my maternal grandmother. She is my rock and the one I have I learned the most from about what forgiveness, compassion and strong will mean. Her parents were hearty peasant stock from Belarus. Lived off the land and believed in folk magick, hard work and resiliency. The understanding that our connection to nature and the understanding of natural cycles of our world can make or break us. My grandmother and grandfather were also a survivors of the Holocaust. If you can learn and teach others about compassion and forgiveness after living through that–then there is so much you have given to the world already.

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My paternal grandmother-well….by chance I happened to find a website dedicated to her mothers family–the Spragues. I wrote the owner of the website a letter explaining who I was and he generously sent me over three hundred pages of genealogy. That to me was the most amazing thing. I learned that I come from a long line of strong women–including Anne Hutchinson–America’s first feminist (and there’s where my fiery nature comes from!). I also found out that I am related to Mary Dyer who lost her life fighting for religious freedom. And another relative who was tried three times for witchcraft and got off (I doubt I would be so lucky if the Burning Times ever came back!).

Knowing all this made me have a connection to my greater family. Now, I make offerings to them, ask their blessing and advice, and know–that while I never met nor ever will–their blood runs through mine. Knowing where you came from can make you have an even stronger relationship to the SPIRIT world. And yes, its completely possible to feel connected to your ancestors–even in our Western culture.

Shamanism is all about honoring spirit. And most of all, its about honoring your ancestors–remembering that their journey is what has started yours. You wouldn’t exist had it not been for them. And there is always someone from your family who you are most like–even if that person has long been dead.

After all, what is death if their spirit is within you?