Book Review: Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

May, 2018

Book Review

Confessions of a Bone Woman – Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World By Lucinda Bakken White

This is a “coming of age” tale, the story of one woman’s rediscovery of freedom, joy and ultimately, herself. Lucinda Bakken White excavates her soul from underneath a lifetime of meeting expectations and fulfilling the demands of parents, peers, career, marriage and children and life as a “powerful socialite.” How does she do that? By excavating the bones and feathers of “roadkill” and creating art from them. She finds her life in the death and resurrection of the wilderness animals she roamed among as child.

Bakken White tells her tale of innocence lost and reborn using animal archetypes to describe herself at different points in her life. She moves from being a wolf, secure with her place in the pack, to a wolf among lions, changing her “skin” to meet the expectations of society and family. Her description of how she gave herself up, piece by piece and bone and bone, is worth reading. From the perspectives of both parent and child, it is an accurate description of how we are trained to conform, to be other than who we are and to take off the “skins” of our true natures to wear designer clothes. We become disconnected from the rhythms and cycles of the natural world and we fall out of balance with ourselves.

(Bone Altar)

Bakken White hears the call back to herself in dreams of Wolf and feels the pull to work with bones when she finds a buffalo skull that appears to her as a portal to other realms. She becomes “ravenous for bone” and finds that animals, dead and alive, communicate with her like her dreams do. Encounters with animals become an invitation to communicate with forces greater than herself and force her to stay aware and connected, pulling her back to herself and out of her superficial preoccupations. She finds herself working with carcasses of animals, preserving them, honoring the lives of the spirits that had once inhabited them and ultimately making sacred their presence here on Earth. Bakken White writes about digging into decaying carcasses with her fingers to get through what is dead to the bones, the structure of a life; she realizes that by digging through decay and going inside, with persistence and without horror, she can pull out and restore that which gives her life meaning.

Now as a woman coming of age and fully inhabiting her Elderhood, Bakken White works with other women to examine the masks they wear. She writes that in “looking back, I realized that bone by bone the animals I found were a metaphor for my personal process of discovering, unmasking and reconnecting the scattered parts of my true self.” But rather ending the book by identifying with the archetype of La Loba, the wolf woman who sings over the bones, Bakken White’s last chapter is called “Skunk.” Skunk is confident with herself and owns respect!!

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Sacred Art Video

March, 2018


In this art film Imelda Almqvist explores the ancient, ancestral and archetypal yet mysterious figure of The Woman and Her Snake.

She lives Outside Time and is a Mistress of Creation and Manifestation.

We meet her in many forms all around us, in dreams, world mythology and legends about shape shifting women and snakes.

Some would say she is an archetype – others would say she is a great goddess….

Watch and decide for yourself!


About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where ART Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)


(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True


And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017


Book Review – Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

March, 2018

Book Review –

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple:

Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth

By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

No sailor controls the sea…Similarly, no lucid dreamer controls the dream. Like a sailor on the sea, we lucid dreamers direct our perceptual awareness within the larger state of dreaming.” – Robert Waggoner.

We don’t consciously create our dreams; we only ride their waves and direct our experience.” Caroline McCready.


I love dreaming. As a child, I woke up from dreams feeling like I had visited another world – a world that is as real as the “every day” world we move around in. I still feel that way. I love having a “big dream” – one the feels like a communication from another realm or includes visits from the Beloved Dead. These dreams feel so real, sometimes more real than what happens while I am awake! I have spent years recording my dreams, tracking patterns of dreaming by the moon and by astrological sign. I have participated in dream circles listening to the dreams of others, marveling at how we often had similar dreams or walked in each other’s dreaming on the same night. I often wondered how those connections come into being.

But, after all these years, I have had little experience with lucid dreaming. Other than listening to how easily it comes for some of my friends, that is. And wondering why I haven’t had a sustained lucid dreaming experience. In case you are not familiar with the concept, lucid dreaming occurs when dreamers “wake up” inside a nighttime dream, realize they are dreaming and can direct activity in the dream. Oh, I have so wanted to do this for such a long time. I’ve read lots of books, taken courses, explored all kinds of approaches to lucid dreaming, but have never been able to do more than realize that I am dreaming and shock myself awake with excitement! So, I was truly excited to read “Lucid Dreaming-Plain and Simple.” Authors Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready are lifetime dream explorers, like I am. They’ve not only experienced lucid dreaming, they’ve studied it. Their research started with the works of Stephen LaBerge, Patricia Garfield, Ann Faraday and Carlos Castaneda, among the better-known early pioneer writers on the topic. I, too, poured over these authors’ works, studying and practicing techniques for lucidity.


(Original Painting by Susan Rossi)


Waggoner and McCready are much better students than I! They have dreamed lucidly with great success and now offer us a doorway into dream deepening that is a synthesis of the lucidity pioneers and their own experience. And this book is more than a dreaming technique guide. It is a manual about consciousness and perception.

I devoured this book. It is well written and engaging, full of the authors’ experiences in the dream time and well sourced in independent dream research. I have tried several of the techniques for lucid dream entry the authors present. It still hasn’t happened for me. However, I am filled with new optimism. Because Waggoner and McCready broaden the approach to lucidity way beyond simply achieving it. They present lucidity not as the result of techniques or the ability to fly when you want to in a dream. Rather, they raise with the reader an inquiry into of the awareness of consciousness and its role in “waking” and “dreaming” reality. As a longtime meditator, I realized I can go through this doorway to get to lucidity and that truly, dreaming is about playing with the web of consciousness and its interrelatedness with all that is! Waggoner writes that through his practice of lucid dreaming, he discovered a “consistent framework of rules and principles beneath lucid dreaming events” and that this “hidden framework suggested that dreaming and the unconscious actually followed rules and had structure.” Dreaming is not just “random firing of neurons.” In fact, he explores the idea that there is an intelligent awareness that exists behind our dreams and that this awareness will respond to questions posed to it. For those of us who read PaganPagesOrg, this feels quite familiar, I’m sure. All that is has an awareness we can dance with and through this dance we engage in co-creation with the web of energy and intelligence behind the solid world that we perceive.

In examining lucidity with this broad view, McCready and Waggoner address the nature of what is “real.” We readers are encouraged to explore with a critical eye the nature of our assumptions about “waking” and “dreaming.” Through this process, the authors state, we will receive “an education in the nature of the mind and perceived experience that calls forth insights capable of transforming yourself and your waking life.” So, for me, lucid dreaming is now about so much more than remembering to look for my hands in a dream. It is about “waking up” to my assumptions about the nature of what is real. It is about lifting the veil of separation so that all that is does not remain compartmentalized in my mind. So perhaps I am already awake within the dream during daylight hours! I loved this book and recommend it to you to awaken within the dream of your life AND in your nighttime dreams.

For Amazon Information Click Image



About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com


Book Review: The Witches’ Ointment – The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic by Thomas Hatsis

November, 2017

The Witches’ Ointment

The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic

By Thomas Hatsis

This is a fascinating and unique offering! And a book I will definitely recommend to others, especially colleagues and students. It is well-researched and written in a scholarly yet very accessible way.

In this book the author Thomas Hatsis embarks on a quest to research and tell the (until now largely) untold story of a magical substance called “witches’ ointment.” In this book you will also encounter other names for this mysterious concoction.

Along the way he provides a detailed, thought-provoking account of witchcraft, magic and the use of hallucinogenic herbs. This book is underpinned with many footnotes and references to old manuscripts and publications in various languages.

Psycho-magical ointments had many uses, ranging from the dark end of the “magical spectrum” (bewitching, poisoning and murder) to healing, providing pain relief (such as anaesthesia during surgery) and divination or prophecy.

Psychotropic salves and ointments can trigger powerful hallucinations and surrealistic dreams or even facilitate direct experience of other realms and the Divine. (Your own conclusion will depend on your personal interpretation of this material!)

For me personally the most fascinating and valuable part of this book is the candid (well researched) history it provides of both the ancient art we call witchcraft today and the witch trials. Hatsis also describes in great detail (as the process unfolds over several centuries) the role the Church played in reframing the ecstatic experiences certain people have always sought (often using entheogens) into a satanic experience.

This is crucial information because this perception still casts a large shadow over our culture (and our cultural perception of healing and all things magical) until today. A fear of witchcraft and magical remedies (and my own profession: shamanism) lingers. People involved in such things today encounter that shadow (and the misperceptions that go with it) all the time.

This book is honest and scientific. It neither glorifies nor demonises witches ointments or flying ointments (or other magical remedies) It makes a distinction between the real undeniable shadow of this phenomenon (poisoning being an obvious example of these practices – one 21st equivalent would be the use of a date-rape drug) and a “satanic” layer or dimension deliberately imposed by the Church -that some people accused of witchcraft only confessed to because they were tortured (and told that if they confessed they would regain their freedom – which turned out to be a gross deception as most of those people were subsequently executed despite saying what the Inquisitor wanted to hear).

This book explains why witches are associated with broomsticks and toads and also what role village or folk healers played in European culture long before “mainstream medicine’ became accessible or affordable for most people. This book also makes it very clear that certain herbs (and other ingredients such as toads or mushrooms) have always been used in magical work, right from antiquity up to the present time.

This is an important and unique book. It has the power to shift some of our cultural perceptions – assuming enough people read it. Thank you Thomas Hatsis!

For Amazon information, click image below.

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, 21 October 2017


About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True.

For Amazon information, click image below.



Interview with Nimue Brown: Druidry and Dreams

September, 2015

Nimue Brown: Druidry and Dreams




Nimue is the author of Pagan Dreaming, When a Pagan prays, Spirituality without Structure, Druidry and the Ancestors and Druidry and Meditation. Somehow, despite all the writing she does, she finds time to be an active member of the Pagan and Druid community, run a very popular WordPress blog, work with other Pagan authors and the publisher Moon as well as being a musician! I was, therefore, very grateful to grab a few minutes with Nimue, to ask her a few questions about her inspirations, her motivations and her life as a pagan.

Mabh Savage: You’re an incredibly prolific writer, with 5 books out with Moon in the last two years or so, plus Intelligent Designing for Amateurs, and the Hopeless, Maine graphic novels you do with your husband as well as independent publications. You also blog regularly; where do you find the time? How do you keep your muse stimulated?

Nimue Brown: Finding ideas has never been much of a problem for me. There’s so much out there to be inspired by, confused about, angry with, curious about… and I think about everything a lot. In terms of finding the time, I’m self-employed, juggling all manner of peculiar paying gigs, but there are always spaces for writing. I don’t have a television, and I hardly ever get whole days off, so that’s the trade-off.

MS: You do interviews yourself for the Moon blog; who has been your favourite interviewee so far?

NB: Interviewing Ronald Hutton was quite an experience. He’s something of a personal hero, and he doesn’t give interviews very often, so I knew I was incredibly blessed in getting to do that and was also a bit terrified, but it was an amazing thing to do. All of them have been interesting though, it’s something I very much enjoy doing.

MS: My favourite publication of yours is a contribution to the Moon : Pagan Portals series, titled Spirituality without Structure. Can you tell us a bit about this book? What inspired it, and what is its goal?

NB: I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years looking at world religions, mostly to compare prayer practices. [When a Pagan Prays, Moon , 2014] However, alongside what I’d been intending to do, I started realising there are a lot of curious commonalities in how religions function, and they aren’t to do with spirituality at all, most of the time. Partly inspired by Alain du Botton’s Religion for Atheists, and partly by the census figures that show ever more people moving away from conventional religion, I thought this might be useful to explore. What can we take from formal religion that is useful? What, in those formal structures is not helpful to a spiritual life? How do you go about walking your own path and building your own practice? Those are questions I have attempted to answer. Small book, big ideas.

MS: Despite being a ‘Pagan Portal’, can the ideas within be applied to someone who has been involved in any faith or spirituality?

NB: Yes. I’m very interested in the work of heretical Christians like Mark Townsend, so am confident that Spirituality without Structure would be quite readable for anyone chaffing inside a religious structure. Whether we belong to a formal faith tradition or not, the only authentic spiritual experience is the personal one, and I think there is more commonality there, than there are differences caused by the methods we use to seek those spiritual experience.

MS: The tagline of the book is The Power of Finding Your Own Path. Do you think that many people who are interested in Paganism get swept onto paths that are popular but actually very unsuited to that individual, simply because there is more info readily available about these particular paths?

NB: Yes. Many people come to the less well known Pagan paths having been through a flirtation with witchcraft, first. Certain kinds of Paganism have a much stronger and more visible public presence, and people feel some resonance and are drawn in, even though it’s not a perfect match. The theatrical Druidry of white robes and big public gatherings gets the most media attention, and it can take those of us who are more muddy, feral and chaotic by nature a while to find out where we fit. Often the things that bring people to Paganism are not as impressive and enlightened as we might want them to be, but if a film, or World of Warcraft, Dungeons and dragons, or a fantasy book makes you realise a thing, it is simply a doorway. Many people come in via the strangest of doors, and go on to make their own journeys. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, these seem like very natural transitions to me, as people discover their own nature and way of doing things.

MS: Do the thoughts within the book, about moving away from formal religious ideas, reflect changes in your own life?

NB: My background as a child was loosely Pagan, although I went to a Church of England school. I was an eclectic Pagan until I realised I was a Druid, and then I’ve gently shuffled about inside Druidry, finding the Bards and the feral folk. However, I’ve been active on the Pagan scene for a good fifteen years now; I’ve watched a lot of people making those transitions, struggling with old faiths, struggling with new ones… I’ve mentored a fair number of people along the way, and heard a lot of stories.

MS: You speak about being termed as a ‘general eclectic Pagan’, which in my experience usually means anyone who is Pagan but doesn’t fit into any of the pigeon holes such as Wicca etc. Why do you think, as Pagans, we are so keen to label and define ourselves? Does this only occur in groups, do you think?

NB: It’s very useful for identifying likeminded people. I don’t think it’s a particularly Pagan inclination, either. I have other labels… Green, Steampunk, gothic, folky – these are tags that alert kindred spirits. If I see someone else who is a Pagan Steampunk for example, or a folky Druid, I know we’ve got some common ground and may well get along. It helps me choose which events to go to, which books to read. There’s so much information out there, the internet gives us access to about 2 billion people, and there are a lot of books and events. Anything that gives us a fighting chance of filtering that down to something useful and meaningful, I am very glad to have in the mix. Probably when we all lived in small villages, it wasn’t so much of an issue.

MS: Although you’ve found your own path, do you still consider yourself a Druid?

NB: My path is within Druidry. ‘Druid’ is a huge term covering a vast range of practices and beliefs. Nobody is ‘a Druid’ these days, nor, I think, historically. The ancient Druids had all kinds of different roles. Modern Druids are swelling in numbers and starting to reflect that. Some are political, some are healers, some are wild and some specialise in civilization. I think this diversity is a really good thing.

MS: Is druidry so attractive because of its lack of religious bias?

NB: I’m not sure that’s it. I think the absence of dogma is very attractive to a lot of people. It’s very community orientated, a lot more child-friendly than some paths and a lot more fluid than many as well. You can be a member of more than one group; you can shift between Orders to study, or study alone. We have enough commonality to be able to gather in big groups and share, but a lot of room for individual expression. I think the room for innovation is appealing, and the sense of something organic, always growing and shifting is an attractive thing to be part of.

MS: In Spirituality Without Structure, you state that one must be spiritual on one’s own terms, to avoid subservience. Do you feel that religions or paths with elements of subservience in are somehow less spiritual than those that have none? Is any worship of a deity a form of subservience? Or simply connecting with the divine?

NB: Some people choose subservience to deity as part of their path. If that is the way you manifest your spirituality, it really is no one else’s business! However, most religions encourage subservience to other people, and that’s a whole other game. It is the power religions give to people and the demand that we abase ourselves before other humans, in the name of the divine, that I think is innately lacking in spirituality.

MS: Do you think it’s possible to have a wholly spiritual life and still be part of an organised, formal religion? Is it a natural progression that as you remove the external trappings of religion, you become closer to the world/universe/divine/nature, or does it depends on the individual?

NB: I would think that’s wholly possible. There are many good things in the traditions, writings, creativity and inspiration of formal religions, and in theory they should also be a good means of sharing all that. For some, the tradition is really important, and the need to challenge the ways in which other people misuse and corrupt those religions. It takes a generosity of spirit to work in that way, but for some the calling is very much to go back into those formal religious spaces and try to inject some soul to offset the politics.

MS: And finally, what’s an average day like in the Brown household?

NB: Increasingly, there are no average days, which I like! Monday mornings there’s a community gardening project we go along to, we walk at least once a week, there’s a Friday coffee morning for arty people we like to attend. I try and make sure I have a whole day off, if not 2 in any given week, and not to work more than ten hour days. Some of my time goes on marketing work for Moon , and I do odd small jobs as a reviewer and freelance media support person, I read a lot. I do a lot of crafting, and when I’m working on the first draft of a project my afternoons are often a mix of crafting and writing. I find the crafting gives me time to think. Currently I need the day by going out to see the bats. In that mix, being a parent, dabbling in folk music, cooking, meditating, spending time with friends, sitting with other Druids, and anything else that strikes me as being a good idea!

All Nimue’s books are available from Amazon and other good retailers, and you can keep up with her blog at https://druidlife.wordpress.com/.


Bare Feet on an Earth Path

July, 2013

When Dreams Grow Old


Summer is a charged time for me. It feels like the air is crackling with desire and potential. Maybe it’s because we planted our hopes in the spring and the time for manifestation has come. Or because the moon has moved into Cancer and my watery spirit cries out in recognition. Old dreams spark to life, and I begin to think about making new ones. We’ve all had dreams since we were little kids. They evolved as we grew older, until we were finally old enough for the people in our lives to take them seriously. Dreams are a big deal in our culture, especially pop culture. We’re encouraged to follow them, to never give up on them. In fact, we get the message that giving up on dreams is giving up on ourselves and that abandoned dreams are a sign we’re living a life that’s less than the one we should be living.


Somewhere along the way, we decided that dreams are static things, forgetting about the fluidity of those from our childhoods. We’ve forgotten that the changes we observe in the world around us through each turn of the Wheel of the Year are infused into everything, not just the changing leaves and temperatures. Why would our dreams not grow and change as we do? Eventually, as we come to new places in our lives, the ground becomes fertile for new passions and, suddenly, new dreams begin to sprout from the ground.  These times are ripe for growth and change, but if we’re stuck on the idea that it’s wrong to let go of the old, withered dreams, we won’t have the time or energy to pursue the new, vibrant ones.


In my life, I’ve had many dreams, some of which I was very attached to. But at times I’ve left them behind, even when it hurt. When I chose to marry my husband, I gave up my dream of becoming a missionary teaching orphans in Africa. Some would have called it a tragedy, saying I’d sacrificed my life purpose. Did I let my true, highest Self down because giving up that dream hurt? You could say “You’re a pagan now, so of course that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.” But I still could have spent my life as a humanitarian aid worker, helping African children, with or without the message of Christ. But I would say no. First, I’d made that decision in an instant, and held onto it for years. So while the image had accumulated energy that I’d fed into it every time I imagined it, becoming a powerful force to be reckoned with in my own mind, that didn’t mean that if I didn’t do it, I’d thrown my life away. When I was faced with making a choice, I had to give something up, no matter my decision. While I did lose something, I also gained an amazing relationship with my husband that I wouldn’t have today if I’d chosen differently. I’m at peace with this decision and the new dreams it has brought me.


Sometimes, giving up on old dreams is okay, even good. It’s a little far-fetched from some of our old perspectives, but just think about it, explore it. You might find that it has the potential to be one of the most incredibly freeing ideas you’ve ever considered. Perhaps you’re hanging onto an old dream, but it no longer fits you or your life. Or perhaps you have new dreams you’d like to pursue and the old ones are taking up needed space. Maybe you’ll choose to give up dreams because you’ve invested energy into so many grand ideas that you could never achieve them all in one lifetime.  Whatever your reasons might be, letting go of old dreams is never easy. I think one of the reasons they’re so hard to let go of is because of the way they often take on a sort of hazy, glowing quality, showing how amazing such a life, such a dream, will be. They show the glory of show business, the pride of graduating with a degree, the glamour of achieving a role of wisdom. But dreams don’t show the actress who loves acting but is sick and tired of traveling from place to place. They don’t show the engineer who gets bored and frustrated with his job at times. They don’t show the Wiccan High Priestess who is on her last straw with her coven mates. They’re bigger than life, not showing real, everyday life at all. But the very best dreams are grounded in the real world and work perfectly with our everyday existence.


I can’t say there’s nothing I’d like to do before I die, and that’s a good thing! Desire, hope, that is what keeps us moving forward. But is life about chasing down one dream, from beginning to end? While it may work out that way for some, it’s not a necessary part a good life, or even a great life. Perhaps it’s okay to let go of that dream that just isn’t serving you anymore. Perhaps life is about living well, no matter what you’re doing. Finding passion and purpose and joy on your path, right now, and making new dreams as you go.



Dream Release Ritual

Dreams collect energy over time, and when it comes time to release them, even if it’s because we want to, it can be hard. This ritual will help you to release any dreams that no longer fit your path. Though you may agree that it is okay to let go, your emotional self doesn’t understand the severing of the attachment you’ve made. This ritual allows you to mourn the loss of the dream, expressing any feelings of guilt, regret, or grief that the idea of releasing it brings up.


What you need:

2 candles, one to represent the past and one to represent the future

Cauldron or fire-proof dish

Slip of paper


Begin the ritual in the way you normally do (i.e. call the elements, cast a circle, etc.).

Light the first candle, which represents the past. Write out the dream you wish to release on the slip of paper. Holding the paper in your hands, think about what it meant to you. Think about why you are choosing to let it go.

When you are ready, place the paper in the dish or cauldron and light it. Watch as it burns down.

Once it is burnt to ashes, blow out the candle. Any emotions you experience throughout this ritual are okay. Crying is okay.

When you are ready, light the second candle, which represents the future. Think about where you are now, and what you are moving into. Pray to your deities about your hopes for the future and what you are making way for.

When you are ready, finish the ritual. If possible, take the ashes outside and release them into the earth. The old will be made new, as your old dreams give way to new ones.

Hally’s Hints

June, 2010

Travelling in Dreams

I never really thought that much about the impact of my dreams. I understand the varying levels of what is reflected; when something is being communicated from a different plane and the subtle premonitions of the oncoming future. However, there is another aspect to dreams which leaves me wondering.

The Native American Indians believe that our dreams are the portal to the spirit world. This is such a passionate belief of theirs that there is strict protocol of what to do and what not to do when waking from sleep.

There are four to five stages of sleep. This varies generally based on whether it is a female or male’s sleep pattern. This particular statement is not diminishing the myriad of other contributing factors to sleep patterns. For all intense purposes we will focus on the basic fundamental because this really, is a whole other topic for discussion.

The Native American Indians believed that one must not eat breakfast when first waking up. It must be done in stages of waiting at least thirty minutes before consuming a beverage and an hour before ingesting food. This is because your astral self is still in the process of re-connecting to your physical self. If food is eaten it will rush the process which compromises the journey of the dream and the benefits gained.

With this said, it is very important to ensure food is consumed after the specific duration to solidify the connection and in no better terms, to ground oneself, which prevents forgetfulness and that light headed sensation.

Upon reflection, I recall numerous times feeling as though I have been somewhere else but it was different to being somewhere else physically. There is a sense of authenticity which is unlike to the conscious version. It is surreal and the conscious mind has trouble interpreting what really is going on. It is something that must be experienced to be understood. In essence, it is irrelevant because it happens on another level and the conscious mind benefits from behind the scenes.

When I then would wake up I would feel exhausted with the impression that I had travelled very far and wide. There is always that sense of overwhelming happiness, yet I rarely remember the specific details until I return into the dream state.

Physically I would feel flighty and removed from my body where even the simplest process would be done in automation. It is like watching someone else performing something on my behalf.

Earlier today I had that sense of being somewhere else however, I did not make it back in time to reconnect to my physical self so I was still in the in between. When it is a lazy day it is a beautiful, peaceful feeling. On a busy day it can be very daunting. Consequently whilst rushing to catch the train I ended up falling over onto some train tracks as a train was approaching and the gate was closing. Not really a great place to find yourself. It was this shock that got me wondering more about where I had been and why I was still sitting in the in between for some time after.

As the day progressed I realised how much I travel and the impact this has had on my spiritual journey and evolution. It is amazing.

I had read a lot about astral travelling and how this occurs. I however, have never read about it happening from a dream state. Perhaps astral travelling is the wrong term as my understanding of astral travelling is that it does not reflect back to varying times, places, planes and events. I will leave the technical details for those that are better versed in this.

Consider if your dreams take you on a literal journey.

Consider how you feel on the occasion where you find yourself not being present, yet have this amazing sensation running through your ethereal being.

Perhaps you too have been travelling in dreams.

Across the Great Divide

May, 2010


Spiritual Work and Paranormal Investigations (Part 3 of 3)


Everyone dreams.  Humans and other animals require sleep, and yes, they all dream.  Our mental and physical health is dependant on how we sleep and how we dream.  A common belief is that gods speak to us through dreams.  For example, according to Islamic belief, Muhammad talked to the angel Gabriel several times through his dreams.  As a result dreams are very important to followers of Islam and a person’s dreams are highly respected and private between the individual and the divine.  Some cultures believe we are nothing more than someone else’s dream.  Some shamanic cultures even say that what we perceive as the physical world is the dream and reality exists while we sleep.  Many of the higher levels of mediation and trance-states of altered consciousness allow us to communicate with our animal spirits, spirit guides, and divine entities.

But what if we can communicate with spirits through our dreams the way we do while awake?  Many cultures believe that this is a matter of fact, and stories of this type of phenomenon are not few and far between.  We’ve seen that communicating with spirits on the physical plane can be difficult.  Factors such as the observer’s level of awareness and the entity’s ability to affect the physical world come into play.  But what about the world of dreams?  If we are all energy; if we can understand and communicate with spirits verbally through the collective unconscious; and the fluidic reality of the dreamscape can lead to premonitions, then would it not make perfect sense that spirits can utilize the thinning of the veil between our conscious and subconscious minds in order to communicate in real time and one to one?

Anthropological studies suggest that a belief in life after death originated from dreams of deceased relatives and friends. The research of Dr. Carla Willis Brandon argues that it is indicative of the survival of consciousness in her article Death Bed Visions.

Edgar Cayce once said, “Dreams, visions, and impressions to the entity in the normal sleeping state are the presentations of the experiences necessary for development, if the entity would apply them in the physical life. These may be taken as warnings, as advice, as conditions to be met, conditions to be viewed in a way and manner as lessons, as truths, as they are presented in the various ways and manners.”
However, Carl Jung said dreams are “the main source of all of our knowledge about symbolism.”  This means that the messages you receive from your dreams are expressed symbolically and must be interpreted to find their true meanings.

There are different levels and types of dreams.  Many are just random images and thoughts from our subconscious thrown into a big mixing bowl.  I like to think of general dream states as the mind’s version of defragmenting a hard drive.  It sorts all the data that is collected, deletes broken or corrupted data, and frees up space by rearranging things.  The random images that flash across our eyes during this process are the basis of the majority of our dreams.  That’s why they range from the hilarious to the downright bizarre.  Lucid dreams are those in which the dreamer is consciously aware that they are dreaming and can interact, change, and direct the course of dream events.  What we call “vision dreams” and “spirit communication” dreams cross the boundaries of the physical universe… as we know them. These include the telepathic dream, the shared dream, the clairvoyant dream, the astral dream, the psychokinetic dream, and the precognitive dream.
The average person spends approximately ninety minutes a night in a dream state. Some of us can remember all, or many, of our dreams; others have trouble remembering that we dreamt at all.

The subconscious mind is very powerful and when we are asleep we are in an alpha state of being.  The body is relaxed, and the conscious mind is at rest and usually peaceful.  This allows the boundary between our conscious self and our subconscious mind to be more open, thus allowing the dreams to be experienced.  Our friends and family that have passed over can and do come back to visit us in our dreams.   These spirits will find a way to communicate with us, whether to just let us know they are alright, or to give us a message.  I’ve got several stories in my family of these encounters.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have developed our natural abilities to the point that we can see and hear them through psychic awareness; others will sense them around them.  Sometimes these spirits will manufacture a scent we associate them with.  I was told a story of a woman who communicated with her father and whenever he was around she would smell Electroshave.  Whether or not this is evidence of his presence is subject to debate.  Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory.  If she smelled that or a similar scent then her subconscious mind would think about her father, thus implanting the suggestion in her dreams.  Similarly, she could be thinking of her father and her olfactory sense misfires and tricks her into thinking the scent is in the room.  Still, there are many cases where s particular scent correlates to paranormal activity.

While we are sleeping they can enter our state of consciousness to communicate with us.  Time and time again we have heard stories of those who passed on visiting and talking with their loved ones while they were sleeping.

The death bed vision that Dr. Carla Willis Brandon discusses is “an otherworldly experience the dying and their family members encounter just before death. The dying will report visions of angels, deceased loved ones, or religious figures mere moments, hours, days, or even weeks before actual death occurs.”

One spine-chilling story I can think of involved my grandfather.  This was many years ago in Florida and they didn’t have a phone in the house, the closest one was down the street.  He had a dream in which his brother came to him and was calling out his name.  He awoke very startled from the dream and in the commotion he wrote the time, 3:30 am, on the wall.  The next day he received a call that his brother had died during the night at that very time; in another incident, my grandfather came to my uncle in a dream and told him if he didn’t stop smoking he would die.  My uncle quit cold turkey the next day.

Usually when someone visits you in a dream it will be very vivid, often in living color, you will have total recall of the dream, and it appears to be happening to you in real time.  You will wake up knowing that you indeed had a visit from beyond.

There are several techniques you can use to increase your level of awareness and recall of these types of dreams.

First, test reality.  Whenever anything in the waking state looks out of place or unusual, ask yourself whether or not you are dreaming.  Habitual practice of this technique will make questioning come naturally and to occur automatically while dreaming.
Use dream incentives.  Outside stimuli can induce consciousness in the dream but are not strong enough to awaken the dreamer (such as lights, perfumes, and music). Incentives work differently on everyone, but the most powerful incentives are those that are tied to something of importance to the dreamer or the spirit you wish to contact.

Before you go to sleep say a simple prayer of protection and ask the person with whom you wish to communicate to appear in your dreams.  Communication can occur through conversation or through images and symbols.
Interpret your dreams on a personal level.  The plethora of “dream dictionaries” available is nice, but they’ll often have different interpretations for the same symbols.  When interpreting the symbology of your dreams take into account cultural and societal references and what different objects and places mean to you through your personal experiences.

And, of course, use a dream log to write down all that you remember from the dreams so that you can go back and decipher the meanings and messages later.  If you start to focus your analytical skills on every detail at the same time you’re trying to recall it things will get lost in translation.  Write it down first THEN go back and explore the meanings.

This could take several days to produce results so don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first night.  Try it for at least four nights then stop for a day or two and try again.  If after two weeks you still have no results then take a break and try to communicate with someone else.  Perhaps the person you are trying to contact is not able or willing to communicate at that time.  Perhaps they are not responding because that particular individual has moved on to their next level of existence elsewhere.  Keep positive, stay alert, and be persistent and you will succeed.

We now see that speaking with those who have passed can take many forms and levels of skill.  Whether you communicate with the other side through the lens of a camera and a recorder, through the use of clairsentient skills and psychic abilities, performing a soul cleansing, or using the power of the subconscious mind to reach those who have crossed over through dreams, a vast array of options now exist to aid in your paranormal investigations.

May your dreams be peaceful, plentiful, and productive.  May you continue to expand the boundaries of your personal and spiritual journey.  Until next month… J

For further reading, Raymond Moody wrote several best-selling books on life after death.  I personally suggest Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones and Induced After-Death Communication: A New Therapy for Healing Grief and Trauma

The article, Death Bed Visions, by Dr. Carla Wills-Brandon can be read in its entirety at http://www.pararesearchers.org/Psychic/dbv/dbv.html

**Author’s Note: I’m asking for submissions of personal accounts of paranormal encounters to be featured in a collection for a future article.  Please email submissions directly to me at wolf@deepforestproductions.com and put “Ghost Story” in the subject line.  Should be fun and interesting!!

Oracles & Omens

June, 2009

Dreams Part IV
Helping the Dream

To wrap up the series on dreams I thought I would share some of ways to making divination through dreams more powerful and provide the clearest results.  Often times my most creative inspirations and thoughts come to me during the “twilight” stage. (no, not the vampire movie)  You know when you’re feeling yourself drift off to sleep, but technically you are still awake.  This is the time when crazy solutions seem reasonable and the worries of the day dance softly to the back of your mind.  I often meditate for story ideas, answers to questions or signs on which direction I should take.  When I am in between dreaming and alertness is the time that I often receive the answers to my specific queries. There are many ways to help yourself achieve these answers, most of them are fairly simple.  One of the most common ways is to use lavender.
Lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means to wash. This plant most likely earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit.  This theory is also very true when it comes to purifying your dreams.  When using lavender in dream divination the dreams tend to be crisper and easier to interpret.  If you’re not big on spell bags or intricate details, you can simply sprinkle some lavender essential oil onto a tissue or handkerchief and tuck it between your pillow case and your pillow or burn a lavender scented candle, being sure to extinguish it before you drift off to sleep.  If you are looking to really pull the benefits from the lavender for divination purposes, here are some wonderfully wicked ideas.

Lavender Sleep Spell: Use a charm bag (preferably purple, but any color that fits you will do).  Add the following dried plants: lavender, white sage, mugwort and chamomile.  Add the following gemstones: blood stone, rose quartz, tiger’s eye.  Tie up with a long purple ribbon (again, color choice is yours).  Lie down where you sleep, placing the charm bag on your stomach area while repeating the following chant: “The purity of light – Guide the way to prophetic sleep – Hence may I be known – For the knowledge that I keep. When the timing feels right, move the charm bag to beneath your pillow, or in the pillow case and sleep with it for three nights; by the third night, the answer you are looking for will come to you in your dreams.  This is another example of why it is good to keep a journal nearby your sleeping space, you don’t want your answer to slip away from you.

Lavender Pulse Oil: By mixing five drops of lavender with 20ml of carrier oil (such as almond) you can make a wonderful pulse oil that will help you to relax and drift off to slumber, thus giving you the answers you are seeking.  The lavender will continue to work as you sleep by relieving the stress from your mind and allowing you to focus on the question.

Lavender Sleepy Tea: With a tea infuser, or in a saucepan combine 1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried lavender, 2 tbsp drint mint (peppermint works nicely), 1 cup boiling water.  Pour the water over the lavender/mint mixture and steep for 3-5 minutes.  As you sip at the tea focus on what your divination topic is that night.  Imagine the tea releasing its magical elements as you swallow it.  Feel it working its way through your body, to each of your limbs, and finally swirling up to your mind.  Feel the tea release the answers you are searching for.  It is even said that if you leave a few of the lavender/mint blend leafs in the bottom of the cup that the answer will come in the form of a design.

Again, lavender is only one of many, many herbs that can be used to induce dream divination.  If you find that another works better for you, it can be easily substituted for any of the recipes above.  Do what works for you, your dreams are yours to explore!

Oracles & Omens

May, 2009

Dreams III

You sit up straight in bed during the dead of the night, your forehead is damp with sweat, and your heart is racing.  It takes you a few moments to ground yourself and fade back into your reality.  You sit in the dark and remember the story that just played out in your mind. What type of message was your subconscious trying to send?  Often nightmares or night terrors will reflect fears from our past, situations we are currently battling or events that we are worried about in the future.

Sometimes it will help to talk with someone about any disturbing dreams you may have.  Another opinion can often prove useful for seeing things in a different light.  Here is an example of a dream interpretation that I did when I was studying for my 101 degree:

In my dream I am in another time in my life.  I’m in a castle and I’m running away from someone who’s trying to hurt me.  I’ don’t know if he (it is a man) is trying to hurt just me of if he’s some sort of murderer running through the castle.  I am in the throne room.  There is a single golden throne with a red velvet curtain behind it.  I walk behind the throne and peer behind the curtain when whoever it is that’s chasing me grabs my left arm (I am right handed) and chops my hand off from the wrist.

You said that the dream was from your past; perhaps you could look for some clues to help you clarify what point of your life the vision is coming from.  This could be the key to identifying the problem.  The castle seems to represent the situation that the dream is centered round, the large event that causing your anxiety.  Being aware that you are in the throne room signals that you are the one in charge of the situation.  You are the “king/queen”, or the one making the decisions.  My intuition tells me that the man pursuing you is your own conscious.  The red velvet curtain may represent factors being hidden from you, as the decision maker.  When you are peering behind the curtain it could be that you are unknowingly telling yourself that you need to have more information before you should make your final verdict.  With you loosing your left hand, rather than your right, it seems that if you make your choice before seeing all the variables that you will still progress, but it will be harder that it could be.  I would definitely consider keeping pen and paper close by while you sleep to write down any small details that you remember immediately when waking.

Next month I would like to share some ways to influence your dreams and make the most of their prophetic abilities.

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