Tag: deathwalk

The Darker Side of Lightwork

Kelley, The spirit of Tara, my ex wife and dear friend, has appeared to a new psychic friend. She seems to be warning me of something harmful that is coming. Three days ago was the seven-year anniversary of her passing, which was very unusual and unexpected in the jungle of Ecuador, while doing Ayahuasca with shamans. Any insight? Thanks, Flash.

Ecuador Butterfly 5707 Thanks for your note, Flash. The anguished aspect of Tara that I met was still in the jungle. You and I have done work around her death years back, though something that became evident this time was that this aspect of her was being held back on purpose, through no efforts of her own. I realized this as when I met her this time, she pointed behind me to a seething spiritual presence of indigenous magick that draws on the abilities of others. It appeared as a group of men dressed in plants, wool, and body paint.

My understanding from the altercation that transpired between myself and the men was that Tara wasn’t being held only for her intuitive abilities to be usurped by them, but everyone who energetically reached back to the point of her death in an attempt to understand what happened to her or do release work around her death, was being wicked of their abilities, as well. I don’t pretend to know what this presence was, it’s particular method, etc. What was clear is that they were a local force that had long-mastered the ability to draw on the spiritual abilities of others for their own use. They recognized Tara as a powerful intuitive, and they decided to keep this aspect of her soul there for good, to continue using and attract other intuitives to come find her. As these innocents came to help Tara, they would be leeched of power, possibly rendered unable to help Tara. In other words, this magickal force attached to those who have attempted to help Tara, and remained attached, drawing on power from many people over the years–including you. Especially you.

My guides intervened and took over the whole situation. They bound that presence to Nature, such that it can be gradually healed and released. It didn’t feel right to just yank it out and remove it. There was a need for this presence to come to know a more connected, balanced way of holding magickal power. Until such time, it is bound to Nature. Healing was done for Tara, whose final words upon her deathwalk were, “Heal Flash.” All healing that could be done for you and those who have attempted to help Tara over the years was given, and rooted into all present lives.

For you this means a steady return of power you haven’t felt for a long while, or felt but couldn’t hold onto fully. What was being taken from you is now able to be fully possessed by you. There may be emotional healing needed around this, as its return could stir some echoes of grief and longing. Overall, nothing is coming, Flash. It was already there, and needed to go. A light you’ve needed to see for a long time is flickering to life.

Edited to add: This article on ambiguous spiritual tourism and the use of ayahuasca just came out this week.

Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellReal Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World

Available at Amazon.

For years, as we neared Samhain and The Dead Time I’ve shared my true encounters of the supernatural. Experiences from waking to deathwalks in the night to seeing apparitions in the middle of the day, you name it and I’ve brushed up against it, whether I meant to–or not so much.

In Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World I’ve compiled revised editions of all of the stories that appeared on my blog, along with never-before-published updates to those stories, and several recent encounters.

Not your usual bump-in-the-night true paranormal accounts, these trips into the Middle World aren’t always scary. Some are sweet, some are affirming. Regardless, some I’d like to never have again, yet all of them changed me in a way that I never looked at myself or Life the same, after.

As a lifelong intuitive and shaman by choice for two decades, not all of my experiences with the spirit world have had clear-cut direction, instruction, or even results. Every one of them, though, has had meaning. It’s not my way to just dabble in the supernatural for only the sake of stirring the mystical pot. Instead, I approach such as an opportunity to learn about life out of form, and be of some kind of service to spirits in need. Working with the other side of death equips me better this side of life. There are many spiritual books on working with the dead and discarnate, though most of them only extol the wonder and awe of that work. They don’t talk about the toll it takes on their personal lives, or of perils they faced learning to be healthy conduits for spirits. Indeed this work is wonderful and awesome, but it can also be scary, disorienting, and uprooting. I share these accounts of paranormal exploration as part investigation, part curiosity, and part luck of the draw of being a human equally aware of her soul.

Real Wyrd, Just in Time for Samhain!

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley HarrellFor years, as we neared Samhain and The Dead Time I’ve shared my true encounters of the supernatural. Experiences from waking to deathwalks in the night to seeing apparitions in the middle of the day, you name it and I’ve brushed up against it, whether I meant to–or not so much.

In Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World  I’ve compiled revised editions of all of the stories that appeared on my blog, along with never-before-published updates to those stories, and several recent encounters.

Not your usual bump-in-the-night true paranormal accounts, these trips into the Middle World aren’t always scary. Some are sweet, some are affirming. Regardless, some I’d like to never have again, yet all of them changed me in a way that I never looked at myself or Life the same, after.

As a lifelong intuitive and shaman by choice for two decades, not all of my experiences with the spirit world have had clear-cut direction, instruction, or even results.  Every one of them, though, has had meaning.  It’s not my way to just dabble in the supernatural for only the sake of stirring the mystical pot.  Instead, I approach such as an opportunity to learn about life out of form, and be of some kind of service to spirits in need.  Working with the other side of death equips me better this side of life.

There are many spiritual books on working with the dead and discarnate, though most of them only extol the wonder and awe of that work.  They don’t talk about the toll it takes on their personal lives, or of  perils they faced learning to be healthy conduits for spirits.   Indeed this work is wonderful and awesome, but it can also be scary, disorienting, and uprooting.  I share these accounts of paranormal exploration as part investigation, part curiosity, and part luck of the draw of being a human equally aware of her soul.

6 Things the Dead Want Us to Know About Life

One of the earliest intuitive abilities I recognized in myself was the ability to interact with the dead. As a child I was terrified of them. They woke me from sleep, made noises in my room, touched me, gave me visions. Nothing in my belief system had taught me how to communicate with them well, of the graphic ways in which they can communicate, or even about what death is. As an adolescent I realized not all spirits I saw were products of a completed life in form. Some were spirits of trees, living animals, or beings that have never been in form, though nonetheless influenced the lives of those of us in form. In forty years of communing with the world in this way, several universal messages have been conveyed. The unifying concept in these messages is that what happens in consciousness stays in consciousness, and I distilled them to six general observations:

    • How we live now is the state of the afterlife. While the body ceases to be, the mind and soul carry on. The state of our consciousness in life is the state of our consciousness in death. If we foster worry and anxiety now, that’s our mode of operation after. By focusing on negative or hurtful aspects of life, we stew in them in death, causing consciousness to stagnate. If we are mindful and live in the present in life, in death we continue to broaden consciousness, further opportunity to make choices to support that awareness.
    • There is no magickal place of punishment or reward. This insight garners strong emotional reactions from many people. Most of our world religions are built on the idea that regardless of the plight of our lives, we are destined by our actions to spend everafter in torment or joy. Again, what the dead indicate is that what comes after is based on our perspective in life. How one behaves in life is what one experiences after life.
Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

  • Everything lives on. In some guise, form, or unform, the essence of every thing remains and becomes some other manifestation of itself and All Things.
  • Spirits aren’t wise or moral just because they are out of form. Our culture perpetuates a myth that upon death souls become penitent and/or enlightened. In my experience, wise deceased were so in life. Souls that were confused, frustrated, angry, etc, are so in death.
  • What we don’t heal in life stays with us in death. Thoughts, habits, or beliefs that don’t support us or undermine us, such as lying, using others to further ourselves, or denying our true natures do not magickally vanish when we leave form. For this reason, when we seek to release harmful dynamics from our lives, we are also assuring peace in death. We assure ongoing tranquility.
  • Working with trance states affects knowledge of how to die. By accessing the imagination via ecstatic trance, dreamwork, or other method of altered consciousness, we experience life without the ego. In this pure space and consciousness, we catch glimpses of what it feels like to be out of form, to be our undaunted wild selves.  The more we connect with our true nature our quality of life improves.  The better we live, the more comfortable we are with the truth of mortality.

While my experiences with the spirits now are more balanced than those of my childhood, the prevailing message is that spirits do affect our lives. By living well we die peacefully, which means that we have no need to disrupt the living. By living well, everyone’s experience of consciousness is improved.

If you love reading true stories of the wyrd, every year for the Samhain season I share several in my column, Intentional Insights.  Check the archive there under the ‘Samhain’ and ‘paranormal’ tags.  If you want to learn more about shamanism and deathwalking, visit Soul Intent Arts.

Samhain Spectres – Saturn’s Gift

Saturn by George PenczFour years ago in celebration of The Dead Time I began sharing some of my more creepy experiences of the wyrd. Sooner or later most people experience phenomena they can’t explain, or that occurs outside the bounds of their belief system. What it is and what it means is open to interpretation, and most certainly is in the eye of the boo-holder. Bless the darkness, hold the light.

This story is a fairly sad one for me, though it gives great insight into the kinds of things shamans encounter, and how they deal with them. It also speaks to the myriad sources of support along our paths. You don’t have to know about Saturn–the god or the planet to get the gist of the story, though if you do you will better discern its gifts. Saturn’s Gift.

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” my collection of true paranormal experiences as a lifelong intuitive.

You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write… The Quiet Dead

As psychopomp is a critical role of my personal and professional shamanic path, I’m often approached by those who want me to communicate with deceased loved ones. In some cases a different scenario arises and I’m asked, “Why doesn’t my deceased loved one visit me?”

My immediate response is, “How do know your loved one doesn’t?” There is an assumption that because we are emotionally close to a deceased loved one that we are open to and will recognize a visit from that dear soul. It’s an understandable assumption, as our culture generally sensationalizes and romanticizes interactions with the deceased. In reality, it is often because we are so emotionally involved with the deceased that we don’t or can’t perceive their presence. Sometimes when loved ones are still actively grieving loss, they are too distracted to observe spiritual activity. In their haze, they miss subtle messages that a trained intuitive would intercept, or they are holding out for a grand entrance when a gentle presence is right in front of them. Consequently, sometimes when the deceased sense that their loved ones are not moving on, they do not visit them on purpose. The inability of living or deceased loved ones to accept death causes all involved to stagnate. Often the dead realize that their presence may only encourage the living loved one’s grief instead of soothe it.

Emotional involvement isn’t the only impediment to visitation from beyond the grave. Whether due to fear of the paranormal or the exclusion of such a possibility due to religious path or life view, these can be long-held beliefs that prevent spirit interaction. Often people haven’t really considered the possibility of interacting with a spirit until someone they love dies. Again, in that dynamic lies an assumption that the emotional bond will in and of itself reveal an active connection beyond the veil, and in this case trump institutionalized beliefs. I know it is entirely possible for someone who does not believe in spirits to have a spontaneous change of heart. However, in these cases there is still more than an emotional bond at work. Our consciousness is organized into beliefs and personal truths so that we can make sense of data coming in. At any point that we choose, we can change our beliefs, thus change the organization of our consciousness. In the case of those who prior eschewed spiritual possibilities let alone contact, it’s not likely that their beliefs will spontaneously reorganize to suddenly allow the perception of a visitation from a deceased loved one. If you fear spirits or have rigid beliefs that oppose paranormal life, the likelihood of experiencing such after the death of a loved one is slim. It is possible, though not probable. Naysayers who do experience unexpected spiritual interaction have generally gone through a rampant restructuring of their beliefs.

Another reason that the dead don’t visit is simply because they have no need to. They’re happy. They’re peaceful and they have genuinely grown beyond the concerns of the formed realm. It doesn’t mean they don’t love us or have abandoned us. It doesn’t mean you will never see them again. In fact, most of us repeat experiences of ourselves with the same groups of souls. It just means they’ve moved on to the next point of their destiny.

So what’s the magickal combination? Why do other people have full-on conversations with your deceased loved ones when you don’t seem able to? Remember that people who work with spirits likely demonstrated some innate ability to do so early on in life and/or had a life-changing experience that opened them to their ability, and have dedicated their lives to the skills and boundaries of that work. It’s not random or trivial. They devoted themselves to learning to read the signals and communication of spirits in subtle and profound ways. Moreover, they do so without an emotional charge. They are not emotionally involved with their work, and that enables them to stretch the limits of their ability. To people who interact with spirits doing so no different than interacting with the living. Venturing into the realm of the dead is as common place as walking into a crowded restaurant. In short, it’s not a big deal to them. They will it so, and so it is. Through that accomplishment, it’s always a miracle.

The thing is, there isn’t anything special about people who experience spirits and those who don’t. The only difference between those who do and those who don’t is willingness and the taming of cultural domestication to see life in a fuller, less prescribed way. If you are curious about how to interact with spirits, connect with a trusted professional who can mentor you in doing so. If you’re not but still want to interact with deceased loved ones, find someone who can do so and know that your bond is as intact as ever across the veil and it’s a blessing to have such. Moreover, find etheric ways to deepen your relationship to your loved ones now, and the opening for that greater interaction will always be there.

The Dead Time Dawns – Saturn’s Gift

Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of encroaching darkness. The light will return soon enough.

Saturn by George Pencz

Saturn by George Pencz

The first time I shared this story was last Samhain. It marks one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had as an intuitive, and certainly one of the saddest times in my life. I do think it a very classic modern glimpse of what I call the tribeless modern mystic, as only a gift from an ancient God can be–Saturn’s Gift.

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Read more spooky stories in “Real Wyrd – A Modern Shaman’s Roots in the Middle World,” true paranormal experiences of a lifelong intuitive.

Conductor of Souls

I’ve been asked about the word ‘psychopomp’ several times lately, and it was suggested that a bit of explaining might do. Psychopomp is Greek for ‘conductor of souls,’ or someone whose role is to peacefully lead the departed to their next experience. Traditionally shamans are psychopomps, or deathwalkers, as others refer to them. In that context, there is a good bit more involved than escorting the dead onward and upward. In my childhood were several ongoing experiences that convinced me I was having a different go of things than most, and seeing dead people was one of them. It wasn’t until my late teens that I put the pieces together and understood that I was a natural deathwalker.

In order to be effective as a psychopomp, one has to possess reasonable skills in counseling, nurturing, protection, good boundaries, as well as the obvious ability to move between realms and know to where souls should be directed when they move on. My innate skills lay in seeing souls, but that was about it. I first had to learn not to be afraid of them, as often they were frightening and gruesome, in order to understand why they were coming to me. I gained initial insight into that dynamic on my own, then later learned specific techniques to help them transition. There are many ways to accomplish that purpose, some as simple as opening space and ‘pushing them’ up, or literally escorting them through in an ecstatic trance state. Others that I’ve found useful involve Middle World journeys to release them (solo energies and group), and a group Brazilian mediumistic technique called mesa blanca, which focuses on the release of suffering spirits.
Ultimately the goal is for the souls to move to their next experience of themselves peacefully. Life force isn’t created to be stagnant. It is progressive, evolving energy that needs to maintain challenging experiences to raise its consciousness. Stuck in place, that elevation of awareness can’t happen, and that’s when problems begin. Sometimes releasing life force goes more smoothly than others. Often souls who are invested in the chaos they create in the formed world are less likely to move on, and encouraging them to do so requires skill in counsel, negotiation, and protection. In many cases, the dead don’t realize they are dead, and that reality can be very upsetting to them. Again, finesse is required. On rarer occasions, they just refuse to move on, and this requires a mutual respect. As with the living, we can only be where we are; we can’t force ourselves or anyone else to be where they are not.
A caveat to releasing the dead is, sometimes the spirits in this realm aren’t of the deceased. There are different schools of thought on this scenario, of which I find souls that were never in form require a different approach to address their needs and release them. These usually are energies that have languished for centuries, or longer, if not are elementals and collective buildup resulting from the planet’s etheric grid being congested. Places, structure become entities separate from the people who dwell in them, and sometimes need to be cleared. Nature spirits sometimes need to be appeased and released. Sometimes people become attached to spirits or loved ones, and in the process of depossesion that spirit needs help moving on. The scenarios of psychopomp work are unique and possibly infinite.
It is our nature to keep moving, progressing. When any facet of our diverse souls doesn’t grow, All Things staggers under the weight of that stagnation. My approach to facilitating that has been to teach classes on how to die, as with all things, education goes a long way. In that way, education itself acts as a soul conductor. And in learning how to die, most of us truly begin to live.