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

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 the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!

Saturn. The name of the Roman god elicits shudders from historians and astrology enthusiasts, alike. The wielder of justice, the task master, the great leveler of the playing field. Saturn, the planet, is no less all business. With the intention of forcing you to face what you have not, this stellar body moves into a new sign about every three years. Practically speaking, this means that it occupies the exact location in the natal chart once roughly every 28-30 years. Saturn Returns, as such are known, are surrounded by much hype largely because they bring three years of intense personal clearing and transition. Considered a cosmic vice that will bear down on what you have not prior been able to release or move, rumor was that after all the intense purging managed by Saturn, the impartial judge would leave his tenderized charge a gift. Little did I know how hard I would work for that gift, or what that gift would be.

For me the fun began in March of 2001, with a car accident that left me in extreme pain for about three years and health conditions to manage ever after. The first year after I had intense kundalini explosions commonly referred to as a spiritual emergency (when the soul evolves more intensely than the psyche can manage). That was the conclusion of my first Saturn Return. Next came Saturn taking up station in my sun sign, which is not a common synchronous event. Where most people have the approximate three years’ liaison with Saturn, I had six. It was a profitable time during which I wrote and published Gift of the Dreamtime, inadvertently bringing me a great deal of healing. Willing to accept that as my gift at the close of my Return, I elected to follow Saturn’s lead for the next three years.

In July of 2005 I was staying alone in a hotel when I became aware of a presence in the room. I had already cleared the room, as hotels usually require such, and I was surprised to find a spirit there. When I closed my eyes I saw a spiritual manifestation of my grandfather. He told me that he was leaving and that he wouldn’t be back in this realm in form again. It was a peaceful interaction, though I carried no particular sadness at his announced departure. In my childhood he had sexually assaulted me on numerous occasions, the healing of which was thoroughly brought through in my Saturn Return. The next day, the day that Saturn left my birth sign in 2005, my grandfather died.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t close to him in any loving sense the news hit me fiercely, literally leaving me dizzy and needing to sit. My life force changed on the spot, some primordial thread passed from him, to my father, to me. In my lack of grief I felt oddly raw for a long while after, in a way that I couldn’t articulate. I felt as though I was exposed energetically and couldn’t regain grounding or protection. Aware of this lack, I focused on connecting with my spiritual allies and left the situation in their hands.

During this time one of my cats, Phoenix, began to act strange. He had made clear to me early in our fifteen-year relationship that he was my familiar. I had asked him what that meant, exactly, and he said, “I’m your companion.”

“What does a companion do?” I asked.

“Keep you company,” he replied. I didn’t ask him anymore questions. In that timeframe after my grandfather’s death I frequently found Phoenix talking with a presence in the guest bathroom. He always sat facing a particular spot, staring at it and caterwauling deep conversation. If I interrupted he would glare at me until I backed from the room, then he would continue talking. I didn’t know what was happening but it was clear to me that Phoenix wasn’t alone. As Phoenix was unfazed, excellent energy judges that cats are, I left him to it. My sense of the dynamic was that Phoenix was orchestrating something and I was not part of it.

By February of that year we began finding blood in the house–huge crimson sprays on the walls and carpet about 6-8 inches in diameter. At the time we had two cats and a dog, all of whom presented perfect health. Two months later, Phoenix began to show signs of vestibular imbalance, and I was at last with him during a projectile nosebleed. Mystery solved, this condition followed a pattern of him being immobile for days, then he would bounce back to light, life and playful kittiness. Evident to us was that his body was under extreme duress, though his veterinarian found no cause for or proof of his symptoms. I felt keen dismay at his odd decline. Having facilitated the deaths of several animal friends, upon talking with Phoenix I expected him to advise me of his life plans and what role I might play in them. To my surprise, he told me to do nothing. He told me that he was finishing work on another plane and that he would tell me when it had been completed. Clear to me was the fact that if I did facilitate his death to alleviate my grief it would be against his wishes.

Saturn by George Pencz

Saturn by George Pencz

The pattern of gruesome explosions continued, along with Phoenix’ chipper little personality telling me to hold the space for him to complete his work. He began to talk to his friend even more. The presence in the house became overbearing and by this point in my grief, my ability to fend off unwanted spiritual influences was almost nonexistent. Phoenix had stopped sleeping at night and was talking nonstop. He still ate well, groomed, and kept to his usual routine of napping in the yard and his favorite sunny spots about the house. Frequently I asked him, to his annoyance, if he was ready to die. He told me repeatedly that he was not and that I was, with no ambiguity, not to euthanize him unless or until he specifically told me to. He told me that he had work to complete here that would be more beneficial to do while he was still in form, and that if I euthanized him before that point it would complicate his process radically. Sadly, I left that governance to him and listened closely.

All the while that we had been supporting Phoenix other strange things began to happen in the house. Our dog began to exhibit vestibular imbalance, and lights began to flicker randomly throughout. I noticed changes in my own health. Within the space of about two weeks my hearing degraded significantly and I suddenly manifest problems reading. It was as if I had rapidly become dyslexic, only it wasn’t just that letters and words inverted on a page. I began seeing symbols that I didn’t recognize suffused with blank spaces mid-sentence. I felt that something major was going on etherically, a very profound shift of wiring, so to speak. I consulted the neurologist I had seen after the car-crash. Brain scans came back clean and the neurologist insisted that I had always been dyslexic and didn’t realize it.

One morning that August, Phoenix began crying in the wee hours. I gathered him around 3am and we lay on the couch. About an hour later I was awakened by a bright flash that settled into a horizontal sheet of white light cloaking the room. I sat up and observed that I could see above and below the hovering blanket of light. Phoenix began crying in my arms while the dog and other cat became agitated and left the room. Again there was a blinding flash and one of the computer monitors turned on. Instantly after that the four computers in the room simultaneously turned off. The room was deadly silent in the absence of the technohum, and I felt a masculine presence in the room. It hit me then that Phoenix had been buffering this energy and that his ability to continue buffering it was declining. Initially, I was very startled. Then, as is common for me when entities create physical intrusions, I became angry. I approached the monitor and saw that despite the fact that the desktop was displayed, none of the computers were on. I switched the monitor off and was livid.

Realizing that I was too emotionally involved with the situation to affect it I called on a colleague to help. Right off the bat she isolated that my grandfather was clinging to me and was manipulating my lower chakras. She didn’t know anything about my past with him, and I was genuinely surprised to hear her assessment. She went on to say that he was intentionally interfering with my sleep cycle to disrupt my usual healing work in my dreamstate, and that he was specifically dumping his karma on me to avoid having to do the work himself. My many spiritual interactions with him had always been very peaceful, very compassionate. I was genuinely taken aback to learn that not only had he not transitioned thoroughly, particularly after his visit to me the night before he died, but that he was lingering to cause me more harm. When I told my friend this she informed me that the aspect of him clinging to me now was not the higher, balanced being I’d seen so many times and the night before his death; rather, it was the earthly consciousness that was deeply troubled and still perpetuating abusive patterns.

Properly armed, I came home and thanked Phoenix for his work and cleared the house. I closed those of my grandather’s chakras that had remained partially functional after his demise. Three days of persistent entity release rituals transpired before I felt this suffering aspect of his consciousness completely transition. When it did I told Phoenix that he could relax and that he no longer had to do the work alone. His relief was evident, but he told me that his work was still not complete.

DSCF0610On 21 November I was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis. While I was waiting for surgery Phoenix came to me and told me that he was ready to move on. I lamented that I couldn’t help him and he assured me that there was no rush. He just wanted me to know he was finished. On 10 December 2006 we went to the vet with Phoenix, though we came home without him. His deathwalk was very difficult for me, yet it became clear in that procession that Phoenix had released me from very old, harmful misogynistic life threads. I also felt that he was paving an opening for radical etheric change in my life and in his own destiny. At that point I realized in our time together just how much Phoenix had contributed to grounding my life force. Physical evidence of that etheric transition came in March of 2007, when after having further health concerns I went to a new neurologist. In the brain scans that she did scarring was present, indicators of a series of minor strokes that left several physical markers, countless unseen ones.

What, then, did Saturn gift me? A deep and lasting release from limiting patterns. It may not be as exciting as a science toy, but it felt really great nonetheless. A budding insight into the vast . A budding insight into the vast and incomprehensible nature of consciousness. An opportunity to work through lingering anger toward my grandfather. An understanding that part of grief is the changing etheric field. An appreciation for the physical manifestation of widening awareness. More than any of those Saturn left me thankful for unconditional love and soulful support most evident in a truth of Wise Women lore that says when her familiar leaves Woman steps into her true power.