Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Energy Vampires

. . . they DO exist! ;)

Please visit "Energy Vampires" by Serene Holistic Lifestyles . . . excellent read!

On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.  Buddha.

There are ways you can protect yourself.  Many crystals are known for energetic protection and transmutation.  Watch our blog for future posts!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Animal Spirit

Commonly called a “Power Animal” or “Animal Totem”, Animal Spirits are guides that appear at different times in your spiritual walk and usually have a message or a lesson for you to learn.

Ways to recognize when an Animal Spirit Guide has a message or gift for you is to pay attention to your dreams and your surroundings and take note.  When a particular animal grabs your attention repeatedly, perhaps your Animal Spirit Guide is trying to communicate.

Often a Power/Totem Animal Spirit Guide will appear frequently in a short period of time in one or more of the following:
  • dreams or visions
  • actual physical appearances
  • figurines
  • billboards, television or other media
  • sounds or conversations with others
  • a sudden attraction to or favoritism toward the animal
The main reason why a Totem or Animal Spirit Guide would come into your life is to guide you through a spiritual lesson. Your Animal Spirit Guide is there to provide you with a gift, to support you through your lesson or to provide protection.  An Animal Spirit provides spiritual “medicine” to help you accomplish a task in your life, whether that task is a physical one or a spiritual one.

Celestial Spirit - Soul Shaman © 2016
Art Prints Available: Celestial Spirit - Soul Shaman

The celestial healing spirit of the soul shaman reaches through timeless space.  An abstract mixed media combination of watercolor and new media illustrates the intuitive perception of a masked universal traveler.
The purpose of your Totem is empowerment and healing.  Your Guide may hang around only for a short while until you learn your lesson or heal, or may be with you throughout your lifetime.  By acknowledging the presence of your Guide, you are showing respect and an acceptance of the lesson your new teacher has to offer.  You honor your Guide by allowing yourself to “take on” the attributes of your Animal Spirit Helper so that you can work through your lesson.

Although there are a lot of excellent books available on the subject of Power/Totem Animal Spirit Guides, the best way to get to know your new Animal Spirit Guide is by researching the natural habits and habitat of the actual animal.  Find a good source on the natural science of the animal.  If your Animal Spirit Guide is mythological (it does happen), then research the mythology and symbolism behind the creature.  You can also meditate and ask your Animal Spirit Guide what gift or lesson he or she has to share with you.  With research and meditation, you will understand the message your Guide is trying to share with you.

Animals speak!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 6

The campground was quiet.  Everyone had settled in for the night, and we had settled down ourselves after an active day.  We'd watched a few movies on the I-pad (urban camping), and were ready to call it a night.  I'd just fallen asleep when we heard a crash outside.  James and I sat up in bed and in unison we said, "What was that?!?"

He reached for the spotlight we'd picked up at Walmart (urban camping), and lit up the campsite through the camper window.  A pair of beady masked eyes reflected the light that had caught him in the act.  Plates, cups and pans were strewn across the ground.  Canisters of flour, sugar and coffee were turned on their sides.  The raccoon scampered off into the woods.

It was the third night in a row the masked bandit had come to visit us.  For the past two mornings we had to pick up the scattered dishes and other camping supplies that he'd managed to stretch across our site.  We knew better than to leave food outside because of all the "bear warning signs" posted throughout the campground.  It seemed this little critter was just looking for some mischief!

We sat there in the camper, sitting with our legs crossed like two little kids peering out through the camper window.  We whispered as we talked, waiting patiently for our prowler to return.   I have to admit, tonight was the best night yet!

Sitting in the camper with my high-school crush, whom I have loved since I was fourteen, like two kids waiting for something "BIG" to happen is something I will never forget.  Two forty-something year-olds filled with the excitement of children as we sat there in the dark, flashlight off, staring out the window at "raccoon television" waiting patiently for the star of the show to return was an absolute blast!  It truly is healing to let the child inside come out to play every once in a while!

Make some mischief!

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 5

It's our first camping trip of many this year, and I can't help but think about my dog.  She went with us on every camping trip last year . . . except the last one.    Sylvia only lived to be 3 1/2 years old as she was (according to the V-E-T) "born defective".  Her parents weighed 15 pounds each and stood around 18" tall from paw to shoulder.  Sylvia only grew to weigh 2 pounds and about 5 inches paw to shoulder.  I'm not really even sure why she lived as long as she did.  She was the runt of the litter, and through carefully planned feeding times with just her and her mother (where the other puppies wouldn't root her out) and extra supplementation from puppy formula, she actually pulled through.

She was my only friend for 3 years of her life.  I had been in a horrible marriage where I was completely isolated from both my family and my friends.  I had no one except for her.  She was my furry pal through thick and thin, and together we escaped a horrible life and began a new one.  We hit the road and travelled everywhere together as I tried to learn how to stand on my own two feet again.

I had to learn how to do the little things all over again . . . many things that most people take for granted, like shopping for groceries and going to the doctor!  I even had to learn how to think for myself again.  Even now, three years later, I still find myself having to evaluate my opinions to determine if they are truly my own or if they are the opinions of the one who gave them to me.  It has been very hard to mainstream again, and sometimes I think if it wasn't for that dog, I'd surely have never made it through the whole ordeal.  It's funny how someone can become so attached to the soul and spirit of an animal!

She was a wild one!  To be so tiny, that pup was fearless!  She'd bark like a ferocious beast, and growl and carry on showing her (tiny) fangs every time someone was around me.  She was so protective!  It's not like she could have ever done anything to stop someone from hurting me, but hey, she tried!

The first time we took her camping, she was into everything!  She hadn't been in the wilderness before . . . only the yard.  There's a lot more to investigate in the woods!  She had this little thing she would do that was so cute!  If you'd start howling, she'd start to bark and eventually stretch her little neck up and let out a cry like a wolf.  Eventually we gave her (yet another) nickname, "Woofie".  She truly developed the spirit of a wolf in the woods when we took her camping!  She was devoted to her family, and protected us like a wolf.  Camping now without her makes me miss her so much!

Tonight the coyotes whimpered and howled as they ran across the ridgeline of the hills.  I am certain that she would have howled right along with them!  : )

Sometimes I wonder why she lived beyond puppyhood.  Really she shouldn't have.  The one lesson I learned from being blessed to have her in my life was this:

It doesn't matter how weak you look on the outside . . .
What matters is how strong you feel on the inside.  Woofie.

Think BIG!

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 4

I'm not sure what we may have interrupted . . .

It seems the campsite we chose is also the location for the annual meeting of the Council of Trees . . .

I'm starting to think that the urban campers have been in the woods for too long . . . hehehehe : )

Seriously though, there is nothing like an adventure in the wilderness to bring out the kid in you.  We spent the day sitting around the campfire enjoying our surroundings and re-living our youth.   It has been a wonderful day of "remember when's"!

I haven't thought about the spirit of the wilderness in so long!  I remember when I was just a girl playing in the woods with my tree friends.  I used to think that trees were people too!  Perhaps that is not too far from the truth.  Many people believe that all living things have a spirit within them.  And if you're quiet in the woods you can almost hear the whispers of the trees.
A closer look reveals a clever disguise . . .
Trevon, Head of the Tree Council, wears a
mask and hopes he will go unnoticed . . 

Some would dismiss it as the wind blowing through their leaves . . .
But where's the fun in that?  It's alright to have an imagination . . . It's alright to keep the child in you alive!

If you want to sneak off into the woods and witness a gathering of the Council of Trees . . .

By all means please do . . . I promise they won't mind!

Being outdoors is so good for the soul!  We should all take time out from our busy "urban" lives to talk to the trees.  Sometimes you've just got to unplug, turn off your cell-phones and other digital gadgets and have a conversation in the wilderness.

Respect the Tree Council.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 3

Last night I was awakened by the sound of someone cooking in the outdoor kitchenette.  About 2:00 a.m. I heard a clanking sound coming from just outside the camper door.  We have a camp table set up with an electric skillet (more urban camping equipment).  A few minutes later I heard some rattling of dishes, and a few things being knocked around.  I had read all the bear warning signs and knew better than to go outside to investigate.  So I just stayed in bed, and figured it could wait until morning.

Upon waking, I discovered that the electric skillet had been moved, and several of our kitchenette items had been knocked to the ground.  Little tiny pawprints marked a path across the propane camp stove (urban camping . . . haha!)  It looks like a raccoon was going to make himself a late-night snack!  No signs of a black bear . . .

I guess that's what happens when you forget to heed the warning signs posted all over the park that advise us urban campers not to leave a bag with kitchen scraps hanging out for easy access to critters . . .

But hey, at least it was another beautiful day and we were able to enjoy a real campfire . . . with real firewood . . .

I Need a Critter Gitter!

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 2

The little piece of road in the lower
left corner is the entrance to the
campgroundthat we that we
didn't choose!
Today we decided to go on an adventure to check out the flooding that had taken place locally.  Some friends of ours had told us about another campground where they like to camp that is close to us, so we decided to go check it out.  It lies along the Nolichucky River (flood plain).  It's a good thing we didn't choose to try out THAT campground this time!  There is only a river now where there once was a road leading into the campground!  We would have been stuck for sure . . . and urban campers don't like to be stuck in the wilderness! : )

The creek was also rising where we chose to camp.  It isn't wise to walk along the creek without paying attention to your surroundings . . . particularly the events happening on the ground at your feet.  As we approached the creek bed for a closer look and to take some photos, I wasn't paying much attention to where I was stepping.  It's a good thing James was watching for the both of us.  I stepped a little too close to a Copperhead.  Sheesh!  I forget about the wildlife in the wilderness sometimes! : )

We spent the day checking out the scenery.  The park is landscaped beautifully, both man-made landscaping and God-made landscaping.  There's nothing quite like being in the woods and enjoying the artistic touch of the Creator!  He certainly knows how to make the world a beautiful place!

Do you see the snake in this
Photo?  No?  Well . . .
Neither did I . . .
Our campsite rests against the base of the mountain and we are surrounded by towering hemlocks and oaks.  We have lovely shade, and just enough open space between the trees to let the sunshine in.  The sites at Rock Creek Park in Erwin, Tennessee are close enough to feel like you have neighbors (a must for urban campers), but private enough to still feel the wonder of nature.

The national forest park has a campground attendant on-site, and is patrolled and secured each night by a gate at the entrance.   Each site has a picnic table, fire pit, a small covered shelter large enough to set up an outdoor kitchenette, electrical hook-ups and a dumping station for those campers with holding tanks, access to water if you don't mind the walk and shower houses with hot water.  There is even a swimming hole fed by icy cold mountain spring water.  Brrrr  : )

Beware all that slithers!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Urban Camping - Day 1

I have always loved to camp. I've been tent camping . . . I mean really roughing it!   I've slept on the ground, been stuck in the rain, bathed out of a bucket, cooked on a campfire built from firewood I gathered myself . . .

Okay so maybe I haven't really, REALLY roughed it!   I haven't built a lean-to or hunted and fished for my own food, but I've paid my dues as far as camping goes.  And I'm getting older, so maybe sleeping on the ground isn't the best option for me anymore.

Last year we bought a pop-up camper.  The A-Liner Scout is actually a really good option for a couple or a small family. It has all the convenience of a pop-up, and all the protection of a travel trailer.  If you have a vehicle with 1,500 pound towing capacity, it's a good choice, since you wouldn't have to purchase a heavy-duty vehicle to tow it.  The A-Liner can be towed with a car or small SUV.

The design is ingenious!  Instead of the canvas sides of a traditional pop-up, the A-Liner has hard sides that fold up and latch into an A-frame cabin.  Our little home-away-from-home has electricity, heat, a refrigerator and sink.  So as long as we camp in a campground with shower houses, we have it made!

Day one was interesting.  It rained.  It poured actually.  We set up camp pretty quick.  It's funny how rain can motivate you to move quickly!

So what were we going to do for a campfire, since it was pouring and the firewood was soaked?  It's not like we could have sat around the campfire in the rain . . .

Dance In The Rain © 1016
Art Prints Available: Dance In The Rain
Dance in the Rain in digital pastels celebrates the beauty of a Summer rain and the rainbow that follows.
Well, there's an urban camping cure for that problem as well.  Coleman makes an outdoor fire ring that contains lava rock and burns off a propane tank.  Also, there are other options . . . Walmart or Sam's Club stocks an "off brand" propane fire ring for around $100.00 that works wonders when it's raining and you're freezing!  The one from Sam's even comes with roasting sticks to roast marshmallows or hot dogs!  How 'bout that!  A hot campfire and a hot dog for supper!   Yum!

So we set up camp in the rain and dried out under our canopy sitting around our urban camping fire pit!  It was an awesome first day!

Take the city to the country!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Way of the Phoenix (Part 5)

I had been studying the shamanic journey for quite some time. I had come to realize that this would be the means of “picking up the pieces” of myself that had been scattered over the years by traumas in my life.  I had also read the warnings about such an undertaking without an experienced guide to assist me.  I knew it was possible to enter into the otherworld and be unable to return.  At the very least, I knew that going there would change me.  

Still I decided that regardless of the risk, the condition of a shattered soul was far worse than anything I could encounter.  Even if I could not return, to me that would have been better than half-living.

I met the phoenix about a year before my journey. The way of the phoenix is lonely and destructive.  As legend says, Phoenix builds her own nest, builds a fire and throws herself into the fiery death.  She is then reborn and returns to a new life.

Only in retrospect, years after my journey, did I come to realize that the way I took my journey was to honor the nature of the phoenix.  It is difficult to embrace and identify with such a beautiful and mythical creature.  But it was necessary for me to journey alone, as this is the way of the phoenix.

Phoenix has brought great change into my life.  Most people fear change, as it is the fear of the unknown path that lies ahead.  I knew the fear of change was something I had to overcome, because the change that has taken place inside my soul was something that HAD to happen.

I could not continue on the path I had been traveling because I had lost so many pieces of myself I was only an empty shell. I could only live in the moment, as I had no future and no past.  Phoenix gave me the strength to undergo my journey the way she would have . . . alone, in the dark, standing before the fire, beneath a weeping willow tree.