• Dangerous Beauty – Elemental Attraction

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Since the completion of the mapping of the human genome, a new set of interesting studies has emerged inquiring into the parameters or extent of inherited traits. Geneticists are looking into these subsets of inheritance in what is now called the Epigenome  – Their studies focus on a set of genetically apparent inherited traits related to enormous traumatic events like widespread famine, a huge natural disaster and the horrors of genocide. Family patterns of trauma related to these kinds of huge events, appear to pass down tendencies for future afflictions and illnesses like diabetes and other systemic ailments just like inherited bone structures, intelligence and eye color.

The acknowledgement of this kind of inheritance by the scientific community is as close to agreement with the focus of shamanic healings as modern science has come. This was particularly affirming for me as a shamanic practitioner dealing with unseen roots of afflictions. The unusual inherited patterns that I am called on to investigate usually have dramatic, remembered family stories attached to them. When this is so, it can be easier to mark their progress in a line and their effect on descendants. In some cases these patterns originate from interference or interactions with powerful natural forces. These forces are often referred to as Elementals. Elementals exercise and use natural intelligence to interact with other living energetic entities, and we humans are wonderful ‘playthings’ for them because we have so much capacity for this kind of interaction. Our cultural myths are stories of humans doing just this – interacting with superhuman or godlike entities with mixed results in hopes of surviving and extracting some of their power for the good of humanity. 

These natural forces manifest as immense energetic entities, or unexplained phenomena attached to specific natural places. Ancient humans sometimes tried to tap or interact with this kind of power with placed stone circles or in oracular grottos. These immense energies can be disrupted or tapped in some cases for human purposes – for good or not so good.  But in essence this kind of power is not moral, empathic, or consistent in allegiance, no matter how magnificent or attractive it may be. Humans generally are no match for such elemental power. Our ancient cultural heroes succeeded because they were somehow aware that they must be approached with great care or not at all.

Unsuspecting humans can also be caught up in an elemental field without seeking contact and this is what happened to a family I was working with to help troubled descendants. Several ancestors in succeeding generations of this particular family had had tragic and strange deaths. They had become transfixed by these powers and in some cases stepped beyond safety barriers to plunge to their deaths over dangerous waterfalls.  The full force of this devastating pattern of shocking sudden loss and subsequent family trauma began to subside somewhat in successive generations. There were no new cases of this sort of death, but the remaining attachment to the story began to manifest as serious addiction – an obsessive attraction to another kind of powerful essence. The predisposition toward this kind of fixation in descendants had been passed down from this original elemental attraction. it is important for us moderns to be aware not only that these kinds of inheritances exist but that there are ancient ways to inquire, acknowledge and work with these root stories for familial healing.

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• Spirits on vacation? Always.

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Family getaways, especially to old ancestral cabins, can bring about a lot of upheaval just when everyone is expecting a rest. This can be ‘prime time’ for spirit world interventions, because we are more receptive on vacation than in our otherwise busy lives.

In families there is often an unspoken need to tell a story – Usually one member of a family will be tapped to bring things to the surface – a truth that is screaming for acknowledgement so it can disperse. This deep unconscious yearning cannot always be translated to everyday forms. Words of support and understanding can be completely misread as judgment or superiority. We can not always hear normal expressions of empathy.  Ritual tasks go deep into pre-lingual territory, the better to interrupt insistent patterns of logic, suppression, aversion, fear. I was called to look in on an extended family vacationing together far from their homes, in just such an old family cabin, used for generations. No one was sleeping well and the level of tension grew until objects were being moved around oddly and emotions were getting raw. They were sure they were experiencing a haunting. One afternoon family member suddenly had a serious emotional breakdown. Everyone had been so busy denying anything that would upset the much-needed vacation that they had not responded to this uncle’s noticeable, but unspoken distress. An extensive ritual was required to address the serious health problem he was ‘hiding’ and tipped the basket over for a larger, older family story with deeper denials.

It is a wondrous thing to turn toward what is ailing you, into fearful uncertainty. This family was able to connect the dots of their experiences and memories and see what they had all been hiding from together. It was not easy – but once the whole story was out they could relax and begin to let it go.

Sometimes houses/built structures become so aligned with the humans that inhabit them,  they will ‘collude’ to interrupt normal household activity in interesting ways. it is quite amazing really to observe this manifestation of our intelligent universe. It usually comes of a deep identification between people and a place over generations. It is a kind of compassionate habitation! That is what occurred when a middle-aged woman moved back to a beloved, but now sadly derelict childhood home. While we we focused on clearing negative influences and blessing reconstruction to portions of the house, a certain area loomed as a focus of negative and fearful energy. She was upset and flummoxed until a deeply-help memory of a trauma in just such a place came to consciousness. The house was helping her bring it to light so she could get beyond it and live there without fear!

 

 

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• Disturbing Presences – A new home has a past

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People often move to properties that are a matching picture in some way for their own story. We acquire properties and ‘own them’ in our culture’. But the land may hold other influences that must be honored and cared for. There is often a web of sacred associations that have accumulated for eons. The concept of ownership is a modern idea about land, but no matter what the name is on a legal deed, the land has its own story.

Issues of status and image often trump good judgment in people who are otherwise well intentioned. And so, even in a really uncomfortable situation like this one, there may be an odd familiarity that binds the two together: the new inhabitant, and the troubled house. It is possible that a healthy shift can naturally occur, and things can ease. In other cases, however, people move out and are relieved they did so.

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A friend of a colleague told a harrowing story of an ongoing haunting at his second home. He had recently purchased this home, perched in a beautiful location on a cliff above the ocean. He lived there only occasionally, but hoped to make it his permanent home soon. When he came to see me he reported feeling that whatever was going on, in and around the house and with him, had escalated. For example, his shaving mug had flown through the air right in front of him on a recent morning, and he often felt a strong masculine presence breathing near him at night in his room. He was not afraid of these unusual events, and spoke about them in a very matter of fact way. A very practical person, he simply wanted to return to solid sleep, and a sense of ease while there. He wanted to know if he could or should live there and anything else I could turn up that had bearing on the disturbances.

I looked into the story thoroughly over a week or so and discovered there were multiple layers of influence. The first and most urgent was the necessary re-internment of a burial object, which I described. He confirmed that he had dug this artifact up further inland on the property accidentally and discovered a human skeleton along with it, which he left buried. It was a very large stone mortar that was now situated on his porch. He was startled and a little alarmed when I mentioned this object. He realized he had felt it should be reburied, but had just forgotten about it. He promised he would dowse to find the exact spot where he had taken it out of the ground, and rebury it with prayers, appropriate offerings and apologies, leaving it without further disruption.

Level two:  The unhappy ghost of the former owner, a military man of high rank, was present in the house. Indications were that he had taken his own life there, though this had never been disclosed at sale according to my client. So we needed to help his spirit move on in the most comprehensive way.

Level three:  Some places really are not meant to have houses built on them, no matter how lovely the view, and this spot according to my spirit allies was one of those places. This whole area was a reputedly sacred spot for local native tribes. It was associated with a ‘western door’ for departing souls and as my client had found out accidentally on his own, a burial spot.

My client, R. really did not want to hear this, but my spirit allies insisted that he understand that if he chose to live there, ‘he did so at some risk’ to his peace and ease. He conscientiously followed spirit directions in every other regard, to ease and correct the situation, but refused at that time to think about selling the property. He was willing to tough it out he said, and see if things settled down. He reported an enormous quiet and calmness after our work, and developed a new appreciation for the subtle realms he had intersected.

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• Willow Tree Alarm Clock – the ancestors speak up

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When we face big decisions, our spirit allies wake up. They want to weigh in on what they see occurring. It is sometimes surprising to realize this powerful group includes our ancestors. No matter our associations with them, we are only alive because of their choices, their ability to navigate change. In my experience, if we ignore them or look away from them for too long, they will find interesting ways to show up in our lives. They begin to interrupt normal life in dramatic and unusual ways, especially if the situation you are facing is one they have some experience with.

What is your relationship to your own family stories? Your ancestors? Do you recognize family patterns that have flowed through several generations? This is a good place to begin a shamanic session.

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I was called to consult with a family whose house was posing problems for them. They had a big decision to make. They were overwhelmed by decisions that needed to be made about whether or not to stay there permanently. The house they lived in had ‘never felt like a real home to them’, although they loved the community and the beauty of the larger rural environment. Smoke from neighborhood chimneys was mysteriously drawn to their cul-de-sac, and penetrated their upstairs rooms in cool weather, creating respiratory ailments and discomfort. Lots of odd crackings, and movement occurred throughout the house. Windows opened, closets shut, cracks appeared, animals and people there were very uneasy. The latest manifestation had been the sharp, loud CRACK! of a large terracotta pot coming apart around a fairly large willow tree, growing next to the driveway. They had heard it from the house and gone running to see the source. This tree was prominently, and oddly placed near their driveway entry, where it had grown increasingly pot-bound for seven long years.

The father acknowledged that he had promised to plant it when they knew they were ‘home’. He had randomly decided that he would allow their experiment seven years. I was amazed, as always, at the wonderful ways Spirit strives to get our attention, ‘It looks like your willow tree alarm clock has gone off!’ I remember saying. It was time to decide whether or not this house would be the ‘home’ they wanted, or to seriously consider moving on.

In my visioning work for this family, I saw a group of ancestors from the ‘old country’, from eastern Europe, which my clients confirmed was the origin of both families, dressed all in black. These spirits were literally shaking this house up mercilessly. They wanted to weigh in on this big decision. They wanted to be heard, remembered, honored for their steadfastness, and have their advice followed. The grandmothers were particularly insistent. The story as they told it was that they had given loud warnings in the distant past, and had not been listened to by their husbands. Their prescience had not been able to prevent grave harm coming to family members. And they did not want this, or anything like it, to happen again. Their dread was exaggerated perhaps, and their overlay had heated things up tremendously for their descendants. The other issue involved in the decision, was deeper, and had to do with the idea of home. ‘Where is our home’? was a question the ancestors were very familiar with. They communicated that they no longer felt a strong desire for connection coming from their descendants, after the move to the new country. They were heartsick. This was when they had begun to intervene, and demanded to be heard.

Eventually, after a thorough shamanic investigation, and some deep personal work within the family; along with a ritual to acknowledge their ancestors, this family did decide to move. It was an unbelievably quick, family decision, once the way was clear. It was like a spirit whirlwind in fact. Each family member played a part in the decision, and completed certain specific, unusual ‘spirit designated tasks’ to promote good relations with their dead, and as personal offerings for their common good as a family. One of the tasks assigned to the men was the planting of the stranded willow tree in the earth. A family that had felt so dramatically divided, that they had considered splitting up into two households to serve diverging interests, became newly united.

 

• Clearing a Salvage Yard – Removing Toxic Influences

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Under normal circumstances additional work would have been recommended and undertaken by me to protect and clear any descendants, who inherited not only the land, but the unresolved deeds of their ancestors. This kind of solid and comprehensive resolution is not always possible because it is beyond the scope of the people involved to understand the need, and could then even become dangerous. In this instance blessings were cultivated for the sake of the land itself, anyone who perished there, and anyone who stepped foot there. Human pollution of a once pristine rural site is inexplicable at best. But usually this kind of blatant disregard for life is the product of other previous unresolved traumatic loss, betrayal and shock. Negative energies can attract one another and begin to stew up a potent brew in a place, unless interrupted and released. I was very happy to be able to work to return this place to a measure of health. Natural energies instrumental in supporting our healing work on this land, assured us that the work would go on slowly but steadily to ‘compost’ away the remaining toxins

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I was called by a removals contractor to come to a massive job site, because negative influences there had affected his workers and himself. He was a pragmatic, can do person, but after a trusted coworker had an unsettling, eerie experience in an upstairs loft, he began to believe he needed some otherworldly help.

The site was a cyclone fenced salvage and debris yard of many acres. There were toxic substances in barrels and presumably in the ground, old vehicles, several locked buildings packed to the rafters with miscellaneous furniture, many large building components, old outmoded tools, heavy machinery and even an enormous marine diesel engine, all to be removed and sold if possible as the owner had passed away leaving his estate in disarray.

The coworker, a young man in his twenties, had been the first to go upstairs in the stuffy main building to find a place to change before work. While there he felt a disturbing, even menacing presence surround him, leaving him fuzzy brained, stunned and apprehensive. He hurriedly dressed to leave but was unable to shake the sinister presence, and felt sick by the end of the day. Though he tried to make light of it, and was usually the ‘clown’ on the job site, he was now morose.

A shadow story began to unfold about the property, the character of the former owner and his various family members. My client T. and I became increasingly aware that violent acts had taken place on the property. Some were possibly instigated by members of the family who still owned the land. None of these incidents had ever been disclosed or investigated. T. wanted to be able to work there safely, and without any harm to himself or his workers. So none of what we suspected could be aired. T., of course, wanted any unresolved spirits to be at rest, but needed to get on with the job and not balk at any request to work or clear areas he was getting from agents of the owners.

I proceeded to work with my spirit allies there, but with caution. In short, there had been a history of violent group actions on the property. The death of at least one homeless person had certainly occurred. A fierce fire had killed a woman living on the premises in a trailer. Another member of the owner’s family had died in suspicious circumstances shortly after the fire, but, for whatever reason, his spirit did not appear to me on the property. I met three spirits there who did not know they were no longer in their bodies. They had all experienced violent, traumatic deaths, as I witnessed them, not accidents.

I proceeded one by one, and carefully performed whatever was necessary to help these troubled spirits leave.  I was also instructed to place ‘cures’ around the fire zone, and other areas that held traces of terrible acts. One of these was the loft, where the young worker had accidentally intersected the force of an unwholesome influence, confined up there for years. I worked with him to help alleviate the affects of that experience on him.

My allies revealed that there were items buried under debris that might be physically dangerous to the workers, and this proved to be true, as they discovered several toxic pits below ground level. Another eerie turn of events began when the overwrought young heiress, revealed some fearful knowledge of the stories I had found evidence for,  as she and the contractor surveyed the property.

An overnight security guard, who had watched over the property for a decade or more, with ‘no unusual occurrences’, reported a very hair-raising night after I began performing rituals of clearing. He knew nothing of my activities, and simply reported this experience to the estate’s executors. He said he had heard men’s voices calling out his name, and had seen small moving lights all over the property. Objects had fallen out of sight with loud crashes, but he could find no trace of any disturbance as he searched. A very complete haunting! He was still completely unnerved the next day.

My spirit allies explained to me that he had become inadvertently aligned with the property ‘the way it had been’, with the toxins, negative influences and all. As healing began to take place from these various dark influences, he was oddly out of sync with the new, and so was treated to the full force of what was leaving. This strange haunting did not reoccur, which supported their explanation.

This complex, but settling work to release trapped spirits, soothed the workers tremendously, and the job site returned to one of good humor and industry. Even the Mexican workers, generally strong Catholics, were very appreciative of the energetic improvement on the site.  I had sensed their unspoken wariness of my non-religious approach. Everyone working there had been affected either consciously, or unconsciously by the toxic atmosphere and were all relieved to feel it leave. No one but myself and the head contractor knew the full story or extent of what influences were cleared.

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• A Melancholy Patriarch Departs

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‘Soul stuckness’ is a recurrent theme in overly responsible, dutiful, and fearful people who die unexpectedly. They can have a difficult time leaving their perceived tasks, even to transition normally!  We know that obsessive busyness can distance us from what is really occurring in our lives, and it can be true in death as well. Extraordinary but true. A stuck spiritual oddity can gather energy until it demands to be attended to. It will ‘cry out’ in strange ways for help to be allowed to transition naturally.

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A young divorced mother of two young children, C., moved back into a home she had shared before her marriage with her maternal grandparents. Her Grandfather, a beloved, old-country Italian patriarch, had passed away suddenly of a heart attack, while sitting in his new car in the closed garage. It had been five years since his death, and things had not gone well for the whole family since then. He had been the ultimate protector, the one who made everyone feel they had a family, and belonged. He also held the purse strings and helped family members out financially with loans, creating a complicated web of obligations after his death.

Shortly after C. and her children came to live in the old house, her grandmother showed signs of being seriously ill.  She went from the hospital to extended care and was not well enough to return to the house. So C. and her two children were alone there. This was when they began to experience odd influences, which made them increasingly fearful.

C. had described the house in glowing terms, as a kind of castle. This was the home her grandparents had always dreamed of and came to America to find. She described upstairs rooms that sounded enormous, full of family heirlooms and ‘treasure’, valuables of all sorts. She said she was sure ‘the uncles’, her grandfather’s unreliable brothers, were stealing valuable things from these rooms upstairs, because they were entering the house at night to do so. This nightly invasion was terrifying her and her children, who hadn’t slept solidly in months. The other odd effect of unresolved ancestral business was the constantly freezing temperature in the whole house. The thermometer never rose above 58 degrees, even when the heater’s thermostat could be heard clicking on, and inspections determined the system was functioning perfectly.

During my spirit investigations I saw that the patriarch would not yield his position as the ‘head of family’, even though he was deceased. He was also afraid of not crossing to the ‘heaven’ of his religion, because of perceived misdeeds in his youth.  He had become terribly stuck between worlds. He had a tremendous sense of obligation, a need to protect his wife, his extended family, and the house for his descendants. He was now clearly exhausted by his role, and needing to move on, but was caught in his own habitual, hyper responsibility. Spirit allies said the only way to reach him, to interrupt his preoccupations and allow him to transition, was to touch his heart by playing music: his beloved Caruso, singing his famous arias.

When I arrived at the house, I was simply stunned at the discrepancy between the granddaughter’s description and the reality. I was looking at a pleasant 1940’s stucco house, with a garage basement, and a mezzanine level, partial second story. This was the treasure trove; the castle of ancestral imagination. Two rooms upstairs were full of very odd, salvaged articles; cast offs, boxed appliances, like toasters, and piles of clothing presumably from the grandparents life. The granddaughter was living out the projection the two old people had, seeing the house as a magnificent fortress.

I was with two assistants who were drumming and burning sage in the house. And suddenly there he was, a very large man, in a black shirt and coat, sitting at the kitchen table. He was taking his medicine, counting out little white pills from a vial. I reminded him that he no longer needed those pills. He knew then why I was there, and seemed to relax.  Caruso was blaring full volume on the sound system in the living room.  And soon the patriarch was crying.  With some kind encouragement, he allowed his heart to attune to those he loved who were already gone, and I watched him leave in relief. There was an immediate palpable change in the house.

The teachers then uncovered a significant curse. A curse can vary in potency and can even be unintentional. But this one was a powerful, intentional thought-form with ill intent that followed a family member who had immigrated from the old country. This in turn affected the entire family. In the basement they reported traces of some ‘instrument’ or object he had stored there, beneath the heating unit. An object used by him, or someone else, for ‘evil purposes’.  Once the final traces were cleared, and ties appropriately severed, the heater began to work! By the time we left, the house was 70 degrees, and the granddaughter was stunned by the change she felt.

 

 

• Mrs. X is Still in Residence

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Owners and houses form intense bonds. Houses often serve as archetypal stand-ins, or surrogate selves. It is a good idea to perform welcoming rituals before moving into a home, especially if it has been detached from its former owner without proper closure. Many foreclosed homes fall into this category, even though the unhappy former residents are usually still living. The affects of their anger and heartbreak can be palpable. These homes can come with a ‘curse’ placed intentionally or unintentionally on anyone taking over residence. In this situation, because of the odd ghostly malaise that had plagued them, we also performed rituals to affirm the sisters’ desire to live in the house as their own, and to care for it. There were specific spirit tasks requested of them as new owners, and they complied with all of them. The atmosphere of the house changed remarkably from oppressive and charged, to calm and welcoming. No further incidents were reported.

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Three adult sisters, two of whom lived together in a house they had recently purchased, called me to look in on what was occurring in their house. Most of the unusual events that took place happened in the dining room. They reported hearing the vacuum cleaner turn on, and sound as though it were being used to clean the rug in the room. When they went in, it would often switch off. The stereo set and lights in that room also, flickered, and turned themselves on and off. Things went missing, and were returned in very odd locations throughout the house, where the owners knew they had not left them. Both sisters seemed to be living in a fog with all of this, like sleepwalkers in their own home. Their visiting sister was alarmed, and called me on their behalf, after their young dog, who slept in the dining room, suddenly sickened and died.

When I looked in on the situation shamanically, it was decidedly eerie. There appeared to be two sets of spirits coexisting in the house with them. One set in the living room was benign, and protective, though attached to Mrs X. the former owner, in a familial way. But another spirit, which the sisters had apparently brought with them from their former apartment in the city, was more than a little disturbing. My teachers gave me very careful instructions on how to approach and soothe that spirit first, so it could be appropriately released.

Once I was in the house and beginning the work of clearing, the former owner, Mrs. X., an imposing, elderly african-american woman, approached me in the dining room and said, clear as a bell; ‘What are you doing in my house?’

Mrs. X. had apparently been forced to leave the house by her adult children, due to complications of dementia and other illnesses. They then sold it in grief, when she passed away, shortly after leaving. Mrs. X. had not been happy about leaving and it was definitely her activity in the house that was so disruptive, and primarily responsible for the strange malaise in the sisters. I performed very careful approaches, and ritual releases for the other spirits, but Mrs. X. appeared and disappeared, and I could not be sure she had really left.  At the end of my session there, she had seemed ready and willing to go, but she was still cantankerous and elusive.

The sisters reported that everything settled down and the house felt completely expansive and clear after the work; more peaceful and quietly homey. I instructed them to keep me informed if by chance anything else occurred. Two weeks later, I was called again because three items had gone missing. They were things each of the sisters used daily and needed. One missing item was a pair of new boots that the owner was ‘positive’ she had placed in her room. The other was a very necessary monthly bus pass, and the final thing was a small traveling makeup kit.

When I checked in, I saw the house was clear, and was told that Mrs. X. had been making her exit, and had extracted these things as payment for them living in her house! The items never returned, nor happily did Mrs. X.

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• A ‘Shadow’ House Holds a Message for its Owner

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Shadow will manifest in illness if not cared for with acknowledgement and release.  Even a house can buckle under the weight of a shadow! Hidden stories gain power over time, and unless they are exposed to the light, they will wreak havoc in a life. Past wounds can make it difficult to want to take on any new fear, but a deeper look at what is appearing can be helpful. In this case it was life preserving.  This is where the work of compassionate allies in parallel realms interrupts negative influence in just the right way for that individual, before it is too late.

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We cannot hold our own ‘shadow’ when it is too threatening, too terrifying or just seems too large and dark. So it is projected outward. A house can become a surrogate for what can not be seen without fear. There is a wondrous advantage in shadow work if the individual can turn just slightly toward their shadow and see what it holds. In this case the shadow was an ally pointing the way to a physical illness that needed attention.

Client A. had purchased a small home in a rural area for a relative. When the relative could not stay in the area, my client moved in spontaneously, after spending her whole life in a city. It was an adjustment, but she loved it there. It was a whole new life. Even so, the house’s imperfections soon began to loom. A. called me because she felt that past traumas and ghosts were haunting her, preventing her from moving on, and making this house a comfortable home. The house seemed suddenly unsafe. And in fact it was settling oddly with loudly cracking sounds increasing in frequency; some walls were buckling and new cracks appeared. The house seemed to be un-anchored and sliding on its foundation. Oddly enough these problems had occurred in another house she had owned. A sinkhole had eventually opened beneath it, dramatically washing away a good portion of the home.

After a thorough investigation, my spirit teachers pointed to the septic system (very symbolic of shadow elements) and significant water system leakages under the house. These trouble spots were confirmed by subsequent inspections. The pattern of similar problems in the two houses was not evident to A. all at once, but piece by piece it became clear as we unraveled and released other influences. Her house had become a reflection, more than a mirror, she and her house were merged in her perception. A. had an enhanced capacity to project her shadow elements, not to hold them, and at that time, she had too much fear to look at them all closely. The house was carrying it for her and buckling under the task.

My teachers recommended a sacred task, which they often do: A. was to build a spirit house out of whatever material she liked, which would begin to rebuild her life – shore up her inner foundation and give her an anchor. This little model was to be placed outside on the south-facing edge of the property, and offerings were to be made there. Ancestor work and soul retrieval were also part of this extensive healing process.

A good deal of guilt, trauma and soul loss was at work shaking her inner and outer foundation. But it was not only that. The house and A.were also in another kind of trouble. A. knew she had a serious physical issue, an inherited problem, but had been in denial of its recent emergence in her life. The strange physical mirror of the house’s leakage, was in her a heart valve, which had to be replaced immediately, in an emergency open heart surgery! A. came through amazingly well, thankfully. The spirit house held her place as she released other influences, calmed her fears and turned toward this possible healing.

Eventually A. began to recover and feel more exuberant, more able to treat herself well and believe that she was ‘enough’ and beautiful, like the house. It was never going to be a mansion, or exhibit designer-league perfection, but over time, her friends loved to come there to visit because she lived there, and made it so welcoming. She had finally acknowledged and then released a great shadow clouding her vision of herself and how people saw her.

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