Mysterious Macchu Picchu

Mysterious Macchu Picchu
from my 2007 trip to Peru

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Secrets Revealed

Hey - new show on SyFy - "Fact or Faked - Paranormal Files". 6 experts look at "paranormal" videos from all over and choose a couple to either confirm, debunk or scratch their heads over. Finale was Thursday, but it will be back. A must - catch the re-run of the investigation of cattle mutilations in the San Luis Valley. A plausible explanation is uncovered - not a hoax and not aliens either. Warning - not for the squeamish.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Signs and Omens

Here's another quick story: I have some challenges at my workplace. Most days, I'm able to transmute any negative energy that pops up in my thoughts about my work. Other days, I need a little assistance. On one such morning, I was driving to work and feeling very negatively about the place and about my coworkers. I noticed that my feelings were getting darker and darker. So I cried out to my helping spirits, saying: "I need some help here, because if you're not really there, then what's the use?" Just then, a car pulled in front of me. On the back of the car was an advertisement that said: "WE CARE 24:7" I had never seen that ad before and don't even know what it was for, but I felt that I got my answer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Who Was She?

This will be a quick post. I was just thinking about airports, since I'm getting ready to spend some time in them and I remembered something about my second trip to Peru. I flew into Lima without the rest of the group, figuring I was a big girl now and could navigate my way through by myself. I did fine. Got to the place where the group was supposed to meet up and found some of Don Theo's helpers waiting for me, as well as the others. With them was a very pretty African American woman who seemed to know exactly where I was supposed to stack my luggage, where to stand,etc. I figured she must be the newest member of the group, my soon-to-be roommate, Victoria. However, when we got to the hotel, I discovered that Victoria was a white woman. When I asked who the pretty African American woman was, no one remembered even seeing her. Oh yeah, and the roosters crow "Ave Maria" in the morning.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Love New Mexico

In May, 2008, I attended the annual conference for the Society of Shamanic Practitioners in New Mexico. It was a great conference but I'm writing about what came after. I had asked my son, Yvan, to go with me to the Carlsbad/Guadalupe Mountains area to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of my father's passing.
My Dad was a well-known geologist/paleontologist and had done a lot of field work in the area we were visiting. He had especially loved Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan. We had an amazing time. Driving to Carlsbad Caverns, every cactus was in full bloom, just really beautiful. The Caverns, of course, are awesome. This was my third or fourth visit and Yvan's second.
The next day, we had decided to hike around (not up) Guadalupe Peak. Not up, because I not feeling real great (more on my shamanic illness in a later post). The temperature was in the 90's, I was having my cardiac arrythmias and was generally pretty out of breath. (These arrythmias weren't deadly, just debilitating; the deadly one was treated with a pacemaker, now only 2 months old.) We hadn't gone far before I told Yvan that I wasn't sure I could make it. He said, " Well, we'll take it really slow and turn back whenever you're ready." That was all I needed. I think I got a second wind because we did quite a good hike. I think my Dad would have been proud. I did leave something there in his memory - very small and organic. If you look at the picture of Yvan pointing, that's where it is. Don't look for it, because you won't find it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Madre Ayahuasca and the Praying Mantis People

My second time taking ayahuasca, I wasn't apprehensive. After all, the first ceremony had gone well - none of that throwing up that you hear about and highly interesting, to boot, as the shamans worked on all of us. But the plant is different each time and demands respect. Just before the ceremony, Don Theo announced that he was feeling weak. He had some kind of virus. He might as well have said, "And so, my friends, you are at the mercy of the plant." Madre Ayahuasca was about to dish up some tough love.
The ceremony is carried out in total darkness. I sit propped against a wall, eyes closed, a bit euphoric. The visions before my closed eyes resemble the colorful weavings in the markets. Beautiful. I open my eyes. There are extra "people" in the room - 2 beings, about 7 ft. tall, wearing white hats and ponchos. I can't see their faces but I feel they are concerned for us. One of the beings approaches me. He looks like a huge praying mantis. I feel like I'm about to leave my body. I will him away and as I do so, the nausea comes. I stumble into the bano, do a reality check. I do not hallucinate in the lighted bano. I return to the dark room to the sounds of retching, vomiting and hyperventilating by my fellow participants.
I grope my way to my seat on the floor. Almost immediately, the Praying Mantis approaches. I continue to fight the nausea, fight the out-of-body feeling, fight the fear that I'm about to have diarrhea. Back to the bano. All is calm.
Back in the room, the Praying Mantis is relentless with his attentions. And I give in. "I'll let you work on me as long as I can stay in my body," I tell him. I lean back against the wall and feel my throat chakra being expanded. It feels great. The nausea begins to subside. Outside, rain is falling, frogs are croaking and I have another vision. I see my parents together, young, healthy, smiling at me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jaguar and Black Madonna Have Their Say

Before I talk about taking ayahuasca, I should tell about how I was led to ayahuasca. (Ayahuasca - S. American hallucinogenic plant medicine, the Big One, the vine of death, Madre Ayahuasca) I woke up from a dream one night in which the following words were spoken to me: "When you're bitten by the anaconda, you drink the special water." This made no sense at the time. A few days later, I was reading Shaman's Drum, cover to cover like I always do, and came upon a series of articles on ayahuasca (not unusual, as it is an oft-covered subject). I heard a voice in my head say: "Turn the sentence around." I realized that the sentence was: "When you drink the special water, you're bitten by the anaconda." The "special water" was ayahuasca. But I had no interest in taking it.
Sometime later, I had a shamanic journey and was greeted by a jaguar (we'll call him Mick Jaguar). He told me that I needed to develop a relationship with him because he could (1)get me that car by the same name or (2) send me to South America, where he just knew I wanted to go. Problem was, I hadn't given any thought to going to South America. But Mick was persistent. Before you could say "Lake Titicaca" I was looking for a trip to Peru, one that would include ayahuasca.
It took me several tries to find the right trip to Peru. 3 different trips fell through, for one reason or another. In the meantime, I'd had a journey where I first met the Black Madonna. She predicted some awful things that were going to happen in my workplace. In this journey, there was also a native woman from the Pacific Northwest who helped me.
The Black Madonna's predictions came true. Things did fall apart at work Jaguar told me that ayahuasca would heal my depression. And I found a trip to Peru with a woman from the Pacific Northwest. The saga continues....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lake Titicaca and Lightning

I'm sitting in a boat on Lake Titicaca at 12,580 feet above sea level. I've had a couple of crackers and a few sips of chicken soup since the condors, 2 days ago. The nausea from the altitude sickness persists, but I've become accustomed to it by now, more or less. I've taken San Pedro again, just prior to this boat trip.
The boat takes us to Taquile Island, rising 866 feet out of the lake, where tiny people hoist several suitcases onto their backs and sprint up the mountain ahead of us. Don Theo helps me up the steps, hundreds of them, I think. I stop frequently to catch my breath.
Late in the afternoon, we climb many more steps to the top of the island. The 96-year-old village shaman makes this same climb every day. Don Theo says we are going to harness the natural magnetic energy of the island. As if on cue, the thunderclouds roll in and we are surrounded by a vast panorama of lightning. I have never seen so many lightning strikes at one time. It is dark and cold. I've had only 3 saltine crackers all day. The downward climb will be difficult. But I am completely engaged with the lightning.
In May of '03, there was a gentle crackle of lightning when I told my recently-deceased father that I was open to communication with him. Two weeks prior to my trip, on October 15, there was a huge lightning strike 5 minutes before the hospice nurse called to tell me that my mother had passed 5 minutes ago. I am well-acquainted with lightning.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Are We There Yet?

The photos from Peru may leave some people wondering - when do we get to hear about Peru? So let's begin. This is gonna take several posts.
"El Condor Pasa" - I am riding in a bus at 14,000 feet above sea level, on a winding gravel road, up the side of a cliff, looking over a deep canyon. I am nauseated from altitude sickness and the San Pedro cactus I ingested 2 hours ago. Before we get off at the Condor Cross, Don Theo tells us we will be hiking above the canyon after we see the condors. I say that I don't think I can do the hike and he says, "But you will."
We walk up to the condor viewing area and it suddenly hits me: the rugged beauty of the canyon, the connection to the land, the sadness of losing my mother and the nausea, always the nausea. The sickness, the beauty, the loss, the connection. Suddenly I'm sobbing uncontrollably as I realize that I have never lived in the moment until this moment - connected to my body, the earth, to the ancestors of these people, to my ancestors, to the condors and to this plant. Pepe, the other shaman, begins to do extraction work on me and tells me to just keep releasing. He pours Agua Florida into my hands, tells me to clap my hands 3 times and inhale the vapors. He tells the worried young Red Cross worker that I am okay - that I am having a mystical experience. We see 6 condors and the world's largest hummingbird.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Search of the White Squirrel (for the Elaines)

When I first started coming out to Oberlin to visit, I heard stories about a white squirrel, a "ghost squirrel" that was frequently seen on campus. I was initially quite skeptical about this, figuring it was some kind of "urban legend". Then, on one of my visits, I was walking across Tappan Square with my son and he said, "Hey, there's that white squirrel!" Sure enough, there was a cute little pure-white squirrel running around not too far from us. I soon learned that the white squirrel I had seen was one of several; that they were albinos and everyone in Oberlin had seen them at one time or another. That was a time when I was yearning to move to Oberlin from Denver and somehow, the white squirrel became my private symbol for the town. Even after I moved to Oberlin, seeing a white squirrel became a personal omen of good luck. I didn't stay in Oberlin, though. After 7 1/2 mostly happy years, I decided it was time to move back to Denver, to be closer to family. One day, after I had made the decision to move, I was taking a walk in the woods and came across a dead and decomposing albino squirrel. Talk about omens! Over a period of weeks the squirrel had been reduced to a mostly-skeleton. One day, I took the skull home with me and it still sits on my shamanic altar, a bittersweet symbol of a place I still hold close to my heart.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reality TV

I am often asked - "Celaine, what paranormal TV shows do you recommend?" And I reply: "The Real Housewives of Orange County". But seriously....
I have to admit that my worst vice is my enjoyment of so-called reality TV series. Truly. My favorite paranormal show is, of course, "Ghosthunters" (SyFy channel). They collect good evidence and do a good job debunking (as in finding a rational explanation for) strange happenings that are not paranormal. Very entertaining, not scary and I've learned a lot from Jason and Grant. My next favorite, I suppose, is "Paranormal State" (A & E). Entertaining, some good evidence, but there's the occasional religious twist that some might find a bit off-putting. (as I do) Award for most hokey name goes to "Psychic Kids - Children of the Paranormal" (A & E). Actually a good show: Psychic mediums help kids understand their own psychic gifts. I like Chip Coffey (also on Paranormal State)- I would choose him if I ever needed a medium. "Destination Truth" (SyFy Channel) is highly entertaining - a crew of very adventurous folk investigate paranormal-type legends all over the world (love that Yeti!) The Silly Award goes to "Ghost Adventures" (Travel Channel). The EVPs are indecipherable but the antics of the cast members make for good watching as they explore ghostly "phenomenas". Those are my recommendations. Note: Addicted as I am to "reality TV" I do not watch "Medium" or "Ghost Whisperer", so I have no opinion about those 2 shows. As Jason and Grant say: "On to the next!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why the Obsidian Madonna?

I practice shamanism, the spiritual practice of receiving direct revelation from helping spirits. The title "Obsidian Madonna" is in reference to one of my spirit helpers in non-ordinary reality. She calls herself the Black Madonna. I'm not sure she bears much resemblance to the "famous" Black Madonna, who is a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. My Madonna is more like a "tough love" kind of psychotherapist who hangs out in an "office" of pure black obsidian rock, usually in the Upper World, though she's been known to move about in non-ordinary reality. She once gave me some amazing information during a shamanic journey about some very nasty circumstances that would eventually happen in my former job. The Black Madonna heads up a cast of really interesting characters in non-ordinary reality, some of whom may also appear from time to time in this blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Haunted Calculator

I'd been living in my old Victorian for a couple of years. It was pretty quiet for an old house, if you don't count the bats and squirrels in the attic and the occasional raccoon on the roof. I had this really old solar calculator - the pocket kind that costs less than $5 - and I kept it open on the kitchen table. I would use it to balance my checkbook. I started noticing that numeric entries would suddenly appear on that calculator out of nowhere. It happened several times a week. So every now and again, I would type in some random number as if to communicate with - whatever. One time, my son Yvan was visiting and I told him about the calculator and he typed in the numbers that say "HELLO" when you turn it upside down, a trick every grade school kid knows how to do. That was that until he went home to NYC and called me on the phone. While we were talking, a calculator "message" came up. It said "HEELO". OK, so the entity isn't a great speller. I'm sure you are trying to debunk this right now. And why the heck would a spirit try to communicate through a calculator? Well, there were some other ghostly happenings going on around this time, which I will write about in a future post. But this was the most interesting to me. So here's the kicker - when I moved back to Colorado, I took that calculator with me. It sits on my desk at work. And NOT ONCE has a message appeared since the move. So it wasn't the calculator that was haunted, but the location. Or so I believe.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Haunted House

In my previous post,I was saying I wanted another opportunity to experience paranormal activity. Of course I got another chance. Maybe not as dramatic as spirit hands on your shoulders , but still....I had recently moved to Oberlin, Ohio and had bought a Victorian cottage built in 1873. It was in need of some repairs, but fixing up an old Victorian had long been a dream of mine. Despite bats in the attic and a leaning front porch, I was in love. And anyway, the plumbing was new. So I was sitting on the toilet and I heard a rush of water from the sink. The faucet had turned on all by itself. Not just a trickle, but a nice steady pressure. Interesting, I thought, and gave it no further attention until I saw an episode of Ghosthunters where the same thing happened to the same kind of faucet. And since those Ghosthunters are plumbers, I absolutely believed them when they said that kind of faucet can't turn on by itself. That's not all that happened in that house, but it's all for now. Next time, we learn about the "haunted calculator".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

ThingsThat Go Bump in the Night at Camp

When I was eleven or twelve years old, I had a strange summer at Girl Scout Camp. I was sharing a cabin with 3 other girls, and one night, we were sitting on one of the beds and chatting. Suddenly, I felt two solid hands on my shoulders. For some reason, I thought a girl from another cabin had sneaked in and was playing a joke. I looked behind me and no one was there. And I screamed. Really loud. Loud enough to wake up the whole camp. My cabin-mates started screaming too. The counselors came running up the hill to our cabin to see what was going on - they thought maybe a rattlesnake had gotten into the cabin. When I told what happened, they chewed me out for scaring the rest of the girls. Said it was just my imagination. It wasn't. Even then, I knew I had been touched by a spirit. But I guess I scared that poor spirit away. Today, there are TV shows about people who help kids who've had contact with spirits or psychic experiences. As an adult, I'd like another chance. These are the kinds of things I think about.