Wednesday, November 13, 2013


(c) Lisa Weikel

Entering the Abyss

Monday was the second anniversary of my eldest son's death.  (How many times did I type different words, euphemisms, cryptic or veiled references to this truth, only to just hit the backspace button and come back to writing it simply and to the point?  Lots.)

Grieving is exhausting.  To do it right, it takes a hell of a lot of stamina.  And by "doing it right," I mean making an effort not to lose one's self in the abyss.  Allowing your heart, mind, and soul to fly into the crevasses, into the void that allows no light, but also pulling up when it feels like you'll never take in another breath yourself, and allowing yourself to remember just why it is you mourn.

Creating Ceremony

I cannot even remember what we did last year to commemorate our loss.  This year, 11/11 fell on a Monday, so Karl, Maximus, Sage and I were separated, at least physically, each carrying on in the physical world, as best as we could, as if this day were no different than any other.

Unbound as a result of having no appointments with clients, I am free to just be, to listen to Spirit's guidance as to how best to honor my son.  I retreat to the back of our property, behind our barn, where cattails and wild grasses dance in abundance and the carcasses of several dead Christmas trees mingle in a pile of toppled branches, yearning to burn.

Ceremonial Guardians - (c) Lisa Weikel
Opening my mesa, my 'sacred bundle' or 'medicine bag,' on the grass, I arrange the objects within it into a configuration that can hold me, not unlike the ceremony I performed on 11/11/11 - twelve hours before Karl drowned.

But before I sit within it, I create Sacred Space by calling in the Directions and the archetypal energies that reside in the North, East, South, West.  I call in the spirit and essence of Mother Earth, as well as Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, our Brothers and Sisters of the Star Nations, and of course, the overarching energies of Mother/Father God, Goddess, All That Is.

It is while I am inviting in the energy of Mother Earth, my forehead connected to the ground through the center of my mesa, that I feel the welling from within.  I feel Her presence coming up, or perhaps enveloping me is a better description.  She is present.  She is here.  She embodies Mother energy, and She is oh-so-familiar to me, containing within her essence, the memory of my own mother - yet so much more vast.

The tears that yearn to express that bottomless sense of loss arise from my bowels, my womb, the bottom of my spine.  Trickling at first, they soon pour from my eyes onto the sacred cloth before me.  There are no words.  In that moment, I am simply with The Mother.  Held by her, comforted by her, knowing that She Knows.

Eventually, as my sobs subside, I talk to Her.  "Why do I always cry when I connect with You?  What is this?  What does this Great Sorrow mean and why do I hold it so?"  I'm mostly referring to the times when I have engaged in ceremonies in which my connection to her has been augmented by her plant children - though certainly not always, some of which I've written about.  My connection to the Mother goes way back - and has always, always been accompanied by Sadness.

The Paradox

I lift my face from the cloth and look around.  The honeybee that alighted on my hand when calling in the Directions has disappeared, but a yellow butterfly flits by, right in front of me, and nonchalantly lights upon a stalk of straw a few feet from where I kneel.  Behind my left shoulder, a screech owl calls out two times - then is silent.  It's early afternoon...I'm definitely not alone.
(c) Karen Gallagher

In a realization that is beyond words and seems to arrive on the breeze, I understand that I carry this Sorrow - Her sorrow - precisely because I Know Joy.  I Know Love.  All at once, I feel as if I embody the paradox that resides in feeling the grief of losing a love that can never be lost.

It is both the ultimate burden and the ultimate privilege.  I carry the pain because I live the joy.

I don't like to "go there," but I'm committed to its necessity.  I will not deny my pain.  I will not deny the void that resides within my heart that will never be healed.  Yet, I much prefer to focus upon what lies beneath the loss.  And to get there, I have to go through it, through the pain; I must refuse the urge to turn away because it hurts too much and just go there.  As often as it takes.

Because underneath it all, there is Love.  And love, ultimately, is all there is.  It's what we want, what we fear, what we seek, what we're terrified of losing, and what we would not exist without.

I saw this video this morning and saw in it a reflection of my experience on Monday afternoon.  It made me realize that, yes, we must face our greatest fear - by loving fiercely.  Every day.  Knowing that it could end in the blink of an eye.  And yet never, ever.  Not truly.

November sunset (c) Lisa Weikel

Friday, October 11, 2013


Photo by neotint
It seems as if all I ever do is write about messages, both publicly and privately.  Asking for them.  Looking for them.  Getting them.  Receiving them.  Paying attention to them.  What happens if you don't pay attention to them...

It's that last one that can get pretty dicey if you're not careful.  I probably write about the perils of not listening, or not paying attention to, or worse yet, not acting on messages I've heard and paid attention to (and perhaps even given lip service to - by what? By writing a blog post or two on the subject?) more than I care to admit even to myself.  But here it is.  Again.

Don't get me wrong.  I do my best to walk my talk and pay attention to the messages I receive daily.  And yes, when I'm 'tuned in,' I get messages a lot.  Every day.  Indeed, I rely on my abilities to discern meaning in the seemingly mundane, and I devote a good amount of care and attention to paying attention, listening deeply, and noticing little things that might easily be overlooked.

Ummm, Don't Drink It?

Photo by Jeff Tidwell
And I do this for and on behalf of my clients.  And my friends.  And my family.  Every day.

So why in the world do I keep insisting upon writing about and seemingly harping upon the necessity for all of us to not only pay attention to the messages we receive but to heed them by acting upon them?  Because it can be a real kick in the ass when we don't.

One example?  If you've read my book Owl Medicine (available as an ebook, too!), you know that my refusal to listen to the messages I was receiving ended up with a face-plant in a creek that easily could have killed me but luckily only resulted in a broken tooth, spectacular bruises, and many weeks of barely being able to walk without assistance.

And I'd like to spare you the pain if I can.  Because as seasoned as I am in being a messenger, the responsibilities that come with being the messagee, and there are indeed responsibilities with that role, too, can be seductively easy to shirk.  Yes, even for a messenger.

Don't Just Sit There - DO Something!

So, don't beat yourself up for not being perhaps the best listener to, or 'receiver' of, messages.  Instead, make a point to take one step, every day, to not only pay attention and listen, but then also to act on a message you've received.

See what happens.

And if you know you've received a message, but can't quite figure out what it means or how you might act upon it, feel free to reach out to me.  I'd be glad to give you my perspective and help you figure out what the message might mean specifically to you.

Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Photo by Lisa Weikel
One more thing:  I don't mean to imply that every message we receive requires an 'outward' or public action.  Hardly.  However, every message we receive does deserve acknowledgment and at least an inner appreciation that paves the way to receiving more messages.  That's why I tell all my clients:  "If you receive a message, honor it.  At the very least, acknowledge and appreciate it by writing it down.  If the message requires further action on your part, then by all means, act.  But even if the message is just an indication that you're on the right path, that you've made a good choice, or that the direction of your thinking is 'on track...,' well, be grateful!  Write it down!  Show your Higher Self or your Guides, or whomever is communicating with you that you appreciate their efforts and you're listening."

What do you think? Do you receive messages?  And if so, do you make a point of demonstrating your appreciation?  Do you act upon your messages?  How could you be a better 'receiver?'

Friday, July 26, 2013

Are You Hungry?

Photo (c) Nuria - Creative Commons license
Just the other day, a friend stopped by unexpectedly and ended up staying for dinner.

After almost two hours of uninterrupted conversation, I served dinner, which I'd prepared almost invisibly while we were talking.  It was simple fare - baked fish and steamed asparagus.  But oh, was it delicious.

Did I mention it was also 8:45 p.m.?
Photo (c) Erin - TwoMoreSeconds - Creative Commons license

When my friend raved about the savory flavors and then looked shocked at the simplicity of the preparations, I joked that my mother always said, "If you want your guests to love what you serve, make sure they're starving by the time they eat it!"

And then, only a few days later, an article on Huff Post appeared, backing up my mother's wisdom.

For what do you hunger?

My sense is that this applies to lots of other things - far beyond just food and drink.

So if we want people to love what we're serving, make sure they're hungry.  The trick is figuring out the areas in which people tend to starve - or at least "forget" to feed themselves.  Sometimes it's obvious.  Sometimes it's not.

And beyond that?  Even though they may be starving, if we're going to take the time to feed them, I figure it doesn't hurt to make sure we're providing something delectable.  And yes, even something as simple as a hug or a meaningful glance can feel like a sumptuous meal if given and received at just the right moment.

So tell me:  What are YOU hungry for?  And more importantly, how may I serve you?

(c) Fred Hsu - Creative Commons license

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hoarding? Moi?

As some of you know, my husband Karl and I have a habit of choosing a Medicine Card every morning over coffee.  We each take a turn, shuffling the deck and choosing a card.  We also look to see what card is on the bottom of the deck because that can sometimes add nuance or spin to the top card, helping us figure out where that top card might "fit" in our life, or how to best interpret its meaning.

When there's a blank card on the bottom, we call that "squaring."  In other words, it means that the energy that the top card is bringing into our life for the day is squared - so whatever it is, we'd better pay attention because it's packing a magnified wallop.  As you might imagine, sometimes that can portend an exciting opportunity and starts our day with much anticipation.  Other times...not so much.

This morning, I chose Squirrel reversed.  Squared.

To the uninitiated (meaning those of you who haven't yet acquired your own set of Medicine Cards), let me explain that Squirrel's keyword is "Gathering."  There is, as always, a rich description in the accompanying book, of how Squirrel's energy might be recognized and perhaps even celebrated if you allow yourself to embrace its gifts.

Squirrel can be tough.  But Squirrel Reversed?  Squared?

Ugh.  The lessons brought by Squirrel reversed almost always have to do with hoarding.  Miserliness.  A tight-fisted approach to life and living, either toward others or with yourself.  Truthfully, I felt my stomach sink a bit when I chose it.  I sighed.  I read the card out loud...
wealth of pennies by r-z

"Yeah, whatever," was my insightful response to Karl.

Luckily, he had an appointment he needed to get to, so I escaped him attempting to coax a more honest or in-depth analysis out of me on how this might apply to my day.

I bristled at choosing Squirrel reversed in and of itself.  But squared?  Yikes.  There was clearly a huge lack of generosity playing out in my life and I did not want to look at it.

As he made his way to the door, Karl tried to make me feel better by suggesting that maybe I was not being generous to myself - not giving myself the time and space to write, or encouraging myself to imagine new opportunities, or permitting myself to put my own dreams ahead of my tendency to always drop what I'm doing to help others discover or follow theirs.

It sounded good and was indeed plausible, but...that didn't quite feel like "it."

A Different Form of Wealth

For the most part, I'm a relatively generous person.  I give of my time, energy, treasure, and attention, if not all at the same time, certainly from each, and somewhat routinely.  I'm far from a saint, but I'm decent.  And yet, the visceral reaction I felt when I chose the card told me that there is something I'm not admitting, something I'm either denying or refusing to see, that's holding me back, that I'm withholding.

Where am I hoarding?  Where am I holding back, holding on, pulling away and turning my back on people, shielding my "Precious" as I hold it covetously in my hands?  What is my Precious?
by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||

Karl had barely gotten out to his car when it hit me.  Indeed, it was his parting remark as he closed the front door, which left its mark:  "Well, whatever you do today, Lis," he said, "WRITE."

And there it was.  That's what I hoard.  I hoard my words.  I hoard my thoughts and my feelings.  I hang on to my experiences, my "aha!" moments, the many small yet amazing pieces of my personal puzzle that, if I shared, might possibly help someone else make sense of their personal puzzle.

Why do I hoard them?  Oh, I don't know.  I guess it's because I think that maybe this or that little story will be much more meaningful or effective if I include it in my next book.  You know, if I "spend" too many words now, on something "little," I might not have enough left over for the bigger stuff.  Or maybe (more often, and more likely), I tell myself that my words simply have no value.  My stories only have meaning - and thus value - to me. 

I know this is error.  How?  Because I love reading, both my own words and others'.  I'm always up for a personal story.  I love shared experience.  I revel in recognizing myself in others and others' experiences in my own.  I yearn to understand more.  More about myself, more about you, more about the nature of reality, more about the meaning of this whole grand experience.

My words are a reflection of my life, my unique perspective.  They're part of me.  They're one of my most treasured gifts and greatest joys, even, oddly enough, when expressing heartache or outrage - but especially when sharing insight, love, appreciation and magic.

 Fly Like An Eagle

I'm by nature an inherently generous person.  I need to extend that to my words.  It's time to stop hanging on to them so tightly that I squeeze the very life out of them before I ever put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard.  As the conclusion to Squirrel reversed entreats, I need to remember the Squirrel who gathers the energy of Eagle, connects to Great Spirit - and flies!

Where, and what, are you hoarding in your generous and abundant life?  Come ~ gather your courage and fly with me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting What We Want

Intentions, Affirmations, Clarity
 ...we hear these words all the time in relation to "getting what we want."

We are told that stating our desires and goals clearly, to both ourselves and the world (even if only by writing them down or confiding them out loud to a friend) - in other words, affirming our intentions with clarity and specificity - will manifest them.

Many of us believe that this means that, if we are clear enough, or state our intention firmly enough, or are so specific with the Universe that it can't be sidetracked into giving us anything other than precisely what we're asking for, that we'll get what we want.  Immediately.  We'll get what we ask for.

And of course, we're all familiar with the Mick Jagger rendition of how this often plays out in reality:

"You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need."* (emphasis added)

And many of us have, at least internally, balked at that truism.  Experiencing it can stink.

Getting What We Need Leads to Getting What We Want

I'd like to posit the theory that "getting what we need" may not be what we think we want, but it often - almost always, in fact - ultimately leads us to getting what we want.

The trick is that our "wants" evolve.  And often, they're most intimately crafted and carved out of what we initially think we want by the stepping stone of getting what we need.  It is amazing, once we open ourselves to receiving, how that simple receptivity can change everything, and we discover a pathway to truly receiving what we both want and need.

I read a delightful post the other day about just this process, and I decided to write this so I would have an excuse to share it - and add my two cents, of course.

This is the Magic of Life

I believe we are amazing creatures.  We have remarkable intellects, which give us the ability to think and reason and hypothesize, research, write, and experiment.  We also have another aspect to ourselves which is every bit as essential to our nature: we have the power of imagination and creativity, intuition, and awareness of the unseen.

I also believe that we are much more than "just" our bodies.  We are much more than "just" who we are in this lifetime, and there is more of an over-arching awareness to our experiences than we give ourselves credit for.

If we allow for both of these aspects of ourselves to come together as an integrated whole, instead of pitting one against the other and behaving as if the existence of one threatens the validity of the other, we are capable of achieving more than most of us ever give ourselves permission to even imagine.  This is the magic of life, and this, I believe, is what we are here to discover and explore at this most precious time in our evolution.

Ask for What You Want ~ 
and Trust the Process of Getting What You Need

Just for the heck of it, I'd like you to reflect upon a time when you, maybe even secretly, gave that manifestation-talk a try.  Let's assume you were clear and nicely specific about what you wanted, as well as relatively assertive in your desire.

Let's also assume that you didn't get what you
thought you'd so specifically stated you wanted, at least not in anywhere near the time frame you thought you would (or should) receive it.  Instead, you got something that appeared to be the antithesis of what you'd "ordered up" from the Universe.  "Oh, what a bunch of bulls@#t," you thought, and probably promptly dismissed the entire process as so much New Age BS.

My challenge is this:  take another look at what unfolded in your life.  What did receiving the antithesis of your request bring to light?  How did you respond?  Did you end up getting rid of the relationship or experience you'd hoped would be the "answer" to your request?  Did the failure of that business bring you an introduction to a person who ended up being a font of inspiration and the perfect partner in a completely different venture?  Did your experience of what you thought you wanted hone your perception of what you truly want?  Did you realize that what you thought you wanted was actually destructive to your joy?

From this perspective, can you see the Magic of Life working in your reality?  Can you see the intuitive, creative part of yourself bringing messages and lessons to your logical self (and sometimes banging it over the head when it is being particularly obtuse)?

Are you ready to trust that process again, only this time bringing even greater awareness and appreciation to what you receive? 

What Magic might you experience?

*And yeah, it's going to be tough getting that out of your head now, right?  It's the gift that keeps on giving! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Epiphany ~ With a Side of Broccoli Rabe

OK, so yesterday I had an interesting experience.

I've been participating in the "Guided Reflections" exercises in the Forum of Fortuna's Oracle, a wonderful online site where I've been learning an incredible amount about the tarot in general and how to work with it.  Since the beginning of the year, several of us have been engaged in "Guided Reflections" on each of the 78 cards that comprise a tarot deck, in order.

Yesterday's Guided Reflection was on "XVI - The Tower," a card traditionally depicting a medieval tower being struck by lightning, its occupants falling to the ground.

The prompt that accompanied this Guided Reflection was:

"What epiphany might I experience that reshapes my reality?" 

The point of this exercise is to choose a card from our personal deck to answer the prompt emanating from the card of the day (in this case, The Tower), and then write about our interpretation of how the card we chose relates to and "answers," in a sense, the question associated with the card of the day.

I chose the Two of Water (a/k/a Two of Cups) from the Vision Quest deck.  And unlike most entries, my interpretation was simple and succinct:  "...that he really is reaching out to me from the other side."

It might help make sense of this post to know that the entire focus of all of my picks in the Guided Reflections has been on my quest (if you will) to manifest my three main goals for 2013, one of which is completing the book I began writing last year, which I will refer to here as "APK."

Although I didn't write much, it felt big.  Of course it felt big, I told myself, it's the Tower card.  And on some level, it was signifying an epiphany.  By their very nature, epiphanies are usually big.

But I didn't know an even bigger epiphany was in the offing.

Yesterday was a little strange, in that I did make a point of trying to get some writing done on the APK "earlier" than I usually do.  Then, in the middle of the afternoon, I was struck with a sudden and odd desire for broccoli rabe.  Now, I've actually been conscious of the fact that I have NOT CRAVED this vegetable - nor even DESIRED it - for many weeks, if not months.  Indeed, I would ask myself if I should pick some up, but no, I didn't want it.

  "Buy Broccoli Rabe!"

Well, that all changed yesterday afternoon.  All of a sudden, I could taste it, smell it, see it.  And I wanted it.  Indeed, so much so that I actually altered my plans about where I was going and what I was going to do when I went - all to build around the fact that I needed to get to the Acme to buy some broccoli rabe.  (And it had to be Acme broccoli rabe, because they keep it in water so it's fresh.)

Imagine my consternation when I got to the Acme and there was NONE to be found!?  I was like a caged lion, pacing back and forth, up and down along the produce section, searching vainly for where they might have put it.  How could they not have any broccoli rabe?!? 

Well, my neurotic persistence paid off and I glimpsed the tiniest few leaves of a different shape and texture peeking out from under at least six bunches of collard greens that had been stuffed into a display container of water.  YES!  There was one single bunch of broccoli rabe hiding there, waiting for me to come along and look hard enough to find it and take it home with me.

I was oddly relieved.

Photo by fritish

It goes without saying that I will probably never eat broccoli rabe without thinking about Karl (my son).  He always shared my voracious appetite for it, especially prepared in a very simple but delectable way:  steamed to a bright green and still "just crispy" consistency with many cloves of garlic, then tossed with olive oil, a hint of sea salt, and cayenne pepper flakes.  Oh yum.  He and I would eat it by the container-full when we first discovered it at a deli in Frenchtown, NJ, on our way home from me picking him up at the bus station when he would come home from NYU.

Indeed, the deli owner would look at us in amazement every time we would come in - probably equally for both the quantity we would purchase and our foolhardiness in paying a premium for him to make such a simple dish.  And Karl (husband), Maximus and Sage would just look at us and shake their heads, not taking anywhere near the delight that we did in the slightly bitter, spicy-hot, faintly salty taste of these delicious greens.

As the years went by, I did finally learn how to cook it as deliciously as our local deli-owner, and every time Karl would come home, I'd make a point of making a nice big batch for the two of us so that we could snack on it at a moment's notice.

So, last night, while I was out in the kitchen making portabello mushroom fajitas for dinner, I was also moved to steam that bunch of broccoli rabe and make "our green stuff," as we used to call it.  And it was as I was trimming the broccoli rabe and peeling the garlic cloves that I had my "epiphany," the "aha moment" that I honestly think was connected to the card I chose as my Guided Reflection on The Tower card, in that it is reshaping the reality of the book I am writing.

All of a sudden, I saw the book (APK) and thought about the way my stories just seem to "come out" of me.  I seem to constantly go "back and forth" from one 'time' to another, adding context and insight to the "present" experience, but in a non-linear fashion.  It's just my way - I honestly don't do it consciously. (In fact, I realize I just did it in this post.)  Anyway, as I was "seeing" the way I write my stories, and wondering how APK is going to unfold, I felt an overwhelming presence of Karl in the kitchen with me.  And not only did he convey a sense of permission, but it felt like he was actively encouraging me to "tell the whole story - the deeper story." That it's OK.  That, indeed, it's important.

"Tell the Whole Story..."

And that was connected to the unsettled and sad feeling I'd conjured within myself earlier in the week, when I'd opened one of my journals from quite a while ago - eight or nine years, actually - and started reading my entries (after quickly locating the distinct piece of information that led me there in the first place).  Wow, it was as if I'd been punched in the gut as I read entry after entry.  It's amazing how we forget the really, really hard times.

I didn't linger.  I put the journal back on the shelf.  But it haunted me.  And while the sadness stuck with me, I knew I'd been reminded of those times for a reason.

Now I know why.

They're absolutely as important a part of my story as the magical times.  And Karl wants me to share them, too.  Aha.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Welcome, Sun!" - Point of Reflection # 9 - The Sirian Starseed Tarot

Happy Winter Solstice!  Welcome to a New Era!

Today is the beginning of another 5,125 year cycle in the Mayan Calendar, as well as the beginning of another 26,000 year cycle.

 On a more personal level, today marks the day of the "sun standing still" (solstice), signifying the moment in our annual solar cycle when the days stop becoming shorter, stop giving way to more and more darkness, and we simply "rest."  Tomorrow, our days will resume their never-ending, cyclic journey, this time moving toward the light, allowing for more and more warmth and energy to be available to us, nourishing and coaxing the seeds of our dreams and intentions to sprout and become manifest.

The deck I chose to use for today's Point of Reflection is The Sirian Starseed Tarot by Patricia Cori.  This is a new deck, only published in 2012.  I've not worked with it much, but it felt right to use today.  And the card I chose to begin this new season?
VII - The Chariot

Some excerpts from the interpretation provided by the author:

"...Who is this charioteer, and what is he racing toward?...

Many are we who have come into body at this time as true spirit warriors, and the road can be treacherous.  Darkness and light pull at the reins of our being as we race ahead, learning that it is our focused mind and intention that harness the forces driving us forward.

Lord Kirshna holds the reins, representing the proper use of the focused mind to train and master the sense.  It reminds (us) that when we connect to our higher mind, with clarity of intent and purpose, we move forward in the light of Divine Guidance.  Our personal Krishna harnesses the forces that pull at the reins of our lives, darkness and light, and moves the chariot forward, always seeking resolution to the polarity of opposing forces - our own darkness and light, our demons, and our divinity.

The chariot is the body vehicle, through which mind, sirit, and form are manifest.  The horses represent the sensate tools and our own physical power that we utilize inour journey through life.  The reins in the hands of Lord Krishna are the depiction of right mind, which direct the senses to move us forward.  He reminds us that we are not alone in this mission of life and that we do always have Diving Guidance in our race toward our goals.

Words associated with The Chariot are focused intent, determination, goal orientation, achievement, ambition, victory.  To the querent it says,

"Go forward now and harness your desire with the higher consciousness you always can access."..."(emphasis added)
  (c) 2012 by Patricia Cori .  Tarot card art (c) 2012 by Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha.

Safe Travels and "Joyous Solstice!"

I couldn't have asked for a more appropriate image to mark this "ending," which is, of course, a new beginning on the journey to our "becoming."  We all need a chariot to take us where we're going.

My hope is that in joining me on this quest you've discovered some new and different means of accessing your own inner guidance and wisdom.  I also hope you've allowed yourself to rediscover the joy of play and the sense of renewal and rejuvenation that comes when we give ourselves just a little bit of time (and more importantly, internal permission) to "indulge" in self-reflection.

Thank you, too, for allowing me to share with you the magic of that which lies just beyond...