OR, HOW THIS "SHAMANISM THING" GOT STARTED . . .
I thought it was only appropriate to write a ghost story, or rather, a few of them, on this Halloween night, first night of Samhain, and eve of All Soul's Day. Working with ghosts, or as I like to refer to them, wayward spirits and lost souls, is an important part of my Shamanic Practice today, so in celebration of our ancestors and the spirits of those who have moved on, I offer Part I of my story and adventure into Shamanism.
When I was a child, I remember seeing and hearing spirits quite often. I was raised in a Christian household in West-by-God Virginia, so I didn't talk about it because it was "too weird" and I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening. In fourth grade, I remember lying in my bed one night, trying to sleep, when my aunt (my father's sister) appeared at the foot of my bed, held her finger to her lips, and whispered," tell your father than I am alright, I am fine." Then she vanished.
When the telephone rang a minute later, it was my uncle calling to tell my father she had passed. I was trying to process the visit and decide what to do when I heard my father break down in tears. I was frozen in bed while logic battled deep knowing on the battlefield of my mind. I was afraid to give him her message. But I did deliver it, over 40 years later, when I again witnessed my father's tears. That regret has never left me.
Shortly thereafter, I started looking for books about ghosts (remember, no internet yet), and all I could find were comic books, now known as graphic novels, about spirits and witches and other unsavory characters. (Apologies to you witches out there!) But I read them, hoping I could glean even a little knowledge from the pages that would help me understand. Before long, I began to feel a presence nearby that had taken up residence in my bedroom. I didn't know what I was doing and didn't know a thing about protection. I still don't remember everything that happened, but I do remember that spirit being laughing wickedly (and loudly) in my ear, running around my bed screaming and cackling.
I slammed my eyes shut, ducked under the covers and started praying fervently to God and asking Jesus to help me. Soon that malevolent spirit was pushed away from me and outside the house, where I heard it run in circles around our home a few more times, screaming, before it vanished. That night I moved my bed in the middle of the room, hoping it would create a circle of protection around me. That was my first important experience with a helping spirit - Jesus!
After this intense scare, I shut down my gift and refused to interact or recognize spirits until they stopped bothering me for many years. After college, I moved to New York City to pursue a singing career. One day, after I had been there for a few years, I was at my friend Beth's apartment getting a massage when suddenly I sat up, startled. Beth asked me what was wrong. I told her someone was whispering in my ear -- a ghost. Then she told me that a ghost had attached himself to her a few weeks earlier, and was bothering her, moving things, trying to get her attention. Her fiance had seen him following her around the apartment.
Well, guess what? He followed me home that night. It seemed he liked tall brunettes.
Soon, things would be pushed off the fridge in the kitchen -- a loaf of bread that was nowhere near the edge. Pots and pans rattling. Very annoying. He even followed my boyfriend home one night and started moving things around and messing with his watch and his clocks. One evening my boyfriend and I were lying in bed talking when suddenly the hardware on my dresser began a fierce rattling, followed by the pages of music sitting on my electric piano flying up into the air in circles before they fell to the floor. (It was a small New York apartment so I had it in my bedroom, and no, it was winter and the windows were closed and there was no breeze or air from the radiator on the other side of the room.) We looked at one another in surprise and started laughing. The ghost didn't really like that, but I decided I had enough of his shenanigans and that I needed to figure out how to get him to move on. Or at least, out.
Thus was the beginning of my Shamanic path to find answers about the hidden worlds around us. Look for the next chapter of the story soon, when I will tell you about my quest for knowledge to rid myself of that wayward spirit!