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Ancestors


Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and October has always been my favorite month. There are many reasons for this, none of which include the requisite pumpkin spice lattes (sorry), but I think the biggest reason is that it reminds me of my grandmother. She was born in October and LOVED Halloween with a fervor usually reserved for monster truck rallies or Taylor Swift concerts. We would spend the whole month preparing her house to be "haunted", designing elaborate ruses to scare the living daylights out of grown adults taking their children around the neighborhood. It was the best. I shared her delight in ghost stories, monsters and witches, and loved watching adult men drop their beer to run when getting the sh*t scared out of them by an elderly woman (this actually happened). I loved getting dressed up, eating candy, and connecting with this wonderful energy every year. And I've never grown out of it. If anything, my love for Halloween has grown as I learn about the traditions of the holiday and am able to channel more of its awesome energy. For many ancient Germanic (and related) cultures, Halloween was Odin's Wild Hunt: the night of the year where he took off with ferocious faeries and other beings to hunt bad men. This is the tradition from which we get the jack-o-latern, a kind of sign to Odin that "this house has good guys in it". The whole act of dressing up like ghouls and goblins is a way to ape the wild hunt, to blend in the with the monsters out to handle business, and to fade into the background for fear of Odin's attention on that special night. And it's not just Europe or America. Across many continents, Halloween represents the day when the veils between worlds are their thinnest, enabling easy access back-and-forth between the living and the dead, the human and the fae, and various other infinite combinations and possibilities. Hence Halloween's immediate transition to the Catholic All Saints Day on November 1st, to Mexico's Day of the Dead, and a myriad of other, similar traditions. The Japanese, whose primary faith system, Shinto, is heavily built around ancestral energy and connection, celebrates their version of the Day of the Dead, called Obon, on November 2nd. Theirs is a particularly beautiful tradition in which they invite their ancestors into their home, prepare them meals, and feature photos and stories of them for the evening. They hike up the side of a holy mountain with paper lanterns, creating a stunningly beautiful homage to their family members. Strange how all of these various religious, spiritual and cultural groups seem to randomly home in the same tiny spot of real estate in the calendar for these holidays, isn't it? Seems improbable that it would all be a coincidence...? Of course it's not a coincidence. This whole month builds with this energy, giving us unprecedented access to ancestors, spirit guides and totem animals, making shamanic journeys and mediumship sessions SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, there's nothing scary about it. In fact, it's affirming, sweet and supportive. Our ancestors and guides are here to help us from the other side, and can offer incredible support and comfort during turbulent times. My grandmother was my first shamanic spirit guide, showing up at critical moments in my life to give me pragmatic advice that always turned out to be right- including legal advice during a dicey situation with a nasty, overly-litigious former employer. Needless to say, it all worked out. So, yes- things on planet earth are weird and are going to get weirder. It's a stressful, uncertain time with diverging narratives and chaotic information. But our ancestors aren't wound up in all of this earth-bound crazy, and they're willing and able to help! Email me anytime to set up a mediumship appointment to connect with your ancestors and spirit guides: rachel@totemreadings.com. This is the BEST month to do it, as well as to dig into Shamanic Journeying Meditations and TOTEM Energy Sessions. There is just so much incredible energy and potential available to us this month, why not take advantage of it? As always, TOTEM is also offering awesome, small, socially-distanced workshops to connect you more meaningfully to your inherent energy and psychic skills during this magical time of the year: Reiki Level 2 Certification, on October 18th, will equip you with the ability to use Reiki energy to heal others, either remotely or in person. Not only will this workshop attune you to the Level 2 energy and symbols, giving you the ability to heal loved ones, but it can also provide you an independent income stream as a certified healer, rewarding you for being of service to others. To keep things safe, small and socially-distanced, space for this workshop is limited to please register via this link to secure your spot: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/121566798567 Divining the Future, on October 25th, is all about psychic empowerment. Join us for this safe, small group workshop to learn how to "divine the future"- read tarot cards, learn gazing and get familiar with mediumship. These skills will help you trust your instincts, gain insight into how to interpret psychic data, and generally equip you with the basic tips and tricks for growing and using your intuitive abilities: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/116350145417 Space for these workshops are limited, as are available dates/times for 1:1 sessions in October- please reach out asap/ register online if you're interested. And, if you can't join TOTEM for a group or 1:1 session, you can still harness this energy on your own this month: Marigold flowers and flower essences. Marigold connects us to the ancestors. In Mexico, it is a sacred flower and its traditional folklore name is ‘Flor de muerto’: Flower of the Dead. If you ever visit New Orleans, you'll see marigolds and marigold tinctures lining the windowsills of voodoo botanicas and bars, as the marigold is believed to attract the dead back to earth. As a flower essences or essential oil, marigold connects us to our ancestors and helps to stave off any unwanted forces, keeping us safe as we enter this unique time of the year. Creating an ancestral altar. Leading up to previous Halloweens, I have pulled out photos of relatives that have transitioned to the other side and put them in a place of honor alongside candles and the occasional jack-o-latern. I didn't do this for magical purposes, but to rather let my family know that I was thinking of them, miss them, and wish them well on the other side. This is a particularly sweet "ritual" for this month, and serves as a great excuse to tell stories to younger family members who may not remember their ancestors the way you do. Connect with spirit guides and totem animals. This time of the year, our guides are so readily available to us. And, because anyone can journey on their own, there's never been a better time to put that drumming music on, light some incense, and close your eyes to go on a wonderful, magical carpet ride. If you want to learn what music TOTEM uses for our 1:1 and group sessions, just shoot us an email and we'll get it to you, along with our handouts with great recommendations for books and resources to do this great practice on your own! And, if all else fails, try to go for a walk and enjoy the scent of fallen leaves and the sight of changing colors. Shifting seasons reframe our own energy and paradigm, reminding us that nothing is permanent. Happy October! -Rachel

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