Writing Creatively With Spirit

A journey of psychic discovery


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Journeying for Others – Page 7

Refreshed by strong green tea and some cherries brought in from one of the participant’s garden, and basking in the compliment that I looked remarkably fresh despite my lack of sleep, I was ready for the next session.

It began with Simon explaining that journeying on behalf of others is the raison d’être of a shaman. They go to the upper and lower worlds to find answers. If I’ve said this before it’s because it was said on so many occasions.

‘There are no hard and fast rules in shamanism,’ Simon said, ‘but there are some basic guidelines for effective journeying.’

  1. Never interpret the journey for the client.
  2. Tell the client that spirit communicates in metaphors. Pass the metaphors on as you get them. Don’t try to make sense of them for the client. This is an area where spirituality and shamanism differ markedly.
  3. Pay attention to what happens immediately after you’ve asked the question, particularly to any sensations in the body, any sounds, visions etc. And feedback to the client anything that happens to you, for example if it was a struggle to get going, it may be that the client is experiencing a struggle getting going on the issue they’ve brought.

The emphasis, he stressed, particularly for this session, was on having a go. For some it would be the first time of journeying for someone else but trust in the process would help massively.

‘This is where you get to choose your own question for journeying,’ he said.

PICT1217  ‘Think of an issue in your life that you’d like some clarity on, or a question you’d like an answer to. Write it down, and then choose someone to work with. It’s important that you choose someone you don’t know because then you will trust more what you’re given without wondering if you’ve made it up because you know the person.’

I couldn’t think of anything pressing, and eventually settled on asking what do I need to focus on when I go to Cameroon?

A young woman who was to the right of me who I hadn’t worked with before agreed for us to work together.

‘How odd,’ she said in surprise when we disclosed our questions. Hers was What will I gain from going to Geneva next week? ‘We both have questions about travelling.’

Not so odd I thought. People with similar issues have a way of finding each other on these courses.

Although in reality the client would not undertake a journey at the same time as the shaman, Simon said that as this was a training session each person – client and shaman – would journey on the same question/issue and compare experiences at the end. So it was that both my partner and I journeyed on my question first.

The Journeys

Again the blindfold, again the drumming, and again I choose to go to the lower world, even though we had the choice of either upper or lower, and again I went down the roots of the copper birch tree in my garden.

I came straight out into the village clearing and the jaguar was waiting for me.

‘Where’s grandma?’ I asked, wondering why I hadn’t gone through the room again.

‘Her job was to introduce us,’ he said as though talking to a small child who doesn’t yet understand the ways of the adult world. ‘She’s done that now.’

‘I’m so happy to see you.’ I said.

‘It’s good to have you back,’ he answered smiling.

‘Can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure, that’s what I’m here for,’ he replied and looked at me quizzically.

‘What do I need to focus on when I’m in Cameroon?’

He held his head down for a while then beckoned to me to walk with him. After only a few paces he stopped and I saw a circle of stones of different shapes, sizes and colours. I looked at them for a while expecting them to either do something or for him to explain what they were for.

When it became evident I didn’t know what to do he indicated to me to pick them up. It was as I bent to pick up the first one that I noticed there were twelve of them in the circle.

I held the first stone, a pale looking one that fitted snugly into my left palm, and watched in astonishment as it changed into a dove and fluttered away.

The second, slightly larger stone, was covered in moss. As I rubbed the moss away I instantly found myself in a brightly lit cafe somewhere in Birmingham, England, with orange and yellow decor.

I was there just long enough to think ‘how strange’ before I was back with the jaguar and the stones.

I had massive resistance to picking up the third, a very dark, almost black flat stone. The jaguar noticed my reluctance and kept quietly encouraging me to pick it up.

I finally bent down, and as I picked it up I felt a wave of energy rush through my body. It was as if someone had turned a fire fighter’s pressure hose full on and the water was being pumped through my body at full force. I gripped the stone tight, the only thing I had to hold on to as the force pushed me backward. I feared I would fall, and at that moment noticed that the jaguar had positioned himself behind me to support me if indeed I fell.

I was still holding the stone and trying to steady myself when I heard the call back tempo. I said a quick thank you to my jaguar teacher and ran, still holding the stone back up the roots. I left the stone on my drive before returning to the room.

After I told my partner what had happened, she apologised and said nothing quite that dramatic happened to her. She said she saw a big cat lying chilled out on a beach allowing the waves to wash over him.

Was it a black jaguar?’ I asked intrigued.

‘No, it wasn’t black, a bit mottled and I think it was a leopard.’

He kept disappearing and appearing again until she asked him to stand still long enough for her to get a good look at him. Then he was suddenly ‘in her face’ but not in a scary way.

The beach was a small cove with cliffs behind it, and the leopard encouraged her to lay down with him and let the waves wash over her too. The odd thing was that the waves were rainbow coloured, not the usual white foam.

There wasn’t time to process the information to any great degree because we had to move into changing over.

I went straight back down through the roots again to ask the question on her behalf, but this time there were some obstructions that I had to get past, so the ride down was not as smooth.

The jaguar was there waiting for me as before.

‘Back so soon?’ he said half jokingly.

‘Yes, I have a question about someone else. Can I ask you on someone else’s behalf?’

‘I’ve told you, it’s what I’m here for,’ he answered patiently.

‘Well, the question is ‘what will Trina gain from going to Geneva next week?’’

He was still for so long I wondered if he’d heard me, and I was just getting ready to ask the question again when he began walking around in a big figure of eight.

‘Anything else?’ I asked when he stopped.

‘Tell her she will learn to climb.’ Then he showed me two ladders. ‘Tell her she will learn to climb quicker without the ladders.’

Then he rapidly showed me Trina flying a kite on a hill. The green body of the kite had a pink tail attached and was flying free.

Pineapple

Pineapple

Next he took me down what appeared to be a grove or a tropical orchard. On the right was an orange tree with one orange on it. On the left a pineapple tree with one pineapple on it, and straight ahead a hibiscus bush with a fully open stunning cerise flower.

‘Tell her she’s wiser than she knows,’ he said. And just when I was thinking it was a lot to remember I heard the call back drums. As I was saying thank you and getting ready to leave he said, ‘show her the bear skin rug,’ and showed me a bear skin rug.

As I did her feedback her eyebrows raised further and further up her face, and when I mentioned the bear skin rug her hand flew to her mouth. The only thing she asked me was whether a hibiscus is similar to an orchid.

She shared a bit of her story. The trip to Geneva is to see a partner who had recently become her ex. As the ticket was already bought and they were still friends they’d agreed that she’d still go.

It was her intention to climb while she was there, her ex-partner was mad about orchids and the reason her hand had flown to her face was because he’d always said he’d buy a bear skin rug to put in front of the fire place and make love to her on it.

She could not yet make sense of the other pieces of information, but those three pieces had been convincing enough.

This is where I felt a strong conflict between working spiritually, psychically and shamanically. (Is there such a word?) Working psychically I would be trying to make sense of the metaphors for her. I’d be looking at the fact that the kite was green and pink and therefore connected to the heart, that the ladders were not necessarily about physical climbing, that the orange, pineapple and hibiscus represented tropical regions. But I couldn’t, and as I held my thoughts to myself I realised that it probably wasn’t a good thing to try to interpret the metaphors. I’d never have known the meaning of the bear skin rug.

A few days later when I was telling a friend about my part of the journey she was fascinated that the stone turned into a dove. She googled ‘stone turning into a dove’ and came up with an RSPB project called Dovestone Reservoir Memory Bank Oral History Project

http://www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering/6258-dove-stone-reservoir-memory-bank-oral-history-project-volunteer

It’s a project using volunteers. It would appear that at least some of my volunteering in Cameroon should be spent looking at oral history.

With some reflection I think the other images were about looking at or supporting an enterprise project, and certainly the black stone represented a deep and powerful connection with the land.

I know that this is a long blog, but if you have any comment on any of it at all, however tiny I’d love to hear from you.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Voluntary Possession – Page 6

Day two of the course.

I was hoping to be in better shape for today’s activities as Simon had said we’d be focusing on working for the community, with the emphasis being on working. It’s what shaman do, their raison d’être.

Exhausted from the previous day I’d gone to bed at 9.30 p.m.  Despite the noise and sirens on Kilburn High Road I slept like the proverbial log. I stirred when I heard a key in my door lock but drifted back to sleep thinking that maybe I’d imagined it.

Alas no! I hadn’t.  There followed a few minutes later a very determined effort by someone on the other side trying to turn a key in my lock which was clearly not designed for it. Rather than question the lack of fit the person just kept trying.

I was awake now, and even more so after I bellowed at him ‘It’s the wrong room!’

‘Oh, sorry, sorry,’ came a very slurred Irish voice from the other side of the door. Obviously another resident uncertain of the location of his room; convinced he knew where it was when he went out and now wondering why it had moved.

I trust he remembered in due course as he stopped trying to get into mine, but now that I was awake I became aware of the heavy thumping music somewhere outside. I’m pretty certain the barman told me the Black Lion (the pub I was staying above) closed at 1 a.m. Were they having some kind of lock in? Even so he’d told me the noise wouldn’t travel up to the second floor, and indeed it hadn’t the night before.

I checked the time on my phone. 1.35. I look out of the window and note with dismay that The Good Ship opposite the Black Lion is a night club.

At 3.30 was hoping, no praying that they would end at 4.00, but that prayer went answered. I used the next hour to catch up on my journaling before sliding into exhausted oblivion at about 4.30.

I did think though that there’s no such thing as too much noise – just not enough fatigue. When we’re tired enough we’ll sleep anywhere.

At 7.30 a.m. when my alarm woke me all was quiet and peaceful outside.

I only mentioned all this to give an idea of the state I was in when I arrived for day two of the course. I was incredibly grateful Simon said our first exercise would involve a lot of movement.

He referred to it as voluntary possession, explaining that the word  possession has been a given a bad name by Hollywood, with film like The Exorcist, The Shining and many others.

Possession is essentially allowing spirit to work through you. By allowing your spirit teachers to merge with you, you save your own energy, because you don’t have to do the work.

It was one of the things he said anthropologists found baffling when studying indigenous shaman who could perform rituals for hours, sometimes for days without fatigue.

Becoming voluntarily possessed basically means allowing spirit to move you in whatever ways it feels appropriate, and to speak through you. Very much like trance mediumship.

The first exercise involved all of us standing up and moving around the room in a clockwise direction to the beat of drums – four experienced drummers from the group were enlisted to supplement Simon’s drumming.

‘Just allow yourself to be and to do,’ he encouraged. ‘Allow yourself to become completely merged with the animal or the human teacher you met yesterday.’

We began with a power song that we all sang while standing and holding hands.

Come, fill me, give me a song, move me.’

We sang this three or four times before the drumming began and we started to walk around the room.

I connected with the music straight away as it was very reminiscent of the reggae beat. Within a short space of time I became the beat again, as I did in the journey to the upper world. I was stamping and twisting, jumping and spinning, snaking and sliding.

It reminded me of how I get sometimes on the dance floor when I’m lost in the music, when I dance all night without a break, even for a drink.

That bit was familiar. What wasn’t was the sound  that started some somewhere deep in my belly and worked its way up through my chest, became amplified in my throat and boomed out of my mouth.

It wasn’t a song as such, more of a deep moan, a groan that sounded ancient even to my own ears. I’d never made a sound like that consciously, and it came over and over again, until I realised that my skin was wet with the sweat of dancing and my face from the tears that flowed from a previously untapped source.

The music became faster, more insistent, and something inside me felt ready to burst out, to find life in the outside world after eons of being trapped. It felt as if I was in that space for days, not just the fifteen minutes Simon said.

When the drumming stopped I was breathing heavily, as if I’d been running a long race. It took a couple of minutes for my breath to return to normal.

It reminded me of something that happened to me when I was seventeen, but that was a long time ago.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – The Stone Speaks – Page 5

In this the last exercise of the first day the purpose of the stone we were asked to bring became evident.

Lilacs

Lilacs Tools of a Shaman

‘Shamen are masters of observations,’ Simon explained by way of introduction. ‘They have knowledge of the physical world, of the nature and properties of plants, of crystals, rocks, the sea, animals and birds. They are able to ask any and all of these for help in healing and helping individuals and communities.’

It was time to pick up our stones as we were going to use them to find answers to questions.

The exercise required that we worked with a partner, one as client, one as scribe. The client was to write down a question they’d like an answer to and pass their notebook to their partner who would write down the answers as they were given.

The client was to look at one side of the stone and try to find four images on it, then turn it over and do the same on the other side. The scribe would record. Then in turn the client would ask each image the question, speak the answer, and the scribe would record it exactly as said.

This would enable the client to stay focused on getting the answers without the distraction of having to write it down.

I found this exercise quiet easy as I’m used to reading objects – all those months in the psychic development circles came in useful. My partner similarly found he exercise quite easy.

I asked the question ‘What is the purpose of my shamanic practice?’ and looked at the stone. I saw a heart, raindrops, a cave and a tent with only two sides, an incomplete tent.

On the other side I saw railway tracks, an old man, back to back linked c’s like the logo for Channel, and a gorge.

This is what they said after I asked each in turn ‘What is the purpose of my shamanic practice?’

Heart said – open your own heart.

Raindrops said – cleanse the world.

Cave said – bring yourself and others into the light.

Incomplete tent said – bring completion.

Rail tracks said – create a path that others can follow.

Old man said – give up the belief in age.

Crossed cs said – know that we are all linked.

Gorge said – leave a legacy.

Once we had done that we had to combine the first four answers into one sentence, and do the same for the second four, then combine both sentences into one to give a complete answer. One or two small linking words were allowed but essentially the words shouldn’t be changed. I ended up with,

By opening your own heart you cleanse the world, bring yourself and others into the light and bring the completion that carve a path that others can follow; by giving up the belief in age, knowing that we are all linked and by that leave a legacy.’

Sounds a bit like my mission statement for my shamanic practice. I see now why the jaguar said some of the things I would do would scare me. Carve a path for others to follow!! No pressure then.

The following day Simon told us that the rock should be taken back to where we found it unless we had further use for it. He said it was a way of not walking the ‘Path of Paraphernalia.’ This is where we acquire stuff that we keep even when we can’t even remember why we got them in the first place.

‘In shamanism the acquisition of things equals lack of spirit. Addictions equal a lost part of the soul,’ he advised.

I made a mental note to throw out a few more things, and shop a little less.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Journey to the Upper World – Page 4

Our second journey was to the upper world. I chose as my axis mundi a mountain in the north east of England. I had once been walking with friends and got lost. We ended up on the mountain when the sun was setting and became part of the sunset. We had merged with the colours of the setting sun, became golden with fringes of rust and a touch of orange. I couldn’t think of a better place from which to access the upper world.

Sunset in the Caribbean

Sunset in the Caribbean

Simon said that the upper world was divided into several levels and that if we didn’t meet our teacher on the first level, to keep going up until we did.

If we met anyone to ask, ‘Are you my teacher?’ And if the answer was no, to move on.

Again we were blindfolded in our chairs or on our rugs.

As the beat began for the journey to begin I repeated the intention the whole group had been given.

‘My intention is to go to the upper world to meet a teacher in human form and either ask a question or request a healing.’

Simon had suggested that we avoid ‘when should’ questions as spirit existed in a timeless place and guidance on time has always proved problematic. Also to avoid ‘and’ questions because it invariably means we’re asking two questions in one.

I was in two minds whether to ask for healing for my broken finger and trapped nerve, or to ask that I lose the sudden craving I’d developed for sweets. I need to purify my body before taking the Yellow Fever vaccine. In the end I decided to go with the help with the craving.

By the end of the third repetition I was spiralling up into the sky from the top of the mountain. I found myself in a strange landscape – a bit like something from a science fiction film.

I saw a man running very quickly some feet ahead of me, but he didn’t stop. No one else came so I decided to move up to the next level.

As I moved up I lost all awareness of everything around me. I felt the pulsating beats of the drum and felt myself merge with them. My whole being became the beat of the drum, and despite the insistence of the beat I experienced a sense of calm, total oneness with the beat. I was vaguely aware of movement somewhere in my head, but nothing defined, nothing tangible that I could describe.

I stayed in this state till the change of tempo in the beat signalled the return to the middle world. It was a reluctant return as I was so at one with the other beat, so at home being the music.

I apologised to the person I had to do feedback with for having so little to share. Interestingly he said he’d had a similar experience toward the end of his journey. Did we share this during the journey I wondered?

Although Simon found it interesting, he didn’t comment on it further.

On relaying the experience to a friend of mine a few days later, she said to consider that in the upper world music is my teacher.

What do you think?

PS. The following day one of the participants brought in a bowl of cherries to share, which kept me away from the biscuits!!! Was the sweet craving healed or was this just a coincidence.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – Journey to the lower world – Page 3

Simon explained that we’d be making our first journey to the lower world to see if there was an animal there who wanted to work with us.

He explained the drumming signals, i.e. the steady beat for the intention setting and the journey, the rapid beat that signals our return, and the beats that would signal that we be fully present in the room.

So, with blindfold in place, (as the journey needs to be taken in the dark without distractions), we lay on our rugs or sat in our chairs and waited for the drum beat which would be the signal for us to set our intention three times before finding our axis mundi and beginning our descent.

As the monotonous beat of the drum began I repeated the intention we’d all been given three times.

‘My intention is to go to the lower world to explore and to see if there’s an animal for me’

2002-01-01 00.00.00-1478My axis mundi was through the roots of a magnificent copper beach tree at the front of my house. I had to make myself really tiny to get into the roots, and became smaller and smaller with the descent as the roots narrowed.

It was a weird feeling and I opened my eyes to look around – only to find I was looking into a blindfold, and realised why we’d been asked to use them.

I finally emerged through a tiny door at floor level into a round room, very much like a mouse hole. As I stood there trying to acclimatise my eyes to the dim light I grew back to my full size and became aware of my grandmother sitting at a table. She wore a white veil which covered her face and was looking deeply into a candle on the table in front of her.

When she became aware of me she lifted her veil, stood up and held out her hand to me. Without speaking she took my hand and we walked through the wall (there were no doors in the room) into blinding sunlight outside. We were standing in what appeared to be a small village in Africa.

We walked for a short time till we came to a large circle of animals, all kinds of animals, from lions to boars, from elephants to deer.

‘Are one of these mine?’ I asked, but my grandmother didn’t answer.

As we walked up to the circle the animals parted to let us in, and then closed the circle around us again.

My grandmother walked with me to the centre of the circle then beckoned me to continue walking while she stayed there.

As I reached the other end of the circle the animals parted to let me through then closed the circle again.

After a little while of walking on my own I became aware of a black jaguar walking beside me.

‘Oh, it’s you!’ I exclaimed, really pleased to see him.

‘Yes, it’s me,’ he smiled.

‘I was so happy to have you with me last night on Kilburn High Road when it was late and I was lost because I’d been given the wrong directions by somebody who didn’t know.’ I gushed.

‘That’s what I’m here for,’ he said reassuringly.

‘I have a question for you,’ I said, remembering the question from the meditation in the circle on Thursday about how I get rid of fear.

‘Yes?’ he encouraged.

‘How do I get rid of fear? I don’t mean how do I manage it, I mean how do I get rid of it.’

He paused for a moment. ‘Well, you can always jump on my back. I will carry you.’

‘I can do that?’ I was incredulous. Me? Travelling on the back of a black jaguar?

‘Yes, because you have a lot to do that could be scary. When get really scared jump on my back,’ he said as he turned his head to look at me, as if to make sure I knew he meant it.

I was about to say how grateful I was when I heard the rapid drum beats which signalled our return to middle world.

‘Thanks, but I have to go now!’ I said, giving him a quick hug before running back the way I came, through the ring of animals, back through the room, said a quick goodbye to grandma and headed back up the roots. This time it didn’t feel so strange to be small again. I was moving with a sense of urgency. I didn’t want to be left in the lower world when the beats ended. I didn’t know what would happen.

I made it. By the time the signal for being back in the room sounded, I was there, marvelling what had just taken place.


Leave a comment

The Way of the Shaman – The Basics – Page 2

I arrived for the first day of the course at the Amadeus Centre in Little Venice, West London on foot after a thirty five minute walk from my B&B. It had been a hot and sticky night, airless on the inside and too loud on the outside to open the windows. I hadn’t quite grasped that Kilburn High Road would be alive for so long after the witching hour.

The Amadeus Centre, West London

The Amadeus Centre, West London

By the time we were all seated in the large room there was a buzz of anticipation as people made contact with others who had made this journey (no pun intended) to learn about shamanism and shamanic practices.

The things we’d been asked to bring, a palm sized stone, a blindfold, a rug or cushion, pen and notebook, were all laid out beside us. (Well, I was sitting on my rug.)

When we were all seated Simon and his assistant Martha welcomed us. After the housekeeping arrangements were relayed Simon began by putting shamanism into context.

He said it was the ultimate democratic spirituality. There’s only you and spirit, no rule book to follow and no intermediary.

He paid tribute to the two people who had been highly influential in his understanding of and development as a shamanic practitioner, namely Carlos Castaneda and Michael Harner, and gave us a quick overview of shamanic

In all traditions where shamanism was practices.practiced (and this was world-wide before organise religions brutally squashed it, ridiculed it, or killed its masters) three things were consistent:

The Drum: 4-7 beats per second encourages the brain to move into theta waves, the state between sleeping and waking, where connection with spirit is most effective. Most spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting, and prayer are designed to help you reach this state. The drums have been proved to be the most effective at getting you there quickly.

The Voice – Is used to connect with spirit and with each other, particularly in healing when it can have a soothing and healing effect on the client.

The body – movement is an integral part of shamanic practice. Often the shaman will act out the journey he or she is undertaking on behalf of a client.

A shaman is someone who is able to move awareness from this reality into another to access information and bring it back into this one in order to heal or to provide guidance. A shaman works in partnership with spirit, and is able to make him or herself a ‘hollow bone’ or an ‘empty reed’ in order to allow spirit to work through them. A lot like trance mediumship. Indeed there was a lot of references throughout the workshop of similarities between the two forms of practice, with some small but significant differences. Mainly that a shaman would never interpret the metaphors of the journey s/he undertakes for the client, whereas spiritualist sometimes do.

He said a shaman is not a title one gives oneself, in the same way a hero would not call himself a hero. It is a title bestowed on one by others for the practitioner’s consistent ability to heal and to help.

He went on to say there are no rules as such in shamanism – the individual gets the direct revelation while speaking to spirit during a ‘journey’. This is in contrast to religions where the rules include all that is in the holy book and must be obeyed and carried out by all in the same way. Religions also require that other people interact with God on our behalf, i.e. the Pope.

A shaman’s map consists of three worlds: Upper, middle and lower. The upper and lower worlds exist as spiritual reality and it’s where the shaman journeys to find answers to questions, solutions to problems, or means to heal. The middle world is the reality as we know it.

A journey always involves an intention which is set prior to undertaking the journey. The nature of the intention will determine whether the shaman travels to the upper or lower world.

Spirit present primarily as animals or as humans because we are both. Animal spirits mainly, but not exclusively, inhabit the lower world, and humans mainly, but not exclusively, the upper world.

The shaman always travels from an axis mundi, i.e. a recognisable point on this earth. If travelling to the lower world it could be through the roots of a tree, down a rabbit hole, or in a lift. Journey to the upper world could be from the top of a mountain, a tree etc.

The final bit of information he gave us before our first journey was that a shaman engages all his or her attention with  intention. There’s no scope for thinking about what to cook for dinner, or what to wear for the work’s do.

With this we were taken into our first journey.


2 Comments

Visit to Brompton Cemetery

Regular followers will remember that back in May I had an experience which seemed to be directing me to Brompton Cemetery.

https://writingcreativelywithspirit.com/2013/05/06/graveyards-and-pigeons/

I got my opportunity to carry out that directive on Friday (19/07/13). I’d arrange to meet my friend outside West Brompton tube station at 1.15 p.m. but as she was delayed I walked the few yards to the cemetery by myself.

Open Day at Brompton Cemetery

Open Day at Brompton Cemetery

I noticed two things almost simultaneously. The first was the banner advertising the cemetery’s open day the following Sunday. I wondered who hosted such a day. Whether the residents come out for the day and invite people to experience their small resting space (or in some cases not so small). Which leads me to the second thing I noticed. The vastness of the cemetery.

The main street in Brompton Cemetery

The main street in Brompton Cemetery

As I stood at the Old Brompton Road end my eyes were drawn to the circular building at the end of a long drive which was flanked by ancient tombstones in all shapes and sizes. I made my way in the scorching sun through the group of what appeared to be street performers. As I wandered further up the drive their laughter and applause became less distinct.

I took detours down some of the side streets to the left and to the right, noting that some of the graves down these avenues were somewhat overgrown with long grasses, and sprinkled with vivid purple sweet peas.

Overgrown graves at Brompton Cemetery

Overgrown graves at Brompton Cemetery

Some well positioned trees provided welcomed shade, and on one occasion an opportunity to ‘spend a penny’ as there are no facilities in the cemetery.

By the time my friend arrived an hour later I’d had a chance to take in some of the more spectacular and unusual edifices, and engage in friendly chatter with a Portuguese man who stopped to talk to me. I found no evidence of the graves of Surrounded by the Enemy or Red Penny, and without a specific map of where they’re buried I could have be wandering around for weeks. The cemetery is 16.4 hectares.

Graves at Brompton Cemetry

Graves at Brompton Cemetry

We headed to Tesco for some lunch at the Fulham Road entrance, being both a bit peckish by then; but was forced to stop and observe a group of courting pigeons. I’d never noticed before the iridescent green and pink of the male neck feathers, which shimmer and dazzle when inflated to attract the attention of all too often disinterested females. These female pigeons were certainly making their men work for their attention. Makes me think we could learn a thing or two from them.

Flowers at Brompton Cemetry

Flowers at Brompton Cemetry

It was lovely to spend time with my friend in person. Even though we speak almost every day on the phone there’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting to rekindle that special friendship energy.

As we on a bench, chatted and munched on our lunch, a red fox emerged from the graves behind us and stood looking inquisitively at us. He was there for about five minutes till the woman on the bench opposite us looked up from her magazine and exclaimed, ‘It’s a fox.’

He turned to look at her and scarpered. We marvelled at how he’d held our gazes, looking from one to the other of us as though trying to tell us something we couldn’t quite get.

An hour later as we wandered back down one of the side avenues we saw a group of crows. What is the collective noun for crows? They seemed to be having some kind of meeting but dispersed every time someone came close.

Crows at Brompton Cemetry

Crows at Brompton Cemetry

I mentioned to another friend that nothing spectacular happened in the cemetery. ‘Maybe not in this realm,’ he replied. ‘How do you know what your presence there, at that time, changed somewhere else?’

I’ve only just realised as I write this (five days later) that the day I had the dream there were pigeons trying to get into my window. One meaning of seeing pigeons is getting messages in unusual ways.

I looked up foxes and crows.

Fox = amongst other things, listen and hear, look and see, sense and feel – trust your senses to guide you.

Crow = be very watchful over the next couple of days for any clear omens and signs that will guide your and teach you.

With hindsight it wasn’t surprising to see these creatures – given that I was in London for a shamanic workshop!!! DOH!