Gabriella Suzanne

Gabriella Suzanne.

What’s in a name? Anything? Everything?
Gabi Su would say it only matters if it matters.
But she is a cat. Or she was a cat,
who has now been promoted to Cat Spirit,
Cat Mother, Cat Goddess,
Wild Cat who roams the forest
and who sleeps so lightly on my bed
in the tenebrous night.

When Gabi Su first came to me
she was called “Susan” —
much too ordinary
for who she really was.
But when I asked her True Name,
she said, “Who, Me?
I’m no one at all. I don’t have a Name.”

That just couldn’t be right. Even I,
a mere human, knew that and we humans
hardly ever even know our own True Names.

Her sister Sally was so emphatically a Sally,
diminutive royalty, that no one ever got it wrong.
Brother Samuel was not a Samuel at all, but
he knew he was Robbie,
Round Robbie, if you please.
But “Susan” — who was she really?
It took years to find out.

She was sitting on the arm of my chair,
half talking, half singing about something
complicated and long. When she paused
I said, “You should have been named “Gabby”.
She looked astonished and pleased
and head-butted my nose. Suprised,
I said, “Really? Your Name is Gabby?”
She turned her head away, a clear cat “No.”

Thinking about it, then asking, “Could it be
Gabriella?” Still turned away,
she looked at me out of the corner
of her eye and waited. “Gabriella Suzanne?”
Head-butts, pat-a-cheeks, nose kisses, all in a flurry.
We had it at last!

“Gabriella Suzanne, would you like a treat?”

The turning away of the head. Not right.
I sighed. Thinking again, saying, “Gabi Su?”
Another nose kiss and, tail high,
she led me to where she knew
the best treats lived.

But, now, today,
when I mark the stone
for her grave, it will be
Gabriella Suzanne.

Cù Sìth? The Black Dog

This is the first of a series of small pieces that I’ll tag as “plot twists”. Not long ago, in a writing class, we were asked to write a few paragraphs about an incident that changed our lives — something that changed the way we see and approach the world. My first response was a totally blank mind, but then I realized that there were many such incidents but most of them would seem quite minor to others. There is a thing called “the teachable moment” when we are ready to profoundly get something, even something that seems unimportant to the people around us. Those moments matter forever after. If we think about them later on when we can see the effect they have had and still have on us, we may understand ourselves better. Hopefully, if I tell you a few of mine, it may help you remember and make better use of your own. I call them “plot twist moments” because they alter the course of our personal stories. For example:

About two in the morning, after an argument with my husband, I was too restless and agitated to sleep, so I went out for a walk. This probably wasn’t a wise thing to do in Glasgow, especially on the long, deserted Kelvin Way as it passed the dark, silent Glastow University and then through the even-darker Kelvin Park, empty except for homeless people, perhaps sleeping, perhaps not.

There was a thick hedge between the park and me. I wasn’t really thinking about where I was or the risks of a Glasgow night; I was just hotly simmering and trying to calm down. About halfway along, a tatty black van approached from the other direction — and slowed and stopped about 30 feet in front of me. A brawny, rough-looking man got out.

“Hey, missus! Want a ride?” Hard voice full of innuendo.

“No, thank you.” When in doubt, be polite.

“Och, come on!” He was still approaching, now about halfway to me. This was getting scary.

At that moment, a huge, hulking black dog materialized out of the hedge bordering the park. The dog stepped in front of me, facing the oncoming man and snarling.The man stopped abruptly, holding out both hands as if to push the dog off. The dog took a slow step toward him, and then another. The rumbling growl grew deeper and louder as he continued to slowly pace forward.

“Hold your dog, missus! I’m going!” He fled toward the van, jumped in, and reversed hastily up the street to the nearest corner, disappearing with a squealing of tires.

The dog stood still, but rumbling until the van was out of sight. Then he started to turn toward me and I wondered, “Now what?”

He faced me, the orange glow of the street light reflecting in his eyes, happily wagging his tail, his tongue lolling. He was clearly saying, “Aren’t I a good dog?” I thanked him fervently, and he turned and vanished back into the hedge.

Still somewhat shaken, I went home.

Months later, when I finally told the story to some Scottish friends, one asked hesitantly, “Was that dog real?”

The others all nodded.

There are many legends in Scotland about black dogs who appear when needed to rescue or to harm people. I hadn’t thought of the stories until then and, indeed, the dog had seemed utterly solid, but… I wasn’t certain. I answered, “He was real enough.”

Do I believe the dog was “real” or was it one of the cù sìth, the faery dogs of Scottish legend? I tend to swing both ways. But what I got from this as it settled into me was that I felt protected — and I continued to feel protected. I still do. And the way we feel, the energy we project matters. That alone is a kind of magic.

He was real enough.

What plot twists do you remember way back in your life? And how did they change things for you?

Interview About Faery

Recently, I was asked by Isabella Baucco if she could interview me about Faery for a paper she was doing for her folklore class in university, and I agreed. She also said that it would be fine for me to post it here. I may add pictures later. It was rather rushed, but here it is:

Subject: Fae interview questions

Hello! Feel free to answer as many of these as you are comfortable with, in whatever order you would like! Thank you so much for your time, and I’m sorry about the rushed deadline!

When was the first time you came into contact with the fae, and what was that like?

I don’t remember. It seems like they were always there. I suspect it was something like my granddaughter. I watched her pull herself up at the window and look outside when she was about six months old. She peered around out there and finally saw what she was evidently looking for. She giggled and waved at what she saw and promptly fell down, unable to stand up without holding on with both hands. She laid there, giggling and waving her arms and legs for a bit and then got back up. When she caught sight of what she was looking for again, she laughed more and bounced as well as she could, making little crooning sounds at what she could see, her eyes following it (or them) around. She was definitely seeing something, batting her eyelashes at them, and babbling as babies do when they are happy, with an occasional delighted shriek thrown in. I like to think that it must have been much the same for me. Now that she is 15 she doesn’t remember that any more than I do.

How would you define the fae?

They are beings, as far as I understand it, who live at a different frequency than we do. Like the difference between ultraviolet light (and higher frequencies of radiant energy) and the light we see by. The same planet viewed at different “levels”. I’m not a physicist and can’t even begin to figure that out, but I take the faeries word for it as they seem to think they know. I just know that they are there, and I have to be quite quiet inside myself in order to perceive them. However, I see them with my eyes like I see human auras simply as light. And like human auras, sometimes I see them, but mostly I sense them in other ways — scent, voices, sounds, melody. People vary in how we perceive these things, and I’m personally less clairvoyant than I am clairaudient and clairsentient. They seem to live much longer than we do for the most part, and they come in as many varieties as what we think of as “normal” earth creatures, plants, and other living beings.

Because of this, they perceive the world differently than we humans do. They have tried to explain and show me, but I suspect it’s rather like me trying to explain mathematics to the cat. One of my cats is quite sure that she is due two crunchy treats before each meal — she knows that one is not enough and that three are exciting and special, but two are what she clearly expects. I get very accusing looks if there is only one left in the jar. Does she count 1, 2, 3? Or does she just know in some other way?

Sometimes I feel the frustration of the fae when they are trying to explain something to me, and I regret being so “hard of understanding” but it’s how humans generally are. Fortunately, the fae don’t give up easily and may try to explain things later in incomprehensible or funny dreams or other ways.

How are you able to tell when you have come into contact with fae?

For me, there is usually happy, bubbly, yet peaceful feeling or almost as if there is a lot of static electricity in the air. (You need to understand here that nearly everything I say about them is a sort of metaphor for the actual experience. It’s not static electricity and it doesn’t make sparks that sting, but that’s the closest I can come to a description of it.) The air is buzzing without a sound? There may be a sense of presence akin to someone standing close behind you — you may not see or hear them, but you know that they are there.

It’s tricky to maintain the necessary quietness inside myself when I’m sensing that exuberance around. At the same time, I may see lights or hear voices or music or other sounds. There may be light touches to get my attention or the hum of healing energy. Often they tell me something I didn’t know but needed to understand. Sometimes they make jokes — occasionally visual puns or other kinds of faery humor. It’s hard to explain this — often their communications arrive as a burst of insight that is a mixture of emotions, words, and energy. To them, these bursts are the normal way to communicate, but to a human, they may require some mental unpacking to grasp all the layers of meaning, if in fact we ever do get it all.

How would you describe your emotional state during the experiences you have had? Are there any extremes/outliers?

Variable. It depends on what is going on. Is it serious or purely fun? Deep or playful? We humans tend to separate these mental and emotional states, but to the fae, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we have had long discussions about the way humans limit themselves to a linear one-thing-at-a-time in our perceptions while faery communication/perception is more holistic. A burst of faery insight may contain joy and sorrow both. They have argued that we miss the point of doing things when we separate play from work, insisting that all purposeful activities are both, and if they are not, we’ve got something quite wrong about why and how we’re doing it.

How would you describe the fae you have encountered?

That’s difficult too. An individual faery may make the impression of being nine feet tall, but to them (if I understand this correctly), it’s more about intensity of presence than it is about physical size. In fact, they seem to find it confusing when I say something like “nine feet tall” as if they were limited to a specific size, space, or shape when really that isn’t so. There is another thing here — let’s take the human “aura” as an example. “Auras” are very fluid and changeable. They are the bioenergy field that exists through and extends beyond the human physical body — and the bodies of animals, insects, and all the other things we consider to be living, physical beings made of matter. But if the physicists are correct, matter and energy are the same thing, but slowed down and compacted or faster and more free. If E=mc2, this must be so. Nuclear weapons suggest this is true and a little bit of “matter” can quickly be converted to a great deal of “energy”.

Apparently, while humans perceive matter and energy as different things, the fae don’t. It is all one thing. I just realized something! In many belief systems about the fae, they are regarded as the “Elder Folk” and much older than the human species. We human and other earth beings could be a sort of Faery larva (or prenatal embryo) and may eventually (though the millennia?) grow up to be fae ourselves. That’s a mind-boggling thought! Anyway, back to my previous line of thought about trying to describe the fae and how they explained that to me.

I could try to describe an individual fae. I could even draw a picture of one. BUT, as they have been quick to explain, that picture is just a metaphor for who they really are. What we “see” is a watered-down version of their personality and/or character. What we “see” as bodies or faces is a meeting point somewhere between our conceptions and their reality. We see a particular kind of face/body that represents their character or personality as we (as individuals) would see that being. Another human might project a different face on that same person. For a simple example, I have heard a few people say that brown eyes are “warm” and blue eyes are “cold”. Having blue eyes myself, I don’t agree, but I have heard it said more than once, usually by brown-eyed people. To a person who believes that and is perceiving a warm personality, they would see the faery eyes as brown, whereas I, not believing, might see them as blue or even some color unlike normal human eyes. The same thing is true of all the features — we perceive personality in flesh, but we are not always correct. A human may be quite ugly but be kind and friendly, a lovely person — or they may be physically beautiful and yet narcissistic or psychopathic. Yet often the way we perceive the fae is that we project the features and expression on the personality the fae are projecting. Confusing? Well, yes it is. Communication with faeries is frequently fraught with confusion, resulting largely from our own limitations and projections. If we want to see someone as scary, we will project that on them, true or false.

Have you encountered different types of fae? How did these experiences differ?

Yes, I have. They may differ vastly — differing as much as experiencing a human versus experiencing a rock or a tree. This question either requires a book in answer or can’t be readily answered at all. I hope the rest of my answers here will help compensate for the absence of one here.

How would you describe the energy of places where fae might be/where you have encountered them?

Again, they differ a great deal, depending on what is going on there. I need to say here that there are places we may experience the fae more easily, but the fae are, in fact, everywhere. But in places that are noisy, unpleasant, distressing, violent, we tend to be overwhelmed by these loud things and miss out entirely on the much more subtle presence of the fae. But they are still there.

Have you had any experiences that have stuck with you or changed your life?

Many, many, many.

What do you think the origin of fae is?

I really don’t know. Even they haven’t tried to explain it to me. If the legends have it right, they have been around a lot longer than we have. I’m even less certain, if possible, about the origins of gods and goddesses and the universe. We humans are just babes blundering about in the universal woods. I’m not even certain about our own origins.

Are there any experiences that you would like to talk about?

Dozens. Hundreds, in fact. After all, I’m 80 and they’ve always been a part of my world. But I won’t. Well, perhaps one or two.

One was a series of conversations I had with a couple of them about money. On first of the month, I was writing checks to pay my bills. and a couple of them asked what that was “really” about. They didn’t like, they said, how I got all tangled up when I was doing it. We got into a long discussion about money. Eventually, I tried to explain money as a sort of “crystalized energy” which represented what we received from and gave to others. They seemed doubtful, but agreed to study it from that point of view.

The next month as I was paying my bills again, they expressed disagreement with my explanation. They had been watching this “money thing” and had found that “some people gave a great deal of energy in exchange for little money while others might receive a lot of money in exchange for very little of their energy.” It didn’t, they said, seem fair at all, especially as one only needed to look at the aura of a human to tell if they were giving more than they were receiving and how they felt about it.

I explained that, although this was probably true, we humans weren’t good at perceiving auras clearly enough to do that. They said, “Well, you could be if you practiced!” This is a remark I’ve heard from them in other contexts like teleportation, telepathy, astral travel, and other borderline things people sometimes do. I had to admit that this could be so, but as yet we hadn’t got that good at it. This seemed like a standoff, so I went back to paying my bills, and they agreed to study it some more so we could talk about it next time.

The next month rolled around and again I was writing checks to pay bills. They hovered in front of me, watching. Finally, one said, “We still don’t think this makes any sense.” I should perhaps mention that I am not at my best when I’m dealing with money and bills and numbers, and without thinking, I snapped, “It’s a game we are playing, and money is the way we keep score!”

“Oh! Why didn’t you tell us that before? It makes perfect sense!”

They promptly vanished, leaving me thinking, “It does? Really?” It didn’t make sense to me, did it? And yet I was afraid that it actually did. All that angst and suffering people went through was just for the counters in a game? Yet, over the years I have come to agree with them more and more. But it’s still a bit unnerving.

Hmmm. I could go on and on. That was an easy tale to tell, but many happenings are much more complicated, perhaps even profound. Yet, though I’d like to tell them, and even though the fae insist that “doing good in the right way” makes us stronger, it’s quite late and I’m tired and almost falling asleep on my keyboard. The cats have given up and gone to bed and the fae are looking a bit disapproving — they, too, seem to have enjoyed this, but enough is enough for the moment. They even look a little smug about it, possibly because of the embryo thing. Or something else — I don’t know. But I do need to get to bed before the birds start waking up and making a musical ruckus in our forest here.

Good night, and good morning, Bella. And thank you.

Faery blessings to you,



I just saw Wesley True Lee’s cover photo on Facebook. He didn’t explain it, but it reminded me of something I’d forgotten. Once upon a time, long ago (as my own years are counted), I was working in Glasgow, Scotland. I needed a holiday, and hopped on a train, thinking to go to Oban — or somewhere in that direction, wherever my feet wanted to go. As we pulled out of the station, I saw a rainbow in the direction of Oban. My passing thought was that I must be on the right track, headed, as I was, for a wild rainbow.

I settled in to read my book. Every time I looked out of the window (often) the rainbow was still in the direction of Oban, but I was in the habit of travelling with faeries so I knew then that I might wind up anywhere…

This went on until we reached Crainlarich. The train I was on was headed for Inverness, but the rainbow held unwaveringly in the direction of Oban although it was now to the west instead of the northwest. I changed trains there and followed it. At every station, I checked the rainbow — still steady for Oban. When I arrived there and walked out of the station, the rainbow had shifted and was out over one of the Western Isles. I checked the landmarks I could recognize, went back in the station (a Brit would say “on the station” instead of “in” but I don’t climb on their roofs). There I bought a map, and then going outside again, found that my rainbow was over Lismore. I’d always intended to go there someday, and this, apparently, was the right time.


The Lismore ferry and a rainbow
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Gordon

Back in the station, I bought a ferry ticket for Lismore and went to the tourist desk to book a bed and breakfast room. They also did dinner because they were rather remote from any village. This suited me fine — I just planned on walking idly and gently resting and happily communing with whatever/whoever I found willing, and perhaps writing or sketching.

The promised car from the B&B picked me up, and … the rainbow had moved again and we were travelling straight for it. I said to the driver, “That’s a lovely rainbow.”

He looked at it thoughtfully and said, “Aye, it’s bonny. It’s just about over the house.” So it was — in fact, as we got close enough to see the house, it was right over it. He gave it an odd look and added, “I’ve not seen it just over the house before.” He grinned at me, pleased to have such a gift to offer a stranger. It still held steady, arched over the house, and disappeared just as we pulled into the long driveway.

After a good dinner and a sit by the fire with my book, I went up to my room and slept soundly, the only guest in the house just then. In the morning after breakfast, I set out with a small backpack, holding my sketchbook and pencil, an apple, a sandwich, and a bottle of water. As I walked out the door, I looked all around up at the sky (this is a habit that old sailors have — the first thing you check as you come out of the hatch is to see what weather is coming at you from all directions).


I took the road that went toward it. North. After a couple of hours of sauntering, I came to an old stone bench, half collapsed but still strong enough to sit on. I sat, leaned back facing the sun, and sighed happily. The air was sparkling with the presence of faery, the way it often does in Scotland. As I sat there, quiet, a feeling that I’d forgotten washed over me — perfect calm, perfect peace beyond measure, timeless.

I sat there every day for a week, and every day that magical feeling swept over me there. It might be ten minutes; it might be hours. Between sittings, I randomly rambled around the island. Never far, just far enough to see whatever I needed to see to delight and teach me.

Somehow, since then, I’ve always known that, however it feels, I’m always in the right place at the right time, especially as long as I follow guidence given instead of trying to lead myself.

Inner Journeys May Gang Aft Agley


I wrote the first part of this over a year ago,and will update it at the end.

My question for this inner journey exploration was “Why am I finding it so difficult to lose weight?”

The Topsie Turvets suggest…

Things need to be looked at from a different angle. Back out of your emotional entanglements, take a deep breath, and look anew. Much of the apparent confusion about your current situation is caused by a faulty point of view.

Get the honest opinions of sensible others, and then re-look at your own. Defensiveness and denial may be causing much difficulty.

Try imagining that you are looking at the situation from the viewpoint of each of the others involved. This is not an exercises in seeing how others “ought” to see things, but in simply understanding what they feel. Words like “he ought to see that…” are not useful at this time.

And don’t be angry with yourself if it turns out you were missing something and need to change your point of view. It shows you are learning and growing and to be congratulated!

Faery blessings on your little toes, for they will carry you into wonderful things!

I’m thinking that perhaps in this case “others” may refer to different aspects of myself — it might be useful to think of them as body, mind, spirit — or perhaps as the chakra system with each chakra an individual entity, linked though it to all the others. I don’t know — it might be something else.

I also am not certain who I need to ask to speak to. I think I’ll draw another card and see if it suggests someone.

The Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies, Morna, says, “The answer to your question is, put simply, love — love given with wisdom and compassion, love without selfishness or possessiveness.”

Morna tells us that giving and receiving love and intimacy in a wide variety of relationships is important at this time. She gives you notice that this is a time to open and heal your heart.

Different aspects of life may well be flowing happily together, healing separations and hurts from the past. Bonding may take place and deep feelings emerge. Changes for the better may occur in all aspects of life, but especially in relationships which are deepening and becoming richer.

You are experiencing love therapy for your heart.

Faery blessings on the loving!

So perhaps it is about Morna. Perhaps it is about loving — loving myself? The best I can say about where I am with that is that I’ve overcome my antagonism with my body, and my body and “I” are currently on moderately friendly but distant terms. I try to take care of myself — but things like nurturing and sleep seem to come after everything else. Right now I’m doing a typical thing. I’m quite tired, having trouble staying awake, but at the same time, here I am trying to do an inner journey because it’s important to know why I don’t take better care of myself! Is this ridiculous or what?

I shall close the computer right now and sleep. And if I awaken during the night, I shall go back to sleep until morning. Then I shall think about this!

But I didn’t do that. Instead I went ahead on to the inner journey:

There is a small garden. I know that Spring lives there. She is waiting for me to come out of winter into her garden. Her other name is Aurealia. There is a prickly hedge around the garden — hawthorn or blackthorn. It has buds, but is not yet blooming. A cold wind blows across the back of my neck. I walk around the garden looking for a way in. No gate. Is it a magic word I need?

I say, “Please, may I come in?”

The hedge pulls apart in front of me, and I walk through. It rustles impatiently. “Thank you,” I say. It closes gently. My grandmother’s “magic words.” The fae love them too.

There is a winding path, edged by tall banks of flowers — hollyhocks, delphiniums, sunflowers, other tall ones I can’t think of the names of. Or don’t know them. I follow the path and from the turns begin to feel that I’m in a maze — not a maze, you can get lost in them. There are no choices to make here — this is a labyrinth instead. One path to the center. It’s a long way, a lot of walking. I’d like to sit and rest, but there is no place to sit down. I look behind me and the path has disappeared, the flowers drawing together. There is only one way to go.

I’m still walking. And thirsty. I don’t see how it can be so far — O, silly me. Of course it can be as far as it wants. Wait. A hollyhock whispers, “It is as far as you make it.” I stop again. My fingers are sticky. I touch one with my tongue to see why — it tastes like honey. Odd. I haven’t touched anything. “No,” a sunflower says, “but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been touched.”

I don’t know what to say to that. I lick the honey off my fingertips. It makes me more thirsty. I should quite like a glass of apple cider vinegar and water. Lots of water. Or cool tea with lemon. I just discovered I am wearing two pairs of glasses hanging on strings around my neck. Did I think that would help me find my way? My way is very plain. I remember that usually I ask an animal to come and guide me to whoever I’m going to meet, which may be Morna, the Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies. Or it might be Spring. Or they may be the same person.

I wonder if I need a guide on this one-way path? As I hesitate, an ostrich steps out of the bushes beside me. “Bother!” he says. “Bless my tail feathers — don’t touch them! Naturally you need a guide. That’s how you know where to go.”

I point out the one-way nature of the path. “Right!” says the ostrich. “Naturally it is one-way — all paths are! So how will you know when to get off the path without a guide? You’ve already gone too far.”

I stop. “Too far? Then why are we still walking? I’m tired and thirsty. Shouldn’t we go back?” I hurry to catch up with him; he’s going quite fast.

“Don’t be silly — it’s one-way. I thought we’d established that — and that all paths are one way. You can never really go back the same path — it is always changing.”

A philosophical ostrich yet!

He stops abruptly and I run into his tail feathers. “Eeeek!” he shrieks and jumps ahead. I didn’t know ostriches could jump that far. I apologize profusely. He grumbles and mutters to himself. “You tell them and tell them, but do they listen? NO! Now my tail feathers are probably crumpled. Botheration!”

“NOW!” he squawks, jumping sideways into the delphiniums.

Theflowers quickly part, obviously annoyed. “No, no,” the ostrich says. “Not my fault. She forgot to call me and missed the proper path, and now we must take a short-cut through here or we’ll wind up on the other side of the moon!”

The delphiniums hiss at me. I didn’t know flowers could do that, but why not? The ostrich and I take a few more steps and we’re suddenly in a small clearing — just big enough for a bench and a chair and a tall lady standing beside the chair, her lovely pale green skirts flaring out around her. I feel quite scruffy in my jeans and with sticky fingers. I hope she doesn’t offer to shake hands.

She has one hand up in front of her face. She is snickering and trying not to let me know it. I would like very much to sit down. I am quite tired and hot and puffed. But I stand there saying nothing, waiting for her to speak.

“Sit,” she commands, between giggles. “Sit. There is a glass of apple cider vinegar and honey and water behind the bench for you. Drink!”

Obediently, I sit and drink. Then I thank the ostrich for being such a good guide. He goes out the other side of the clearing, still muttering to himself.

“It seems like I have not made a very good start here,” I say with my head down and my hair hanging in front of my face.

“That’s all right,” she says. “You’ve made it to the end anyway.” She bops me on the head with a wand I hadn’t noticed before. I immediately go to sleep. I wonder if I’ll dream…


I woke up in my bed at home in the morning. I’d hoped I’d dream, but if I did I could not remember it. At the moment I have no idea what that was all about. Perhaps it will come to me later?

More than a year later, in the wee hours again!

I just read this again, and at last, I get it. That took a while. I have discovered just this moment that when I relax about diet and don’t do anything extreme or be critical, my weight goes slowly down. Also, it makes a difference to get as much sleep as I need, which is more than I think I want or should have.

Both of these things are a surprise — counter intuitive. The reason she bopped me over the head and put me to sleep a year ago was that she was trying to show me something, but I was too tired (and dim) to get it until now.

The reason I finally got it is that I weighed myself this morning and found five pounds gone since I checked a few days ago. And what have I been doing? Sleeping a lot. And eating things my body wants. Not stressing. Hmmmm. I wonder if I’ve finally got it? We’ll see. I’ve been feeling sleepy for a long while, but not letting myself sleep, even though the cats clearly think I’m silly. I guess I’ll go and try it. I’m grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Good night, dear hearts!

Feelings & Reality, Life & Death & the Samhain Gate

There are two parts to this that need each other — the first is science (or opinion) and the other is magic (or science) (or religion). First, the science —

I read something in Second Life (a virtual world) yesterday on someone’s profile page. She (or possibly he) wrote, “The only things that are real in Second Life are feelings.” I suspect she assumes that the feelings are firmly attached to “real” people outside the computers.

So, feelings are real and everything else in Second life is pixels, and pixels ultimately are just excited dots of energy on a computer screen. Ideas are what we manifest there — ideas of objects or people or whatever we fancy. They appear to have three dimensions, but that’s just an illusion on a flat two-dimensional screen. Wait… they also have the dimension of linear time — or appear to do so. If I think too much about this, it may give me a headache.

In our current version of our so-called “real” world, there seems to be a huge muddle about the differences between truth and opinion and reality and belief and experience and fact. I think this may be important — this idea that only feelings are real. I do know this “feeling thing” was only being said about a “virtual world” that only exists inside a computer.

But I’m not so sure about the “reality” of our world where a lot of people seem to feel that only free range opinions matter — certainly more than science or facts, which according to them are only opinions too. In that view, no one’s opinions matter more than another (except mine, of course, and that’s sort of a secret until there is conflict). This seems to soon turn into a sort of “my way or the highway” kind of thinking, where the biggest gun matters the most.

Think about it. Physicists believe that everything is composed of sub-atomic pixels sorry, particles. These are said to be tiny bits of energy in a whole lot of nothing. They even have names in the Standard Model that include: Six “flavors” of quarks: up, down, bottom, top, strange, and charm; and six types of leptons: electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau, tau neutrino.

(I think perhaps I love physicists more than I knew — anyone who thinks up names like this has to be delightfully whimsical at least some of the time. The same is true of the philosophers who come up with an elaborate notion called the Raven Paradox, which is, in part: The raven paradox, also known as Hempel’s paradox or Hempel’s ravens, is a paradox arising from the question of what constitutes evidence for a statement. Observing objects that are neither black nor ravens may formally increase the likelihood that all ravens are black even though, intuitively, these observations are unrelated.)

This problem was proposed by the logician Carl Gustav Hempel in the 1940s to illustrate a contradiction between inductive logic and intuition.

It goes on from there quite extensively and even dizzyingly. But the whole thing is based on the concept that “all ravens are black.” Any one real, actual white raven (not an albino) brings the whole structure down. And we now know there are actual white ravens</a>. They may not have existed in Hempel’s time. But they do now, and it’s no longer factual to say “all ravens are black” even though it may be an opinion still strongly held by many, who may choose to say that a white raven is a “fake”.

Or, perhaps the physicists and the philosophers who come up with these knackerty knotions are, like the white raven, so rare as to be virtually non-existent. If you find one, perhaps you should record it carefully as proof that whimsical scientists do exist. Or perhaps these bursts of whimsicality happen as rarely as white ravens, promptly dissolving into vapor like brief whistles of steam from an overheated boiler. Forgive me, I get… Ooo! Shiny! Ahem. So…

All of those wee bits of energy/matter would crumple into nearly nothing at all but empty space if their excitement didn’t keep them spinning or whatever they really do. Now that I think about it, this sounds a lot like pixels on a screen. To understand why I say this, you can find more than I wanted to know about pixels here.

Back when I first went into Second Life, I was doing a lot of thinking about Buddha and Buddhism, and I had an interesting experience. Flying along (you can do that in Second Life) I got distracted and fell. My avatar fell ungracefully to the ground and splatted right on my belly. Then, without me doing a thing, she/I scrambled up onto my feet and brushed the (imaginary?) dust off.

I was shocked.

I hadn’t told her to do that!

Then I wondered (also involuntarily, with what felt like the back of my mind looking over my shoulder) if there was someone behind me, watching me as I was watching my avatar, and if I sometimes did things that surprised it, things I hadn’t been told to do. And it felt like this someone was nodding and being amused.

I immediately shut Second Life down, turned the computer right off, and unplugged it, which was not something I usually did. Then, I went outside where I dug holes and planted bulbs until I felt like one simple, ordinary, real person again. But I remembered (and have never forgotten) that feeling of someone (me) sitting behind this me (this one that is typing), almost laughing, certainly amused at the confused typing-me and my surprise and shock — and thoughts. Then I thought how amused the Buddha might have been if he’d seen Second Life. It so beautifully demonstrates so many of his concepts.

This brings me to what I really wanted to talk about here. I’ve always meant to write this down and here in the liminal space-time of Samhain (All Hallows’ Eve) seems like an appropriate time to consider Life and Death and What Comes After, especially just after reading Michael Tomlinson’s story, Two Men and a Dog this morning. I quote a bit from the middle: One of the men spoke of a friend of theirs who had died this year. A rich and robust character of a man, impossible to not like the instant you spotted him. “I heard him today, no shit. It was real. He was right there with me and laughing. I asked him aloud if he’d seen my mom and he just laughed really loudly in that way of his and said, ‘It’s not at all —ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, — nothing at all like you think it is,’ and then he just laughed louder and more happily until I didn’t hear him any more. I’ve been thinking about that all day.”

You know, dear reader, I’ve had very similar messages from a few people. I used to do a lot of counseling and healing with people in hospice or terminally ill, and some of them came back briefly after they’d gone on. It usually happened when I was half-asleep or in deep meditation. In one instance, Vera came back to tell me, “It isn’t anything like I thought it would be.” She paused and laughed. “But it isn’t like you thought it would be either!” And she chuckled again and faded away.

There was always that sense of wonderment and laughter — a kind of mellow, companionable chuckle or delighted laughter — and when there were words, they were always something like that — except…

One time was different from the others. No words were involved — only scents and touches and feelings. Well, there may have been words, but not words I understood. It was about four in the morning, and one of our weeks-old kittens was dying. In my lap, Mamacat Samantha washed and cuddled the baby as it went down and down, weaker every moment. At last it gave a tiny shudder as its soul shook loose from the body.

The space we were in suddenly seemed to be much larger, and in front of us stars and nebula formed an opening — rather like a tunnel made of light, with a brilliant light at the far end. Hidden in that star-filled glory I could hear a mother cat calling a kitten, and a warm, milky scent drifted through to us. Something in my lap (not the little dead body) stood up with a wobble and set off into the light on tiny skaky legs, calling back to the Voice we heard. As Samantha and I watched, the babe grew stronger and faster, scampering toward that Voice. Then it was gone, and Samantha and I were alone in an ordinary bedroom, silent.

Samantha leaned against me as she washed the tiny body one last time, then she pressed her face against my tear-wet face, and we both sighed. Slowly, she went to sit in the window and watch for the dawn. But we both knew.

From this and other experiences, I have hopefully concluded, that when you die, there is someone who loves you there to meet and care for you. But I could be wrong about this — we are not all as adorable and innocent as kittens. When I once spent 10 days sitting at Death’s door, there was no one waiting, no light to guide me, just a wonderfully peaceful and restful place to sit and wait for whatever happened next — and I hadn’t a clue what that might be and knew only that I just didn’t know.

Recently someone asked one of those Facebook questions — if you could live forever, would you want to? I was surprised by the number of people who virtually shouted NO! Several others said “for a while” and no one said “yes” — which says pretty terrible things about the society we have created. My own answer was, “I don’t know how long I would like to live. I still have a lot more that I want to do. BUT I shall know when I’m ready to go.”

At 80, it is nice to be clear about that. And there! I finished this before the witching hour, even if WordPress thinks I didn’t!

Calling All Cells

You know how sometimes you say something you hadn’t even been thinking about? Just spontaneously, as if you’d thought it all along, but didn’t ever know it? What happened last night was something like that, but not exactly. I woke up sometime in the small hours. Pain woke me, but I was very sleepy. This happens pretty often these days and I’ve tried various ways to heal or at least cope with it. This time I heard my half-asleep voice say softly, “Calling all cells! Calling all cells! Time to relax! Be aware. Relax, relax, relax. All cells relax!”

The interesting thing was that the cells seemed to do exactly that! I could feel it happening — tension and pain draining down through my head, body, arms, legs, and out my fingers and toes in waves. I was surprised that it was happening so vividly, so quickly, without what I think of as “me” taking any active part in it.

Now, I’ve had other experiences of rapid energy change in healing and self-healing, in meditation, in dreams, but this seemed different in that it felt so mechanical. I know that after 70-odd years of doing healing, I’ve experienced a lot of strange things and learned a lot of surprising things, but I the more I learn the more I know that I’m just a beginner. Now I need to figure out how to practice this effectively when wide awake as well as nearly sleeping. I wonder if a lot of conscious repetition would drill it into the half-conscious state where it seems to work most effectively and could be automatically accessible when I need it?

I’m curious (of course) — what happens if YOU try it?

© Copyright 2017 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Songs & Marzipan


Did I tell you about Marzipan getting excited about me singing a couple of nights ago? No? My singing isn’t really anything to get excited about so her reaction was a surprise.

It was late and i was listening to music on Youtube to relax before I went to sleep, and I started singing along. It has been a long time since I just sang for no reason but it was a happy little song that lured me in.

Marzipan was in the sitting room, but she ran down the hall, and jumped up beside me as I kept on singing. She put her paw on my shoulder, pulled my head around to face her with her other paw, and peered into my mouth — first with one eye and then the other. Then she stuck her nose in my mouth a bit with her ears flat behind. She drew her head back and gave me little licky-kisses on the tip of my nose and the corners of my mouth, purring as loudly as a bandsaw all the while. I could hardly keep from bursting out laughing, but that seemed quite rude so I went on singing while she stuck her nose in my ear and whuffled.

She kept purring and making little prrrt and mrrrt chirps. Finally she sat down beside me and watched the people on screen singing too, and then we had a super-cuddle and went to sleep together.

She’s weird — in a good way, you know.

It was a little song by ABBA, I Have A Dream, that mentioned “wonders” and “fairy tales”, and Marzipan may have thought it was about her — or at least about the world she knows.

The part about all of this that bothers me is realizing that I haven’t sung for so long that she thought it was something strange and amazing — she acted like she had never heard anything like it before — and she just turned eight, I think. That’s a long time for not singing.

I used to sing a lot when there were no humans around — in the house and in the car. There were story songs that I made up as they went along, and there were songs in a language that no one speaks — or understands. I’ve almost always lived with cats and used to sing to them too, just because they were there. They listened sometimes, but they never got excited about it.

I don’t even remember stopping singing… it was certainly nothing intentional. I got sick and didn’t get well again. I suspect it’s an energy thing. Anyway, that may all be changing now.

© 2017 All rights reserved.

Waking Up, Coughing

I’ve got the Awfuls. It isn’t a cold, it’s a sore throat and maybe bronchitis. The lady at the clinic said it’s viral so antibiotics won’t help. She’s sure it isn’t pneumonia, which is a very good thing. She prescribed sugar-free popsicles and ice cream. They do help temporarily, and so do ice packs on my chest. But I wake up in the night coughing instead of breathing.

So at 3 AM, well after the eclipse, when I wakened trying to turn my lungs inside out, my first thought was what am I doing wrong to catch this? What did I do wrong to make myself so vulnerable? The question immediately billowed out much larger — Where did I go wrong in my life that bought me to this moment? Eclipses seem present questions like that.

From deep in my still half-dreaming mind, the answer immediately came: nothing! This was so shocking that I froze halfway out of bed and nearly fell over.

Nothing? I thought. How could the answer to such a huge question be — nothing at all? I’d thought I’d need a lot of soul searching and would wind up with a long list of answers — mistakes, misbehaviors, wrong decisions, weaknesses, maybe even wickedness. But how could it possibly be nothing? Nothing at all?

I got back into my bed and tried to think about it, but kept slamming into the same brick wall — nothing. Nothing at all. Period.

Finally my mind stopped spinning in the same tight circle enough to let another thought in. It kinda tiptoed as if afraid to startle me again. “What’s the matter with what and where you are?”

“I’m sick and I feel horrible.”

“So? It happens to everyone.”

“But, if we did everything right — right thoughts, right action, right contemplation, and all the rest — surely our bodies wouldn’t do things like this.”

“Yes, they would. You’re not immortal, you know.”

“Of course I know that!”

“Let’s suppose you’re here to learn things. What teaches you the most — the things that go ‘right’ or the things that go ‘wrong’?”

I don’t much like the obvious answer to that. But I also realize that regarding myself as a failure when something goes wrong may just be getting in my way of learning what O Universe is trying to teach me. And, no, I’m not anywhere near ultimately understanding that. But I’m again reminded that all of the ‘negative’ things we know we don’t want to do to others, are not helpful when we do them to ourselves. Peace and love travel in circles — it’s better not to stop them anywhere.

“O, and by the way, you could be taking a bit better care of yourself. It probably wouldn’t have stopped you from getting this — it’s quite a nasty virus. Think about what you’d do differently for someone else and try doing for yourself. “

Morning Forest

I keep looking for a way to describe this forest in the early morning — clearly, concisely, poetically — because the forest is like a poem, rich and enchanting. But it constantly changes, and it’s very difficult to wrap words around something that is continually rebirthing. While I’m writing a word, the forest keeps evolving, needing other words instead.

The light is, of course, everchanging. There are no city lights here to make a continual glow — even the street lights are so distant I can’t see them. The birds know when morning is coming long before I do. They sing their chorus of many lightsome songs to greet it. This forest is part of a long migratory route with birds and butterflies and goddess only knows who else passing through at times of their own choices. The dawn confabulation changes with them. Three days ago there was a mountain blue jay outside my window — black crest above a brilliant blue feathers, brighter blue than the sky or ocean. I hadn’t seen him before nor have I since.

Marzipan, the tiny ginger cat, sits on the window ledge, wide-eyed every dawning. We watch together as trees begin to appear out of the dark shadows, but it will be a long time before the sun sends long, searching fingers in to light up the sides of a few trees while the rest remain shadowed. The sun may not get through for hours. It may not come through at all if the day stays cloudy.

Although I can’t see it happening, there is as much growing and stirring underneath the ground as there is above it. If I go outside and quietly stand barefoot, the life below is quite apparent. And there are liminal voices, like the voices in the trees and bushes, that are whispering just at the far edge of hearing. Even human feet can know they are standing on the threshold of… something. Fascinating things are always going on below, beside, and above us.

One day when life was seeming especially difficult, I asked the trees for help in staying calm and perhaps even balanced. It was a quiet day, and it seemed that they might be willing to share that stillness and silence. Standing there I became aware, that I was resting on a net of energy — roots, fungus, mycelium and things I couldn’t name — were creating a supportive, solid web and accepting me as part of the forest. The same net was woven between the trees and bushes, even the tiny mushrooms and flowers. It extended up to the tops of the trees, where it covered all of us. Protected. Safe. Sheltered. It was a most breathtakingly wondrous sensation to be held in the arms of Mother Nature.

I can connect with that same feeling anytime, any place, if I just remember to keep being who I am — a part of the forest.

I thought I was finished writing this, as much as I could be, but Marzipan just got excited, ran to the window, and started chirping in her own little purry voice. I looked out past her, and the mountain blue jay is back. We are both curious — what is it doing here besides eating suet? We’re down close to the ocean, though we can’t quite see the water. We’re certainly not in the mountains. O, I’d forgotten but I’m being reminded — so many feet of altitude equals so many miles northward in climate — I forget the ratio. Perhaps it is reasonable then to find mountain blue jays here in the Northwest at a low altitude. I grew up in the South where they are only high in the mountains.

Well, that’s one mystery solved. Millions of them remain.

© Copyright 2017 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved