Monday, May 28, 2012

Recent events..

Not all paranormal events are scary. In fact since it seems that everyday is Memorial Day for me I thought I would take the moment to post something a little light before I delve back into the more hair raising stories that I have experienced.

In fact this is something that happened in the last few days! A special treat, a very recent and still developing Ghost story.

First a little background: I recently moved to Louisville, Kentucky from the San Francisco Bay Area for my husband works as a Beer Brewer and they were opening a new brewery in a restaurant in the downtown area for him to run. When researching the possible places to move in Louisville I was quite drawn to the Old Louisville neighbourhood , almost 50 square blocks of old Victorian Homes from the castle-like to the more "middle-class". In fact it is one of the largest Historical Districts in the country.And since I lived in 2 other Victorian enclaves San Francisco and Alameda in California, I thought I would feel a little less homesick. Homes that in San Francisco that would go for millions but here are actually affordable and living in a Victorian is possible here. To note the motto for Louisville is "It's Possible here" which I really like, having lived at below poverty level for the last few years it was a welcome idea that we could improve our lot. The difference with these homes then in the SF Bay Area is that the neighbourhood associations have a precedent on keeping things historical so all but a couple exceptions are as they were back in the day. A truly awesome experience for those of us who like the idea of walking in the past.

Another difference that is overwhelming yet welcoming to the eye is that most of the houses are made of brick and built on limestone foundations. This is very important for it is believed or theorized that limestone and brick have this ability to hold energy and often of the Ghostly variety and are easily imprinted in the case of residual hauntings. Add the fact that they are frequent thunder and lightening storms to bring up the energy for spirits to manifest and you get the perfect recipe for hauntings!

In further research I discovered that there was a local Writer, Chef and Ghost story collector who had written quite a few books about the old neighbourhood including 3 dedicated to the hauntings in the area.  I found that he, David Domine, has a couple pages on facebook as well as started a Ghost Walk of the Old Louisville 'hood. In Oct. he hosts a Victorian Ghost walk where his books come to life as actors, people who live in Old Lou , dress up and tell the stories to the folks as they follow the route in his books. What struck me as extra special and different is the respect to the neighbourhood , stories and Spirits that was evident in the books, and in attending the tours. I do have a problem with places that take advantage of tragedies that occur with in their walls, telling the story's and thoughtful re-enactment are a great way to experience history but in some cases it can go too far and actually torture the lost souls that are stuck there for eternity. Even as a skeptic David treats the subjects with respect. After all the unknown is still just that and who knows exactly what that is that goes bump in the night? I feel it is best to find the most logical explanation for things firsts so that when you have exhausted all other possibilities what's left over just might be miraculous!
I picked up a copy from the Old Louisville Visitor's Center on S. 4th St. as soon as I got here. I had devoured the other two books from the local library and was eagerly wanting to read the book that started it all and including his own account of owning a haunted house. I also wondered if the house we are living in happens to be included and sure enough in Chapter 11. There was the story of the Widow Hoag who haunts Fountain Court. waiting for her lost son to come home from WWII. It is said that she lived in the 3rd floor of one of the two sister mansions on the corner. Oh! I thought we live on the 3rd floor of one such mansion! I decided to keep my eyes peeled for any wandering widows.

Now really a few months have gone by without incident other then the squirrels and birds that have managed  make nests inside the walls of my bedroom, sometimes we hear them scratching. Even my dog has gotten used to be woken up by the hungry young. A harsh tornado warning storm took some siding of a non brick part of the turret so they are able to hide in the cracks from the golf ball size hail that dumped itself on us one spring night. Our building is taking a kinda of Addam's Family look to it since the maintenance  guy is often m.i.a. but it does add to the spook factor.

One afternoon as I was putting my Little One down for a nap on our bed, I and my Pom dog Noemi decided to rest a bit and do a little reading when I heard the floor boards creak. Huh. I thought now I have heard the house settle and all sort of other things but it actually sounded as if someone was walking towards the bedroom from the kitchen. I thought that perhaps my hubby had come up the back staircase fire escape instead of coming through the front door. I thought I'd be quiet since I didn't want to wake the baby and it sounded as if the walker was doing the same. I waited for my husband to appear but he never did. I checked the text I received on my phone and it was apparent he was still at work. We were alone.

Later that evening after the baby had awoke from her nap and my husband now home, I was searching high and low for my anti-itch cream. The mosquitoes of Kentucky had sure done a number on me and my whole upper arm was quite red and swollen and hard to keep from itching it into a raw mess. I specifically put the Cortisone on a  high shelf in the bathroom to that the baby couldn't get into it. When I went back there and not found it I though perhaps it had been moved by my husband or fallen. After checking with him I started looking under the tub and under the sink. Jokingly I remarked "Hey Creaky Mc Creakerson's I really could use that lotion right about now can I have it back please?" and moved into the next room to continue my search. As I lowered myself down to look underneath my antique vanity I looked up back into the bathroom, Lo! There was the bottle in the centre of the bathroom floor where nothing was before!

I laughed ,"Thank you,that was fast, I appreciate it!" I called out. Either my house is host to little people or something is trying to get my attention. I ran to the kitchen to tell D all about it.

There is still a matter of some Oil of Olay lotion missing, but maybe I should take it as a compliment that I don't need anti aging cream just yet , well according to the Creakersons! I figure that it has had a much more mundane fate. That lotion was actually on the bathroom counter and I believe that perhaps my daughter has relocated it to somewhere much more convenient like the bottom of the hamper!

The following day the Babe , Dog and I were in the front room and she started to bark at towards the front door. I figured that dogs ear being much more sensitive was probably picking up some sound in the building. Perhaps a neighbour was downstairs or something was making some noise I couldn't hear, I got up and thought about checking the mail and once again shush the dog. Before I could open my mouth I heard a "Shush!" in our hallway by the water closet! I couldn't help myself but busted out laughing! "Ok , Noemi you are even bugging the ghost!" It was the best most hearty laugh I had that day.

I really don't know if it the Widow Hoag or some playful Elemental nature spirits are having a bit of fun with me but its par for the course here in the historical homes of Old Louisville.I'm not exactly ready to bust out any evp equipment to ask either just yet.

 I dare say this is one super amazing neighbourhood and worth a visit if not an awesome place to live (save those dang mosquitoes). Come on over and see us sometime, we'll give you a tour!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spirit Guides, Invisible friends, Teenage Hell and Death and rebirth.

I was the last of 5 kids, the Cindy of the Brady Bunch so to speak, and my siblings were a bit older. They didn't have time to spend with me all the time and so I spent a lot of time alone. I actually didn't feel too lonely as I had the run of the house, yard and plenty of pets.

One day I heard a voice coming out of the vent in the bathroom. It was of a young girl, around my age ( I was probably 4 at the time) and I would spent a lot of time talking to her and telling her about my day, she would give me advice if I needed it and would answer my seemingly endless questions. Later she told me that she was coming to live with me and her Mother was going to drop her off. She said that she would be there to help me anytime I needed.  I was excited. She didn't give her her name so I called her "My Ghost Friend".

The day came and I waited at the window. A dark Olive Green Monte Carlo drove up, a late 70's model. I went outside to great my friend. Her Mum gave her a hug and gave me a brief wave and got back in and drove off. Her hair was puffy and cute and had little twists with barrettes and beads in the ends that clicked when she shook her head. She had her own pillow and sleeping bag. I wondered why her Mom would let her stay so long. Doesn't she need to go home I thought. She answered that she was supposed to stay with me now, it was her purpose. She was a little taller then me but just has slender. We went into the house and I showed her my room but she already knew her way around.

Sometimes she would just disappear and I wouldn't always see her. Her voice would be inside my head. If I ever got lonely she was there. She would play with me and my collection of donated toys from the church  that I adored. She didn't didn't care either that they came without heads sometimes. We could imagine the heads being there with whatever hairstyle we could imagine. Some kids probably minded hand me downs. I didn't really, I was very lucky. One of my sisters was a competing Figure Skater (as was my Mum) and even though I couldn't get the ballet lessons I dreamed of, I got the next best things , all her hand me down skate costumes, they were sparkly beaded and colourful. My Mum lent me her tiaras and 1950's costume jewelry as long as I put it back where I found it. When my Da purchased a Harley down the street from a Man whose daughter would become my first best friend, I would bring my costumes over and she would teach me what she learned in dance class. Sometimes she would sneak me into class and I was hide in the corner and practice the movements. My Ghost friend came along when her Mum took us on Bart to the San Francisco Ballet to see the Nutcracker. I loved my new best friend and she didn't tease me for having a Ghost friend. I hoped she could hear her too.I'd have to ask her, she very well could have a ghost friend of her own!

Ghost friend continued to grow as I did, older and taller, her clothes changing from the cords of the seventies to more of the ethic styles becoming to her. I like that she looked from somewhere else and not like everyone else.

Sadly I was an abused child, a friend of the family had a strong attachment to me that was not healthy. For as long as I could remember I stayed quiet out of fear, fear that somehow this was my fate since it was going on for as long as I could remember and fear of what would happen if I spoke up. The times I reached out about it, to teacher's (I was laughed at) I couldn't open up to counselors and I don't think my parents could see the signs. Believe me they had their hands full, as upsetting as it is, I had other siblings going through serious issues as well, I thought it was my cross to bear, alone. I felt guilt if I didn't want to spend time with that friend of the family, guilt that other members would unknowingly contribute too by telling me I had too. So I talked to my Ghost friend , often the only comfort was her voice, I would disassociate whenever the schools would send me to the counselors I just couldn't explain my situation or why I felt so bad. I started having blackouts, I didn't know if it was the "spells" or what. She was the voice comforting me when I was attacked at neighbour's house when I went to visit the dog and stumbled on a teenage drinking party.

After years of this happening ,we moved to a new town and I made new friends and I learned to keep my Ghost friend to myself, after all I started to get older and it wasn't so cute to talk to oneself and I started to get teased by my siblings about it. It probably was a good thing they did because I could only imagine the teasing I would get in the school yard and I had it bad enough being a new kid in town! In Jr. High I had made new friends and some my family didn't approve of. One day I opened up to a boy I had a crush on about my situation with this "friend of the family" and he said what was dawning on me: "that isn't normal, that isn't right, that's called molestation and you need to get out of that situation".

I ran alway from home. I went to a best friend's house and because her Mum was a social worker onto the halfway house I went, after all I couldn't stay at there house, this was a good thing. In the halfway house I found I lost the ability to talk. A girl named Michelle took me under her wing. Somehow she understood I couldn't speak that something so bad had happened that she told me her story to help me open up. She was an ashtray. Literally. Her arms and legs that I could see were covered with burns of all shapes and sizes. He Dad and his friends took turns putting out their cigars and cigarettes on her. I felt so sorry for her, but she saw my look and said, "Nah I am out of there and you are too" If you can't talk, I bet you can write" She gave me a coloured pencil and some paper. "They are calling your parents, write down what you can't say, you be heard now"

I didn't understand then that I had hysterical muteness that all the stress of the years of abuse and fear had taken a toll. When my parents came they listened to what I had wrote written by the counselor and with the new knowledge they took me home. It answered a lot of questions for them and thankfully the abuser was cut out of our lives.My voice eventually returned.

It goes to show you should listen to your inside voice. I probably could have avoided more pain and suffering if I had learned to listen more, avoided places when I got that "feeling" or if there were Chip Coffey and shows like Psychic Kids on the tele back then. Though my Mum showed a little fear of my abilities and my Dad was always encouraging me to learn about what inspired me, I considered myself very lucky. In Jr. High I was able to meet one of my best friend Alyssa (who Mum was the Social Worker that took me to the house where I got help) they were actually a part of a new church in town that encouraged its members to work on their gifts. It was there that I found a solid footing in a chaotic life. I started to learn some basics of grounding and healing and where I was warned that because my soul shone like a lightpost to be extra careful. Hearing on the outside what were once whispers on the inside really connected and started me on my journey to find the right types of techniques to tap into these gifts.

I didn't always deal with things so well , even with this support. There were years of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to work through. My parents have not the best view of Doctor's so I was not sent to any and in a lot of ways I am glad for it, I am glad to not have been medicated as hard as things were. I went to Planned Parenthood to take care of my physical issues that abuse has caused but my mind I tried to heal with the help of the Creative Life Center , prayer -lots and lots and lots of prayer- and self medicating.
The size of my pain and the amount of self medicating spiraled out of control. It was nice to have some sort of relief but one particular day , the eve of my 15th Birthday. I had gone to far. I stole away from my so called friends and sought out one of my best tried and true friends Alyssa. Alyssa nursed me through the worst and she almost lost me. Of course I feared going to the Doctor or ER and was in no space to even know what was going on and for a while I was gone. I'd stopped breathing and turned blue.

I don't remember any tunnel or lights for sure, but I do remember seeing myself passed out on her kitchen table not breathing. I think I had a vague thought about the movie "Flatliner's" about the med students inducing death so that they could see what was beyond. I'd thought I laughed seeing that it wasn't like the movies.
It was just a case of a sad wasted kid that felt special but had no one to back it up save a few friends. Bullied in school by the other kids, threatened with knives on the Jr High campus, missing out on school dance for being late by avoiding the knives. Trying to tell your Science teacher that you trusted that something bad was happening at home but you couldn't make it stop and could you help? Hearing his laughter as he didn't believe you. Reading teacher in the 4 grade trying to touch you because you were so smart and he loved the purple you wore telling you were attractive. It's not a good thing to be "attractive" , all sorts of creepy people touch you and other people hate you for being "pretty" and taunt you and call you a slut.
The pain of being tore apart, punched, raped. Jumped walking to friend's house by the boy you had a crush on , while the kids you were friends with at the beginning of the school year attempting to rip the shirt of your back and steal your boots. Their punches with sand-filled riot gloves hitting your face but no tears come out. You've felt worse. Other kids lacing your cigarettes with PCP and sending you outside for whatever the hell could happen to you. Everyone having problems and not enough time for yours.

All the while my heart was racing out of control and it stopped and somewhere I can hear my one of my few real friends screaming my name over and over. I felt so bad for scaring her.

Then a male voice. Not Ghost friend's voice but a strong male voice with a Southern lilt, full of authority and caring, stern say "It is not your time. Is this how you want to spend your Birthday? Dead? Live little one, you have so much to do you need to stop doing this to yourself. You need to stop, now." It sounded like the voice of reason and for ever on I called him "Reason".

"Live" he said. and my body started to return, I could feel the tingling as sluggish anemic blood attempted to move around the poor poisoned little body. Alyssa who had been working on me was relieved when I returned, I had scared her to death, with all my ranting before hand and turning blue. I proceed to tell her all I saw.

It took me a bit of help to heed the advice of "Reason" and by a bit of synchronicity on a solo trip to the mall I met some kids in a car. How embarrassing that some of my first questions were "do I know you?" "and what drugs do you do?" They replied "we'd like to know you" and "we had to give them up" much for the same reasons as me. They were all sober punk kids! I had a new bunch of instant friends, who found other ways to deal with their lives and took me to meetings with them and I learned that by talking to other kids I could cope with my issues and learn from Elder's some new coping skills. I had found some Therapy.

It took me a long time to get straight the different voices I heard in my head. I started to get concerned as I learned more about psychology that I could have some sort of disorder, hearing voices? That is crazy! So I started integrating these voices into my consciousness and telling myself they were aspects of me, in a way I was right but I wasn't to find that out till much later. Both my theories were correct. Spirit and Psychology in a way. Being a past Science nerd and a Spiritualist I need to be able to satisfy both sides.

Fast forward to the future and how all these stories come together, because my dear few readers I have taken you on a long journey about my known Spirit Guides, and I got to get to the punchline sooner or later.

In 2005 I was "called" as they say by the Orishas. I had started a Secret Occult Society with some friends and we would go on Ghost walks together and explore places in San Francisco. It was in this group I met my friend Mickey who saw the light go on when he spoke about the Orishas and Santeria. I had learned about them from books from my friend Shannon and I was excited to hear from someone who had been initiated to the mysteries. It was through his Ile (temple) where I was able to do so myself and explore and learn more about my abilities. Some of these stories will make it on these pages later. (of course in respect certain things will be left out, to respect privacy and etc.) but it was here that I learned the most about my Spirit Guides. Here was a place that told me I wasn't crazy and then suddenly everything made sense!

In was at one such Misa (Spiritual Mass) where a Santera told me she saw my Spirit guide and she was from the Congo. She had described Ghost Friend who had been with me my whole life. I knew then that if someone I had just met could describe her, there must be some truth to my little kid Ghost Friend idea!

Now I didn't learn about Reason's truth until I started writing this very blog. His voice I confused with Ghost Friend's at times in the past and thought it was the sound of my own consciousness. Although I now had the idea he was separate from Ghost Friend (who by now has told me her African name but since it is sacred to her I will keep referring to her as "Ghost Friend"  till she says ok) my best friend reminded me I had spoke about him before in the past. I thought perhaps he was a male past life come to give me advice or something. I had no idea that would be confirming my Spiritual beliefs!

I had started on that journey to find out if their were truth to family rumours and to find out more about my Partner's family. Whilst I researched what I could about my Father's Ancestors I found a very curious name on my Family tree through his Mum's side.

"Reason Rutledge Born 1728 in Abbeville, South Carolina. Died 1803. He is your 5th Great Grand Uncle"

Whoa. No wonder he felt so close. Reason is the name of an actual family member. I didn't just pull that out my butt. He really existed. For whatever reason, he's come to help his Grand Niece sort out her problems so that she can fulfill her purpose. Maybe it's helping other people know they aren't alone. Maybe it's connecting people to their Ancestors and telling people some aspect of them is still around to help us out when we need. Perhaps our Guardian Angels are not someone impersonal but someone related by blood.

When I see someone who has a person hanging around them that I know isn't in the here and now, so to speak, I will trust myself. I will trust my Ancestors and my Elder's so maybe if I listen, I could avoid some more costly mistakes. Mistakes that almost kept me dead.

I will listen to Reason.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Earliest Memory, growing up with night terrors..

I had this memory before I had words for it, as I grew, so did my vocabulary and not unfortunately not an understanding of the memory which occurred sometime in 1974 or 1975. I related this memory to my mother who told me that it was probably around 6 months of age and they were having family over for a party.

(Apparently you can purchase this (or a photo) on eBay!)

When I was little , under a year old, we lived in a house on Vegas Ave. in Castro Valley , Ca. My parents were having a gathering of family and I was put down for a nap. I remember the white basinette  and quite distinctly the walls which were covered in that fake 70's wood grain paneling. I awoke and shapes coming out of the woodgrain with large insect-like eyes. I started to cry, my Cousin Sandra entered the room and tried to calm me but I was inconsolable, such was the fear of what I was seeing. The memory stops there, we moved soon after that and as memories go I was quite surprised that I could remember anything that early. My mother has taken photos of our cats that would take turns sleeping with my in my crib. Could it have been a cat and I distorted it thinking it formed from the wood grain? I have seen things form out of wood grain much later in my life due to being dosed by angel dust while in Jr High. (There were some very cruel kids in the nieghbourhood when that age.)
                                             "A Wind in the Door" By M. Engle book cover illustration

I often saw things in the dark as a child , another time it was a floating creature with many eyes of all different types and always staring and blinking. I was relieved that I shared a room with my sister for a few years and terrified when we were older and I didn't have the "protection" of someone else in the room to distract the focus of the creatures focus on me. I would often ,quietly as I could, drag my blanket and crawl on the ground to sleep on the floor of my sister's room. She would wake up, yell at me and send me back to my room and then I would start the whole process all over again. I was getting so adept and crawling on my stomache and not making a sound that I was sure she couldn't hear me but most often she did.

I honestly could not say where these night terrors came from. Was it some movie I watched and too young to remember? Was it a bi product of a Temporal Lobe malfunction? Could there be truth in being a mystic? Boy, I sure wish Chip Coffey was around when I was a kid to explain some things to me!

 There was the darkness in the closet that I am sure I saw eyes peeking at me or the space between the bed and the wall where a slimy green arm could fit to be able to grab me. I slept with a hooded sweatshirt or better yet, a hooded wool sweater that my Auntie made me in between her visits to the US from Scotland to protect me from  those scary thing getting into my head. I always wore a rosary and even though at school they would tell me I was committing a Sacrilege, I needed the protection from  the whatever the heck they were. My parents were much more permissive. If wearing my rosary till the Jesus fell off made me feel better and help me sleep through the night then so be it. A funny aside: in High School Freshman year I was sent home for looking like a Satanist. I have no idea what exactly they felt a Satanist was, but rest assured I was the poster child of  Satanic youth in the 1980's in Modesto , Ca. where we had moved to from the Bay Area. My dad had to explain to them that it was a Catholic thing. To so other church going folk, that was the same thing. My Dad probably wondered if switching my sister and I from Public School was such a good idea. They were always bugging him about something concerning me.

                                                              Artwork by Brian Froud.

In Jr High I would wake up to a room full of a motley sort that I was sure were Demons! I guess thinking of it now, even though they certainly had an awful rotten egg smell they actually didn't do anything to hurt me as demons probably would. One small one in particular seemed to hang out when all the others have left and shared with me it's name and cause all sorts of mischief I think in some effort to befriend me. Now when I think about it. I think perhaps , if my inner skeptic doesn't discount it to a vivid imagination or side effect of Temporal Lobe Seizure Disorder, that it was some sort of Elemental Creature, like a nature spirit. It certainly looked my knarled wood and around this same time was the time that I would hear knocking in the inner corner of my room. It was always quite late at night and having been on my roof and peeked in the crawl space I knew we didn't haven't rodents or woodpeckers. I also had turned 13 so this was high time for any sort of telekinetic energy to manifest itself.

That was the time I started scaring my Mum a little more, thinking about turning a light on in the kitchen and it would go on, telling her stuff about the death of an uncle , information I was not privy too. Thankfully through all this my parents , though my Mum wasn't so keen on it , treated it as something pretty normal and I have to say how much I appreciated that. I was lucky enough to have met a friend whose mother was a honest to goodness American Witch. Since my Auntie had passed on, I had no one to talk to about these strange happenings and what they meant. They loaned me my first Tarot Deck until I could get my own and I  was able to practice my skills on my Mum's friends that wanted to know questions about their business they hoped to prosper.

I found myself by luck or providence to be invite to a Psychic Science Church based on the teachings of A Course in Miracles. This Church still exists to this day and whenever I am in Modesto , Ca. I always try to make it to the Creative Life Center. They took me and gave me a focus even allowing me to become a Sunday School teacher to the younger kids of the community. When schools , deans and teachers were busy  trying to keep me in detention I had a place to go where I felt like I could grow through the scary time of the treacherous teen years without being judged for my looks and celebrated for my abilities.

The main thing I learned is that the more I learned less I had to fear. As I moved backed to the Bay Area I sought out other spiritual practitioners and questioners so that I could learn more, eventually taking initiations in Santeria and learning more about my abilities with Espiritismo or Spiritualism. (which gave me some more paranormal experiences to share here forthcoming)

I learned that I wasn't crazy but had these abilities that just needed some development.. I love that I can have these experiences and still be a doubting Thomas skeptic because when something happens that I can't explain, it just makes it that much more amazing.

Now I am all the way in Kentucky and I feel like the Ancestors have me on another adventure and I am really excited to see what next to learn in this classroom and this experience we call LIFE.

So what's next?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First Contact

Every kid has a favourite Aunt, and I actually had a lot of great Aunts and Uncles and I knew it wasn't fair to say one was better over another. There are some you connect with, like my Auntie whom I go over family stories with who always knows the right thing to say to keep me in line and respectful. (I have quite a wicked sense of humour and an even worse tongue so I have to keep both in check) and some you can let your freak flag fly and go to the theatre with (I am such that Aunt) and there are those that even long gone are still there for you.

I had one Auntie whom lived in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a Nurse but also had another skill that I found fascinating. She helped to find lost children using psychic skills for the Scotland Yard. As I child she was my pen pal. I wrote her for "witchy" advice and eagerly await her visits each year where she presented me with the most amazing gifts , hand-knitted hooded sweaters. I then, and now, have this thing about my head (as I later found out many belief systems do) and felt for my protection as a child, especially when sleeping, it should be covered. She never made me feel weird for always wearing a hat or hood, in fact I think my whole family humoured me on this and still joke about till this day. I thought hats and blankets were magical objects and could protect you from "cooties" and things that go bump in the night.

In 1983, I had such a vivid dream. I was walking along a beach where I met a grey horse. Being a child that loved to ride horses any possible chance I got , having a dream of one was not out of the ordinary. As I mounted the horse and begun to ride along the rocky beach I noticed that I didn't hear any hoof beats, that I was kinda sad about as hearing the horses gallop is something that is comforting to me. I figured out this wasn't a normal dream journey and in my 9 year old mind, I thought something is up.

I found myself in am amazing place full of animals , mostly in cages, some of them bamboo. It looked to be a zoo and my whole family was there. I looked up and I was sitting in the lap of my Aunt Pat. Gone were her scars of the Blitz that covered her body, and she was wearing the green dress she wore the times we went to  Great America where we would ride the rides together and I would wait for her and she rode the Demon, her favourite coaster. 

She told me she was happy to see me and that she loved me and she told me over and over so that I wouldn't forget. I noticed that my other family didn't seem to be talking which I thought strange since we are a loud and fairly large family. 

The visit was cut short and I was riding the horse with no hoof beats again exploring the coastline of ruins and caves.

The next day upon awaking I found my father and family sitting at the kitchen table. I was excited to tell him about my dream about his sister.

 "I had a dream Da, and it was really neat! I was riding this horse, near the ocean, but it wasn't the Ocean by us, it was far away! I rode this grey horse and I couldn't hear it's hooves! It took me to a place where there were lots of animals in bamboo cages and you were all there and so was Aunt Pat! She told me that she loves me and misses me" I said that I missed her and I then asked him when she was coming, she was supposed to move into our house with us in the States, very soon, and I was excited and couldn't wait. I asked " is she coming soon?"

He invited me to crawl into his lap and he looked very sad, I felt bad I thought my story had somehow did that to him.. He then told me that they had found my Aunt had passed away in her home in Glasgow and that she had died of Lung Disease. He then told me that she must have come to say goodbye and that the London Zoo was her favourite place. He also explained that in Celtic Lore there are these creatures called Water Kelpies , that often would drag children into the depths of the ocean if they went near water, in my case they took me to see my Auntie in the land of the Dead. Hence why I couldn't hear the hooves. 

Not much later they sent her ashes to us since because she was a Catholic she was not allow to be buried by her Protestant husband. My parents decided they would save up and get her a little cubbie next to their resting place so that she could be here with us. 

Later when I had this idea to do painting of loved ones to process grief my Dad gave me some of my Aunt Pats ashes to be able to mix in with my paints to have a painting of her that truly is actually here (or some part there of) . This started my portrait painting business where I take ashes and mix them with paint and paint a portrait in the iconic fashion, like a Saint.  I am still looking for the picture of my Aunt that really clicks as "the one". Till then part of her sits on my Ancestor Altar with her lighter and the rosary she gifted me with the last time I saw her.

I done several of these paintings and recently did this one of my 16th Birthday blessing: Little Bear,for my parents. Rather then move around with nomadic me, he ran his clan of dogs at my parents house for almost 20 years:
"Little Bear Gibbons" by Angelique X Stacy

What my Aunt inspired has become my lives work, since I am a new Mum and feel this is a good time to take a break from full time tattooing , and that it is a good time to offer this service to others too. Call it a "Calling" if you will. It does help with the grief to honour  those have pasted.