Do You Believe . . .

 . . . in magic? I do.  

The earliest memory I have of magic is the way I felt at Grandma’s house at Christmas when I was a child — the tree, the presents, the family, and the midnight ham sandwiches because we all just wanted another excuse to be together, and it was Christmas, and the normal rules were suspended. It was a feeling not easily described with true emotional accuracy, and that’s either magic or poetry. 

My grandmother was the quintessential grandmother, the archetype of grandmothers.  She had a soft face and a perpetual smile. Her house felt safe, soft like her. She laughed readily and often. She loved with sincerity and gentleness. Grandma passed away in 1976, just a few months before my twelfth birthday. 

At some point in my early twenties, during a season of angst and despair, I stood out under a night sky, scanning the heavens until my eyes rested on the brightest star, what I once believed to be the North Star, but I now understand was probably Sirius.  Though I was at least a decade beyond my grandmother’s passing, she came strongly into mind as I stared at that star.  I decided the star was grandma, the one person who had always felt safe to me, the one person I believed I could have talked to about all my struggles, had she lived to see me through them.  And I poured my heart out to that star. 

This began a practice I have continued ever since. Problems spoken into a night sky transform into a magic that brings purpose to our challenges and healing to our wounds. They are met with answers, and if not answers, then a form of acceptance so deep and primal it feels like its own kind of answer.  And whether this magic comes from Grandma, or that star, or the simple act of breathing the air of the quiet darkness, it does indeed come. Sometimes profoundly, sometimes subtly, but it comes. 

This week is Halloween, Samhain in the Celtic tradition, followed by All Saints Day on November 1st for the Christian World and Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead in Mexican culture. All of these observances, to varying extents, involve the interaction of the living with those who have already passed beyond the veil.  In fact, that veil between the incarnate and the spirit world is said to be at its thinnest on October 31st.  

On October 28 of 2013, eight years ago, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was an otherwise healthy 71-year-old man who had been hiking just that morning. He was lean and muscular, still cutting a dashing figure and able to scamper over the East Tennessee mountains like a billy goat.  He lived that way even on the last day of his life, and then he sat down in his easy chair and had a heart attack.  We held his memorial on October 31. Halloween. 

When my grandmother passed, I was a child. But I was a middle-aged adult when my father passed. The grief was full-grown. 

In many ways, I felt him around me more intimately than when he was alive. There were times I knew that I knew that I knew that he had paid me a visit or sent me a sign. And I could talk to him about things we wouldn’t have touched when he was alive, our differences far too profound on certain subjects.  But now I knew him as a father who loved me not through a veil of disappointments or expectations, but with unlimited compassion and understanding.  

He became the other inhabitant of the brightest star in the sky, and Grandma seemed happy to share. 

So, on Halloween, or the next full moon or new moon, or any night, really, when a problem is haunting you or a general unease is hovering about in your person, try stepping outside and talking to whomever you believe might live in the brightest star.  There’s plenty of room for them there, and they are happy to listen as long as you need.  

And through that conversation can come healing and release and understanding and peace. 

And I call that magic. 

Spirit Guides or Menopause?

I work in academia, and friends of mine like to play a little game called “Academic or Homeless.”  Here’s how it’s played: You drive around the neighborhood of a university, preferably a major research center, and determine whether the people you see walking down the street are academics or homeless.  At first it’s quite difficult, but after a while you start to get the hang of it.  Academics are usually not dressed as well.   

Anyhoo, I have my own version of the game.  I call it “Spirit Guides or Menopause.” 

“Spirit guides,” by the way, is a collective term for all of the unseen spiritual forces constantly interacting with us.  Some people have deceased ancestors or archangels or ascended masters nudging them from beyond the veil.  I have something more like a full glee club of deceased vaudeville acts.

My spirit guides must have some difficulty getting their message across because they have been known to resort to some pretty dramatic ways of getting my attention.  But, I’m also a menopausal woman, and that can get confusing.  I’m not always sure if specific experiences are an abundance of heavenly energy or a deficit of estrogen.  I can hear some of my spiritual friends now saying, “It’s all speerit.”  Perhaps it is.  But, I’m pretty sure my reaction to you saying that is pure menopause. 

Okay, so, . . . hot flash.  Spirit guides or menopause?  Well, are you in a sweat lodge?  That would be your spirit guides.  Or it could just be your biological reaction to hanging out in a life-size tandoori oven, but we’re going to give the guides this one.  But, let’s try a different scenario.  Are you breaking into a full sweat after stepping out on your front porch still wet from a shower early on a January morning when the National Weather Service has just predicted a record-breaking low?  And you’re naked?  That’s menopause. 

Mood swings . . . spirit guides or menopause?  Do not think for a moment that your Spirit Guides won’t give you mood swings.  Especially when they’ve been drinking.  If you’re torn between two important choices, and you feel like the direction of your life could be dramatically altered based on your decision, any mood unpredictability could be your spirit guides attempting to plant some road signs in your psyche.  However, if you’re experiencing what could be a contender for the greatest day in the history of great days, — sun is shining, temperature is not too hot and not too cold, birds are singing, you had a good night’s sleep— but you just cussed out an 80-year-old woman at the grocery store for having 13 items in the 12 items or fewer lane, and she was a nun, that’s menopause. 

Trouble sleeping . . . spirit guides or menopause?  If you are awakened at precisely 3:15 each morning, but you feel refreshed, and within about 20 minutes you are astral traveling to the Pleiades, yeah, that’s spirit guides.  But, if you’re awakened at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 feeling like meat in a grinder and within about five minutes you’re traveling to the bathroom or to the kitchen for a snack or maybe even out to the end of the driveway to take out the trash you forgot to take out the night before because you could have sworn it was Wednesday, but now you remember that it’s Tuesday, and the garbage truck will be rumbling by about 7:00 a.m., . . . that, all of that, is menopause. 

Memory problems . . . spirit guides or menopause?  Your spirit guides will cause you to forget past hurts, futile regrets, and personal slights, both real and imagined.  Menopause will cause you to forget why you’re driving down the road, what colors go with blue, and your cat’s name.  

Decreased sex drive . . . that’s just menopause.

A few years ago, a friend asked me whether it could all just be menopause.  Being a middle-aged woman brings so many changes it feels like second puberty at times.  Perhaps the hormone fluctuations are solely responsible for both early morning pee breaks and out-of-body experiences.  Maybe the shutting down of the baby factory is the only cause for both forgetting where you set your keys and forgetting that 30-year-old heartbreak, the remembering of which, by the way, has never really done you any good.  So many women I know hit warp speed with spiritual development at this time of life, so maybe it’s all just menopause. 

Or, maybe it’s all just speerit.  You decide.  You can play the game any way you choose.  

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved