Monday, November 01, 2010

Quoth the Cap'n

"When a witch offers you advice on Halloween, you probably ought to take it."

So, here we go with NaBloPoMo. I have committed to posting once a day every day for the month of November. And it is fitting that this inaugural blog post is inspired by the Cap'n because he got me started in this blog business in the first place, way back in 2004. I promise to post daily in November and I intend to make it meaningful.

Yesterday was Halloween and it is also known as Samhain (pronounced Saw-win by those in the know). It is a day when the veil between the living and the dead thins and we're supposed to be able to feel the presence of the dearly departed around us better at this time. It was an emotional day for me. I was singing in the choir at church and we were performing All Souls Night by Lorena Mckennitt. It's a really cool song and kind of ambitious for our choir of three. But we were joined by our pianist, a violin player, a flute player and a fourth singer with a very powerful voice.

The service was led by a Wiccan who took us through a focused meditation and also had us share sentimental items that we had that belonged to someone we loved who had passed. As you know, I've lost my Grandma this year and it was quite a painful experience and continues to ache. I tried to be open to contacting her spirit during the meditation, but I couldn't get there. I've done meditation before, but always laying down in the dark by myself, not sitting in a chair in a well-lit room full of people.

I became very emotional when I placed a photo of her and my Grandpa on the altar and tried to share the minimum (who are they and something about them) with the congregation. I got very choked up and I don't think anyone could understand what I said.

But we got to sing at the end and, really, music is my spirituality. When I sing or play music, I feel connected to life, the universe and everything. I opened my hands and closed my eyes and sang my heart out.

After the service, I was standing around with Spooky and the Captain and, I really have no better way to describe her, this old witch named Samantha (I'm not kidding) walked up to us and said, "I have a message for you...and you," pointing to Spooky then me.

"Your mother," she said to Spooky, "loves you and wants you to start taking care of yourself now. Stop worrying so much about others."

"And you," she said to me, "you need to stop being so stubborn. You're always going here and there, working and working. You need to have some fun, lighten up."

"Oh, ok," I said.

"Is your name 'Atlas'?" she asked.

"No," I said.

"Then stop trying to carry the world around on your back."

She then turned to the Cap'n and said, "And your halo's being held up by horns. You're quite the trixster...but not lately. You'd better get out there and start having fun too."

Then she hugged and kissed each of us and left the building. We stood there in wonder for a moment and The Cap'n concluded "When a witch offers you advice on Halloween, you probably ought to take it."

We smiled and then they drifted away into the post-church crowd and the sun began to blaze through the windows. It was a bit magical and I stepped outside to see the old mama witch pull away in her burgundy sedan. I stood there in the glory that is bright sunshine on an autumn morning. Heavy clouds hovered over the horizon. A breeze blew my hair around while the sun warmed my face and neck.

I felt loved and part of a spiritual family that means as much to me as my biological family. It includes my friends, old and new, who sing with me and challenge me to think about things differently. It also includes the memories I have of Grandma Jean, Grandpa, Aunt Gail. And now an old woman who mothered me out of nowhere and blessed me with her insights and kindness.

And when my friends found me out front, I was so glad to see them again. And I thought: Maybe this was what heaven was like.

I hope so.


  1. Wow, that witch was pretty profound. I imagine the captain was correct, you probably ought to heed her advice.

    Lovely lovely post, such a fine start to NaBloPoMo. I'm looking forward to reading your blog every day.

  2. Good to see you out here Flan, and this is an excellent post to start back with.

  3. Yes, great post to start your month, Flannery. Good luck and I'll be stopping by to give my support. Hope all's well with you and yours. Regards to Doc.

  4. Thank you guys! I appreciate the support so much. And the comments!


  5. Who does that old witch think she is? ;) How cool. I would love to get messages from loved ones in the beyond. Congratulations. And thanks for the gentle poke to visit your blog. I have no idea what my writing block has been about - can you ask the old witch for me next time you see her?

  6. Ahh, does me old heart good to see NaBloPoMo start off with a quote from mee... Makes me wish I hadn't left my thumbdrive at work so *I* could put up what I wrote about Mama Witch myself for tomorrow.

    As for th' gang singin', it repeatedly gave me chills, I'll have U know.

    As for sharing about your loved ones, we all heard you just fine, as well as those who no doubt came to gather 'round as well.

    Blessed be.

  7. CP: I'll post about that tomorrow!

    CEJ: Thank you and I'm looking forward to reading it.

  8. Samhain tends to be for me the time when the veil between belief and skepticism grows thin and I believe in magic, a tiny bit.
    I also didn't get into the meditation this year, which was disappointing because last year my experience was so vivid and beautiful. I'm chalking it up to the fact that my mind was practicing the song :)

  9. If I were in your shoes, I'd take that pretty seriously. And you know I'm all about fun (ahem:hint).