Magical Blend Magazine

Magical Blend Magazine

Cover Design by Mathew Courtway

I was one of the founders, and for twenty-seven years, the publisher/managing Editor of Magical Blend. This magazine began in 1979 and ceased publication after one hundred issues in 2006. Time Magazine called it, “all the fringe you could fit between two covers every month.”

The story of Magical Blend began in my living room in San Francisco. I had just moved there on Halloween of 1978. My first year I met many amazing and unique spiritual teachers, students, writers, poets, visionary artists, and comic book artists. Many of them had submitted their teachings, writings or art to main stream media, and gotten nothing but rejections because their material was so unorthodox and original. A group of us came together and agreed to launch a magazine of our own, which would be different than anything being printed at that time. We figured that we could feature our own creative works along with the work of more famous people. This was before affordable desktop computers and printers, neither did we have access to faxes or internet (this may seem very alien to many of my readers, but I swear those days have existed in my lifetime). All of us volunteering with the magazine also worked day jobs. We pooled the money we could spare to pay for the printing cost and other expenses for the first eleven issues.

When the first issues came out many people told us, in no uncertain terms, that the occult and magical information we were printing, was either evil or not meant to be made available to the general public. At that time the New Age trends had not yet begun, and much of what we were printing was very unusual and unknown in the main stream media. Many people told us that they could not even understand what it was about or why it should exist. Today most of the material we printed has become mainstream. But at that point in time the occult, magic, witchcraft, shamanism, ancient mysteries, UFO’s, spiritual sexuality, astral traveling, exploring other dimensions, creative visualization, affirmations, and even alternative health were thought to be odd, weird, or even evil.

We printed 2,000 copies of the second issue and slowly built interest and distribution. From here on, 1,000 additional copies an issue were printed.

With the eleventh issue – this was in 1984 – the magazine caught fire. We had refined our presentation, the word had gotten out to the underground and alternative people, and the eleventh issue sold out of eleven thousand copies in three weeks. Subscriptions and requests to purchase advertising poured in. My then co-publisher Jerry Snider and I, resigned our jobs and began working full time on Magical Blend. Over the next year, we could hire many of the people who had volunteered for years.

Cover Design by Mathew Courtway

From the very first issue we had an interest and willingness of big name authors, musicians, actors, artists and a wide array of authorities in different fields, to participate in the magazine. We had astrologer Dane Rudhyar, science fiction writer Michael Morcock, underground artist Justin Green, the new age authors such as Shakti Gawain and Mark Allen. We had author and witch Starhawk, dolphin communicator Jon Lilly, LSD guru Timothy Leary, and mythologist Joseph Campbell. I take a special pride in the fact that we had difficult near-impossible-to-get-interviews-with lead singer of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia. And of course we had the western shaman magic writer of the time, Carlos Castaneda.

Long before Magical Blend I had developed a deep awe and addiction to Latin America and Latin American shamanism. I saved up money and visited, explored, studied and lived in Latin America, as long as, I could afford to (something I continued to do all my life). This turned out to greatly enrich how Magical Blend came about and developed. I adopted my two children, during the civil war in Peru, in the year 2000 (I wrote about this and much more in my two books: Secrets of the Ancient Incas, and The Secrets of the Amazon Shamans.) This certainly deepened certain areas of Magical Blend and made me more aware of areas such as the challenges of being a magic worker and a parent.

Magical Blend sales were helped by odd – you could even say – magical experiences. The very famous Oral Roberts held up copies of Magical Blend on his national TV show The Breakfast Club, and said we were the devils tool and urged his audience not to allow anyone they care about to read our magazine. Circulation skyrocketed in the Southern states. Then Woody Allen began his book, Mere Anarchy, by dedicating his entire first chapter to joking about and making fun of Magical Blend.

Also adding to circulation growth were facts such as that we had a Magical Blend TV show for two years which I hosted in San Francisco; that Swan Raven published an anthology, named A Magical Universe, of the best articles of our first fifty issue, featuring Robin Williams, John Cleaves, Joan Baez, Terrance McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson and many more; that Hampton Roads Publishing published Solstice Shift: Magical Blend’s Guide to the Coming Age with articles by twenty of our favorite writers. Hampton Roads followed that with my book, Spiritual Business:The Amazing True Story of Magical Blend Magazine. All these things and more kept circulation growing. Because we were ahead of the New Age interest wave and the witchcraft interest wave and the health food wave and many others as well, sales just kept growing. At its peak in the year 2000 Magical Blend was selling 130,000 copies monthly. It was sold in every state in the USA, in every province in Canada, as well as thirty other counties. We had an annual budget of over one million dollars. We had spun off two separate magazines, Natural Beauty and Health and Transitions. We had an in- office staff of twenty-five employees.

Cover Design by Rene Schmidt

Then in 2006 the shock waves of the coming economic downturn began hitting our small and edgy advertisers. They began pulling their ads and we were having impossible times finding new ones to replace them. After twenty-seven years of running a business, I saw the writing on the wall. I chose, after 100 issues of Magical Blend, to pull the plug and close down the operation.

I totally changed my career. I signed up with a California state program. If I promised to work three years for good pay for the State, they would pay me and my costs to earn my master’s degree in social work and therapy. What a great change of pace. I saved my money and when my children graduated college I lived in South America for six months. Then I worked with three Southern California New Age magazines for six months. In these turbulent times I also traveled and worked in Mexico for a year. Then I took a position as a freelance public relations manager for The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia for a year. At the end of that with my multi-talented new wife Sofia and I launched LangevinAxelssson Marketing: a social media and public relations company.

A year ago we took over the magazine The Echo World. It had been the alternative voice for Central Virginia for twenty-years. Next month, we will have published twelve great issues, featuring people like Shakti Gawain, Mark Allen, Lynn Andrews, Michael Haener, Michael Grosso, Frank DeMarco, Maureen St. Germain, Whitley Strieber, Alberto Villoldo and many others. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to help get so much great information out to the world in my life. It has all proved to me time and again that Magic is real and works!

The Month of Love, the Year of Love

The Month of Love, the Year of Love
Published first in The Echo World February Issue
February is the month of love thanks to St. Valentine’s Day. We speak of hearts and give chocolates and roses, make romantic meals or go out to nice restaurants.  We find ways to express our love to our spouses, significant others, sweethearts or crushes.
But what is love? In Quechuan and Aymaran  languages of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia there are over 100 words for different kinds of love, I’ve been told by friends who speak these languages, such as: the love for a mother of her child, the love of the young, and the love of a sunset.
In contrast, in the English language we have to use many words to describe different forms of love.
Wikipedia states:  “Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—”the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.” It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals… Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts. Love may be understood as a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.”
Spiritual teachers of many religions and alternative, spiritual paths state that love is the most important thing in the Universe. Some say that the reason humans were created was to increase our unique abilities to love and thereby our love to the Universe.
I have been blessed to spend time with many dying people. When they come close to death almost all speak mainly about those they loved and those who have loved them. Having just recently lost a brother and a sister to death, I have fought with my own regrets of not having found better ways to let them know how much I loved them.
So this year I have resolved to express my love better to my wife, Sofia, my son Henry and daughter Sophia, my remaining siblings Spider and Elizabeth, as well as to all my extended family and wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
I want to start living, this resolve by stating I have quickly, as the co-publisher of The Echo World, come to love our community: the writers, artists, poets, photographers and other contributors, who share their unique experiences, as well as the advertisers who make it possible for The Echo World to exist financially. But most of all our devoted readers, those I have met and those I have communicated with and those I will never know. I love you all and thank you for being in my life.
PS the last photo above was taken by Sofia Karin Axelsson at a ritual Lodge preformed by Rachel Mann PhD.

Why Immigration Should Not Be Limited.

 

Why Immigration Should Not Be Limited

What is wrong with President Trump’s Immigration Policies?

The three most important people in my life today are immigrants. My son, Henry Miguel, and my daughter, Sophia Zila, were both born in Peru and are Native Indian Peruvian. My wife Sofia Karin was born, and until recent years, lived in Sweden. Without these three people my life would lack its deepest and most meaningful love. My wife and I operate LangevinAxelsson Marketing, a social media promotions and public relations company. We also publish the monthly alternative health and self-improvement magazine The Echo World. My wife works hard and contributes to American society, but she was not born here.

My daughter is a kindergarten teacher in Fresno, California and has been teaching young children for four years. She speaks Spanish as well as English and that greatly helps her getting the kids she works with on the right path in education and more meaningful lives. My son is in sales in San Diego. Just as my daughter, he is bi-lingual and the products he sells help people live better lives. The process to make my children US citizens was long and drawn out, expensive and difficult. They were one and two years old when my former wife and I adopted, and obviously not a threat to anyone. Still it took a massive amount of time and effort.

The path to have my wife become a legal resident in the USA was insane! We both have Masters degrees, have worked in many professions that require high quality skills in interpreting social policies, and still the paperwork was daunting. We are both white, and I’m a third generation American. My wife is from Northern Europe, from a country that is considered to be one of the least threathening countries in the world. To put it short, we were in a very privileged situation. Still it was a frustrating, long and drawn out process, as well as expensive and difficult.

I have great sympathy for people who come to this country speaking another langue than English, with little education and limited resources. Coming through the legal immigration process must be very overwhelming. If I could not find any work in my country of birth and if the prospects of getting a well payed job was there if I illegally snuck into Canada or Mexico  … I certainly would be more than tempted.

When my children were still young I worked in Norther California as a therapist. Many of my clients were illegal Mexican immigrants. The vast majority of them had good jobs, families and were sound contributing members of society. They all paid their taxes and had insurance on their vehicles. They were good responsible people.  Yet most of them lived in fear that they would at any time be stopped by the police for whatever reason and risk being separated from their families and deported.

Wikipedia states that:

“The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has estimated that 11.4 million illegal immigrants lived in the United States in January 2012. According to DHS estimates, “the number of illegal immigrants peaked around 12 million in 2007 and has gradually declined to closer to 11 million. In 2012, 52% were from Mexico, 15% from Central America, 12% from Asia, 6% from South America, 5% from the Caribbean, and another 5% from Europe and Canada. Illegal immigrants work in many sectors of the U.S. economy. According to National Public Radio in 2005, about 3 percent work in agriculture; 33 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (16 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (17 percent).”

That is many hard working people who would leave big holes in our work force if deported.

In 2012, an estimated 14 million people lived in families in which the head of household or the spouse is in the United States without authorization.  That is a lot of people who live in constant fear of being separated from their families and deported while contributing to the good of our society.

President Donald Trump not only wants to build a wall between the USA and Mexico, he is also working towards exporting all illegal immigrants. We have all taken part in the disatrous refugee policies of late. He has barred refugees for 90 days from entering the United States, from seven predominantly Muslim countries : Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. More than 100,000 visas for foreigners inside and outside the United States have also been revoked.  Trump has stated that this has all been done to protect Americans from the threat of terrorist attacks, as well as American jobs. Does this make any sense?

The threat of terrorism is more than loaded.  What might be the reality behind all the propaganda and fear talk? Most Americans see people representing the fanatic bransh of the Islamic faith as the main group to pose a threat of terrorism, and Americans usually identify Islam primarily with Arabs. The truth is that two-thirds of Arab Americans are Christian. The vast majority of Moslems in the USA are also well educated and work at highly skilled jobs.

After sifting through databases, media reports, court documents, and other sources, Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, has arrived at a striking finding: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.

Zero.

Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemeni have been convicted of attempting or executing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil during that time period, according to Nowrasteh’s research.  Zero Libyans and zero Syrians have been convicted of doing the same. “Foreign-born terrorism is a hazard,” Nowrasteh argues, “but it is manageable given the huge economic benefits of immigration …”

As for refugees, Nowrasteh writes, Trump’s action “is a response to a phantom menace.” Over the last four decades, 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed to the United States have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s.

I feel strongly that what we have is fear, misunderstandings, hate-fueling and unsound immigration decisions. I urge everyone to take the time to research the facts and then have empathy for people you do not know, and in whose shoes you have not walked. Immigration is not a simple subject. For me personally, it gave me my most loved ones, and I believe that it is enriching USA – today as it always has. Let’s not stop it out of baseless fear.

 

Continue reading Why Immigration Should Not Be Limited.

Talk to Your Dead: Reprinted from Kindred Spirit Magazine in England

Talk to Your Dead!

 

What if we could talk clearly to your deceased relatives and friends and even famous people we have admired? This is not a joke or a scam or even a sales pitch. It is an old phenomenon which seems to be occurring on an ever widening basis. Of course mystics, shamans, physics and mediums have done this in a wide variety of ways and varying quality throughout time. Yet it seems from a wide array of books and media coverage that an increasing number of fairly average people now are reporting experiencing these communications.

David Young a two time Grammy nominee for his flute music and longtime concert performer, has recently transformed his concerts into Soul Ascension Journeys. Many of the participants report his guided mediations and transformative music brings about personal communication with both dead loved ones and ascended masters. David suspects setting a group expectation and activating the chakras to a higher vibration creates ideal circumstances for such occurrences. He goes on to state. “All people have this capacity naturally to shift from the limited, logical part of our self, to our unlimited, higher intelligence. Our soul has access to information and experiences that our logical, lower part does not have access to. Music helps people access that sacred part of themselves by lifting the vibration of the room.

Frank Demarco the author of ten book the most recent being Rita’s World. Bases much of the information in many of his books on what he has been told from people who are no longer in human bodies. In general DeMarco basically suggests that anyone can talk to the dead. It only requires a combination of suspense of doubt and disbelief and an equal amount of healthy discretion. He seems to say we must find a way to become open to receiving information and then ask: Does the information resonate? Is it helpful? Are we just trying to convince ourselves or is this new and challenging input? Many of DeMarcos’s books begin with the premise that he has opened a clear channel of communication with one or more disincarnated beings and they are sharing important information for all of us.

 

P.M.H. Atwater is the author of over 15 books most on Near Death Experiences. Believes anyone can communicate with the deceased. In her book Dying to Know You, she explains that:

She sees the heart and love and sincere intentions as the thresholds. She states that dying is just like shifting our frequency on the radio dial. The living can tune in to the deceased altered frequency and communicate.

So if these three among many others are right then just how does anyone communicate with the dead? First it helps to have a clear desire. Do we want to speak to our Mother? Then it is good to set aside a time and place when we are least likely to be interrupted. Sunday night at 7 PM in our living room. Then the best method that seems to have been found is to begin making believe that we are talking to the person. If they were sitting in front of us in spirit form how might they answer our questions. This initially requires a suspension of our judgement. We must not listen to ourselves say this is just silly, only our imagination and impossible. Rather tell ourself other claim to be doing this, if we could do it, what might we hear.  What might they want to tell us. We can just speak this out loud, we can record it or have someone else recorded it or we can write it down. Sometimes right away, but often after a while and sometimes after a few sessions we will begin hearing answers and information we did not expect and do not thing we knew or would make up.

The first few sessions discretion is not important. We must just refine the process and the unique feelings. Once we begin to feel you can regularly bring in deceased people and hear, on some level their voices. Then we start looking at the quality of the material we have brought in. Only then and not until then do we begin to ask the difficult questions. If we do this too early we stifle the flow. Is this only what we want to hear? Is this us reinforcing our beliefs. Is this only pieces of what we have read or heard? Or is this information which we did not really expect and does some of it feel slightly uncomfortable and challenging. This is how we then begin to fine tune the clarity and quality of what we bring in.

I was in Columbia a few years back and met a shaman in the south east jungle where he led me in a ritual to contact the dead. I wrote of it in my book, Secrets of the Amazon Shamans, this is an excerpt of that which follows.

 

Calling the Dead Ritual
If possible, mark out a square in the sand or soil, or on the floor, in alignment with the cardinal directions. If you do not know them by heart you can use a compass. Place a candle at each corner, due south, west, north, and east. First light the candle to the south. Here you state, “I invoke the spirits and energies of the Amazon. I ask for their help, energies, and guidance in contacting the spirits of the dead. Be with me. Protect me. Bless my efforts.” Going in a clockwise direction (symbolically turning the lock on the door separating the world of the living and the realm of the dead), you then light the candle to the west, saying, “I call on the energies of expanding borders and the great unknown.” Next, light the candle to the north, saying, “Here I call on the energies of the world’s tropical jungles, especially those of the Amazon. To enter deep into the jungle is to approach the higher dimensions.” Finally, light the east-facing candle, saying, “I call on the energies of the great jungle and its mysteries and powers to reclaim anything.”

Once you have lit the candles, return to the center of the square. The more recent the death, the easier it will be to contact the spirit. If you have a possession of the departed, the material link makes the contact easiest. If there are two or more people who knew the person and have the desire to check in with them, then the team energy is synergistic.

Standing in the center of the square, state your name and your intentions. For example, “I, Michael Peter Langevin, have called on the four quadrants to assist me in contacting the spirit of John Dalton. John, you were a wise friend and advisor to me during that good portion of your life that we shared. Now that you have left this material plane, I know you have much more wisdom to share with me. I am in Columbia, South America, far from Chico, California where you died. However, there is a strange sort of connection between South America and Ireland, the place of your birth. It goes beyond potatoes. There are many Irish expatriates living here and fantastic stories of ancient Irish explorers having met and influenced the native peoples of South America. John, would you take time out of your other dimensional evolution to visit me and advise me of this South American-Irish connection and how I should share it in my book?” As you may have noticed, I’m a bit long winded. You may of course state your desires and intentions in as succinct or verbose a manner as you wish.

Call the deceased to you. “In the name of strength, I call John Dalton to me. In the name of mysteries unveiled, I call John Dalton to me. In the name of wisdom, I call John Dalton to me. In the name of persistence, I call John Dalton to me. In the name of personal desire, I call John Dalton to me.” Then sit and pour yourself a drink. Alcohol seems to work best but water will do. John liked Irish whiskey, so that’s what I poured. First, I took a mouthful of the whiskey and sprayed it into the air in front of me, saying, “This drink is for you, John.” Then, I held the glass with two hands, drank the liquid slowly and thought, “As I swallow this drink, the connection between John and me is reestablished.”

 

After you have thought these words (or ones similar to them), pick up your knife  (the perfect choice for this ritual would actually be a jaguar bone), and walk to the south candle, saying, “Now I cut open the dimensional wall to allow John’s spirit to come through.” Hold the sharp end pointed out and walk slowly in a clockwise circle repeating the words, “The veil is sliced open. You may join me now.” After you have faced all the directions, return to the center and stab the knife into the ground, saying, “I anchor the energies here.”

Remain standing. Now chant the Quechuan spirit call. It goes, “Allichu, Imamanta, wiraqocha, wasiykitan hamusarani, Napaykullaki, Imaynallan kashanki, noqa munankichu willanayta haya orqo qhepanmanta asusinas chawpinmanta. Afi, pisihallatan hoqmanta niway, allichu, allamanta rimay allichu noqu manay yachay!” This is a long and very difficult chant for westerners to pronounce, but it is ancient and very powerful. Repeat it four times the best you can, while facing each candle. Then sit and wait. If your intent, will, and desire are strong, a spirit will manifest itself and answer your questions.

Once you feel that you have successfully completed your ritual, be sure to give your thanks. Wish the spirits well, and send them on their way. You might wish to say, “Now our contact is complete. I will call you again when I so desire, otherwise be happy in your realm.” Then walk from candle to candle, starting with east, saying, “As I extinguish these candles, the bond to the other world is now resealed. I send all energies and spirits back to where they best belong. Thank you and be gone.” Extinguish all candles, this time in a counterclockwise motion, and erase the square. This relocks the lock between the worlds. Stand where the center was and state, “Thank you and blessings upon you. Be it as it was for all.” The ending is important. If you don’t do it, troublesome things can occur. Don’t ever leave any ceremony half done, especially this one.

In my ritual John told me that of course the Irish were to some degree involved with the South Americans. He laughed and said, “If the Irish hadn’t been here long before the Spanish, would all of these mysteries and contradictions be so many levels deep?” Then he blessed me, my book, and my family. He spoke of the thistle on my farm in Chico. He laughed again, saying that it was good not to be sick anymore. John thanked me for remaining a friend and asked that I leave his spirit at rest. He didn’t want me to call him again because it was painful and he was happy where he was for now. Then he thanked me for the taste of whiskey. He never let me get much of a word in edgewise before he vanished.

This excerpt shows that contacting the dead is very doable ad has been done for centuries all over the world.

In Rita’s World Frank Demarco credits his deceased friend Rita with saying that the dead do not live in a separate world. Living humans just think their material world is separate and isolated. Once we see that it is all one we can step across the threshold and communicate often and easily.

Of course the things that keep most of us from doing these things is that our religions either do not teach how to or discourage strongly that we try. These obstacles must be overcome. Why would any God not want you to communicate with your loved ones who have died? Then there is fear. What if evil or bad ghost or demons come through instead? The truth is it almost never happens but if it does. All we need to do is state strongly that they are not welcomed in our lives. Only beneficial well-meaning beings and energies are allowed to communicate. They will be forced to leave. We are more powerful than any ill-intentioned ghost or demon. Maybe the biggest obstacles are doubt and disbelief? When many begin doing this they keep thinking: Oh we have a better imagination then we ever knew. How arrogant to think the dead would talk clearly through us. Oh that is just what we wish they would say. Or oh what a fun but useless waste of time. When we stop those inner doubt based conversations wide new vistas of possibilities and clear communications opened up to us.

 

What Steve Jobs stated not long before he died was a big help to many people and might be those who read this piece: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon, is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know, to stop thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.”

So let’s give it a try, if it feels right. What have we got to lose but a little time? And what have we got to gain? Make the time and effort to reconnect with lost deceased loved ones who were never really lost and are waiting for us to try.

 

More on David Young’s Soul Ascension Journeys at: http://DavidYoungMusic.com

More of Frank DeMarco’s Rita’s World: http://hologrambooks.com/hologrambooksblog/

More if PMH Atwater’s Dying to Know You: http://RainbowridgeBooks.com

Prepare for Death Enjoyably

 The Echo World’s Youtube Channel Kicks Off with “Transitions” with Frank DeMarco

We have started our very own Youtube Channel for The Echo World.  The Echo World is the alternative magazine for spiritual and cultural creatives, that I publish together with Sofia Karin Axelsson, distributed all over Virginia, and with an expanding web-presence.

We work closely together with our writers, and since we took over nine months ago, we are constantly expanding and and exploring new, exiting ways to play with getting important, interesting and uplifting alternative information out there.

Our columnist, author and afterlife explorer Frank DeMarco have done several interviews with us, and now we have decided to try out video, rather than only audio. We celebrate this by simultaneously starting up our Youtube Channel The Echo World with a wonderful reading from Frank’s most recent book Rita’s World Vol. II: A View from the Non-Physical, on the theme “Transitions,” followed by an interview on the same theme with Me. Yes a slightly different me then in the Tree House Video.

How do we successfully prepare to move from this world to the other. Find out the answers.

Enjoy!

 

 

The Dead Never Rest

The Dead Never Rest

I am the son of a funeral director and the grandson of a funeral director. When I was only five, before I started school, my father took me down to our funeral home where he had a dead corpse on the embalming table. He said, “If you are going to be a funeral director one day you have to get used to death. The best way is to touch a dead body. I began crying and saying, “No, I do not want to.” My father had been an officer in the army, he had fought in North Africa in World War II and received two purple hearts. He was a harsh man and expected to be obeyed. Even at five I knew better than to resist him for long. I braced myself, slowly went forward and hesitantly raised my hand and touched the dead body. Until this day I wonder if what I felt was really happening, if it was physical or etheric, or just my imagination. Because  I felt a strong electric shock go from my fingers up my arm, all the way to my heart.

There were six siblings in my immediate family. My father had decided that his three boys were going to become funeral directors. This was in the 50s. My older brothers were eight and ten years older than me. They were in their teens and were quite the rock musicians and Casanovas. As my youth progressed they started coming home late in the evenings, if at all many nights. My father was a strong man, but due to one of his war wounds, his back could only support so much weight. After midnight, if my father could not get anyone else to help him, he would wake me up and I would go with him and help him pick up the bodies of the recent dead. He especially needed help in the old, three and four story tenement buildings in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which had been built to house mill workers in the late 1800’s, and had no elevators.

I would often have to strap the body on my back to get down the thin stair cases.  Then after helping Dad embalming the body, he would give me a ride home. I would shower and eat breakfast and catch the school bus. I would drowsily look at the other kids and think that none of them had to get up in the middle of the night, fetch dead bodies and embalm them before they went to school.

For most of my school years, I was an unofficial apprentice in the funeral home.  I worked other jobs like grocery clerk and being a lifeguard at the local pool. But when Dad was short of help, I would always pitch in. One night we were having a terrible New England snow storm, We used to call them North Easters, because they usually came off the ocean from the northeast. That particular night my Dad had to go retrieve a body sixty miles south of Lawrence. He called me to aks me to embalm another body while he was away. I will always remember the name – Walter Tobias. My father had picked up Walter earlier that evening and had not been able to find the time to embalm him before he had to go to pick up the second body.  I still remember the howling winds and heavy snow falling as I drove slowly to the funeral home, slipping and sliding down the narrow street.

At eleven in the evening I was in the funeral home, by myself. I had taken to smoking cigars when I embalmed, because the smell of the embalming fluid was foul smelling – almost intolerable. I went to get a match in another room. When I returned, the dead body was sitting up on the table, with a very crazed look on its face. I had seen many scary and upsetting things in my youth, in and around the funeral home, but this made me scream and I ran out of the morgue. I went into my father private office where he had his old oak desk and a couch he would sleep on when he had to stay in between late nights and early morning business. I went straight to his merogamy liquor cabinet. Here he kept his brandy and top of the line cognac.  I poured myself a glass of Dad’s cognac. It calmed my nerves and strengthened my resolve.

There was no noise coming from Walter in the morgue.  I made my decision and walked back into the morgue and up to Walter. Obviously, the coroner had pronounced Walter dead, but I knew that pronouncing someone dead had always been an inexact art. The look on Walter’s face seemed to say, “I hate you and plan to do you harm.” I tried to ignore that, and said, “You are dead right Walter?” There was no answer, so I touched Walter’s arm and it was ice cold. I felt his chest and there was no heartbeat. I slapped his face lightly, but there was no response. I checked all his vital signs and finally convinced myself that Walter really was dead.

The tradition of the wake began as a way to give a body a fighting chance to show if it was alive. But in more recent times funeral directors took the coroner’s word because the methods to prove someone dead had improved. Embalmers could usually rather quickly embalm the bodies to keep them from decomposing as they tend to do quickly. I knew there was a lazy coroner in Lawrence who sometimes did not run all the tests. Still, I was pretty convinced that Walter was undoubtedly dead. I pushed the body down. Of course I knew about Riga mortise. I had seen corpses whose fingers twitched and arms moved. But this was extreme. But I assured myself that Walter was dead and that it was just Riga mortise.

Suddenly, there was a noise in the front room. I nearly jumped out of my own skin. It was Gene, who often helped my father around the funeral home. He told me my father had called him and was stuck on snow packed roads outside of Boston. My father had asked him to pick up another corpse and bring it over for me to embalm. This deceased person was named George Decors. I put on my coat and went out to the hearse together with Gene. We carried George into the morgue and due to the weather Gene quickly left to make it home safely.

The storm was had gotten worst. Even in the morgue I could hear the winds howling outside. I decided to embalm George first, just to let Walter settle for sure. Part of me still feared Walter might be alive, even though my rational mind knew that was impossible. I looked at Walter and that look on his face had not changed. It sent a fear filled shill down my spine.

I turned back to George and began the embalming. It used to take me about an hour to embalm a body, depending on the specific challenges. Just as I was near finishing up on George, there was movement behind me. I turned and yelled. Walter had sat up again. In my hands, I held the sharp tool used for pumping out the body fluids and pumping in the embalming fluid. I always thought it seemed like a short shiny metal spear. I seriously considered stabbing the sitting up corps in the chest. But my professionalism did not allow me to. I put the tool down, pushed the body back and I rechecked all vital signs, each one three times in every way I knew.  When I finally convinced myself over again about what I already knew, I began embalming Walter’s body. I had to work hard to adjust the expression on his face. When I finished, I washed both bodies and dressed them in the clothes their families had sent for them and placed them each in a casket.

I sat down, still shaken by Walter sitting up twice. To settle my nerves I had another glass of my Dad’s good Cognac. As I sipped it my father called and said he was about twenty miles away and that I should just go home, as he would embalm the body he had picked up on his own. I bundled up and walked to the front door, opened it and thought it is too bad a storm to drive home in. Then I walked back and looked at my father’s couch, thought about Walter and even though the roads were in terrible condition, I went out and shoved the snow away from my car and on terrible roads I made my way home. I eventually made it to our farm, which of course was across the street and down the street from large, old cemeteries. When I got home I showered and went right to bed.

I dreamed of the funeral home and about Walter and George in their caskets. Walter had the same look on his face, as when he had sat up on the embalming table. In my dream I felt the same chill down my spine. Both Walter and George talked to me. They were not happy, didn’t like me, and wanted to hurt me. Then their spirits floated out of their bodies and started flying around me. Walter kept saying, “I did not want to die. I hate you for being alive. I will kill you. It was too soon for me to die. You should not live.”

I woke up shaking and sweating even though it was cold. I had only slept a little over an hour. I had a glass of water, and told myself this was just a dream. After a while I went back to bed hoping to dream about something more soothing. But instead the dreams came back, and now there were many ghost flying around me at the funeral home. Some I recognized as bodies I had embalmed. They kept flying at me. It felt like bee bites when they howled at me. They were all trying to kill me. I felt deep fear. I kept seeing Walters face, as it was before I embalmed him. I woke up, afraid for my life. Then I thought of my father being alone with these bodies and became afraid for him too.

I went back to the funeral home filled with apprehension. My father was snoring on the couch, so I made coffee and checked the bodies. They all seemed normal.  When my father woke up, we rearranged everything for the wakes, which would probably not be too well attended the first night, due to the terrible weather. I looked at each of the three dead bodies again. I could have sworn that the third body, which my father had driven so far to pick up, had been in my dream. That deeply worried me. But they were all dead I assured myself.  Why was I so petrified?

I finally got up the nerve to tell my father about the corpse sitting up twice and the terrible dreams that followed. I also told him about the threats, and the third corps being in the dream.  He said, “Michael you will see countless strange things in this profession, more than you can imagine. You just got to get used to them. The strange dreams stop after the first decade, or so. I might go to church every Sunday, but I do not believe in heaven, or hell, or ghosts. When your dead, your dead, when you are buried you have no spirit that can come back and hurt anyone, when people forget you – you no longer exist.”

I thought about this and I knew he was wrong.

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I am privileged to have taken a workshop with Maureen St. Germain where she taught her “Genie” material. Now I’m reading her book with to fill in more background and to refine my techniques. Her concepts and explanations are simple, fun and easy to apply, yet I can say from my own experience that they are profoundly transformative. They are working!!! I suspect many people miss this point because the material is such a delight to read. These concepts are not often taught—in fact, much of it runs counter to the fear-based thought patterns (limitation, scarcity) we traditionally internalize. That means, for most of us, there’s going to be lots of resistance. Maureen knows this and gives us practical, loving techniques to release it. She also gives useful charts of positive responses to prepare us for those snide remarks, including the ones from our own “Inner Voices.” They work because we know in our hearts that the way to create true happiness is with energies of love. Maureen explains why the universe works this way. Once we “get it,” there are no limits to where we can go and what we can do with this material. I’m still in discovery mode with it, seeing what I can create. Already my life is filling with more love, peace, joy and rock-solid confidence in my ability to achieve success “that will take my breath away (in a good way)!”
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The Tree-House Interview

The Tree-House Interview. We are trying out our new camera. We are very serious about this interview (as you might notice) on the porch, in the house we call the tree-house. Please make extra note of the akward pauses and not so professional camera-sweepings. But we’re learning. And we’re having fun with it.