- Written by John Michael Thornton
- Category: family
It was December 21st, the winter solstice. It was a bit chilly, but bright and sunny when I took my morning constitutional in the early afternoon.
I decided to take a slightly different street than normal and just a few blocks away from home I saw a brown and white puppy sitting on the double yellow lines in the middle of the street. He was barely a handful and looked up at me with blue eyes. I picked him up and looked around, hoping to see where he was from and saw two more laying in a spot of sunlight on the grass by the street. A few minutes latter a car pulled in a few houses away and I asked the man if he knew whose puppies they were.
I was told the mom didn’t want them anymore, Leia in particular was so thin you could see her ribs. Apparently the man who owned her was older and couldn’t, or didn't want to, take care of puppies. The neighbors were trying to get the pound to come and pick them up, but it was close to Christmas and no one had come to get them yet. He said he had taken one in already, but it we wanted a puppy we should take it, cuz nobody wanted them.
I sat on the grass with three puppies for a few minutes and then sent Joe my location and the text, “I need you too get your shoes and coat on and come to me.”
Soon he came walking up the street and said, “So we have puppies?”
We have three bright and adorable little puppies, two boys and a girl, about three months old and growing fast. Their names are Leia, Finn and Poe.
They are absolutely perfect.
- Written by John Michael Thornton
- Category: Growing Pains
What ever you care about in this life, care about it deeply. Care enough to show up, make and effort, and maybe embarass yourself. Care about people, whether you know them or not. Care about ideas, art, pop culture, politics, injustice, and getting more people to compost. Find the things in this world that make your heart sing!
What you care about, what you are passionate about, is what makes you human. It is what makes you alive and vibrant. Nothing is more depressing and dehumanizing than apathy, than not caring. Nothing is more corrosive to this world than not caring.
People who care deeply get things done. People who are passionate change the world. There are lots of people who are scared of change, who are afraid of passion – their own and other people’s. They will tell you not to care, that your caring doesn’t matter, that your passion is stupid and wrong.
This year, as every year, people are going to tell you to care less. Care less about your obscure hobbies, music, art, and tv. You will be asked, “Why do you like that?” and “Why are you so upset?” You will be told that something you are passionate about doesn’t matter or is weird.
Caring isn’t cool.
The things you care about aren’t cool.
What you care about is weird.
You will hear it from the media, society, social media, family, and friends. You may even hear it from your own internalised fear and judgemental self.
Please ignore these people. Please ignore these negative voices.
Do not believe them.
This year don't be afraid to care deeply, wildly and intensly.
- Written by John Michael Thornton
- Category: We Are Moving
We are moving.
As we slowly leave this place I feel the energies and protections of this place starting to crumble and fall away. For years, Joe has told me that when I am gone for more that two days the energy starts to shift and he feels spirits start to mess with him – playing with the temp in the shower and looking at him from shadows. I know those spirits, we have an Agreement, but as we spend less and less time here the Agreement starts to falter.
In the last few weeks it has become clear that the new house has no place for our chickens. We talked about who could take them and we have a few friends with chickens. I wasn’t worried, but as we started hearing back from people that they didn’t have the extra room I found myself saying, “we need to get rid of these chickens! I have to clean out the garage before we can put the house on the market, time is passing and we have to get rid of the chickens!” Something heard and for the first time in seven years something got into the garage and killed our chickens, three of four have been killed in the last two days. I’ve tried to close the gaps and places anything could get in – I have failed.
Ok, I’m ready.
I just buried the remains of our last chicken. She was a gentle red hen, often picked on by the bigger, feistier girls.
To our chickens, our girls: Thank you. Thank you for your eggs that nourished us. Thank you for your poop that nourished the garden. Thank you for the funny chicken stories I got to tell. Thank you for making this lovely place feel more like the “urban micro-farm” I’ve called it half in jest. Thank you.
To the creature that killed and ate our chickens, our girls: I can’t be mad. I hope you were quick and efficient and I hope you gained needed sustenance from the odd, charming, loud and messy tiny dinosaurs who lived in our garage coop for the last few years. Maybe I should thank you for doing what I would not have done and solving a small problem in my life and in my move… I’m not quite that evolved, but I will work on it.
I will also be more careful of what I ask for as the Agreement at this place passes from me to the next steward of this land.
- Written by John Michael Thornton
- Category: magic
Since we moved to the new house I’ve been going on “Morning Constitutionals” a few times a week. Sometimes it’s a walk around the neighborhood, getting to know the street names and exploring the energies, and sometimes it's a quick jog to the park and back. Some houses I pass stand out because of a well kept yard or a bit of interesting architecture, but most just fade into the background. There’s a house I often pass on my way back from the park that really stands out because there’s usually something dead on the street in front.
I barely noticed it at first, it’s not unusual to see a dead bird or hard to identify critter on the side streets. It’s usually cleaned up quickly but things stayed on this block and it rarely stayed clean for more than a day or two. It never looked like a fresh kill, it always looked old.
There was no real sense of malevolence coming from the house, every house on the block is empty and some of them feel quite creepy, but the white house, the house with death in front, simply had a quite presence. It was like looking at a predator’s den. I wasn’t scared, but I was watchful and always spent a few moments wondering what was inside and speculating on what sort of being was making it’s own sacrifices on this lonely road.
A few weeks ago the street and sidewalk were clean, so I figured I’d see something in a few days. For a week the street stayed clean and I wondered aloud, “What could be better than an animal?” Very clearly I heard the words, “You are.”
My mental shields slammed in place with a nearly audible clang and I sped up just a tad (never show fear). It was over a week before I passed the white house again and still nothing outside, but now there is a feeling of attention coming from the gaping windows and crooked door, a gentle malevolence – not looking to kill, but to keep.
Don't feed the ghosts. Our attention, our energy and presence can feed and sustain the non-physical beings around us. When we talk to spirits, make up stories about them, give them names or treat them like parts of the family we can strengthen them and give them a way into our world.
I rarely see the spirits of people who have died, I may feel their presence during a reading, or see a glimpse of a loved one, but my talents seem more attuned to the beings in this world who were never human or have been disincarnate so long they have lost their humanity. Some are beautiful, ethereal, helpful and loving – angels, devas, and some of the fey. Others are as neutral and natural as the wind – elementals, sprites, and nature spirits. Then there are the ones who range from scary to downright terrifying – bogarts, tricksters, shapeshifters, dark fey, creepy-crawlies and things that go bump in the night.
These beings can also be fed by our time and attention, they can grow stronger and take advantage of our unconscious generosity by slipping into our homes wearing the mask of a friendly house ghost or a lost soul.
This past week Joe and I did a House Clearing and Blessing for a family that had just moved in and were noticing unpleasant energies and increasing poltergeist activity. When the owner first called she told me all about the ghost, the family was sure it was the previous owner, or maybe his son who had died as a young man. They were amateur ghost hunters and had tried to communicate with the ghost, talking to it and asking it questions.
“I’m not sure we want to kick it out,” she said. “Give me a few more days to think about it and I’ll get back to you.” A few days latter she called back and told me it was starting to get scary and they wanted the house cleared. It was over a week before we could fit them into our schedule, by that time I was told lights were flickering on and off, shadows were gathering and people were getting tripped on the stairs. Even their skeptic friends were convinced.
When we first got there, I tried to connect with the house and the land I felt only loneliness and some stagnant negativity. There was an angry presence in the house, but I wasn’t sure it was a spirit. When we met the family it started to come clear, there was a lot of stress and anxiety in the house and the son didn't want the spirit gone. He liked having a pet ghost, not out of malevolence or evil, but because it was fun.
“As the owners of this home, as the family living here, you have more control than we do,” I said. “We will clear this house, but if you invite spirits back in, they will come back.”
We cleared the house, filling it with as much love and light as we could channel. They are remodeling and it will be a lovely home – one that wants to be lived in and loved. Before we left Joe and I gave the husband and wife a pep talk on ways to bring positive energy and light into the home. We talked about the importance of not leaving your negative energies and experiences stuck in the house. We spoke of the importance of filling your home with love and not getting stuck in negative patterns and memories; the importance of not feeding your ghosts.
On the drive home Joe reminded me of something a say in every psychic development class I teach – we draw to ourselves the clients we need to learn from and most readings have messages for the reader as well as the client. We have both been struggling with negativity and stress during our move and I have been falling into the terrible habit of recounting my grievances, focusing on all the things that have been upsetting me and once I start down that road I often keep going until I’m complaining about things years past – keeping the scary ghosts of my past alive.
I am always trying to do better. No matter how much better I get at forgiveness, gratitude and mindfulness, I am trying to do better. This Halloween season I will try not to feed my ghosts.