A Dream Awakening

My first dream I remember to this day because it was a precognitive dream of my high school friend, Spacey. I don’t recall the actual date – the recall came later after she had passed away. 

Nearly a year after her transition I experienced my  first visitation dream. That’s not to say I didn’t have any dreams before then, I just don’t recall any.  In between these two dreams I had  others including  another precognitive dream, this one about an event in my future which came to pass. I recall these dreams with clarity to this day without having to consult a journal. In my experience visitations and foretelling dreams such as precognitive and prophetic are dreams or experience’s that stayed with me. 

Since that first dream forty years ago, I continued to have dreams, some that I could recall without the aid of a journal to remind me. Although it was not precognitive or a visitation dream, I was learning to recall and remember my dreams. As soon as I recalled the dream, upon awakening or later in the day, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. One scrap of paper with dream details on it eventually became an accumulation of pieces of notebook paper, backs of receipts or the envelope of a bill or junk mail that was within reach. I then knew it was time to get organized and buy a journal to put these into and continue writing down the details of my dreams. But the reason for writing my dreams down was that they began to increase in quantity and intensity.

I had become aware that I was having more than one dream a night. It didn’t take very long to fill up that first journal with my nightly dreams: nightmares, prophetic and precognitive, visitations, sleep paralysis and other helpful and interesting dream types. I had also filled the journal with doodles to illustrate what I could not always put into words and so that I could refer back to the dream later, especially if  I had the dream again (recurring dream). 

Recalling and journaling continued for a time. I shared my dreams with those I knew in an effort to share this new interest and to me, phenomenon. I don’t believe that I shared these dreams to start a conversation but that is exactly what happened…eventually. Some people thought it was a novelty, like when we all started to see psychics that became so popular to do in the 1990’s. Others thought dreams didn’t mean anything in particular and that maybe I was a bit odd. And then, sometime later, those same people began to share their dreams with me! 

Not very long after I started to keep a dream journal, I went to a book sale and found  Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s The Encyclopedia of Dreams: Symbols & Interpretations (Berkley edition, 1995). I needed it. The universe was telling me I was ready to start assembling the symbols and solving the message.  This book had enough of the more common symbols to get me started on interpreting and understanding my dreams. I got some help from Shyla, a spiritual teacher and I learned to intuit what I could not find a symbol for either in the aforementioned book or a couple of dream dot com sites that I found on the internet in the late 1990’s. Ultimately, I learned to gather all the symbols and my intuition and go with what resonated with me. And that I feel is the most important component of dream interpreting. A bunch of dream symbols put together are just symbols. But, how does that feel to the dreamer? Does the dream symbol or symbols resonate? The meaning of the dream should be a good fit, after all, the message is specific to the dreamer. 

The Universe has guided me through each stage of dreams: recalling, journaling and interpreting. Dreams have been one of the most enlightening lessons on my spiritual awakening path. They have become, for me, a helpful divination tool to download messages from my consciousness with the help of my guides and the universe. Being a teacher of dreams to others has been an unexpected gift. People I have helped like to have the dream interpreted for them, but I also want to teach and empower them to interpret their own dreams. And that is because the universe has a message for them. 

*all photos by Leslie Sheraden

First Inklings

In the Beginning

As an adolescent, whenever something was bothering me or causing me anxiety, and as a teenager what didn’t, I would turn on the radio and keep it on all night, falling asleep to the music that the late night and overnight dee-jays played. It’s a coping mechanism I use to this day, although now I have a playlist on my iPhone. One particular late night or rather early morning I had suddenly woken up, restless. I did not know the source of my restlessness that spring night. Maybe it was school.  As I laid in my bed, tilting my head a little toward the window, looking up at the starry sky, a frightening thought cracked open the  darkness and illuminated the reason for my restlessness. I wondered: what happens to us when we die?

I tossed and turned all night, grateful for the radio as company. WNEW-FM in New York City was then a progressive rock radio station, adopting that format in the late 1960’s (The format changed again in the late 1990’s.) They were playing album sides of their featured record of the week, Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, which was destined to become a classic; it was an album that had spawned a few great songs already in regular rotation on the iconic radio station. I had come to love radio because of my dad. He almost always had the radio tuned to the New York City  radio station.  I loved rock and roll music and listening to the deejays. They were intelligent, articulate and knew so much about the music they played. Listening to the radio became the inspiration for me to  want to pursue a broadcasting career and a lifelong interest in rock and roll history. But I digress…

I kept looking out of the window from my bed into darkness that seemed to go on forever.  Night time does that when I cannot get back to sleep. The night becomes elongated adding to the worrisome thoughts moving around in my head.  The reassuring voice of the overnight deejay and the music playing on the radio  redirected my thoughts on death and dying which should have been the least of my worries at such a young age. What is curious is that it should wake me up from a brief slumber and haunt me for much of that night.  How did that happen? 

What if the soul of every human being  was crammed up into the atmosphere. Where else would they go? The bodies went to heaven or hell depending on if they were good Christian people or not. Or so  my grandmother Evangeline said. My sister Angela and I learned from a very young age that if we didn’t accept Jesus  we would go to hell, although we did not understand what hell was. All of that was too abstract for small children, not to mention frightening. We both now  believe that this is not what happens. It would never have occurred to me to ask anyone else  what happens when someone dies. I didn’t think my mom and dad would have had better answers to my questions about death. But I never asked them.  

My teenage logic told me that souls somehow left the body and went up into the sky. So there must be infinite sky to accommodate the same number of souls. All the humans who have ever lived – for thousands or hundreds of thousands of years – would have a soul up in the  sky or heaven beyond the sky: cave people, Druids, Egyptians and people throughout the centuries to that night in the late 1970’s.

With the music still playing on the radio, I thought more about deep space. This first inkling about the universe generated so many questions. What else is out there besides souls floating around in the congested sky? How far up is heaven and can it be seen with the naked eye? Why do we die and not live forever? It would be about a decade before I would learn that each soul lives on after its incarnation on earth and can have more than one life here.  Other life experiences as a teenager and as a  young adult would take place before I would come to believe that. Eventually, my restlessness and endless thoughts surrendered to relaxation and I fell asleep, the stars lighting up the still night sky.  

And so began my spiritual awakening.

“When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear”

I have been writing about my experiences of my spiritual journey for a few years here and on social media. I’ve also written two books: one was a short story based on my spiritual journey and another about dreams and dream recall. Writing about my experiences has not always been easy for me (I’ll share that in a future blog) but whether I want to or not, spirit sends messages and guidance to encourage me to share my story. And so, I have been inspired to tell you about one of my first and more influential spiritual teachers.

It began in 1990, the searching for…something…something else or something more. Not knowing what that something was or where to find it I looked on the self-help shelves of a local bookstore. From past experience I knew that religion wasn’t the answer. Neither was drinking alcohol with the wrong people. I recall looking at the bookshelves hoping something would pop out or fall off one of the shelves and into my hands. Since I didn’t know specifically what it was I needed to fill the void within me I was hoping one of the books there in the bookstore would. One book did look familiar to me from recent television commercials: Dianetics . After some contemplation I decided to give it a try. I tried it for about two chapters and decided that it didn’t resonate with me. Trusting my gut was crucial. This wasn’t the book I was looking for.

Very shortly after that, I had the book in hand when I met H.B. someone who was introduced to me by my sister Angela. When he asked about the book I was holding in my hands I explained how I had been looking for something to fill a void or give my life meaning. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to call it or how to articulate what seemed to be missing or what I needed to find to fill that…something. H.B.asked me to follow him and when I did he handed me a book. Apparently, what I needed was in a book. This book was another familiar book. ‘Out On a Limb’ by Shirley Maclaine. My initial reaction was “Oh.”

I was familiar with Shirley Maclaine. Her name was synonymous with UFO’s in the early 1980’s when her book first came out. I recall feeling a little freaked out by her story then. But as I held the book H.B. had given me I didn’t feel freaked out at all. About a month or two later while I was on vacation I started to read it and couldn’t put it down. Believe it or don’t – and I knew people who wouldn’t believe it – this book resonated with me. I didn’t really get everything she spoke about but I was intrigued by the references to the Bible’s alterations and the channel, whose name was Kevin, if I recall (In the movie version of this book, the actual channel is in the movie).

The next book H.B. gave me was Edgar Cayce’s “There is a River”, the life story of the sleeping prophet. His book “Reincarnation” absolutely fascinated me and set me off on a life long passion of past lives. Apart from books, we attended seminars together and visited two psychics and talked a lot about spirituality.

If I had not selected the book that didn’t resonate with me, I would never have met H.B. and started off on the next leg of my spiritual journey and eventually find another spiritual teacher. And then another and another. Whenever I am ready to grow spiritually another teacher always appears.

Jumping Ahead to the End

Ann was a friend of mine who liked to read the last chapter of nearly every book she ever read first. The exception was the occasional biography or non-fiction book of pre-twentieth century British Monarchy. She already knew how their lives ended, but she enjoyed the details and history of their lives. Other than wanting to know how the story ended, I never really understood why Ann did this. She would only say that she wanted to see how the story ended first. Now, I wonder if she was looking for a happy ending in her own life’s story.

Maybe I reading too much into it. For me, jumping ahead to the end first would ruin the (hopefully) happy conclusion. I like the drama of the heroine or hero who are victorious over the antagonist. The wonder and romance of boy-gets-girl or girl-gets-girl or boy-gets-boy. And, if while I’m reading a book with drama, adventure, romance or magic, I’ll ponder if it is leading up to a sequel. Oh, the anticipation.

There is one story’s ending I would like to know the outcome of. The Pandemic. Now here I would agree with Ann. When will it end? What will the new normal look like and when will it happen? And, what will my life look like post-pandemic?

The ennui of quarantine, the nail-biting moments, the sad stories, the violence and other drama of this past year, feels like a story without an end now. However, there are other moments we can enjoy like how the glass of wine tastes, the colors in nature, things my children said, shows we binge watched, and all those other nuances that fill out a story. I am doing my best to stay in the moment – it hasn’t always been easy these last twelve months. I’m trying to stay present so that I’ll have a fuller, richer story to tell one day.

It ‘s been said that the end goal – the dream job, dream partner, dream house or whatever the dream is – is not the destination. It’s all part of the journey.

Remembrance

On Sunday, September 27, 1981 I called my close high school friend , “Janie” (not her real name) to check in with her. I had not spoken with her in a couple of weeks. I had graduated high school three months earlier and while I was happy to be out of high school, I did miss seeing the friends I had left behind. They were seniors now, their last year before exiting school and entering the next phase of their lives. So, it was her uncle who, after I asked to speak with her, wanted to know who I was and what I wanted. I told him who I was and explained I was a friend of hers from school. What he said next really stunned me, paralyzed me actually. He told me she died the night before, a car accident, and the date the funeral would be held.

For the first year following her death I could not get over it. Whenever a song or group that we liked came on the radio I felt the pain physically in my gut. I always remembered her birthday and the date of her death two days later as the years went by. Eventually, she faded to the background as I started a career, entered and exited relationships, got married and started a family. It was while I was driving to work one morning in the early 2000’s, after both of my children were on the school bus, that I received a message from her. The reason she chose that moment was mysterious but effective.

Shortly after that I would begin writing what I could recall from our brief school years together. At first it was just a few memories, the obvious ones like the favorite band that brought us together. Then the little things like passing notes in school, boys, what she wore, her hair. The more I started to write down the details the more I recalled. Then the tears came and the heartbreak all over again. I could not believe some of the little and big things, nuances, her sense of humor and other memories that I had forgotten or suppressed over the years.

I turned it into a short story in 2014. ‘Sweet Dreams’ was inspired by our friendship and my own spiritual journey up to that point.

I still feel her around me sometimes. I have wondered how she would have reacted to the grunge movement in the early 1990’s that ushered in Alternative rock. She may have said it’s all rock and roll. I wondered if she would be a drummer in a band as she always dreamed of and what she would think about other women rockers. In 1981 there was Debbie Harry, Joan Jett and the Go-Go’s. Would she have been among them one day?

What I know for sure is that there is a reason for everything. The answers are not always offered up. Maybe it’s just meant to be a mystery. Whatever the reason, she is still in my heart and always will be.

SHYLA

From my journal entry on November 8, 2017:

‘For no apparent reason last night (11/7/17) I thought of Shyla and prayed for her.

I found a post on FB from yesterday (also 11/7/17) that she passed away. I’m so sad, but so happy that I knew her.’

Shyla was a very important spiritual teacher and mentor for me. She was an intuitive and medium and had those abilities since she was a child. She had been giving readings and teaching other spiritual practices for many years. She practiced Wiccan and was a Reiki Master. And Shyla was always generous with her time and her gifts.

 I had seen her about six months before her passing for my last reading with her. She was showing me how to interpret a tarot card. I had worked with my own tarot cards, looked at the pictures and read the interpretation in the accompanying booklet. She taught me to look at everything on the card, that there were objects and scenery – symbols – that were specific to the message. The card that she was explaining that day featured a man (King?) on a throne with Ram symbols all over the card indicating that a love interest would be an Aries – also based on the placement of the other tarot cards in the reading. There was an Aries man that I was interested in at the time too.

Over the twenty five years that I knew Shyla, I learned something new every time I saw her about tarot, psychic development, the spirit world, different realms, Reiki (I learned Reiki because of her. I am Reiki 2nd Degree), and extra terrestrials. I had called her one evening a few years ago before my son was to come back from a Boy Scout camping and hiking trip in New Mexico. I explained to Shyla about my sons ‘dreams’ about extra terrestrials. He had a couple of them where he would wake up terrified. He had had an ET ‘dream’ four days before he was scheduled to fly out with the boy scouts for this once in a lifetime trip. ET’s and New Mexico: if the trip was not already paid for I may have tried to cancel it. I was on the phone with Shyla for an hour talking about what this meant and more information than I wanted to know about extra terrestrials. I knew they were not dreams, per se.

I had met Shyla in the early 1990’s when nearly everyone in my office went to see different psychics, first Judy and then Shyla. I would continue to see Shyla once a year or twice since then, wherever she was. She moved a lot trying to find the space she was meant to be in. As a Medium, Shyla told me that although she did see and hear spirits, there was one time in a haunted house with a paranormal group where she did not want to open her eyes to see the spirit of a woman who was in a bedroom. That surprised me about her.

So today when I did automatic writing, asking for guidance from the angels, I also called in my Grandma Shirley for help, Shyla made herself known. I was not thinking of her however she offered some advice and had a message for me. When I was done I looked at my notes and thought it was odd that Shyla came to me without me asking her for help. Perhaps I needed a teacher. This time of the year is also when the veil is thinnest and our loved ones can come to us and we can hear or see them better.

A Visitation

“Sweet Dreams”, 2019 Lettra Press

‘Janie called me on the phone. “Rockin’ Rosie Mahoney!” “Janie! Where are you?” I cried. ‘

Our loved ones appear to us in our dreams. Loved ones calling us on the phone or talking to us through a radio in our dreams. These are visitation dreams. Our loved ones just want us to know that they around us and that they are okay. Sometimes they just want to check in and say ‘Hey’ and sometimes they have a message to give us.

Very often our crossed over loved ones choose to reach out to us while we are sleeping. And that is because they do not want to frighten us. They do see us during our waking hours and many young people can see still see spirits of loved ones even if they transformed to the spirit world before they were born. I can feel their presence and I know they are around  me. But how can they communicate with us? Birds, feathers, coins, suddenly hearing a word or phrase or a song on the radio in answer to a question: “Show me a sign that you’re around me. “

Six months after my high school best friend died suddenly, I received a message from her in a dream. She called me on the telephone to tell me that she was safe and alright. As a teenager, I did not know what happened to us when we died. Do we die and that’s the end? Or do our souls/spirits continue on to another life? What I learned from that dream was that she had crossed over and was communicating to me through a medium that I would understand. After school, we would talk for hours on the phone about everything and nothing. (A 1980’s landline telephone; cell phones were not created yet.)

I believe that all dreams are messages and a visitation from a crossed over friend, relative or co-worker is a special message that they are safe and watching over us.

Channeling

Several years ago a friend invited me to a group meditation at the house of a friend of hers. The group meditation was to be followed by a channeling session. Meditation is not my forte because I usually fall asleep or recite a mental to-do list. I really wanted to be there to see what channeling was; I had heard of it before and I was intrigued, but I did not know what to expect.

Before the evening began and introductions were made, I expressed this to the woman facilitating the group meditation and channeling that night. In fact, the only channeling I had ever seen was in the movie, “Out on a Limb”, based on Shirley MacLaine’s book and starring her and the actual channel (depicted in the book as Kevin Ryerson). Watching that in the movie was riveting to me. So I wondered if this woman channeling would be just as interesting.

During the group meditation about fifteen people sat in chairs or on throw pillows scattered on the floor. Soft meditation music played, a single candle lit and the guided meditation begins. I cannot tell you what thoughts came to me. All I recall are the lights. My eyes were completely closed and I could see bright white flashes of light and then blue/green/magenta flashes of light. I knew that there was a single candle but it was not that bright. These flashing lights were dancing in the center of the room. I knew they were spirits, angels even. And I knew if I opened my eyes the lights would no longer be there. Keeping my eyes closed I enjoyed the light show. There was a lot of energy in the small living room. Angels, archangels, spirit guides and crossed over loved ones of everyone there that beautiful spring night.

After a break, the channeling began. I sat next to her but before she began she explained to me what would happen. And then the room became quiet until all of a sudden her body started moving, as if she was dancing in her armchair. A voice came through. It was her voice but with a slight, playful accent. The entity she channeled was known as ‘One’. ‘One’ greeted everyone, gave a short message and then opened it up to the participants for questions and guidance of a spiritual nature, generally. No one asked for the winning lottery numbers.

When it was my turn, I asked ‘One’ about the weight I was carrying around my waist and abdominal area, my solar plexus. No matter how much exercise I did the weight seemed to stay where it was. The answer I received was this. The weight is related to not being getting enough out of life. I was not getting out enough possibly because of some things happening in my private life. ‘One’ made a pulling motion from the channeler’s midsection to show pulling things out of the abdominal area to demonstrate what it meant. I understood. The solar plexus, the power chakra, is the body’s energy center for assertiveness, self-esteem and will power. I was grateful ‘One’ did not mention a serious health issue.

I just want to say another thing about channeling. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all conduits or channels of universal energy. I call it being in the ‘zone’ when I feel like I am on autopilot. And if you’re in the zone and you get a series of numbers, play them.

When the Student is ready, the Teacher appears


I was reading a self help book when I met my first spiritual teacher. The book, purchased from a bookstore was something I thought I needed in my life at the time. After reading less than half of the book I realized that it did not resonate with me. It was not what I was looking for after all. My sister had invited me over to meet him; she would be meeting her boyfriend there as well. The book I was reading was in my hands when I was introduced to him, although I can not recall why I would be carrying it around with me. But the Universe did.

After introductions, he asked me what I was reading. Prenaturally, he must have known why I was reading it and asked me to follow him inside. From a book shelf he chose a paperback and handed it to me and said I should read it. It had helped him. The book was ‘Out on A Limb’ by Shirley MacLaine. “When the Student is ready the Teacher will appear”, he said. I had never heard the Buddhist saying before but when he said it I got goosebumps. Something inside of me pinged. It was a knowing.

I was a little skeptical about this book having recalled what I had heard of it and her at the time. Less than 10 years from the time it was published I had her book in my hands and read the books description on the back cover. I waited about a week before I actually read it, unsure if I was really ready to read it. It changed the trajectory of my life. My spiritual journey had begun.

Just like different phases of schooling we go through in life, so did my spiritual journey. When I had completed the book, I read another my new friend had shared with me. This one was ‘There is a River’ by Edgar Cayce. My life was transforming and I wanted to learn more about New Age spirituality as it was called. When I was ready, the next teacher on my journey appeared. And then the next. And then the next. And I am still learning.



A Past Life

20181215_084458.jpgDuring a past life regression therapy session I saw myself in at least a few lifetimes. There were men in each of those lifetimes: a dark haired man with a mustache who was a landlord of a rundown building; a farm hand of my family’s farm and property in the 1800’s; a man in a white tee shirt and a red plaid kilt who was my father in that lifetime.
Past life regression therapy is therapy. To get to the root of my issue in this lifetime, I had to go back through as many lifetimes as it took to find where the karma began. My higher self and spirit guides, guided me and protected me during this soul journey back in time where I saw, not the entire lifetime with the aforementioned individuals ( it’s only a 2 hour session), but scenes from those lives showing me and reminding my subconscious of a situation in that lifetime, kind of like a movie trailer. In spiritual truth, I did not forget. The memory was there all along in my cells. During and after those scenes I knew who the man was in all of those lifetimes and certain traits of those men were familiar to me in this life.
I was raped by the farm hand in the 1800’s and became pregnant. In another scene from that life I saw myself on a horse drawn wagon with my parents – unknown to me in this life – being sent away until the baby was born. The farm hand in that lifetime was my husband in this life. In this lifetime I learned that the karma with my husband was to give him children.
The man with the red kilt, who was my father in that lifetime, was also my husband in this life. I was about twelve and was enslaved, meaning I performed nearly every chore there was to be done and I did not want to do it anymore. I wanted my own life. I wrapped a red plaid shawl around me and began to walk away. He ran after me with a spear and plunged it into my chest and twisted it around. The wound was fatal. During the therapy session the practitioner asked me where my soul was leaving my body. I lifted my hand to put it on my chest a couple of inches above my sternum.
I felt myself floating toward the sky and turned myself around and saw my body lying there on the ground. It did not hurt. I was not scared. I turned back around and saw the blue tunnel and went through it to the ‘Other Side’. And it was beautiful there. My guides and angels were with me throughout this transition. When I got home that night, I washed up before bed and my eyes saw the red stained birthmark on my chest. I had seen it my whole life and never knew what it was or how it got there.
Having read quite a few books about reincarnation and past lives, this was my first experience with my own past life memory. Not only was it therapeutic, but it was absolute proof for me that our souls do go on after this life.