I write this to remember. I share, just in case, you need the inspiration to give yourself permission to go on an ancestor pilgrimage.
Beauty can be so hard to put into words. I received so much of it in my journey to Italy. I went in search of fresh perspective, and have returned overflowing.
I traversed the physical world to reach the land of my Grandfather and experienced family in a whole new way. I was humbled to be embraced by strangers who called me family. This Journey was for my ancestors, who kept calling out in the spirit world that I must come to visit my bis bis Nona (great great Grandma). She never got over her daughter and grandson leaving and never returning. She told me so with a feeling of such deep heartbreak and longing it was clear I must make the journey.
And so I did.
My Grandfather left Orsara de Puglia when he was 5 years old. His memories of the place were of starvation and suffering through World War 1. Back in the days of our living conversations, he would tell me he didn't recommend going there, because it took a week in an ox cart to get there from Naples. For him, It was a place of trauma, that he had no interest in returning to.
Almost exactly 100 years later, I began my journey of returning, on a 14 hr flight. I ate ice cream in the sky, binge watched movies, and recognized the miracle of this time I live in. The rest of the journey took a little more effort, and a little discomfort, trains, and rental cars. But no ox cart, or boat across the ocean.
When we landed in Orsara, after many adventures to get this far, my friend Valerie and I arrive at our Air B&B. As we were getting settled, the host asked why we were there. As I was telling him the stories of my Papa, he stopped me, asked for names. "Micheal Bolza" I answered. He knew someone in town had the last name Bolza. Then he wanted other names. "Rocchina Mastrophiri was my Great Grandmother" I said. This got his attention. It was one of his family names. He called his Grandma over to tell her. She got so excited and gave me the hug of an Italian Grandma with a kiss on each cheek. Masterphirie you are my family! I had never felt so instantly accepted and wanted in my life. It was truly amazing. That hug alone was worth all the money, and time, and travel.
TThe Wedding Creepers
The next day Val and I left the air B&B to explore this town.
We drove through the narrow streets and came to the natural stopping point of the church of Archangel Michael. I had discovered info on this church when doing internet research. It is built over a cave that several people had direct experience with Archangel Michael aka Abbazia di Sant'Angelo. When I first read about this online several years ago I was struck by the connection. Archangel Michael is a strong guide for me and I named my son Michelangelo long before I knew anything about this place.
We arrived to an empty church. There was a flyer on the wall saying there was going to be a wedding that day. We thought "That’s sweet, we will just go in and be gone before that happens". As soon as we entered the church, people started arriving. We were being wedding crushers! We decided to get out of the way real quick. We found a stairwell that was out of the way. We could see and hear everyone arriving. We watched what I believe was the whole town arrive to this ceremony. All wearing their Sunday best. We listened to the babies crying with Italian accents. MaaMaa
After a long time of being in our hidey hole it seemed that the flow of people had slowed and we could escape without being seen. The ceremony was starting and it seemed safe. So we got up and started towards the car, and promptly ran into a big group of latecomers. We put our heads down and scurried out of there.
Of course, the car was blocked in since we were the first ones there. So we started walking.
Giggling about that experience we walked for a little ways down a random street and walked straight past city hall. We turned around and walked in. Val asked for the “Anagraphe” office. We had learned that word the night before from the Air B&B host. I suppose it translated to family records.
There were two people in the office clearly working on things. The woman was on the phone for several minutes before she hung up. When she saw us she immediately started talking in Italian, telling us her stories of who she was just on the phone with. The gist of it was that some German guy was wanting her to look up all kinds of info that was way more work than she got paid for. I don’t know how I understood that. But I did. She did not pause for breath for at least 5 minutes. Finally, she paused and we expressed that we did not understand Italian.
Val did amazing at speaking enough Italian to get the idea of why were there across.
My goal of going to this office was to find out where my ancestors might be buried so I could leave an offering for them. The goal this woman heard was to connect with my living relatives. I had no idea this was what was happening.
She got on the phone and made a phone call to what I thought was a coworker who spoke more English or something. She had us sit in the hall after introducing us to who I think was the Mayor. We sat there for a few minutes and I started feeling antsy. I was hungry. I was only there for the day and I really wanted to see more of the town. Mostly I had no idea why we were sitting there. I told Val I wanted to leave. She told me she thought we were waiting for someone maybe related to me. What! I felt completely unprepared for this. I didn’t even speak Italian. I really wanted to leave then. We got up to go. We tried to tell the lady that we were going to leave. The look on her face was of complete disbelief. "Why would you not want to meet your cousins" is what I now understand it to mean. She went and pulled a file that was yellow and hand written clearly at least 150 years old. The official record of the family Bolza. Just as this came out the people she had called showed up. As I look back on it is now clear that these people had responded to a call from city hall saying your long lost relatives are here come down and meet them, and so they did. At the time I really didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. Just some nice people looking at old records with me asking for details of my family tree.
There were many things lost in translation. What is clear to me is that Family has a different meaning in Italy. It means you are willing to drop everything and come down to city hall and meet a random stranger who might be part of your family. I am so touched that I experienced this connection.
The astrological story ark of the next 18 months sits in the axis of home and work / Cancer and Capricorn.
(Astrological sentence: Solar eclipse in Cancer sextile Uranus in Taurus opposing Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn)
This is an amazing invitation to clear deep family karma. Imprints of the past are being given a chance to be completely shifted. Like a cosmic vacuum cleaner ready to suck up the rubble of our cracked foundations. Engaging with this work can feel overwhelming and hopeless. It is not until you know that there is something that can be done that you can trust yourself to enter in to the process of ancestor healing. I offer you the knowing that there is something that can be done that it is highly effective. It takes time and effort and is so worth it.
It is advised to engage with your ancestors on purpose. Being poked by your unwell dead ancestors is no fun. If you do find yourself with unexplained inclinations powerful urges to play out behaviors that did not begin with you, it is time to begin your journey of ancestor healing.
Let me know if you need help with that.
Other themes that will be up for people at this time:
This eclipse story begins at the end. Venus naked and unafraid steps off the precipices into the abyss, to go spelunking in the cave of death. To die, curious what that feels like. She lets everything go to see what will return, if anything. Only mastery can survive death and be nourished by it. Many deaths are required to achieve mastery.
So, when you find yourself betrayed by life remember it is part of the agreement. To forget your divinity so you can find it again. Playing peekaboo with the Divine Mother, hide and seek with Great Spirit.
The agreement of life is full of death. This was always so. Death and change are not betrayal. They are required plot twists. Yet is hurts. For that pain I offer you soothing aloe for the heart space. A beautiful light of compassion, love and solidarity in this time that no one is getting out of unchanged. We are in this together. We grow strong and resilient when we choose to be connected. Of course, you should always maintain the right to disconnect, after all, freewill is our greatest gift.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/27810772As I celebrate with nature the achievement of turning the corner into summer, I send gratitude to all the beings of nature responsible for all the aspects of life that continue with or without me. I take this moment to bow deeply in thanks for the creation of life on this planet and the connection to all that is.
As I tend to do, part of this process for me is to look into the astrological sentence of this moment of solstice. I offer you my interpretation of the themes of the next six months. We will be riding the axis of work/career and home/family AKA Capricorn and Cancer.
In this axis we ask: How do I survive? How do I provide for my family? What is the legacy I am leaving this world? Is the imprint of my life the one I want to be leaving? What is the imprint of my family of origin?
The major themes of this time:
*Change of work or foundation of career ( Pluto, Saturn, conjunct the south node in Capricorn). Change of home or family ( Mars and Mercury conjunct the north node in Cancer with the Sun). This can be literally moving where you live or work. In my case moving my work space to my home.
*Sorting of priorities. Rescheduling your life so that what is truly most important to you is on top of your list of things to do. (Mercury and Mars opposing Saturn and Pluto on the nodes) Also, healing deep family imprints. Healing things that did not begin with you.
*Building sustainable structures at your home that nourish and nurture your connection the world around you. Permaculture design and natural building should be very interesting to people these days (Uranus in Taurus sextile Sun at solstice 0 degrees Cancer)
The themes will play out differently for each person depending on your personal Chart. If you need support navigating the places you are being asked to make big changes I am here for you. https://calendly.com/josephine-thomason
I was asked to do an interview for a middle school class project. It was kind of fun to be someone's class project.
Please describe what you think about Astrology and how it is said to effects the lives of people.
Astrology is the original science. It is the study of correspondences between the astronomical/celestial and the earth/terrestrial. The influence of the celestial bodies upon the earth is clear in all aspects of our natural world, seasons, tides, day and night, etc. Astrology takes this study of cycles and seasons to the next level and focuses primarily on human life. There are some form of astrology in cultures all over the world. The original study is always based on setting the calendar for the community. Knowing when it is time to do certain physical tasks, as well as ceremonial and celebratory timing. In modern astrology, the focus tends to be on psychological, spiritual, and behavioral understanding. It is employed by many counselors to get insight into their clients innate characteristics. Astrology is also immensely helpful in planting crops and raising livestock and healing the physical body.
I think of the birth chart as a cheat sheet to self-acceptance and self-mastery. It shows you your innate gifts and challenges. Like a blueprint of your life as it corresponds to the world around you. I find it to be an incredibly helpful tool in navigating the currents of change. The more you study the movement of the celestial the more you understand that there is a pattern to it. That all things change constantly.
I have been a day keeper for many years now, keeping track of where we are at in the river of time. Through the direct experience, I can say absolutely that astrology has a huge impact on the world around us and within us. I am not someone who "believes" in astrology. There are many things said in the name of astrology that are half baked and coming from a cultural narrative that is questionable. I personally always question and use my discernment to determine the truth within the teachings.
Tell me a story about the time you believe astrology really made an impact on your life.
The great American eclipse of 2017 was pretty funny. I knew that this would be a particularly potent moment personally and collectively. Because I teach this stuff, I had scheduled to have a ceremony during the eclipse. Over 100 people said they were coming which really didn't fit in the space we work out of. Just to be clear, I am a highly sensitive person so this kind of moments I feel on a very physical level. I really just wanted to curl up under a blanket and hide.
I learned to not try to hold space for other people when I know the energy is going to be so potent.
How do you feel about people saying astrology isn’t true or real?
I feel that they are making judgments from a place of ignorance. I know many astrologers who came to the study by attempting to disprove it. Then become astrologers because they couldn't and need to know how it works. Some people feel astrology is evil because of religious beliefs. I feel that is very unfortunate. Astrology is such a powerful tool based in observations of the natural world. To call it evil or pseudoscience is just a way of limiting peoples minds.
How important do you think it is for children to learn about Astrology?
I think it can help anyone at any age come to self acceptance. My kids have always loved me reading their charts. They picked up lots of things.
I think that if a child is drawn to the study they should be allowed to explore and learn. I know it is not for everyone.
Astrology helps me as a parent a lot. Mostly in working with some of my children's natural tendency's that I don't make sense to me because they are so different from me.
For example, my daughter, a Leo, would get really upset when she was little when she was getting dressed because her socks wouldn't be perfect. As an Aquarian I really can't relate to this level of drama. Personally I spend very little time thinking about what I am wearing. Because I understand astrologically that appearance is an important part of her personality I could have a lot more patience and compassion.
What made you want to work in the field of Astrology?
I studied astrology for many years because I found it fascinating. I eventually started going to a class every Tuesday night for a couple of years with my teacher Paul Reeder. I would do readings all the time for my friends and family. It actually never occurred to me as a career choice. It kind of just happened. People kept asking me to read for them and eventually started paying me. Once I started teaching my astrology class it became a bigger part of what I do. Even though I get paid to do readings all the time now I always feel like the money I make through astrology is extra special.
I hand you the keys to healing. It is a funky key chain with lots of keys. One says WILLINGNESS, another says COURAGE. The biggest, hardest, heaviest one says FORGIVENESS. That is the one you want to throw in the trash, but it is the one that unlocks all the doors.I hand you the keys to healing. It is a funky key chain with lots of keys. One says WILLINGNESS, another says COURAGE. The biggest, hardest, heaviest one says FORGIVENESS. That is the one you want to throw in the trash, but it is the one that unlocks all the doors.
Struggling without ceasing.
The threads of the world hold me tight.
Like the fly in a web, made of the delicate threads of our collective dreaming. My dream a small thread within the wad of the whole.
Questing for the question that can break me free. I find my way to stillness.
What remains after all the threads dissolve into the eternal flame of the heart becoming a tapestry of unimaginable beauty.
Many people claim to not be sensitive to energy. They claim they do not feel or believe in ghosts. My answer to prove this false is real estate.
I have been half of a dynamic duo doing property clearings for over 6 years now. We get called to clear many properties. Often because no one will rent or buy the space. They don't know why they just choose to not take that space. Rentals will stay vacant. Properties will not sell in spite of all the best efforts on the physical level.
They may not be able to tell you why, but they certainly are perceiving something is not right.
the stories a very entertaining.
Celia and I were called to do a clearing on a space that had been up for sale or rent for over 4 years. Nothing that tried to happen in the space was successful and was often thwarted in a big way. Beyond bad luck.
Once we started working, a woman in fancy dress from the 1800s came into my awareness. She believed she owned all of Tucson especially this particular building. She had been making sure nothing could change here for a long time.
I offered her the opportunity to move within the spirit world. She refused the offer flatly. She was doing her duty for her father who she believed to be taking care of things. She was not going to allow changes within "her" domain.
As I worked with her I began calling her soul parts back to her and releasing the cords that were binding her here. Once she received forgiveness and released her father she was able to move between the realms.
We also unclogged the energy pathways that were connected to that spot, and a few other energy clearing techniques.
then we reset everything we left.
The property sold within the month.
See everybody is sensitive.
Rainy Day and I recorded the first of many conversations about shamanic and energetic practice. This was inspired by my recent experience of soul loss in response to a fire that occurred at my work space. https://www.patreon.com/posts/18160677
Opening-Closing-Working in- Sacred Space
My Journey into being in a conscious working relationship with spirit has lead me to spending a lot of time opening, closing, and working in sacred space. Over the years I have had lots of conversations with spirit about their preferences and what the heck is up with the practice. I feel I should share. I will include links to a few ways that I use to call in. Understand that these are only a few ways and your way is best as long as it comes from your heart. Read more here:
I got triggered pretty hard by a friend posting on Facebook, that she was disgusted by the fact that an indigenous person was offering a training for money on native healing ways. She stated it in a way that concluded that healers are chosen, not trained and that training should somehow be gifted, leaving money out of the interaction.
It hurt me on so many levels. As a person who is perceived to be of white ancestry, who is a medicine person, who offers training in such things; I felt deep compassion for the person who created the offering. Being cut down by her own community based only on charging money for training. I know the courage it takes to step forward in this way, not to mention the time and energy it takes to hold space for people. The idea that you are not allowed to be compensated for your efforts if those efforts are spiritually based is a common idea. It has been present on my journey always. Yet, this time it got me hard.
I was so tired. Holding ceremony for weeks. Stepping forward to offer healing to the earth and the ancestors, neither of which have debit cards. I was tired and broke, which is always a bad combination.
This idea that in this time and space we currently occupy, AKA the United States 2017, we are supposed to be able to offer teaching in a traditional form is ridiculous. In a balanced and functioning society or tribe there would be at least 10 spiritual healers for every 200 people. Each with their own specialty, and offering support for each other, as well. The medicine person is a naturally occurring role in humans. There are always people born in all races with the innate qualities of heightened sensitivity to all the realms. Those people who are able to see and hear beings coming from other realms, as well as to take on another’s emotions, and who are able to perceive all that is esoteric and below the somatic. This natural occurrence of innate qualities that allow you to do the work of a medicine person occurs in all populations of humans.
In our society those innate abilities can create a hot mess of a person trying to navigate this world. Able to perceive every imbalance, wound, soul loss, and toxic ancestor hanging around other people while trying to function as a normal person. Without training this can be debilitating. The message that you are insane and too much for other people often becomes your own voice. This current time that we are living in, with all its imbalances, is a terrible burden for all of us. Yet, for the sensitive soul who has yet to learn to use their abilities as a gift, it can be a living nightmare of torment. The idea that you do not choose to be a medicine person is not true. You must choose to actualize your abilities into gifts. This choice requires training and focus. Just like any art form, tallent will only take you so far. In an unhealed society like ours, too often medicine people at some point learn to shut down their abilities completely or end up in the mental health system, or both.
Looking at our human relations, knowing that we are all connected. Even if our great grandparents battled we are the collective generation brought here to heal that. Each of us, every one of us. Keeping teachings of balance and harmony away from anyone at this time based on ethnicity is at odds with the goal of bringing healing to this earth. I honor the truth of the pain of appropriation. When your prayers are outlawed and your Gods stolen and sold to collectors, It makes sense to me that sharing with the decedents of the people who perpetrated genocide, rape and murder on your people might not be the first thing on the list of things to do. Yet, we do not live in the time before colonization. Trying to pretend that we should be able to function in purely traditional ways is harmful to everyone involved. Working together toward authentic and honored inclusion, collectively bridging cultural division and creating unified planetary healing is the calling of all of us at this time. This is not a dress rehearsal.
Then there is this issue of money. The idea that a medicine person is supposed to offer everything they have and take the time to teach another person how to do so without compensation is ridiculous and unsustainable. Are we supposed to work at McDonalds in order to support ourselves, praying and teaching and healing people in our spare time? This idea is a symptom of our imbalanced state, it is sick and wrong and pervasive. Ultimately it only creates more illness and imbalance. It is an idea rooted in a time where the traditional healer was held outside of the needs of worrying about physical needs. The needs of the healers were met by the community because the role they play was valued by their community. This community understood that healers work is outside of the physical world, and is all consuming. It does not leave time for the side job at McDonalds. This is a beautiful idea, and true in some cultures, unfortunately not ours.
To translate this idea into this time and space of urban living in 2017 just creates more imbalance for the medicine person. The message that you must take a vow of poverty in order to be spiritual is a message that only serves the broken paradigm we are collectively trying to heal. That conversation goes something like, “I would like to work with spirit, but you know, I like to eat, so that cannot be my main gig. I guess I will go sell my skills, abilities and gifts to the machine for money, then try to get spirit to work with me even though I am out of integrity within myself.“ This is a seriously out of balance idea!
Yet, prayer cannot be tied to capitalism. To try to fit spiritual healing into the western business model is another seriously out of balance idea. It is not that simple to unravel because our money, our means of consensually exchanging energy, is currently imprisoned in capitalism. This work must be beyond money, but right now money is how we exchange energy to stay in balance. It often seems impossible to translate spiritual work into monetary exchange. How much would you pay to heal your soul? How much do you pay to restore balance to your ancestors? How much would you pay to have the energy lines of the earth repaired? It must be beyond money. Yet we need money. After all the first requirement of being a medicine person, is to be an actual person. A person with a mouth, hands, and body that require care, food, and shelter. Our relationship with money is also too frequently heavy with karma; ancestral and personal. To come to a balanced place with money we must spend a good long time clearing that karma. Money in our society, maintains a link between our vital life force and everything we willingly exchange for that life force. The answer my Spirit friends gave to my cry of, "Is this true?", was that, "Yes, money is directly linked to your human physical needs. In this realm, money and time are linked. So, you charge for your time. Blessing it along the way. Offering a sliding scale for everyone. Allowing community support so, that you can do this work."
As I sat with this message I found some comfort, and a lot more to chew on. I am good with the time money piece. I have been charging $60 per hour for the purpose of easy math for a long time. This is extremely necessary when working outside of time and space to be able to return to an ordinary state of consciousness and figure out the money piece. I have always worked on a sliding scale. Yet, this idea of community support is still a bit foreign to me. I am a strong do it yourselfer. It is hard for me to even entertain the thought of how to allow others to be involved. In answer to how, my ancestors and Azrael Avey guided me to create a Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2388325. It seems we already live in the future, and that future allows us to support each other easily. One example of the modern equivalent of traditional community support. This is a technological platform for community support. The answer to how the hell I am going to allow myself to be supported to continue walking this beautiful medicine path, offering support to all of my relations, not just the human ones. I invite any of my medicine people, artists, and creator friends to entertain the thought of creating a page for yourself. You can even tell them I sent you. Use this link https://patreon.com/invite/dqzxlr if you do because, then I too will get a little money that will translate into time I can spend serving those who cannot pay. I am being brave and putting this out there and giving it a try. I like it so far.
Thank you to my friend who I love very much for bringing this issue up for me to chew on, examine and reconsider my own relationship with balance. Thank you also to my friend Cassandra, who often helps me organize my words to be a better gift to all of you.
Josephine Thomason is an artist, healer, teacher.