I often read Social Media questions about why people charge for Spiritual Work. Sometimes this is an earnest question by someone who truly doesn’t have an answer. Sometimes it’s posed by someone who has listened to the judgments of people who have been indoctrinated by mainstream religion to believe the only way to heaven is via asceticism. Other times, it is a projection or energetic spear, thrust by a person who is unable to understand how much time, energy and money are behind our offerings. I’ve definitely been attacked many times by people who just don’t get it!
I began writing a response to one friend’s question last night and then decided that my wording was awful and that I needed to create a blog post around this.
For those of us who have spent our lives and massive amounts of time and energy learning, as well as a lot of money learning, it doesn’t make sense to then offer our work free of charge. It would deplete us completely.
To be completely transparent: I spend about 20 hours preparing for a weekend circle and 20 hours per weekend with the circle. I hold a strong container for women to process what they need. I buy toilet paper and plates and Kleenex. I pay the water and power bills for the space. All people doing this sort of work will have similar infrastructure to pay for, one way or another. That’s leaving out thousands of hours of education, reading, travel and doing the work, recording meditations, and preparing the daily practices.
I bring in about $8000 per year from doing my spiritual work. It is not enough to pay many bills but it’s enough to make me feel like I can continue. I LOVE the Illuminated Priestess Path, the women in circle, and the word ‘work’ isn’t completely accurate but it’s short, so I’m using it.
Loving what we do doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to paid for all of the hours we put into it. The mythology that spiritual teachers should do without in order to offer their work to the world is just that: a myth. Asceticism is great, if you are drawn to it. It’s not so great if you aren’t.

This is not me.

There’s a premise in Reiki about energy exchange. Master Usui treated people without charging them when he first discovered Reiki. Here is a quote,
“[Usui] decided after a few days to go to the beggar city in the slums of Kyoto to treat the beggars and help them lead a better way of life. He spent seven years in the asylum treating many illnesses. One day, however he noticed the same old faces kept coming. When he asked why they had not begun a new life, he was told that working was too troublesome, and that it was better to go on begging. Usui was deeply shaken and wept. He suddenly realised that he had forgotten something of great importance in his healing work, namely to teach the beggars gratitude. In the following days, he thought out the Reiki principles…”
Think about what it’s like being a mother, or try and imagine what it’s like if you aren’t one. Consider how drained you feel…How depleted you can be by the end of a week. Then think about doing it for people who you didn’t voluntarily give birth to, who don’t live with you and who aren’t willing to give you anything in return. In a nutshell, that’s the answer. The analogy here isn’t about comparing Priestesses or clients to children, it’s about people expecting a teacher to give them time, energy, education, space in their home or classroom, handouts, reading lists, playlists, etc and to not charge a fee.
Once you think about it, feel into it, it is more than simple to see why people charge for spiritual mentoring, guiding, teaching, or coaching. Most of us have the equivalent of a Masters Degree in our area of focus. You wouldn’t expect to take a college course on Shakespeare and not pay, would you?
Edit: A friend pointed out to me that for low income women, paying in cash is not always an option. That’s true and is the reason I changed my fees for Clearing from a flat-rate, to an energy exchange. This work, the Priestess work especially, tends to draw comfortable, white women. I seek to change that, to have much more diversity in my circles, and am happy to barter. Energy exchange is about *energy* after all. Money is a form of energy but it isn’t the only option.


Today I was driving around thinking about my Clearing work and how it seems to be viewed in my community. Yesterday someone, in a truly energetically funky house, said to me, “…came by and waved some sage around. I think that did it.”

So many people believe that sage does it all. Sage is wonderful. I totally for sage! However, there are times when I despair of ever finding enough work that people will begin to realize that what I do and waving around some sage are not the same thing. Sage is great! I use it all of the time. I find that it is wonderful to set and help maintain a resonance but will not rid you of all of the things a space clearing will.

The Space and Personal Clearing protocol I use incorporates information learned in a very long process during which I worked on homes and businesses in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The work calls on information from my teacher, Melody LeBaron, and from Denise Linn and Eric Dowsett. This is like an MFA in Clearing Work!


Back to today, in the car, I suddenly thought: I’ve got it!

And here it is:

Let’s say you make some broth. The vegetables you put into the soup carry the energetic imprints of the person who grew and sorted and bagged the seed, of the farmer who planted the seed and the ground they grew it. The vegetables also carry the imprints of the person who picked them, sorted them, washed and bagged them and of the grocery clerks who shelved them and the one who rang up your grocery order. Then there’s you. What sort of mood are you in when you cook? That goes into the pot as well.

If you’re cooking with meats or bones, you will have similar energetic imprints from the life/lives of the animals who go into your pot. Was your beef raised knee deep in feces and mud, fed chicken manure (it’s called something else on the feed bags, rest assured) and then rushed onto a huge, loud truck and shipped to a torturous facility where it was (hopefully) killed before being slaughtered? You toss all of that into the pot along with your 8 ounces of ground sirloin.

So now you have your soup. It’s ready and smells delicious. You’re home alone and decide to eat while you watch tv so you grab your bowl of soup and head for the couch when, EEK!, you trip and spill soup all over your gorgeous, new carpeting.

What do you clean it up with? Do you grab a broom and start sweeping it out the door? Of course you don’t! You choose smarter tools to clean up with because you know that the broom won’t pick up the liquid and will smear those soft, yummy veggies and pieces of sirloin into your brand new carpet. Sure, the broom will pick up the most obvious pieces and chunks and if you leave the soup alone there might only be a little spot that’s noticeable (especially once the dog licks the carpeting all day while you’re at work). But that soup is still going to be there, molding, festering, growing bacteria.

And this, folks, is what happens when you wave some sage around. The obvious chunks of stale, fusty energy disperse but there’s a lot left to live with and it doesn’t get better with age.

Consider me the Molly Maid of Energetic Clearing Work! I come into your home with the equivalent of a magical soup remover and a steam cleaner and I get that stuff out.

Sure, I might use sage at the end of a clearing, the sage sets the tone and besides, it smells really good. It’s what I do before that that’s going to help your home look brighter and feel happier immediately.

If you’re ready for a clearing, get in touch or explore my Clearing heading under Work With Be for more information on pricing and services.

I’ve finally discovered the tap root of my Personal Clearing and Space Clearing practice, my Mystery School. It has taken me quite a long time to discover how I want to offer this work to the world and I’m excited to share this with you!
If you’ve been looking for some help with clearing your field of attachments–to people, stories, entities–I can do that. If you feel yourself affected negatively by your electronics, your meter box, or other electrical devices or impulses–I can help. If you are ready to clear your field of stickiness and uplevel your consciousness in order to open to new possibilities, a Personal Clearing session is the perfect way to begin.
A personal clearing session will last 1-2 hours. After that, I will touch in often (for as long as 1 month) to continue the clearing. You do not need to be present for any of these unless you prefer to Skype or come to me for the 1st session. I use pendulum dowsing and deep intuition along with a specific clearing protocol to do this work.

**This is not your typical clearing**


From this point forward there will be some changes in the way I’ve offered my services, both locally and remotely. Remote work will be donation-based and ongoing, with a suggested minimum donation. The same will be true for clients who come to me at Four Oaks. I hope that this will create healing opportunities for many who cannot afford this work otherwise.

If you’re curious about my qualifications, or my training, here are some highlights:
I trained with Melody LeBaron, of Transforming Space, to become a Space and Personal Clearing Practitioner.
I’m also a Reiki Master; Channel; Intuitive; and Grid Worker.

If you’re in need of my services, please PM or contact me via SolMani or my website,www.fouroakssantuary.net


Simply put: I’m changing the name of my process to the Illuminated Priestess Path.

After trying hard to honor every request re naming and inclusion of words and heritage and etc, it is time to shake off everything except my own Mystery School and this is it.

Welcome, women, into this new energy of light!


Unworking. It seems intimately related to unraveling, or raveling, as these 2 words mean the same thing. Unwinding all of the coils and kinks in the body and working on those in the mind and soul.


unwork in British


verb (transitive)

to destroy or undo (previous work)

This seems appropriate. According to Yogi Bhajan and others, we have 3 minds: Positive or creative mind, which is the generating principle; Neutral or ‘being’ mind, where we can be in a state of non-attachment; and Negative or destructive mind, which is where we rid ourselves of what no longer serves.

All 3 Minds serve us and our higher good by providing a mental place to come to life, problem solving and creating balance. Even though we’ve been trained to try and not acknowledge the Negative mind, or even the word ‘negative’, which can be triggering for some of us (me!), Negative mind is what helps us clear out the old, unusable things in our lives. Think about cleaning house, getting rid of dust bunnies, trash and those old socks without mates–*that* is Negative mind working for you.

So I’m unworking, unwinding years of trauma to my body and psyche, unraveling the knots in my soul. Last fall I spent weeks with Andrew Harvey’s 7-part body prayer, doing it daily, releasing, letting go, surrendering my ego. That period of time was one of the clearer points in my life and it is, I think, time to get back to that place of neutral mind as I continue unraveling, letting the kinks work themselves out.

There’s another aspect to this, though. That of giving myself permission to rest, to not work or try to create income flow for right now. Time to enjoy a new hobby, painting soul art, and to let go of agendas, schedules and commitments. Unworking doesn’t mean ‘not working’. There’s still plenty of laundry to do and the family still expects to be fed! Hah. It means more of a non-agenda, a time to surrender into no-time, no-thing-ness, to move bath and forth from dream time to wakefulness seamlessly.

It sounds very blurry and without definition. It is. I fully recommend that you try it if you can.

The Call for Retreat

IMG_7173Retreat: an act of moving back or withdrawing.

This year began with a strong message from spirit to stay home, rest, to BE. My guidance was to sink into my own work and to limit information inflow from others. I felt strongly pulled to work in my yard and garden, to thoroughly organize our home and to declutter with a heavy hand. As this peace began to roll through my life, I also began to see what I need to be doing, teaching, offering to my community in order to create a bit of an income stream but also to help create and sustain that community.

It is not time for that yet. My life is in the dark moon phase, a time to neither plant nor harvest but to rest. Everything is done, fertile, ready to grow but not yet. This is the cave time and I know I must take advantage of that.

In other terms, this is the time of death that immediately precedes rebirth and it really feels that way to me. I am so strongly pulled to completely withdraw from the world that even grocery shopping or lunch with the family seems like too much.

I am in cauldron of change, that much is certain, and the cauldron is a pause, is the inbreath, is the cave of hibernation and regeneration and I am here, sleepily staring out at the world with glowing green eyes, not yet prepared to rejoin you.

The fact that my life provides the liberty to do this, to take this time, is a blessing that I firmly recognize. Many of you would have been back at work long before now–a month post-surgery–and carrying on with life, unable to examine your exhaustion too deeply for fear it might get the best of you and tear down what you’ve so carefully constructed. Life has a way of doing that to us and I simply have the liberty to surrender to it without fear that the electricity will be turned off and so I offer prayers of gratitude for this, for all of it.

It has been a rough few years with summers fraught with medical intensity. On July 13, 2015, my mom was hospitalized. She was under-treated and abused, I was often traveling and none of us took the time or care of her that we really should have. Especially the staff members of the facilities where she starved and thirsted, was carried by the seat of her pants and treated like she was intentionally misbehaving to get the best of the staff.

I didn’t realize how much bitterness I still carry about this until just now. Bitterness and disgust and judgment. But there it is, welling up, making my heart squeeze.

Mom died on August 22, 2015 in a hospice with a wonderful staff. Kind, loving, tender. I was with her, as were my husband and youngest child.

In July of last year (2016), my appendix ruptured. By the time they got me into surgery I had gangrene in my abdominal cavity. It took several months of drain tubes and recovery to get back to anything close to normal.

This year, June 9th, I again had surgery and my left ovary and tube, along with masses of cysts and fluid were removed from my abdominal cavity.

I am tired. Exhausted in fact. And so, until summer’s end I commit to being with this need for solitude, sanctuary and retreat. Life will still make it’s demands and I will respond but only as necessary. The rest–communication, socializing, etc–will have to wait. I find, for the first time ever, that I often do not even have the ability to respond to prayer requests. There is simply no well to draw from.

The well will refill in time. My body will heal. The classes or telecourses will be created. For now I offer this to you in hopes that there is medicine here for you, permission perhaps, to also withdraw and honor yourself.

Blessings. Be.


A surgeon once told me, “The only minor surgery is one that someone else has.” I could not agree more.

Last summer my appendix ruptured. Apparently it was let go too long and I developed gangrene in my abdominal cavity. The surgeon said it was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. The resident was extremely excited about how disgusting everything in there was. The recovery, despite well-meaning folks telling me I’d be up and at ’em forthwith, took months.

First, there was a drain tube coming out of my belly. The was tape, something like you’d see sending bubbles into a fish tank and something else that looked like a transparent, soft, plastic grenade that had to been emptied and then compressed to create suction. How often this happened really depended on the amount of fluid evacuating from my body. It was a do-it-yourself operation, the drain tube thing.

Secondly, the pain pills made me hallucinate. This might sound kind of cool, if, like me you were (or are) a naughty person who used to enjoy hallucinating…but it wasn’t cool, it was freaky and interrupted any sort of restful sleep I may have gotten during the times when the pain had pharmaceutically abated.

Third, when, after 2 weeks the drain tube was removed, I was joyous! Alas, I was also firmly warned that the severity of the rupture and infection made me a prime candidate for an abdominal abscess. It felt like they were telling me that I would have one and that I should get used to the idea of seeing the ER and SICU one more time. At a minimum. This was right and true, and so we come to

Fourth, the abscess. Oh fun times. Just when I was ready to party down, having lost that first tube, my husband had to drive me to the hospital, avoiding any bumps he could–not an easy task in Norfolk, Virginia–because bumps=bad when you have a huge mass of jiggling liquid and pus collecting inside of you. Lucky me, this tube came out of my right butt cheek and yes, I had still had to do the measuring and emptying myself. By the time this came out, we were at week number five.

Fifth, the well wishers, the lovely friends who came and told me how great I looked and how well I was healing from my minor surgery! My upbringing would not allow me to simply say, “I feel like hell, can barely move and want a nap now.” So, like an idiot, I would sit and chat until they felt that they could leave. Once, my entire family came and sat in the room in an effort to create enough discomfort that the visitor would take the hint. Alas, no. I crashed and burned pretty hard after that one.

Now it is a year later, almost, and I just had another surgery to remove some cysts my body grew as a result of that gangrenous appendix. My left ovary and fallopian tube were consumed by the cysts and so, I lost those, too. I think it is finally over.

All of this by way of saying, that surgeon was right, there is no minor surgery unless someone else had it.

When my husband had something similar happen to him, people didn’t come by. I took care of him, cooked nourishing foods, changed the tv station or turned it off or on as he wished, diffused healing oils, gave him his medication, clean blankets and pillow cases and clothes and warm socks. He slept where and when he wanted and I honestly don’t think he lacked for anything.

I did not receive that same care. I suspect that women often don’t. My most recent surgery was on a Friday afternoon. Sunday around 6pm I realize that if I didn’t cook supper, I wasn’t going to eat and I was hungry. So I cooked supper. When I think about this it makes me angry, but mostly I feel it in my heart–the lack of care, the lack of loving kindness, the absolute lack of anything except expectation that I move on from my little surgery and get back with it and I sincerely doubt that I am alone in this experience.

Women experience longer ER wait times, and our pain is not taken as seriously. While the linked articles are about doctors and emergency rooms, the same is true at home, of our husbands and children. And I’m not leaving out same-sex couples for any reason other than I suspect that *women* take their female partner’s pain and illness seriously and offer better post-surgical care than male partners.

So I just returned to this post after following a google rabbit trail. Turns out that the few articles out there for how to care for one’s wife post-op are about cosmetic surgery (would he love me more if I had breast implants put in, rather than a huge, cystic mass taken out?) and then it’s mostly ‘why doesn’t my husband care for me when I’m ill?’. There are tons of articles and blogs about how to care for one’s husband after an operation of any sort, appendectomy included.

Obviously this sort of thing is systemic and there’s a lot of, “Oh honey, he’s just worried about you,” going around out there. Let me tell you that that approach is not helpful. Excusing and poopooing and giving these men the excuse that it’s okay because they’re scared is not the answer. It’s time for them to step up and learn how to take care of partners who are ill. We no longer have a village, or the village has become the nuclear family alone. We have to help each other and it has to go both ways.

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.” Rumi


For years I’ve traveled, taken trainings and courses, truly leaned into this time of spiritual attunement and growth. The momentum behind all of it is substantial, possibly the travel and learning and connection with others on a similar path has been a bit addictive. This year, however, the message I received was, ‘Be still. Listen.” and so I have been trying, sometimes successfully to do those two things.

Technology is not easily overlooked or left behind and yes, I am wired in far more than necessary. The endorphin hit from seeing a new Snap Chat or getting to ‘like’ a FB post are pretty cool but I have managed to make a lot of time to grow things, to watch the birds, to nap with a kitten tucked between my chin and chest. Being still has been the easier of these two things.

‘Listen.’ This really was about stopping the running about and learning other people’s stuff and simply sitting with my own abilities, wisdom and allowing what is truly mine to flow through as an offering to the world. Allowing my own teachings to flow through, uninformed by new information from outside sources. This has been the real challenge! There are so many cool offerings, classes and trainings out there that it is hard to say no to those and to sit and be and to *listen* to spirit as I am informed as to how to deepen into my own work. But I think I’ve done that, too, and we are only half-way through the year.

Stopping all of the forward momentum created by traveling to circles and courses has been difficult. It was hard to catch my balance for several months. Even being still felt like movement and there was always an invitation or message for another course that sounded amazing! So maybe I am a little drunk. Possibly the spirits that move me don’t come from a bottle of booze but are no less intoxicating!

And so, I sit, am still, am listening. The edge of the roof is just there and I am surrounded by the lush garden I’ve grown and lured by what lingers there, the voices of the devas and fairies, the songs of the birds who bring messages from places our human bodies cannot inhabit. There is such wondrous beauty — being drunken, overflowing with spirit, and on the edge. Would you care to join me? Are you already here, feet swinging as you perch on the ledge, pondering what lies beyond?

winter_kaleidoscope_by_dr_wolf0014-d366p2rJune 13, 2017           Chesapeake

I didn’t sleep well last night and fought with myself for a good long while before finally getting up and writing the skeleton of this blog post. Many of us do this, I think, lie in bed and think we will remember a dream or a really good poem or idea in the morning and so talk ourselves back into sleep where we forget the wonder of what we accessed in that liminal space. Certainly I do it and so I try to get up and sneak into the next room, where I can turn on a light and write out my thoughts, or the bones of them, before they vanish in the wee hours.

The thing that kept me awake, *those* who kept me awake really, are those who people my dreams with incredible frequency. These are not always the same people. Sometimes there are women and children seeking sanctuary, a place to rest, heal, sleep and retreat from a world that has not nurtured them, has in fact beaten them nearly to death. Sometimes there are women and children picnicking on my lawn waiting for me to *do* something. What I am not certain. My friend and teacher, Anyaa, used to come frequently and I was always madly preparing the space for her but would forget about her on the day she was to arrive, or not remember she had been here visiting until she had already left–as if I’d slept through it all. (Think there’s a metaphor at work here?) When Anyaa finally did come in actual real life, those dreams ceased. Turns out she slept well, ate well and enjoyed her stay and I remembered that she was here and we spent a few interesting, fun and joyful days in each other’s company. I believe that other friends have also hovered on the periphery of these dreams in which they visit and I forget, Melody, EveLynn, Flo, Shoes…

Anyway, the most recent of these visitations have been 4 Shaman. I think that all 4 of them are Mayan and they definitely came home with me from Mexico, though I realized with all crazy clarity that one of them is a real person and lives in Gulf Coast Florida and another lives in Quintana Roo or Yucatan. The rest maybe on this plane or another, I’m not sure. It was at this pondering point where I came to realize something important about how I view things from this perspective of almost but not quite asleep. 

Fractally. That’s it, I thought, seeing in my mind’s eye the way I see all of these people. It’s like looking down the tube of a kaleidoscope and seeing not only what’s at the end but also the lenses that run down both sides and all of the lenses are filled with faces, rather than random, pretty colors.

I don’t know if these people are real, or if they are psychological archetypes or if they are simply my imagination but my leaning is toward real as these do not feel so much like dreams as they do visions, or precognitions…maybe even memories that cross all boundaries of time and could be from the past or from now or from the future or from some parallel timeline that we aren’t aware of.

This fractal view reminds me of the pre-migraine auras that used to plague me and which still show up sometimes, generally before a huge energetic shift. Sharp, angular puzzle pieces not yet in place.

So back to the Shaman who came home from Mexico. I’ve been remembering them in my sleep for weeks now and feeling an adrenaline surge when I recognize that I’ve brought them here and that they expect something of me and that I’ve forgotten them in my waking hours. This morning I grabbed my notes from last night and came to the computer to write and about halfway through this blog post, I decided to google Mayan Shaman Florida. One of the names on the list was a woman who I exchanged well-wishes with yesterday via Facebook. A woman who I have not met in real life, or don’t think I have, but with whom I have a connection–possibly one stronger than I realized until now. I don’t know why I’m preparing energetic space for her, but I am, I have been and I’m curious to see where this leads.

And as to the visitors, clearly they need to be remembered in the broad light of day, visited on this side of sleep and their wishes must be heard. Maybe then I can rest in my dreams, fly a little, and not worry so much about preparing their space.

Do you have dreams you’d like to share? I’d love to read about them in the comments.

The Bees

55d4c9e524d2f-imageToday I went outside, put down a mat and lay full-out on the ground. Sent my thoughts to the hive and they responded. I told them that I had been in surgery. That I loved them. I was afraid and told them that, too, that I knew they were far more powerful than I. That I knew they could kill me in an instant, should they so choose. Then I relaxed, as much as my sliced and mauled belly would allow, and I was still.

Shortly I felt furry feet, a sweet little treading on my collar bone, across my chest, (did she go down my dress?!), then over my right breast and onto my arm. My goodness how those tiny feet tickled but honestly, I felt no need to, no draw toward, slapping her off, toward demeaning the gift I had requested: a blessing. One bee, teaching me with her tiny feet that there is really nothing to fear.

I came inside soon after, lit a charcoal and placed upon its embers several drops of propolis in honor of the gift. Making sacred memory of this event, my initiation, my opening onto a path of which I know nothing except that sweetness and sting lie beyond.

I want to add that after sharing this I went to bed and found myself thinking on the bees. I’m reading The Shamanic Way of the Bee, by Simon Buxton and sometimes, before I read a new chapter, I’m called to do something–some ceremony of some sort–and the going out and lying with the bees was one of them. I then came inside read of his initiation onto the Path of Pollen via Sacramental Venom. I was revolted. Absolutely revolted by the idea of killing those sweet nurse or guard or other worker bees.

Then I went to bed and came into that inter-between place and really went into a space where I was connecting to the drones and did not care one bit that they would die after mating with me. And other queens? I wanted to kill them. All of them. And words are failing me now in explaining this because words aren’t feelings and maybe because bees don’t speak, but when I thought about someone killing one of the lady-bees as some initiatory rite *I was fucking pissed*. That’s all.



A Homeschool Literary Magazine

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Appalachian Ink ~ Home of Anna Wess (and Granny)

Home of Anna Wess, Writer & Ghost Chaser

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Illuminated Priestess Path

Elemental Meridian

Elemental-simple; pertaining to the 4 elements or forces of nature. Meridian: point of highest development.