Newsletter

The Compost Bin

Hello and Happy May, Eclipse, Full Moon, GROWTH! 

So, I’m wondering: Which set of verbs do you resonate with?

__Demolish, Destroy, Dismantle

OR

__Allow, Permit, Watch. 

I ask this question today, on May 10th, as we move closer to the powerful Full Moon in Scorpio on Monday, May 16th. I’m no astrologer but the “reports” say to hold on to your hats. And it’s not only a full moon but a lunar eclipse as well. We’re actually smack dab in the middle of a powerful eclipse cycle, having had a partial solar eclipse on April 30th. It’s during these times that truths are revealed, artifice slips away, illusions get shattered. 

And thus, my verb groups for your contemplation. One set is obviously masculine and the other obviously feminine. There’s no “right” answer, just an invitation to scan your motivation, and think about what you align with. How are you showing up for life? How do you want your energy to be received in the world? 

This morning, I was reminded of the 2nd group of verbs. As Molly and I took our morning walk down Mansion Road, I caught a glimpse of a large raptor flying overhead. The black wings of this creature flapped in the current of still morning air; I fast-walked to keep up with his (or her-) flight. Molly sensed my excitement and was happy to speed up to a trot. This bird was bigger than a raven so I knew it was either a juvenile eagle or a turkey vulture. 

I lost sight of it for a minute, my view obscured slightly by a copse of trees.  As we crested the hill, right before the dirt road becomes “hot top,” I spotted the black figure perched on the branch of an oak. 

Molly and I slowed, trying not to scare him or her off. I was practically standing right under it and noticed the “bald spot” of the bird’s forehead: Vulture. 

From a biological perspective, vultures are the clean-up crew for the environment. They can eat anything, digesting rotting flesh, trash, even motor oil! They have a non-discriminatory “taste”–being such, a lot of decay and disease is easily cleared away by vultures. 

In shamanic terms, these traits can be metaphorically translated as the ultimate healing medicine: The Master of Transmutation, of taking death and making it “viable” nourishment. To carry the medicine of Vulture is to be not only a walker-between-the-worlds but a healer who does not discriminate (or take herself too seriously). 

A man by the name of David Koziol gifted me a vulture feather once. It was June 2015 and Michael and I were on a 2nd honeymoon in the great South West. Our focus was to hit up all of the hot springs; I’d moved to Maine from Durango and wanted to show him that place as well. We’d also received a very generous wedding gift from one of his friends who lives in Santa Fe: a night at 10,000 Waves with a luxurious spa package included. 

After leaving the Orient Land Trust (aka, Valley View Hot Springs) in southern Colorado, we decided to change our day trip to Taos into an overnight. I popped onto the Air B-N-B app as he drove our rented Ford Escort down into the pink and ochre colors of New Mexico. I found a place where the host, Julianne, was a “ceramicist” and thought that sounded fun. She pinged me back with a confirmation and we exchanged numbers and info. The last message before we arrived in Taos was an invitation to go see her boyfriend’s band, the Bones of Romeo. 

“If I’m not here when you guys get here, I’ll be in town, at the plaza. Dave’s playing tonight. They’ll be at the gazebo–you can’t miss it!” 

Michael, who is always up for a night of dancing, was game. He was sunburned from too much “clothing optional” options at Orient Land Trust; I decided if that wasn’t going to stop him, who am I to say no? On the way out of town, it started to pour. A good, old-fashioned South Western summer storm. Lightning lit up the sky, thunder cracked overhead. The Escort slowed to a crawl as the wipers slapped out of control at the torrential rain. 

We finally made it downtown and walked into the first Tex-Mex joint we saw for food and a couple of beers. Once at the plaza, Julianne spotted us immediately. I asked her how she knew it was us and she said something about my Air B-n-B profile (but later joked that my Gringa-vibe stood out loudly). We talk-shouted over the music and, after a few pleasantries, turned to dancing. 

The Bones of Romeo swept us up into a frenzy. Their playing was tight, and offered a balance of originals with covers of Tom Petty, Neil Young, the Doors, the Beatles. Dave was the drummer and bashed that drum set with passion and pride. The frontman was showy, in a White Snake kind of way and the two guitar players ripped. They clearly had fun playing together and the thunderstorm had not kept anyone at home–the place was packed! 

That night, the four of us stood in Julianne’s kitchen and talked. Julianne made BLTs for everyone and we hydrated. We were all quite tired so the conversation was the type that was clipped and casual, mutterings really, peppered with bursts of laughter, jokes. It was also obvious that Julianne and David were crazy about each other, an other-worldly type of connection. Their love made Michael and I even more at ease. I slept like a drugged baby that night. It was by far the most comfortable, restful overnight of our entire trip (yes, even better than 10,000 Waves!) 

The next day, after my coffee, I walked out onto the deck and further into the sagebrush with my rattle. I love desert sage, much more than the white sage of California. I’ve always felt a special affinity with Taos, NM; it started when I discovered that Taos was about three and a half hours from Durango, CO, where I was finally able to escape the violence of my first marriage. Putting myself back together often happened on little respites to Ojo Caliente (more hot springs!) and Taos. I’d rent an over-priced hotel room in a historic hotel on Main Street and spend the weekend walking around, eating, sleeping, reading. I’d go back to Durango more grounded, more myself–or the self I was slowly re-inventing. 

So, with rattle in hand, I wanted to go sing my song “Morning Sun” to the mountains, the air of Taos and to the sun of course. It was so clear! The sun was so hot. The rays seemed to unlock a  feeling of remembrance inside of me. Of those past going-through-a-divore days but also something much, much older…

When I walked back toward the house, I found Dave standing on the deck, smiling a big smile at me. This man had the best smile! It was the ‘best smile’ because he’d put his smile to good use–you could just tell. “I have something for you,” he said, and motioned for us to go inside. 

He emerged from the bedroom with a feather. “This is Vulture. It’s powerful medicine and it belongs to you,” he said and handed it to me. “You’re a healer, inside and out.” 

I was without words at the sentiment. To be gifted a feather is an act of respect, and of trust in the care-taking of feather medicine. Dave added he’d carried the feather for a long time; I was touched he wanted me to have it and I thanked him profusely. 

David Koziol, may he RIP

I stayed in touch with this soulful couple, this artist and musician from Taos, my spirit home, for some time. I even did some distant healing work for them after Julianne told me that Dave had been diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the lung. He fought it hard, was determined–like my Dad–to beat it. Sadly, he passed away on Sept 9th, 2020; he was 57 years old. 

After having received Dave’s gift, I always think of him when I see a Vulture. I think about that pronouncement he made about me being a healer and sort of cringe–we’re taught not to use that word, healer. It carries too much weight, and power. I much prefer ‘healing practitioner’ or better yet, ‘energy worker.’ 

When I eye-balled that turkey vulture Molly and I tracked up Mansion Road, naturally I thought of Dave, and the medicine of vulture. As the black head stared back at me, I asked if there was a message? There was: Let the decay, decay. That’s the natural process. What is decaying means it is in a state of decline and must die. 

We don’t always have to go through our lives with a sledgehammer, clearing out the debris with “gusto.” Sometimes, that which is in full decline will take care of itself. When you next see Vulture circling overhead, it might be a sign that something or someone is on their way out. 

Let them go. 

Shine On, 

Mary Katherine 

LOTS OF ANNOUNCEMENTS! *I’m so excited* 

Featured Practitioners SARAH SOGGS & KATE BATHRAS

Are you ready for a “game-changer”? Are you feeling like the next best thing for your development as a conscious human is to connect with high frequency healing and “jump a track” on your own growth? Our world is full of healing modalities these days, thank goodness! We surely need them. There’s the clinical side–good old fashioned talk therapy. We’ve got polarity, reflexology, acupuncture. I was blown away by the first time I had cranial sacral therapy! Then there’s what I do–energy work, reiki, shamanic healing.

But you have not experienced anything until you find yourself in the very capable hands of Sarah Soggs DPT and Kate Bathras, Life Coach. After some checking in and intention setting, they had me lie down. The room was bright and calm, a few crystals surrounding the biomat I was lying on. Sarah and Kate sat about 2 feet on either side of me. They told me I would be put in an energetic bubble; I was extremely relaxed and yet stimulated at the same time. Their energy bubble was already working! 

What happened next is hard to describe. And I’ll leave it at this analogy: My soul felt like it had met Creator. The clarity of WHY I AM HERE and all of the support I need to carry out my work was undeniable. Doubt was wiped out; confidence and joy were restored. 

If you would like to know more about this special healing modality offered Sarah and Kate, you can email Kate at kate@katebathrascoaching.com 

And! Coming IN JUNE….SAVE YOUR SPOT NOW! 

Mayan Spirit Bath Ceremony & Retreat

Where the Natural World and the Ancient World Meet

The flowers of my first bath…Amy’s guidance was very healing for me

Where: Avalon Acres, 167 Mansion Road, Hollis, Maine

Time & Date: Saturday, June 18th, 2022 from 10 AM- 5 PM  

Cost: $195 per participant; $100 deposit needed by JUNE 10th to hold spot 

Allow your WHOLE self to step into the elements of Water and Fire, to collide with the Spirits of Plant Medicine, to hold space with others on their path to healing and wholeness. As the ancient Mayans called on IxChel, the Goddess of fertility and plant medicine, shamanic practitioners Amy Chaney and Mary Katherine Spain invite you to join them in a day-long retreat of release, sacred witnessing, and spiritual alignment with the natural world and your holy temple: your BODY. 

What is Mayan Spirit Bathing? Spiritual bathing has roots in many cultures. We cleanse with water every day without a thought. The practice of Mayan Spiritual Bathing deepens our connection to Water and Plant. Prayer and words of gratitude are offered as we ask the water and plants to help heal and purge what ails us, thus cleansing our emotions, our bodies, and our spirits.  We call upon our teachers and the cultural deities of the Maya, honoring the primary deity IxChel. 

All you have to do is show up with your whole self.  Feel the love of the elements and plants as they do the work.  What words do you want to radiate from your soul? Love? Passion? Kindness? Willingness to receive the fruits of life? What are your personal goals you want to achieve? Bring your dreams and step into the cleansing power of water ritual amplified by the loving essence of flowers and plant medicine. 

Is this experience right for me at this time? This specially-designed ceremony is for you if 1)you are experiencing an awakening of spirit, inner guidance, or initiation, 2)you are reinventing yourself, your life or your devotional practice, 3)you desire to “let go” and “let Gaia” upgrade your spiritual circuit board, 4) you are craving a sacred experience in a safe, loving container with others on the path, 5)you have any affinity with Central American practice, mythology or ritual, or 6) you have a profound connection and reverence for flowers, water and the Earth; 7) you need a ‘game-changer’ 

What to Expect: You will learn the history of this ancient rite and its surrounding mythology, be guided to get clear on what it is you are ready to release, be asked to walk in nature and prayerfully harvest several flowers and/or plants which will be used in your own flower essence bath. You will also reflect on your own soul’s healing via your relationship with Mother Gaia and be witness to others’ healing experiences. You will receive energy work as facilitated by Amy and Mary Katheirne as they channel Earth Energies and participate in sacred fire ceremony

Since this ancient ceremony requires utmost reverence and intimacy, SPACE IS LIMITED in the number of participants Amy and Mary Katherine can accept (10 max). Please contact Mary Katherine ASAP to hold your spot if this event resonates with where you are on your journey: ninepillarshealing@gmail.com. A link to remit a deposit as well as other instructions will then be sent to you 

Amy and Mary Katherine first met on a vision quest hosted by their beloved shamanic teacher, Dory Cote, in 2009.  Since then, they have studied together, played together, and healed together. This ceremony will take place at Avalon Acres in Hollis, Maine–the perfect setting for this divine experience with nature. You will be asked to bring a towel, bathing suit, journal, water bottle and lunch. It is suggested that you may want to fast the morning before. Once you have registered, additional instructions may be sent to you. 

And finally…A VERY SPECIAL Joanna Macy Event using her model, The Work That Reconnects!

The Wheel of The Great Turning

The Body of Sovereignty 

The Work That Reconnects Event

Sunday, June 26, 2022 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winthrop, ME

Hosted by Healing Hands Holistic Wellness  aka Sara Dostie

&

Co – Facilitated by

 Kat Beaudoin, Hope Belief Trust & 

Mary Katherine Spain, Nine Pillars Healing

$25 Suggested Donation

The Work That Reconnects model invokes the 4 directions of the spiral of life (from roots to seed): Beginning with Gratitude, Honoring Pain, Seeing with New Eyes and Going Forth. 

Utilizing sharing, meditation and personal expression, questions like these will be explored:

  • In what ways did we feel sovereign in our youth?
  • What caused our feelings of sovereignty to be chipped away?  
  • How did we make ourselves smaller in order to fit in? 
  • What survival archetypes/personality traits did we resort to? 
  • What belief(s) did/do we hold that forbids the whole self from being expressed?
  • What is the difference between Power Over and Power With? ‘Does the word ‘power’ hold triggers for you?  If so, what are they?
  • What feelings arise with the memories of losing our sovereignty?  
  • Today, how do we appreciate ourselves?
  • Today, what boundaries do we set to hold our sovereignty?
  • Today, how do we express Self Ownership?
  • Today, what affirmations do we use to solidify our Sovereignty?
  • What is our commitment to ourselves going forward?

Participants should bring a journal/pen, water bottle, bug dope, sun screen, hat (optional) and a pot luck dish to share for lunch.  Swimming will be available so bring a suit and towel if you wish.

**Space is limited as this event will be held at a private residence. If you are interested in attending, please contact either Kat Beaudoin (katbeau50@gmail.com) or Mary Katherine Spain(ninepillarshealing@gmail.com) to save your spot and register 

I know it’s a long newsletter! Are you still with me?!

**Are you still with me? 

YAH! I have one more NEW, exciting opportunity if:

__You are a student of shamanism

__You are a follower of the shamanic path

__You are a teacher of shamanism

Shamanic Practitioner and Teacher John Moore and I have been hard at work designing a unique community which caters to the “deep dives” of sharing, witnessing, learning, growing and practicing shamanism in a forum that is crafted by all, for all. There’s no trolling, no ads clamoring for your attention and jamming up your feed. The community is membership-based, and it is already growing by leaps and bounds! 

We named it Shamanity (Shaman + Community) and if you are interested in joining like-minded souls to discuss, grow and just experience being held in sacred space, then you might want to check out our information page here

Newsletter

Swirl Out of Winter, Welcome Spring!

Are you ready for EPITHEULIUS, the God of Wind, the God of CHANGE…?

Epitheulius.

[EPA-thu-lee-US]

No, you won’t find this one with Zeus or Hera, Hades or Persephone; you won’t find this with the historical Pantheon because this name, this God, came to me a long time ago, when I was about 14 years old. I stuffed it, not knowing what the “information” or “feeling” was about. I had no idea how to interpret how Spirit was speaking to me back then and so I ignored it. 

I think a lot of kids must experience “hunches” of intuitive gifts, abilities to connect with the Spiritual world, heightened sensory aptitudes that all get buried because the world in which those kids live doesn’t reflect back to them value or validity in understanding or experiencing the world in that way. 

Which is a shame. Sure, there’s some super cool parents out there who are open to allowing and permitting their child to be permeable to All That Is. I remember reading in Michael Pollan’s book, “How to Change Your Mind” some scientist who had studied brain activity in newborns and 1-year olds. The gist was that ‘basically these babies are tripping,’ meaning that they really haven’t received the dense plaster of the conditioned world yet. Their mental and spiritual follicles are standing at attention. They’re picking up ALL KINDS OF STIMULI, SIGHTS AND SOUNDS. Then, the controlling agents in the form of parents and the predominant values of society creep in, descend on their party, choking out even the possibility that there are forces and energies that dwell “just beyond.” 

However, that doesn’t mean those forces are not there. Lately, I’ve felt a strong desire to honor “lost gifts of childhood.” In fact, I spent an entire week-end recently at the Marie Joseph Spiritual Retreat Center in silence to trace back and recapture some of my lost gifts of childhood. 

When I got there on Friday afternoon, I dropped my bags in my tiny room and went to the beach. It was very windy–Epitheulius must have know I was coming–and I found myself ascending a rocky path to a peninsula of well-appointed houses, then cruised around the small, quaint New England streets until I found a Maine Audubon trail, which I sloshed down, dodging melting snow and mud. To my delight, there was no one else on the trail. 

When I got back to the room, I did what I always do when I check into a hotel: I made an altar. I knew I needed to focus my energies, to have something to pray by, and pray with. Afterall, I was in a prayerful community with devout nuns who had the sweetest smiles and greetings you’ve ever seen. My Goodness, I haven’t been anywhere that quiet in a very long time! I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to get on their station, if you know what I mean. And I did. 

“No Candles” the rules said; I did not oblige.

But I did turn my phone OFF and made the altar with the different treasures of nature I’d found on my walk–pine cone, rock, two shells with various dried herbs and flowers from Avalon. I knew that I was to visit with the child of me, the child of 7. The one who still very much believed that her “babies” (aka stuffed animals) heard every word she said. The one who was forever coming up with some elaborate story, some elaborate game or just playing tricks. 

I settled into my rocker, conveniently located right in front of the window. I held a crystal I’d brought and an old rock I found in Fort Collins the first year I attended Colorado State University. 

The view was pretty sweet…

To my surprise, a guide showed up: My 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Belk. Now, I grew up in a small town (pop.: 2,000) in North Carolina. In 1978, when I was 7, Siler City was still pretty abhorrently racist. My own father was extremely racist. And Ms. Belk impressed on my little soul something that no one else at that tender age had done by doing an extraordinary act every single day

Before I tell you what it was, I’d like to describe Ms. Belk: Long, ironing board straight brown hair. Bubblicious lip gloss, probably strawberry-flavored. Dangling silver hoops, lots of blue eye shadow. A mouthful of big white teeth that were always in an open laugh, and that laugh was LOUD. Can you picture her? 

Now: imagine our little bodies, our faded Wranglers and stained cotton shirts from that day’s jello or pudding we’d had at lunch. There’s a certain smell, too, that goes with one’s elementary school. I’ll not attempt to describe yours but mine was the cafeteria, of fried food and a slight burnt-coffee tinge, some sort of sanitizer to clean up vomit. And little kid-sweat. It makes sense that I can remember the 1st school I ever attended better than all the rest (and there were many-). The first of anything really leaves an impression. 

There we are, lined up at the end of the day, about to emerge onto the blacktop, to go screaming off to the bus or to our waiting moms, their Chevrolet wagons idling softly, a long cigarette poised in their fingers. 

The bell rings, it’s time to go. Before we stepped over the threshold and into the hall, Ms. Belk kissed every single one of us goodbye, assuring us that she would see us tomorrow. She might throw in a ‘Be Good, now’ just to keep it fresh. 

And this struck me as a radical act–that she would kiss white and black kids, girls and boys. She did not see color, or gender. And of course you can’t kiss school children in this day! I didn’t know why she did it but I knew that her indifference to race and gender made me think she was the coolest woman that ever lived. 

So when she showed up to guide me back to my lost childhood gifts, I wasn’t surprised. When I was able to thank her for modeling this radical act of acceptance, I was able to drill down on what it was I so admired: She exhibited Love. Radical, fierce Love for ALL OF US. She was a living, breathing example of all the things I learned in bible study about how Jesus said we should act. 

And you know what? ‘Fierce Love’ was the first stop we made on my tour of childhood. That LOVING FIERCELY is actually a super-power that gets its light turned down as we grow and mature. It may get tainted by hurt, or side-stepped because we’re too busy trying to secure a sense of safety. Whatever knocked mine out, Ms. Belk said: You can be like me. Let my example lead your 7 year old self right up to this moment, right now. 

Because if we don’t need some FIERCE LOVE right now in this world, I don’t  know what we need. 

My Spring Wish for you is for Epitheulius, the God of Wind and Change, to blow out whatever it is that keeps you from knowing–intimately knowing–what loving fiercely looks and feels like. This break-Down to break-Through we’re experiencing has a purpose: for us to CHOOSE LOVE, like Ms. Belk did, without a thought. 

Without any side-stops along the way. 

Our children are secretly hoping that’s our top choice. For them, it’s the only choice. 

Shine On, 

Mary Katherine 

FEATURED PRACTITIONER 

Troi Boulanger is a LCSW, intuitive guide, dog-whisperer and overall fantastic human being. I met Troi [pronounced ‘Troy’] several years ago at a monthly shamnic gathering I used to co-lead called the Confluence. We became fast friends and began doing “reiki shares” every other Friday with another healer. Troi epitomizes Fierce Love, in every gesture, every conversation, every prayer. In fact, she boldly stepped out and rented her home in Westbrook for a few months to travel in the Southwest, hiking about in New Mexico with her dog Violette. In a few weeks, she’ll return to her therapy practice in Saco. 

Troi has been incorporating energy work in her practice for over 20 years. She works with people to identify patterns that hold them back, and then works to develop skills to move forward in their lives as their whole being, bringing healing to mind, body, spirit and life. Troi is also developing a website for Intuitive Guidance where she’ll help people deepen their understanding of their whole selves, while learning principles of energy healing to keep themselves at their highest best.

This summer, Troi will be offering in-home pet services on Rover. You can look for her there for your furry creatures and on Psychology Today for counseling.

For more information about these services and more, contact Troi at: tboulanger1@me.com

ADD ‘WRITING COACH’ TO MY CV! 

Need a boost on starting that memoir? Are you struggling with a concept you’d like to commit to paper but need a solid structure and a kind cheerleader to take your vision to the next level? I am happy to report that I can add Writing Coach to the many services I offer. There’s no project too small or large! Here’s a testimonial of a current client I’m helping to launch: 

Mary Katherine’s skills as a writer, editor and coach are a perfect match for my needs. She’s helped me to focus my book project and create a supportive structure to move the work forward. Mary Katherine reads drafts closely, provides helpful feedback and poses questions that make me consider what it is I’m trying to say, and how I want to say it. Her guidance and support have been critical! 

~ Debra S. of New Gloucester, Maine 

It’s not always easy to write. In fact, for some people, it’s torture. Not for me! I love it and will always find the most creative way for you to enjoy it as well! Send inquiries to marykatherinespain@gmail.com 

AND SPEAKING OF WRITING…

I’m co-teaching a new writing class! My friend and professional peer Jess Verrill and I have teamed up to offer a new 10-week class that offers you not only writing instruction and feedback from me but energy up-grades and executive coaching from Jess. Together, we will take your project and your confidence to its highest level of poise and professionalism. 

To learn more about the class and see if it’s a good fit for you, click here. Hope to see you there!  

A FEW MORE TID-BITS…

__My Established Client follow-up rate will be changing from $75 to $85 for follow-up sessions starting on April 1st

__The Portland Office still has 1 or 2 slots available on Sat 3/26 and Fri 04/01. for healing sessions. Do you need a tune-up? Email me to get booked! 

__Amy Chaney and I will be offering the Mayan Spirit Bathing Ritual and Ceremony on Saturday June 18th. This event was a HUGE SUCCESS last September! What better time than the Summer Solstice to meet the Mayan Fertility Goddess Ixchel and learn about ritual bathing? Interested in saving a spot? Email me! (*more details to come in my May newsletter!) 

__My ‘Click Your Heals’ class has been a great success; while teaching it, I realized I’d like to gather regularly with Seekers and Light Workers to explore, witness, study and support one another through these changing times. Ideally,  I’d like to co-host a ‘Shamanic Share & Care’ twice a month for shamanic practitioners or anyone who has foundational skills in shamanic practice. Interested in being a co-host? Have some good ideas? Email me

And finally…Meet our new logo for Avalon Acres! Although the website is still being tweaked and fine-tuned, you’ll want to be on the look-out for our up-coming events, workshops, fire circles and more! Make sure you are on my newsletter list to recieve updates!

Happy Spring!

Avalon Acres is the home to many 9 Pillars events!