I want to tell you a story about Starshine. I want to tell you a story about my friend, my teacher and my guide.
13 years ago I went to a Give Away Ceremony. I was learning about different Native American traditions with a group in Kingston, Washington, and it was a first time for me to participate in something like this. The idea behind the ceremony is to give something away that is near and dear to you. It is not about getting rid of the clutter in your home. Oh, no. It is about taking something that is precious to you, and giving it, from your heart, and to fully and completely release it to another.
It is a beautiful tradition and one that I enjoyed very much. After the gathering ended I walked alone down to the ferry terminal looking out over Puget Sound. With my arms raised up to the sky and my eyes closed I gave a heartfelt thank you. I spoke my gratitude to the Star Beings in particular that night as I felt them shining down and guiding me so closely.
As I finished my silent prayer of thanks, I heard a tiny “mew.” I opened my eyes but continued to look up at the Stars for a minute and I asked them about this sound at my feet. I said, “You have something for me, don’t you?” I knew the giving was being returned full circle to me in that moment. Because I had given from my heart, I was about to receive a most amazing gift.
When I looked down I saw this tiny kitten, black with white paws. I knew immediately he was sent from the stars to help me and to guide me. I said thank you, but still wondered if he already had a home somewhere.
I tried several homes nearby, but he wasn’t anyone’s. I started walking home, it was about a mile and a half to our home, and I kept encouraging him to ‘go home!’ However he continued to walk with me.
When we were within a block of my home I told him one more time, “You have to go home now.” He ran ahead of me. I did not see where he went and thought, “Oh good. He finally went home.” But when I came around the corner and started up my driveway, there he was, sitting on our front steps. He was home.
That was 13 years ago. He came into my life during a very important time. It was at the very beginning of my professional career as a healer and intuitive. Starshine came into my life and helped me to do these things.
He was always with me when I was on the phone teaching and coaching many of you. He would rub his paw on the door to my room and meow to get in if he was ever on the outside when I began a session.
He always wanted to be there helping me. Sometimes he would even pull cards out of my tarot deck and toss them to me with his teeth. I have always listened to his wisdom and felt he has offered many people excellent advice through me. I felt his guidance come through me, and as he came from the Stars, I trusted that wisdom.
This summer when I was on the road we were separated for long periods of time and he did not like it. I did not like it either. But during the summer months he reminded me that his wisdom was still with me. We missed each other’s physical presence. I missed his lying upon my chest at night and purring until I fell asleep. I missed his precious paw reaching out and gently touching my open hand when I would meditate. He would keep it there, just one paw on my one finger, and we would meditate together.
Starshine taught me to be mindful. I often teach my students to watch their thoughts. I remind others to be in the present moment and to be present with their loved ones.
Starshine helped me learn this lesson, of being present and positive. He would purr when I would pet him as long as my thoughts were on him. I would send him loving thoughts of how handsome he is, how big and strong. I would picture him as a mighty lion in Africa and he would purr louder.
But the minute my mind left him, the split second I began to think of something other than him, he would turn on me. The purr would end and he would snap his jaw around at my hand. Over the years I learned what was happening very quickly. I would test it, and each time, as soon as my mind would think something other than love and gratitude for our moment together, there was the snap. There was the bite and in that bite was my lesson to be present and loving.
He was a wise soul. He taught me many lessons. And today, Halloween, is the day my children and I designated as his birthday. Today I pay tribute to my best friend and a very wise teacher.
This Halloween we celebrate him in the Spiritual Realm. Last Friday I had to let him go. The night before it was made clear to me that it was time. He had been sick for some time. He was doing his best to stay with me, but he finally said, “It’s time.”
And I had to do the ultimate ‘give away.’
When we have to let go of someone we love very much, it is the hardest thing. And at this sacred time of the year, it is a time to remember our loved ones who have passed over to the other side. Hallowed Eve is about the return of our ancestors, of our loved ones, of your grandmother, your grandfather, your aunts and uncles, your best friend, your pets. It is a time when they can be with you again. They return to us for one special night, a night when we can honor them and thank them for all they gave to us when they were with us in the physical.
This is the time of year when the veil is thin and you can feel their presence in a very profound way. Each Halloween at dinner we like to set an extra place at the table for our loved ones on the other side. We invite them in to dine with us. And this year I will be inviting Starshine, with a plate of salmon, macaroni and cheese and whip cream, his favorite foods. And I will let him sit on top of the table, where he always wanted to eat.
In the end when we have to let go of a loved one, when we have to perform the give away and release the soul back to the Stars, we are reminded how we never really had them at all. How strange to think he was mine. How strange to think we can keep someone, when they are really only in our lives as a gift. And we are reminded when death touches us closely, that we must cherish every minute we have with those who are with us now.
We must remember to be mindful, to watch our thoughts and to be completely present with our children, our parents, our pets and our partners. When I saw Starshine as the greatest big cat in the world, it made him feel good. When we see our loved ones in the most positive light, they will feel it inside and their light will grow and you might even hear some purring.
For those of you who have pets, and who have had to let them go, it is a noble thing to do. It is a brave thing. It is not easy, but in the end you know that you are giving back to Spirit something precious. We are setting something free again.
Last Friday, when my chidlren and I came out of the vet’s office, after a long and emotional good-bye and the pain of being the responsible human, I was looking around, waiting to see my friend sending me a message. I thought I saw a butterfly out of the corner of my eye, and wondered if that was him, showing me his transformation was complete.
But the butterfly passed by so quickly, I knew that wasn’t the sign I was waiting for. I sadly climbed into the car with my daughters, and we began to pull out of the parking lot.
As I was just turning into the alley behind the vet’s office, there on a short sawed off pole, about 4 feet in height right next to the car, sat a large, noble bird. It was staring at me and my youngest daughter was the first to say something, “Mom! Look at that bird! Do you think it could be…”
I stopped the car and we put our windows down. The eyes of a beautiful hawk stared into mine. He was sitting on this short perch, at our eye level and only a few feet away. We all sat silently, looking at him, and he looking at us. It was quiet and still and I was almost reluctant to believe this could be my Starshine. I was filled with grief and didn’t trust my instincts. But the hawk did not ruffle a feather and he kept his gaze upon us as we sat wondering for many minutes.
I closed my eyes for a moment and thought, “If you are Starshine, then I want to see you fly.”
After I opened my eyes again the regal hawk turned away from us, opened his wings and took off. His wings opened wide and he headed straight up, heavenward, back to the stars.
For him to appear to me as a hawk, was a message to me, a message of him being the messenger. Hawk brings us the messages of Spirit. I know Starshine continues to deliver wisdom in and through me, and I trust he is enjoying his new freedom. He will always be a messenger of Spirit for me and through me. But now he has his wings.
Today is Halloween. It is a powerful time of the year to remember your loved ones.
And a powerful time of year for a give away.
Happy Birthday, Starshine. Happy Birthday, my friend.
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