Shopkeeper Sagas: Deep Roots are not Reached by the Frost

Shopkeeper Sagas: Deep Roots are not Reached by the Frost March 18, 2019

Thus continues the story begun in The Old that is Strong Does not Wither, and my epic quest to Sirius Rising Festival at Brushwood Folklore Center back in the summer of 2012. I was led by following the divine breadcrumbs all the way to Sherman NY, where I finally accepted my commission as a priestess. I had my marching orders to help heal society and the earth through Divine Love. But how? The day after my burning bush moment, a new door was opened for me. It was there I discovered I could use my special blend of clairvoyance and Reiki to heal and retrieve information about past lives throughout time. This is the tale of how I figured out how to do that.

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Through these Shopkeeper Sagas, I’ve been working through the lines in the The Riddle of Strider that was found in JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, telling the stories of the catalyzing events leading me to open my metaphysical shop, take oaths as a priestess, and offer spiritual and psychic services as my full-time job.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Past Life Retrieval Workshop with Donata Ahern

What truly kicked off this journey for me was my Reiki II energy training, that I’d received the year before. Quite by accident, I discovered that I have a knack for healing through time and space. Moreover, while I’m channeling Reiki, I can “distance view.” Learning that praxis was like getting the keys to a time machine!

Then, the day after taking vows in the Spirit Shrine, I attended a class entitled “Past Life Soul Regression” with Donata Ahern, who was delightfully stern.  She came in like a boss, told us all in no uncertain terms that we were capable of doing this miraculous thing, laid out a script we’d follow, said YOU SEE THIS THING NOW, and so I did–in shocking, full visionary detail.

Ms. Ahern is a certified hypnotherapist, among many other shamanic and witching attainments, and she taught us how to retrieve Past life information both for ourselves and for others. After the initial regression of our own past lives, she told us to partner up with a stranger, so we could retrieve for someone else. A fellow across the room from me pointed directly at me, then made a beeline across. His name is Jase Peck, and he is another shaman who works with clients in a similar practice. So he was already very familiar with his own past lives, and how to help others to learn the practice as well.

On my first try, I retrieved stunningly clear details of one of his ancient lives as a Greek soldier, right down to the detail of the armor he wore. He continued to ask me questions off of Donata’s script, and I could give specific details about his weapons, the landscape in which his army was encamped, his rank, the fleet in the harbor beyond. Because he also does a lot of this work for himself, he’d also explored this life, and I could corroborate what he already discovered there. Let’s just say that his reaction to my vision was very affirming to me. I never would have even tried to do this sort of thing if I hadn’t wandered into this workshop, if for no other reason, this workshop is why I was led to Brushwood.

Carnival Dream Ship – Pagan Dream Cruise with Christopher Penczak, January 2013 Photo by Heron Michelle

The Pagan Dream Cruise, January 2013

A few months later, in January of 2013 my coven sister Lynn and I went on the Pagan Dream Cruise, headlined by Christopher Penczak. By this time, I consider him more than just a mentor, he is my friend. This floating pagan conference was organized by Books, Beans and Candles, a metaphysical store in Birmingham, Alabama. While at sea, we were in workshops exploring the legends of Atlantis, taking many deep meditative journeys, and I found that being over the deep ocean profoundly opened up my intuitive abilities.

But the best part of our week of workshops and excursions (and singing loudly in the piano bar at night) included a pilgrimage to the ancient Mayan archaeological site at Xunantunich, Belize. Our group was granted permission to climb to the top of the mound that were the remains of the temple of the moon, and hold a ceremony, going on a meditation journey to connect to this ancient site.

From the moment Christopher called the Spirits of the place to be present, the air within our circle coalesced, flashing and sparking; with my naked eyes, in the sunlight, I could see the energy flowing, undulating like the serpent around us. It was palpable. Others saw/felt it, too, and balance became a problem, as though we were surfing on the waving earth.

We sat to meditate, and I connected deeply, choosing to engage my Reiki skills of diving back through time, and the clairvoyant retreival methods I’d learned from Ms. Ahern at Brushwood. In vibrant detail, I saw the city at its prime, then I realized I was shape shifting into the three sacred animals to the Mayans of this city: eagle, serpent, and jaguar.

Temple of the Sun, Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich in Belize, January 2013

First, I was the prowling jaguar, touring the city on foot, with the merchants in the square, seeing the young children at play, and the adults at their domestic work, smelling the cook fires. The stepped pyramids were clad in red, with bright colors everywhere, topped in hut-like houses. Life here was happy and abundant.

Then I rose as the serpent, like the kundalini rising, through the king and queen in their palace as they joined in the heiros gamos. I burst upward through their crowns as the eagle, taking the bird’s eye view of the outlying farm lands around the city. These were all accompanied by an emotional soundtrack, and what it was like to live there at Xunantunich so long ago.

When we all returned from the journey, there were others who’d seen strikingly similar details. I haven’t been quite the same since that pilgrimage. Time renders itself pliable; matter becomes luminous. When I ground, I can choose to find the stability of earth, or I can shift to tap the speed and power of its revolution and rotation. We are, after all, rocketing through space at break-neck speeds!

To close the shop or not to close? That was the question.

During that trip, I was debating closing down my shop because it was still not financially able to support me after 4 years. I’d not yet taken a single paycheck for all my long hours of work. The Sojourner was only still open because every time one of my elderly family members died and bequeathed me money, I’d use it to prop it back up with more investment. OR, I had to beg the community for help through fundraising efforts. However, the money to invest (and my elderly family members! <cackle>) were running out, as was the alimony income on which I lived. Christopher and I had what we in the south would call a “come to jesus meetin’.”…er…only this was a Come to Goddess meetin’?

He scolded me for not offering my skills in divination, clairvoyance and healing to others. Why wasn’t I helping people? These forms of service are what  people need, and not everyone can do these things for themselves. These, he chided, are how the Gods work through me; these gifts and talents are valuable, the same as my former interior design talents were valuable, and important. To withhold them was a disservice to myself, and the community that is served through my shop. I also could not fulfill my promises to the Divine, whom I would be unable to serve at the same level. Quitting Witching Work altogether because I was too hung-up money, would NOT be in alignment with Highest Divine Will for me, obviously.

A good friend like Christopher is the kind of mentor I needed at that moment. He’d already crossed this bridge to full-time priest with integrity, so I could trust his business and priestly advice. Once you’ve time traveled together from a Mayan temple mound, well…shit gets real. What can I say, when Christopher spoke, I listened.

Heron and Christopher Penczak on a beach in Mexico, Pagan Dream Cruise, January 2013

Ardayne, Schmardayne

Wicked, wicked money, and the a very specific fear attached to the exchange of money, keeps a lot of good opportunities from happening. There is a very questionable, very fundamentalist Wiccan set of rules called the Ardaynes, that make it taboo to exchange pay for spiritual services and training. But pagandom has no means nor organization to pay clergy like other faith traditions do, nor would this herd of feral cats ever accept such hierarchy. Still there is a very real need for the service of experienced and available clergy. Pagans also, as a general rule, tend to argue amongst ourselves a lot. A community of sovereign people are gonna be like that; put 10 pagans in a room, and you’ll be bombarded with 100 sanctimonious opinions, and most of them are about how the other 9 people are doing something wrong. <phffft>

I’m learning to let go of a fear of criticism. These aren’t the same times, nor the same world, and we aren’t all traditional British Wiccans. But I do understand energy. There must be an fair exchange of energy for the benefits of magick, so that the proper balance of respect and value are maintained – that is true throughout all the old mythological tales. That point is most often lost, which is why we get “entitlement” problems, and arm-chair pagans who expect their community/learning/rituals served up on a TV tray for them. Why do folks assume the tab for their spiritual learning will be paid for by someone else?

Money is the form of energy that pays the enormous rent bill on the “temple” we’ve created there at the shop~on Main Street USA~and it’s open 7 days a week, offering a kind word, free information and safe haven to EVERYONE. That temple is of enormous value to this region in a way that cannot be calculated in terms of monetary value, yet money pays the light bill.

Reiki Level 3 ~ March 2013

The next stop on this quest, happened two months later, with my final attunement to Reiki level 3 in the Lotus Blossom Usui Reiki Ryoho line. This is known as Reiki “Master,” but I don’t like using that word so much. The further I go, the more I realize how much I still don’t know. Yet, it is through the fusing of my more advanced Reiki methods with my other witchy methods that I am able to get down into Spirit and retrieve information through time.

I amplify that with crystals, herbal oils, and the Reiki symbol of Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (healing energy through time and space.) From what I can tell, this fusion and my methods are unique to my weirdly wandering eclectic practice. I’ve blogged about some of those journeys, with the methods that I use, in hopes that it will inspire other practitioners as I have been inspired.

Heron at the Mayan Ruins at Xunantunich in Belize with the Palace in the background.

So…after my pilgrimages to Sirius Rising and the Pagan Dream Cruise, and completing my Reiki training, I did a LOT of free practice readings with both friends and strangers. Lots and lots and lots of readings and healings for just the feedback they could offer me, and maybe a donation to the shop, should they feel so inspired.

Eventually, I finally hung out my shingle as a Professional Witch, Priestess, Reiki Master and Clairvoyant. Heron Rising Spiritual Services came into being. If my client isn’t completely satisfied with the value and authenticity of their experience down the rabbit hole with me, there is no charge. Yet, it has never once happened.

That monetary exchange from services went a long way to saving The Sojourner in her fifth year, and now in her tenth year we are thriving at last, with several excellent intuitives, readers and healers seeing clients there most days of the week. This work also hastened the deepening of my own awareness and abilities, because I’ve now had many dozens of opportunities to dive down the rabbit hole, and explore culture, love, loss, sovereignty, slavery, redemption, death and birth in the most intimate of ways. While my past life retrievals can be considered Unverified Personal Gnosis, these have been the most edifying of all the lessons I’ve learned; you simply can’t get them from books or second hand stories.

Deep Roots are not Reached by the Frost

I chose this line of the Riddle of Strider to name this story, because in each of these events, I’ve learned to dig down to the roots of everything. When I journey to retrieve information through time, I go inward and downward to find that thread of boundless information. I find my way to the world tree that is my axis mundi within, and it is into the roots of the underworld that I must dive.

“If that which you seek you find not within, you will never find it without.” The Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente

There are roots of this middle world that remember everything: past, present and future. They cannot by touched by the frosty illusion, and deception this modern life tries to impose. If you want to know the truth about anything, whether it be the healing attributes of a stone, the preferences of a tree, or the nature of a Deity, GO DIRECT and ask them yourself. Dive deep into the roots of the world, connect there, and ASK. Then release judgement, and pay attention. Show good discernment, with follow-up research and objective divination like tarot, to validate the experience. But do learn to trust that divine inner voice.

Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of the Shopkeeper Sagas, when next I post: The crownless again shall be king. <cackle>


If you still need to go back and catch up on other parts of my story, know that I’m finally finishing this series I began in 2016, because my shop is about to celebrate our 10th anniversary of being open! This story flows in this order:

  1. Not all those who Wander are Lost
  2. All that is Gold does not Glitter
  3. A Light from the Shadows shall Spring
  4. From the Ashes a Fire shall be Woken
  5. Renewed shall be Blade that was Broken
  6. The Old that is Strong does not Wither
  7. Deep Roots are Not Touched by the Frost
  8. The Crownless Again Shall Be King
About Heron Michelle
Heron Michelle is a witch, high priestess, mom, artist and shopkeeper living in Greenville, North Carolina. Connect with her on Facebook: Witch on Fire: Heron Rising Services, and follow her on Twitter @HeronMichelle13. You can read more about the author here.
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