Monday, January 15, 2018

Skadi - the Goddess of Winter

Presenting a friend for cold winter days – Skadi the Nordic goddess of winter.

Skadi is the goddess who helps us find our independence and become self-reliant. Together with Skadi, we can continue further down the road into our selves, with wolfs at our heels, hiking boots on our feet, and the hunting bow over our shoulder. She is the giant daughter of the oldest race, who has never been civilized into patriarchal society.

Skadi and the Stars
I’m outside a small cabin with heaps of snow as far as I can see. Stars are glistening in the dark sky, and the moon is full. I know that Skadi is close by. I can feel her in the beauty, the cold and the silence – the kind of silence that is only born from cold winter nights. She breaths down my neck, and I understand that freedom is a state that includes both gains and risks. Freedom permeate me, but just one moment of inattention, and I could die of the cold. No one can live on freedom only. I look up at the stars and my mind is expanded further.
Suddenly, I understand that freedom, and its companion, independence, makes our soul grow, as well as causing our ego to shrink – and not the other way around, as we often have been misled to think. Under the stars I can taste eternity, and I am more deeply connected to my ancestors. Something awakens in me, that has been there all along, waiting. I can almost feel how quiver and bow are hung on my back. Skadi wants a companion for the hunt. I let my mind soar.

Excerpted and translated from Nordiska gudinnor: Vardags magi för dagens kvinnor, (Translated title: Nordic Goddesses: Every Day Magic for Women of Today) by Sofia Karin Axelsson.

First published in the mid-monthly newsletter Writing, Magic and Marketing by Sofia Karin Axelsson and Michael Peter Langevin. Sign up at 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

That Little Flame of Passion

The beginning of the year is clean and crisp. An unwritten piece of paper, full of possibilities. Or, at least, that may be something to aim for. Because, in the quiet time after the holidays we have a chance of hearing our own inner voices, and rekindle that flame of passion that is only ours. If this is not how things feel for you, January is the perfect time for some physical, emotional and mental detox.

While the trees are bare and sound like squeaking old bones in the wind, we can shed some of the excesses of too much rich food, too much social obligation, and perhaps too much engagement in what is good and bad in the world. While detoxifying the body is a pretty easy thing to do – many of us really don’t want to put anything else than what is fresh and light into our physical systems right now – detoxifying the emotional and mental body may take a little more effort. However, for me, it’s not until I do that extra effort, that I can be free enough to find that flame of passion that rises from inside. At this time of year, I always have to go back to basics. What is really mine? When am I genuine, and when am I simply reactionary? 

Here are some things I learned years ago, by a stressed-out mother, who practiced this on her troubled teenage daughter, with surprisingly good results. And if something can improve communication between a mother and a teenage daughter – well, then it ought to be good stuff. Here’s the first thing this woman taught me: State your truth, without accusing anyone or anything. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It usually isn’t. I was shocked when I started practicing this statement - how many of my opinions and life-values were not really mine, but reactions to someone or something else. Thus, they were not genuine. To put it simply, they were based in addiction to drama. But, when I get back to finding my truth without needing to react to anyone or anything, I can untangle myself from drama. If you try this, you might find that you are forced to find your own stand as an independent being, whether in relation to family, business or politics. 

Have you noticed lately that you bind people and ideas tightly to you by constantly criticizing them? (Oh, yes, I know you’re just “trying to help,” but this is a rare result of criticism. Most people are already heartbreakingly aware of their shortcomings. Or, they simply don’t agree with you.) If this is the case, you might want to give yourself the gift of untangling yourself by stating your truth without accusing. It can be very liberating. 

Here’s the second thing the mother of a troubled teenage daughter taught me: If someone doesn’t agree with you, just keep asking questions, listen to the answers with interest, without reacting to them. 

This may be a scary exercise for people who are taught that we live in a world built on dualistic forces, and that our identity is dependent on an opposing force. This is an illusion. We do not necessarily lose ourselves because we listen. On the contrary, we probably come closer to our genuine voice by sincerely listening to the voices of others. Heck, we might even learn something.

The more we let go, the more we detoxify ourselves from reactionary patterns, the better chance that we find that flame of passion inside that is truly ours. I asked Little Grandmother, who spent nine years fulfilling a mission given to her by Mother Earth, traveling all over the world to do so, if she considers herself to be a brave person. Little Grandmother laughed her sweet laugh and said, “No, I don’t think I’m brave. I just get so passionate about what I believe in, that I can’t help myself doing what I think is right.” Don’t miss the interview with Little Grandmother on page five. And if you need some more inspiration for taking that brave step forward, why not read Maria Majjsan Kindgren’s article about stepping into the swamp? You can find it on page 13. And with that, we welcome Majjsan back as our ongoing columnist. The response we have been given about her articles, they are just too grand to resist. Or, why not learn something about letting go of your fear with the help of Maureen J. St. Germain? (page 17). And if that isn’t enough, you can find balance with the help of our new three-month columnist Candice Covington, who teaches us about the spiritual practice of working with essential oils. This is just a small sample of what’s in this crisp and inspirational January issue of The Echo World. 

Isn’t this a wonderful time a year? It gives us an opportunity to drop whatever doesn’t work for us, and just be with ourselves and what we are passionate about. Let’s use this time of year to shed whatever we need to shed, and find our own genuine voice. To find our very own flame of passion. 

Editorial from the January issue 2018 of The Echo World.

Photographs from top: "Sofia on the stairs," "On the porch of the Tree-house," and "Let there be light." By Michael Peter Langevin and Sofia Karin Axelsson.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Generosity of Being Yourself

We have this flower on the porch. It’s impossibly resilient to the cold, and totally mesmerizing. Vibrant sacral chakra orange leaves curl slightly and she looks at me, urging me to just look back, making me wonder about the wonders of life. Especially about generosity, and what generosity really is.

Nature is generous, constantly giving, if we keep our hands off destroying her flow. This particular flower got a little help on the way though, one of hundreds and hundreds of multicolored miracles that has lit up the garden all summer and fall. Not planted by me, mind you, but by a real gardener, my landlady Sandi LeGoullon. “Pick how many you want. Pick more!” says Sandi. “The more you pick, the more will grow.” So, I have. And she is right. I showered the porch, the whole cabin, sometimes even the stairs with this richness, all through summer and autumn. Now they’re all gone, except for this orange ball of resistance. As if her mission is to make me think.
That this is true generosity. When you give of something you love, it creates ripples. It creates abundance. It creates more. Sandi loves planting. I love picking flowers. Works out fine, for me. I think for Sandi. This is not the only way she is generous, though. Sandi and her husband Roger are the most generous landlords you can imagine. You would have to be, to have Michael and me renting the house just beside you.

Now, “our” part of the garden is … let’s say, more shamanic. With this I mean - often a mess. Things grow. But, hardly in rows. We’re also chanting by the creek, have fires late into the night, have a peculiar taste, are always up to something and have magazine boxes come and go from the front of the house as if they’re going out of style. Occasionally we invite all of Virginia for parties, and shaman classes. Sandi and Roger just smile. And join the party.

There are many ways to be generous. Jeffrey Norford – aka Santa on Mountainview Street in Charlottesville, Virginia, spends most of his “free” time creating an all-inclusive Christmas event at his totally outrageous Christmas house. I have no idea how much Jeffrey works with this over the year, or how much effort he puts in, but there are more Christmas lights, blow-up Rudolfs, and jingle bells than I ever knew could exist in this one place. There are also lots and lots of gifts for children, wherever they come from. And people literally come from all over the world, to enjoy this one spectacular spectacle. Funny thing is: When you talk with Jeffrey about what he does, his eyes glitter brighter than any Christmas lights. He loves what he does. Therefore, he can give, feeling, it seems, that he gets the most out of it. It’s like growing and picking flowers. If you do it for the right reasons - everybody wins.

There are many ways to be generous. I have noticed, over the years, that when I go into unstructured places, and give myself the luxury to create for the sake of creating, and give these creations away - that’s when they seem to mean something. People have thanked me for stories, spells and whip-off-in-the-moment collages years after I did them, long after I forgot I made them. But, they seem to have made a difference. I do, however, have a hard time recalling anyone thanking me from the bottom of their hearts because I did “the right thing,” or “what was expected.”

Be generous. Your own way. Only do what you love, and the rest will follow. That’s how you will survive the holidays. And if you do what you love, people will probably thank you for it. The impossibly resilient orange flower nods her head and agrees. Kid you not. Happy holidays.

From December editorial of December issue of The Echo World

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Linnea Star is coming to Charlottesville and Kezwick, Virginia 1-3 December

Do You Want to Communicate with the Other Side?

Linnea Star brings through exact and detailed information from people’s lost relatives, and even acts as a conduit for the deceased loved ones to show themselves, or images they want to communicate, such as pictures on cell phones.

1st Dec. Friday Night Unity of Charlottesville Lecture 6:30-8:30
2nd Dec. Saturday Morning Unity of Charlottesville Workshop 9 to 12:30

2nd Dec. Saturday evening Open Heart Yoga Studio Lecture 6:30 to 8:30

3rd Dec. Sunday Morning Bridge Between the World retreat center Lecture 9-12:30
3rd Dec. Sunday Morning Bridge Between the World retreat center Workshop 1:30 to 4
3rd Dec. Sunday evening workshop in Open Heart Yoga Studio 6:30 to 8:30
Tickets: $35 Lectures $55 Workshop

Linnea Star is coming to Charlottesville and Kezwick, Virginia 1-3 Dec.

Metaphysical Lecture:
In this lecture, Linnea Star will talk about the history of mediumship and its origin, that goes back to ancient Egypt. You will get to know about some of the famous mediums in the early years, such as the Edgard Cayce, Eileen Garrett, Arthur Ford and more. You will learn metaphysical terminology, and what it is like to be a medium. The event includes a demonstration, where Linnea will receive messages for willing participants, and get to know what their beloved on the other side want to tell them.

Linnea Star - One of the most amazing mediums today.
Workshop Spirit Photography and Crystal Readings:
In this workshop with Linnea, you will get to experience Spirit Photography and Crystal Readings. Bring a cellphone with a photo of someone you love, living or dead. Hardcopy works fine too. Linnea will read images in the personal photos of everyone present. Sometimes these images become visible also for you. You will also get to experience the Mystical Crystal experience. You will get to hold an opaque crystal ball, thereby connecting with the energies of the other side. A cellphone picture will then be taken, and images in the crystal ball will be interpreted by Linnea. Often, everyone present can see these images.

Do you see The Blessed Mother in the Crystal? I do.

Find out more about Linnea Star at:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November Moments

You know those moments, when time stretches wide and the air thickens with small glimpses of glittering electricity – even though you seemingly do nothing out of the ordinary? Perhaps you just do that one little extra act – like lighting wax-candles in the evening, picking some flowers and arranging them on your kitchen table, or watching the trees turn into shapes and faces, blinking at you from leaves. All while you breathe deep and want nothing more than this particular moment in time.
I bet you do. Sometimes, for me, those moments are accompanied by flashing dots of royal blue, happily showing themselves off around the face of a loved one during soft conversation, dancing over crystals, polished sea stones or a flowering plant. Flashing over whatever I happen to give my full attention to. Whatever I happen to gaze into.

Have you had this happen to you?

The phenomena with the flashing blue dots started occurring for me almost two decades ago. At first, I thought maybe I had gotten some rare eye-disease. But I never went to a doctor with this curious problem, as it wasn’t really a problem at all. It only happened when I felt totally at peace, almost serene. And I had my doubts that trying to explain this to an eye-doctor would have no other effect than a blank stare and the suggestion I should see a psychiatrist instead. So, I just let it be. And through all these years I never read or heard any kind of explanation to my “condition.” Not until just recently, when I read a book by a friend that described the same thing, royal blue color included, and referred to it as a result of reaching a “higher vibration.” Deeper vibration would probably be more my language, or maybe even more accurate, deeper connection. Language aside, this author and I mean the same thing. What a relief it is to get confirmation of some of your more queer experiences!
A deeper connection involves those moments – blue dots in the air or not – when you, perhaps a loved one, and your surroundings become enhanced, full of spirit, and there is no telling where you end, and the world begins. All is safe, and you communicate with all, beyond words.

At the end of November, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. We do not have this holiday where I come from. Actually, we have no holidays of significance in November, and I always enjoyed that fact. As far as social obligations and expectations go, November is a pause in time - a time of many pauses, full of blue sparkling dots shivering over tea-cups and loved ones alike.
However, I cannot think of any better reason to celebrate a holiday than to give thanks. What a great invention. Thanks to the United States for the idea, and also for the delicious turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. What a treat!

Bringing the month of no-holiday, and the month of giving thanks together I think November is a beautiful pause in time for us all – reflecting on all we have, and giving time to the small moments. That may be the big moments, when all is said and done.
Whatever you do this month, there’s always lots to give thanks for. I give thanks especially for those moments, when the air thickens with spirit, and I connect to all.
I wish you many precious moments this month, however you choose to spend them. Do enjoy all the reflections of life available in this issue. They are as soft and intense as November itself. And as always, I give thanks for you co-existing with me, Michael and The Echo World.

Editorial by Sofia Karin Axelsson from November issue of The Echo World.
Images: Courtesy of Pixabay free downloads.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Caverns - the Deeper We Go

The deeper we go
into autumn
the deeper 
we fall.

Fall into caverns of endless silence,
evenly cool,
calming our bones. 
No sound, no sound,
but a chatter-box guide.
Never mind, never mind.
We move him out of time.

The rocks still my mind,
while the cavern  opens  
her generous crevasses

Stone gods engaged 
in slow conversation

Silence, silence
behind it all.
Silence -
and total darkness.

The beginning of visions,
large and small,
sparkling like underground stars,
on our deep under walk.

Photographs: From Endless Caverns, Virginia, by Sofia Karin Axelsson.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Panther who Jumped over the Moon

The Panther who Jumped over the Moon. You might have heard the story. It is very old. So old indeed, you have to listen closely, just before you fall asleep, or when the firewood crackle, or when grace touches your heart at that exact moment you thought you were utterly alone and realize - just as the sun-rays of dawn (or sun-rays of dusk, or rays of moonlight, or starlight - it matters not) touches the surface of the coffee in your coffee-cup (or the surface of your tea, your water, your wine, your rum -it matters not ) - that you might have heard the tale. But if this has not happened to you lately, this is how the story goes.

Panther was black and fiercesome. No one hunted like him, no animal was his like in stalking, sneaking and moving like a shadow, no one's bite was as strong. For a long time Panther took pride in his superior abilities. To be honest, why shouldn't he?

One day Panther was resting by the river, sun-dappled fur warm and sleek as he gloriously licked sweet blood drops from his paws. Suddenly, he heard movements in the grass, small flickery movements, nothing for him to be concerned with, this was to small a prey for him. He also heard chatter. Mice chatter.

"Listen," said one mouse quite high-pitched. "I know you're adventurous, but this is just silly. You cannot reach the moon, even in that ridiculous suit."

Panther pierced his yellow eyes and saw, to his surprise, a mouse dressed in a feather suite, carrying a kite over his head.

"Of course I can," said the brave, little mouse, "anyone can do anything he sets his mind to. Anyway, how will you know if you haven't tried."

Panther watched as the strange mouse started to climb a tall pine tree. The feathers got caught, the mouse struggled with his kite, but somehow managed to keep climbing, while his mouse friend watched nervously from the ground. Panther was curious now, holding his breath when the mouse swayed, cleansing and un-cleansing his paws when the mouse lost his grip and got hold again. Watching intently as the mouse climbed higher and higher up in the pine tree. Finally,the mouse reached the top of the pine tree, and it just so happened that the moon rose in this moment, full and round, quivering like a welcoming mother, illuminating the mouse from behind as he stood high on the highest branch of the great pine.

“Here I go!” yelled the mouse in the tree and threw himself out. “Here I gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ….”

He fell like a leaf, or perhaps like a small stone would fall, would the stone for some reason decide to throw himself out of a high tree. The mouse landed in a soft, wet pile of buffalo poo. The mouse waiting on the ground put his small paws over his mount, while Panther held his breath. There wasn't a sound to be heard in the forest until the brave little mouse started howling and spitting buffalo poo out of his mouth. “Hey! That was fun!” he exclaimed. “Though it didn't work,”he continued, a bit more subdued, looking longingly up on the moon.

“Oh, don't think about it,” said his loyal friend, as he ruched forward and helped his friend up to his feet. “I've heard from the most dependable sources, that not even Panther can jump all the way to the moon.” He put an arm around the brave, little mouse, ignoring broken feathers and poo as well.

Panther watched them walk away. Soon he was alone with the moon hovering over the pine tree as his only company. From that day, nothing felt quite the same for Panther.

Stalking and moving like a shadow still had its joy. How could it not? Crushing bones, the delicious flavor of meat and blood still created surges of excitement through Panther's body. Still, ever so often, Panther found himself resting his head on his paws at night, staring longingly at the moon.

As time went by Panther's movements became slower, the strength of his bite weaker and white hairs grew around his whiskers, showing age. One night he fell asleep, his fur illuminated by the light of an especially pregnant, full moon. It just so happened that he was on that same riverbank where the brave little mouse had tried to fly. The moon was hanging over that same pine tree, that now was even higher and prouder. Panther woke up seeing the moon hanging there. “Now or never,” he thought, not sure where the thought came from. Neither did he fully understand this new strength that filled him. He rose and felt better than he had in his most vigorous days. He leaped up the pine tree, dug his claws deep into the bark as he went up, and up, until he finally got to the top and there he …. jumped. Like he never jumped before.

He flew threw the sky, not to, but over the moon, stars were flashing around him. “Oh, yes,” said Panther as he found his way, as he stalked and moved like a shadow among the stars. And the moon smiled gently beneath him.

Picture: Courtesy of Pixabay free download.