Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Telling of Stories Creates the Real World

The telling of stories 
creates the real world.

Alberto Manguel

I live in stories, with stories, by stories. Telling stories, taking part of stories is the fabric that defines my world. Since the days of fairy-tales - a childhood fixation that I never quite left - the importance of stories has just grown. Today I choose stories for The Echo World on a monthly basis, edit my second book, and write new stories - about life and death - whenever I can carve out the time.

Stories can conquer fear you know.
They can make the heart bigger.

Ben Okri

My husband, author and co-publisher of The Echo World, Michael Peter Langevin, shares this passion with me. He is full of stories, they seep out of his pores, leaving a scent of exotic flowers, ancient ruins and rainforest moist lingering in the air. 

We are experimenting with telling stories. We film interviews, on the porch, in the cabin that we fondly call The Tree-House. In this interview Michael tells tales about traveling with teenagers in the Amazon rainforest, meeting shamans and experiencing real magic beyond most people's imagination. These stories are part of the fabric that has shaped Michael's life. The interview starts off in Michael's book Secrets of the Amazon Shamans: Healing Traditions from South America.


Great stories happen to those
who can tell them.

Ira Glass

Photos from The Tree-House by Sofia Karin Axelsson
Film by Sofia Karin Axelsson

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Gift from the Angels - This Is a FREE Download from Maureen St. Germain

Meet the Archangels. 
Enjoy beautiful music and the voice of Maureen St. Germain. 
Make miracles happen!

Many people that are on a spiritual quest, and have dedicated themselves to the life-long work of personal growth, feel drawn to Angels especially, and Archangels specifically. For me they have never been highest on my list of the multitude of spiritual guides and helpers out there. Nevertheless, I have a sweet time every time I listen to Rainbow Angel Meditation – Meditation to the Archangels, by and with Maureen St. Germain. Perhaps this is because she presents the Archangels in an easy manner, associated with the seven rainbow colors - the seven rays - making them approachable even for an old heathen as myself.

One of the privileges of publishing The Echo World is that we often collaborate with our writers and authors, and they offer gifts to our readers that wouldn't be accessible otherwise. Below is a gift from Maureen St. Germain and the Archangels.

This is what you do to access this download:

Scroll down to Meditation to the Archangels, click on purchase MP3 Download and enter code ANGEL.


Image: Cover of Meditation to the Archangels - Copyright Maureen St. Germain.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Love - What Is It?

“I don't do romance,” I stated early on to Michael, when we were just getting to know each other. Something he mildly, with a bit of a jest, reminds me of on a regular basis.

So, I'll admit, I softened up a bit on the “not doing romance” over the years. Romance can be a neat thing, if done right. I think that what I really meant, is that I have little faith in the classic, western world idea about romance. After all, the most well-known story about romance we have, is about two overly tensed teenagers who die at the end. Which is telling. Western culture overall, seems to have a very vague notion of what romance means, and especially what it's supposed to lead to – love. There's usually a sunset, a marriage, or death, and not much else.

The idea of romance, and its correlation to love, as described in the western world, is seldom enlightening. The idea of love, it seems, is often confused with egocentric, overcharged longings and desires. Love, if separated from these childish notions, must be something grander, obviously. But what is it?

One of my favorite books on the subject matter is written by activist and feminist Bell Hooks, namely All About Love: New Visions, published 2001. In it Hooks makes the case that the idea of love is so confused in the western world, and so inter-meshed with power-structures, that it can include totally inappropriate behaviors, such as control and abuse, which can't possibly have anything to do with the concept of love per se. We would be better off, means Hooks, if we thought of love less as a feeling, and more as action, less as a noun, and more as a verb.

I agree.

One of my favorite descriptions of love is made by M. Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Traveled, first published in 1978. He defines love as: “... the will to extend one's self for the sake of nurturing one's self, or another person's, spiritual growth.”

Thus, if we embrace this notion, it means we have to put aside our carefully crafted plans of what we want someone to be for us, and instead concentrate on what they want to be for themselves. At the same time, we have to surround ourselves with people who want to nurture our spiritual growth. That is, who want to help us become as much as we can be.

Somewhere in the tension between the nurturing of other people's growth, and our own growth, is where the great adventure begins. Somewhere in the space of mutual support there is room for love. For me.

To see people you love take on the world, and grow and prosper, to celebrate their victories, and hold them close, body and soul, when they struggle … could there be anything more satisfying in the world? Not for me. And I'm a rich woman, having people in my life that do the same for me.

Perhaps, one of these cold February days, I’ll even buy some oysters, pop that champagne, and play Aretha Franklin's “Natural Woman” on repeat. Because romance, if done right, can be a great way to show your appreciation for that one person who shares all your victories, and all your defeats, every day, and every night.

From Your Editors - February issue of The Echo World
By Sofia Karin Axelsson

Photographs: top and middle - courtesy Pixabay. Bottom - Sofia Karin Axelsson, coverpic for The Echo World, from ceremony at Rachel Mann PhD.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Awakening the Spirit of a House

A couple of small branches, a few leaves on fragile stems. Growing to a massive plant, covering half the bedroom window. The deep red touches something vital inside. When the sun shines thorugh the leaves it vibrates - infra-purple. It's painted pot is bloodred, and the name of the plant is Bloodtear.

It's easy to kill the spirit of a house: you can renovate it to death, or suffocate it under dusty neglect.
But it's just as easy to make it come alive.

Just treat every thing as a creature with its own worth, and soon there will be more life, and voices, and song, from every corner, roof and wall. Give attention to details, and the spirits will come flowing in.

There came a package in the mail from a loved one, with left-over items from the sister who passed away. Among them was a jar of shells. Shells picked on the beach by two sisters. A jar filled with salty longings and dreams.

Everything is infused with its own story. Give each and one of the stories some room to be told, some room to be. Soon your house becomes a library of sorts, voices whispering, telling and sniggering.

Art and figurines have their spirits too. As do chrystals, stones and bones. Give them names. Let them bask in the sun.

Now you can feel that your house is alive; spirits are gathering, stories are told, voices and laughter high and low.

Photographs by Sofia Karin Axelsson