For my Ally in the unseen realms…

Billy Dovel January 16, 1971- November 19, 2017
 A few days ago was the birthday of a very special person, who left this Collective Dream the day after my birthday in 2017. I wrote the following on the 3rd anniversary of his passing, and am sharing it here as a birthday blessing. AT the bottom of the page is a link to the personal drum ceremony I did on that day....

 For my Ally in the unseen realms, whose hand I know has helped to guide my life in ways that have transformed me, who now acts as ancestral Power in my personal matrix and who reminds me often of my Vow of Authenticity. The magic of the first visit from beyond, when you showed me such huge change was coming, showed me the Crossroads, and allowed me to witness the beginnings of an Initiation in White.... A ceremonial transmutation ritual of Self , intuiting that I was the guest of honor being beckoned as the candles flickered.....
 that was so intense I awoke knowing that my life was about to jump an octave....  
 And the choices I've made since then which have led me to the gratitude and abundance of spirit and flesh, a type of Surrender and Serenity I never could have allowed myself before....are directly related to that direct transmission from you in the Netherworld between the Seams of the dream... And to the wide and deep and beautiful place you have forever in my Heart and my Soul.... All the little ways your presence and friendship altered me which I knew not at the time, but has become so clear as the years unfold in this flowering of Soul. I give thanks for all
 The moments here and Now, when you stir the wind around me and join me in song as I beat my drum in honor of your heart and part in this divine Play.... When your bright smile from the Place between Time warms the air around me and calls the Sun from the clouds. I love you my friend, I miss you, and I Thank you✨?✨ Billy Dovel....Bubba

 {the following is a drum song that has been slowly unfolding within me for the past year...}

 When I see you standing
 Blue eyes like the sky and
 Smile as wide as oceans
 Everybodies crying

 Why oh why oh why oh lord

 When the call came I
 Fell to the ground I
 Shattered like a mirror
 Now my tears a river

 Why oh why oh why oh lord
 Oh I know why now
 Oh it's a way out  
 Why oh why oh why oh lord

 But this is no goodbye friend
 Everybody knows this
 This is no goodbye  
 Hey hey
 This is no goodbye friend
 Everybody knows
 This is no goodbye

 I need a lil sip a sunshine  
 In my mind hey hey
 A lil sip a sunshine  
 Make it alright now
 A lil sip a sunshine
 In my life hey hey hey
 You were a lil sip a sunshine
 In my life

 There will be another
 Day down by the river
 We will play like children
 Holding hands and healing
 Mothers eyes are crying
 All the tears are drying
 We will fly in skies like
 Fireflies alighting
 Rising just like tides I
 Know your heart is shining
 Brother we will glide so high

 Hey hey now
 This is no goodbye friend
 Everybody knows this
 This is no goodbye  
 Hey hey hey
 This is no goodbye friend
 Everybody knows
 This is no goodbye
 No no lord hey hey

 You were a lil sip a sunshine  
 In my life  
 hey hey now
 A lil sip a sunshine  
 Makes it alright
 I need A lil sip a sunshine
 In my mind now  
 hey hey hey
 A lil sip a sunshine
 In my life
 
 
 Charleen Johnston
 11-19-20 

Lil Sip’ A Sunshine Drum song ritual overlooking the Valley, 11-19-20 (my drum was flat as it was very cold and sounded off and I was a little drinky from the ceremonial Fireball Shots that were in honor of old times…)

Being Country Bred

Inspired by Mary Olivers poem ‘On being Country Bred’…

Being country bred, I am at ease in darkness;
like everything that thrives
in fields beyond the city’s keep, I own
five wooden senses, and a sixth like water.


These things I know
before they set their mark upon the earth:
chinook and snow,
mornings of frost in the well, of birth in the barns.


Sweet world,
think not to confuse me with poems or love beginning
without a sign or sound:
Here at the edge of rivers hung with ice
spring is still miles away, and yet I wake
throughout the dark, listen, and throb with all
her summoning explosions underground.


I have wondered often who I would be now, if I had not been Country Bred. There are so many things central to my self perception that grew up from my time being nurtured and cradled by the wilderness and the wild untouched forests I roamed as a child and young woman. There is something Raw and Immediate that hovers in the green lush world of trees and plants and animals and death and cycles and seasons. Never as a child did my grasping mind understand just how important all those unhurried hours under the blanket of the sky were to my soul, how nourishing those baths in the creek, the nights spent laying under the full moon with a song in my throat and a  silvery cord of awe sprouting from my plexus.  I learned the laws of life and death in every kitten that was born and in its playful scavenging life with never enough food, its timely or untimely death….its final rest in the woods beside the house….in the designated Pet Graveyard. Wooden sticks tied together with vines and twine into a lopsided cross to stand guard at the head of the grave.  Night-swimming in the lake, laughter surfing on the waters ripple, hide and seek beneath the foggy cloak that hugs the waters face. Dock games of tag and sharks and minnows. Hanging wet clothing in the trees of the forest after swimming, to dry out for the next days swim….and changing into dry gear…..all so that it remains a secret that we spend these hours frolicking in the water and sun, too far from the house to be permitted alone without adult eyes. Such elaborate means of warding off the Questions of adults, the rules and the confines.  Swinging from treetop to treetop in the pine forests that walk like soldiers behind the lakes edge…..testing the bodies strength and integrity in mid air…trusting….always trusting….that my steps are in line with the Universal Ebb. Knowing without doubt that I am cradled and held by something Mysterious yet Magical….and playing with that knowing like a small child enthralled with the shadows from the sun making music on the earth.   I grew up Wild, untouched by mans laws and rules except on those brief forays into school or town, where the rules and laws of man were carefully and artfully discarded.  I would climb to the top of huge oaks and sit embraced in the limbs writing poetry in my tattered notebooks…..draw pictures of birds and animals and strange twisting creatures…..sing songs to the world or the sun or the moon or whatever it was that fed me with inspiration on that particular day or night. I would twirl and spin beneath the stars till I became AllOfMe….like a Sufi, dancing my Soul into balance and knowing the voice of my destiny as it spins its tune out in rhymes only I could hear.  The river. The second mother of my childhood. Refuge from the hot sun, the baking humidity of the Southern Summer. So much time spent, pretending to be a fish, or a mermaid, or some other mystical creature that dances to its own song, swims to its own beat.  Picking berries and pricking fingers, spending hours in the garden eating fresh food from the vine, never knowing that one day I would trade almost anything for that same luxury. In those forests my love for Snakes and for Spiders blossomed. All things taboo, all things that most hide from or run from, I sought. I still seek. I have the Forest in my blood, in my veins, I have the canopy of stars and planets and sky spread over my skin as a sheath, I have the River in my soul, and the cycles and the seasons they continue to turn and to rise and to fall, and I am spread out with them, layered like leaves on an autumn ground……made tender by the soft humus of my individual journey. I asked to be broken open, to be played as an instrument, to be as raw and true and free and strong and pure as the beasts in the green forests, to be as receptive as the lake and as purposeful as the river, to be as passionate as the sun and as reflective as the moon. I have a hungry heart, that chooses to love and to break and to bleed and to bless others, I have a hungry mind that loves patterns and plays at patchworking ideas and language. I have a hungry body that craves flesh, hot touch, wet touch, rubbing nuzzling tussling tickling rolling playing crawling running swimming climbing smiling fucking….how I love this body that feels so much and gives so much and receives so much pleasure, and so much pain. I have a hungry soul that eats Joy, and stalks Life, any experience is worthy, every dance is sought, every lesson learned.  There is nothing in this great playground that I scorn, it is all fodder for the spirit. I am Wild. Untamed. Unconventional. Authentically Ridiculous. Absurdly Brilliant. Lusciously Alive. Strangely Serene. Passionately playful. I love with my Body, my Mind, my Heart, and my Soul. This Dance is one of Wonder. I wander freely within it. I am country bred…..filled with the archetype of the Wild. And for this, I give thanks. I kiss the Earth, belly to the dirt, every nerve and vessel filled to bursting, with the sweet vibration of Carnality. 
 I wake throughout the dark, listen, and throb with all her summoning explosions  underground.

copyright Charleen Johnston 2011

Woman

Woman. Fire. Sexuality. Writhing. Snakes. Burning. Fierce.

What is Woman?  What should Woman be?  Seems there are an infinity of answers, an unending barrage of ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ attached to the archetype of Woman. There are thousands of books out there, and papers, articles, essays….all on what it means to be Woman, where the roots of Woman are, what the future of Woman will be. Woman in Relationship; Woman as Mother; Woman as Daughter; Woman as Newly liberated. All just archetypal relationships of energy. Points of light dancing on a blueprint. What does Woman FEEL like? What does it FEEL like to Be Woman? When I stretch my body and feel the nerves awaken, the muscles loosen, the blood flowing, I feel the Primal Womanity spread thru my being, touching everything within and around me with a fire that can be too intense to name, too generalized to capture, too strong to ignore. When I run, footstep by footstep upon the Earth or upon the dark armor of pavement that strangles the Earth….I pound out the rhythm of my strength…my endurance…my desire. I am in balance, carried by the amazing strength and intent of my legs….those pillars that exist to connect me with physicality in a way that is dynamic and delightful. With every inhale I accept into me the Breathing of Gaia and of all who have borrowed oxygen from Her since the first moment of carnal experience. With every exhale I give back that which is not mine, but which has filled me with the potential to Feel and to Move and to Think and to Smile. This dance of breath, over time, brings a calm, fluid expanse of  blue to my bones, to my blood, and to my aura……the Woman I Am Playing at Being  is quickening her pace, soaring with the wind of thought and mind and communication….but on a level that is unspoken, indirect, unperturbed,content with  indistinct flow. When I make masters of my hands and set them to the task of patchworking a multitude of found and loved and used and old and outworn objects and fabrics and things together into new personalities, new beings, new symbols of the creative spirit……I worship the Woman of my soul….I allow her to speak thru me in ways that are unique and true, fun and playful, wise and foolish both.  With every stitch I set an intention to Love. With every seam I am becoming aware of my relationship to Each and to All.  With every color I make a statement of what I see in the moment, how I feel in this particular flash of eternity.

When I draw, She draws thru me….she moves the contour of my pen like she moves the contour of my world……making space where there is none, opening doors where stagnation has set. When I laugh, it is Woman who cackles…..deep belly laughter coming from someplace ancient, yet futuristic, yet HereNow….Present…….a laughter that has no fear, no self consciousness, no agenda, no apologies. I like laughter that is unrestrained, inappropriate, uncouth, taboo, deep and wide, harsh and shrieking, anything that comes from that endless well within which the madwoman gathers her nourishment.  When I smile, I am a doorway for Woman. I am a light that shines, makes it ok to OpenWide…..to be filled with Joy. When I smile, I am giving to you. I am telling you…..Woman is Here…..Naked and Alive…..please come in!  When I   cook I am transforming energies….an alchemy of fire and taste and sacrifice and honor. I am Woman feeding the World from her Body. When I dance I am Her…..I move like tendrils, like serpents in the agony of ecstasy. I dance to Become Myself. To Become Woman That I AM. I am in a different state….an alternative mode of being……the whispers within me become a chant and my body moves….purposeful but without agenda, intense but without direction. Fluid but contained. Passionate yet serene. I am a Muscle of Bliss……swaying to the rhythm of the blood that carves its path out in the rivers of my Body.

When I make love, I am Woman. Feverish. Fire. Wet Pulsating mass of wide open nerves and cells and points of light and waves of bliss. I am Here. Fully. But also There. Inside the Mouth of Woman. I am channel. I am no longer personal. I am Priestess. The Flame guides me, sings me……my Body. Woman. Conduit. Portal. Woman. Burning. Crying out. Articulating. Gesticulating. Giving. Worshipping. Body. of Man. of Woman. of Infinity. I will take you in…you are amorphous mass dissolving in my cauldron of heat….of vibrating muscle memory, of oscillating frequencies of  Bliss and Pleasure. The Tantrika. The Initiator. Come in and Play. With Woman. When I fuck, I am goddess. I am demon. I am of the underworld. Of heaven. I am paradox. I am terribly frightening in my devotion. Terrifying in my strength. Beautiful in my Body. Inhabited. In touch….with every corpuscle and every hair….I am moving. Moving. Woman. Trembling. Woman. Touching. Woman. Caressing. Woman. I honor the body of Man. I honor the body of Woman. I honor the body of Earth. I honor the body of Form and the unbody of formlessness. I drink you. I eat you. I melt you with the heat of a billion suns and let your Self be re-formed and cooled in the satiating waters of reflection and assimilation. When I invite you in, I tantalize; every sense is used and every limb is a tool of touch and taste. Woman. Feeling the fire rise…….lead by the breath…systematic patterns….coaxing particular passions and pleasures……depends on the rhythm…..everything Connected….Give in…LET GO…..LET GO…..BE WOMAN…..LET GO….Surrender   to your Primal Raw Wild Abandon. No apologies. No shame. No limits. No guilt. No control. No agenda. Be. Beautiful. HumanButNotHuman. Dark Dakini calls you down. I am Her. Inhabit yourself. Inhabit Woman. Draw Her down into your sacred skin and bones. Maker Her Alive. Live on the edge of Her. Every touch errogenous. Every murmur a blessing. Every scream a sonnet. Every Orgasm a Prayer. A Prayer. A prayer. Every climax  a Chant. That is your moment. That Moment. Is. WOMAN. Release. Woman. at Ease. Woman. in that Moment of Woman, the Universe is Womb. What you hold in your mind, in your heart, in your body, in your soul, at that very Moment of Climax, of Womanness, you send out into the Ethers…..it will be enlarged and given substance, and made dense……..and be of your World. Focus those energies of Woman. Let them be centered in Love and Joy and Respect and Harmony and Acceptance and Tolerance. That moment, and the dance that becomes It, are….for me….what Woman means. A woman with no connection to Body, to Heart, to Passion, to Sexuality, to Fire, to Sweat, to Absurdity, to Primal Wild Raw Energy and Excitement…..is……not Woman. Woman exists in man too. Woman is palpable, tangible yet diffuse…..erotic in every aspect of Life…….tinges the world with a golden aura of enthusiasm, exertion and incredible connections with Source and FragmentsOfSource. 

I choose to Burn in the Flames. I choose to Feel the Pain. I choose to writhe in agony and in ecstasy, as the moment dictates. I would not trade my tenderness or my strength, I would not trade my lows and my darkness and my underworld soul for a life of flatline emotion, or unmoved calm.

I feel it all I feel it all. I am Woman. I heed the call.

copyright Charleen Johnston 2011

16 things you probably didn’t know about me


*I originally wrote this out as one of those things people passed around on facebook years ago. Everything is still true. *


1. I fell out of the car when i was a toddler, and broke my skull. Hairline fracture down the right side. I had to wear a motorcycle helmet for a good while afterwards to protect my head. Yes yes, explains a lot 🙂

2. I grew up in the mountains of Virginia in a tiny cabin built by my dad. Spent most of my time in the forest, climbing trees, and exploring, swimming in the river, building things, and playing with cats, of which there were usually about 30 at any given time. Rarely ever wore shoes and could sprint on gravel or hard rock because my feet were like leather. Had an extreme amount of Freedom, on all levels, to be myself, express myself, and explore myself. Thank you mom and dad. The wilderness is in my soul.

3. My appendix ruptured when i was 5. They didnt know what was wrong til it was almost too late. I was rushed to emergency surgery. I can remember looking up as they were wheeling me away. I remember the pee pan. And I remember the doctor asking me to count backwards from 10 to 1. The next thing I know I was watching the surgery from outside my body. It was fascinating. I never talked about that part. Spent weeks in the hospital recovering from sepsis with a drainage tube inside me, and every day they would pull it out a little more, dripping with infection, and cut it. Painful. When I could walk again comfortably I roamed the halls with my IV stand on wheels, as if I owned the place. I got a huge brown stuffed dog as a gift and kept it for years. I learned to color and write with my left hand because my right was attached to IV. I still have a very large scar that grew even larger during pregnancy 🙂

4. I can remember sleeping in our first cabin, with my parents and siblings in a sleeping bag, and it was so cold that you could hear the bottles breaking in the kitchen. And eating baked potatoes cooked in the ashes of the woodstove. And sometimes there were bats in the house.

5. I got a ticket, along with some friends, for skinny dipping in a a hotel pool. We jumped the fence, drunk after a punk rock show, and eventually the police came. I tried to hide behind a building thinking Id get out of it, but it didnt work. I was the last to sit in the car and give my information. I played with the control panel on the cop car became buddies with the policeman. It didnt help my cause. The tickets was written for ” showing body parts in front of members of the opposite sex”….which seemed a little silly. I never showed up for court. 

6.When I was 19, I ate 13 hits of acid as the sun came up, out in the woods in a cabin. Before the experience, I was pretty self destructive. After the experience, I shaved my head of everything I felt I had been and made a conscious decision to devote my life to furthering my consciousness, practicing self awareness, and maintaining a spiritual path based on freedom and compassion. That acid trip probably saved my life. 

7. When I was 19, I went to Jamaica for a month with an older friend of mine I had met recently, who had gone there regularly. I never phone anyone once i got there. we biked around the island for several days. At Milk River spa, we had a falling out and I told him I was going to spend the rest of the trip by myself. He finally gave up trying to convince me otherwise and took off. I was alone, completely, in the backwoods of Jamaica, with nothing except my journal and a couple books, one of which was the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I walked for hours along a dirt road, fully knowing the danger of being an american woman alone off the beaten path, where anything could happen. Eventually, a car stopped. Knowing the risk, I hitchhiked with two men who took me all the way to Kingston, and dropped me off, after giving me some money to try and get a bus or taxi. They were beautiful souls. I found myself in the streets, surrounded by people shouting ‘whitey! whitey!’ and trying to sell me things, or staring etc. It was a little overwhelming. I was a fish out of water. Kingston was not a place I wanted to spend any time in, and i finally found a place that said taxi. I talked to the man, who said he could take me. He said had to get someone else first , for the long drive……when he got out to get this person, I sat in the car. I debated on whether I was in more danger fleeing the car and taking my chances in the city or wherever it lead me, or placing my trust in someone who could easily take advantage of the situation. I stayed. The drive was several hours, and they got me on a bus. I eventually made my way back to Haddo, where I stayed with the family I had met when I first got to Jamaica. It was a journey of facing the unknown consciously, placing my trust in the Universe, and I felt more alive than I ever had. Danger does that. 

8. When I was still 19, I bought a greyhound ticket to California. I randomly selected San Francisco because I had no desire to be in LA and San Fran just sounded good. I had a vivid dream of California, which prompted me to go. It took 3 1/2 days, and I had 100$ in my pocket. And a nice rucksack and gear (which somebody stole from the bus before I ever reached San Fran). I went alone, and knew no one who lived there. The first night I got off the bus, with only the clothes on my back, my guitar, and a bag with my journal and books, I ran into someone who used to live in my college town. Serendipity. 

9. I lived in hostels and hotels in the Tenderloin and other downtrodden districts in san Francisco for awhile, alongside crackheads and other outsiders. I met alot of great people in those days. The dark places help to shape us. 

10. I was raped when I was 16. That event preceded my fascination with the Psyche and The Underworld. I would not change the circumstance even if I could. The dark places help to shape us. 

11. I worked at a bagel shop in San Francisco and made it my Spiritual Practice to create Joy around me for the people I served. It was a busy shop right beside the subway downtown, and the stockpeople would fill the place at 5am (8am nyc time). Every single day, I said something authentic and loving to every single person that came thru my line. I would hand out smile cards sometimes, that I would make at home. I learned from the connections I made with ‘strangers’ who returned day after day to my line, waiting longer, to pass thru our little interaction, even when they could have gotten served quicker in a different line……that little things DO matter, that Everyone is Beautiful, and that it really is as simple as a heartfelt smile and some kind words…to help shift another persons reality into a more loving and joyful space. When I gave my notice to quit, I was overwhelmed to see that most of my customers cried real tears and wrote me beautiful cards wishing me luck in my next endeavors, and a few gifts…. People are Powerful Beyond Measure….even in seemingly ‘mundane’ or menial jobs. I was touched deeply by the connections I made. The Bright places help to shape us.

12. I was Anorexic and Bulimic for 7 years. It had nothing to do with ideals of beauty or thinness. I was always athletic and slim anyway. It had to do with control. It was the biggest demon ive ever done battle with, in this particular life. The Unbearable Lightness of Starvation. ‘I starve my body with divine intent….i shape the contours of my transient world….’ 

13. I had an unassisted pregnancy, and never once saw a doctor. Eventually, toward the end, I agreed to call a midwife for my husbands sake. I became friends with her, but I never once undertook any test, no blood pressure, nothing. She only physically touched me one time in pregnancy, and that was to palpate when I got so big I thought i might possibly have twins in there. I carried my son for nearly 44 weeks. I refused any mention of induction etc. I was completely in tune with my baby. I was strong. I walked miles every day, did yoga every day, had spent the previous 6 years doing energy work, breathing work, yoga, etc. This would be the biggest initiation of my life. I was Ready. I had a pretty much unassisted birth. Midwife present, but not involved at all. I had the company of my sons father, and my good friend. My labor was 4 hours from start to finish. No one spoke. The room was dark. I caught my baby in my own hands, in a semi squat position. He was big and healthy and alert. We had a lotus birth and left the cord attached, til it fell off on its own several days later. It was the most powerful and amazing experience of my life, and would do it the same way all over again. I went on to nurse my boy til he turned 5. And I carried him in a sling/babycarrier almost all day ever day til he learned to walk around 9 months and wanted to be on his feet. He has never been to a doctor, and has never had need of one. He has never had a vaccination, and his strength, intelligence and physical capabilities blow my mind constantly. I like to think my choices had something to do with his awesomeness, but its probably just that Hes His Own Beautiful Soul and he Knows This. 🙂 Beauty and Bonding help to shape us.

14.I have been a Lucid Dreamer my entire life, and began keeping dream journals when I was 20.I have also been able to ‘Astral Travel’ /OBE/Project’ since I started a serious practice of my Dreamwork. I have 6 years of records of almost every single dream or astral adventure that occurred in that time period. I have every single dream I dreamed while Pregnant. Its like a subconscious diary of my psyche. I havnt kept a dream journal consistently since my son was born, it was too hard to focus on.
I am a person who has always chosen to Experience, Explore, Open To, and Unravel life……….the Dreamtime has always been my ‘path’ to cohesion…………………

15. I am blessed to have the most amazing family I could ever imagine….creative, intelligent, quirky, fascinating, strong, Connected. I am blessed to have Loved those I have loved in my life, for however long they were in it. I am blessed to have been loved by those same people. I am Grateful that I am friends with my sons father and that he is in my life and in Oisins life. I am Grateful to have the opportunity to learn from and explore life with my beautiful little boy, who challenges me constantly to be the Best Version of MySelf I can be, and sometimes that is not easy. I am Blessed and Grateful for a wonderful and supportive community of Awesome People who surround me and inspire me and help me on this particular Journey. Friendship helps to Shape us.

16. I am so very grateful to have shared my life with beautiful, sweet, caring, sensitive, creative, compassionate, silly, intelligent people who are dedicated to their own growth and evolution I am equally grateful and appreciative for all the petty tyrants, miscreants, lost souls, fractured beings, and toxic mirrors I have shared my life with,for the lessons are always deep and lasting….. It is a powerful thing, to have mirrors that so clearly reflects…..not only the wonderful Light and Beauty, but also the shadows….so that they may be transformed thru Love, Honesty, and Authenticity. Thank you for being in my life, Fellow Travelers in the Seams of this Dream. It is through your support and encouragement and Witnessing of mySelf that I have grown and blossomed; It is also through the Initiation of having to find the Power Within to Let go the dysfunctional patterns and people who reflect the lack of Self Worth and toxicity that magnetize these types of mirrors to us.
Love Helps to Shape Us.Fear helps to Free us. Its all just a Twist in the Perception.

{I plan to go into full stories of these and more existential twists of the c(h)ord that is my lifeSong, in future posts}

Blissings, Charleen