In a life of extreme synchronicity, prophetic dreams and generally inexplicable things, the following series of events comes in very close to the top of strangeness. To those few of you who’ve heard part of the sunflower saga as it relates to my ticket to the North American Permaculture Convergence, I can only say, “But wait! There’s more.” I hadn’t planned to share this in public, but the entire situation has become so odd and so illustrative that I feel called to do so. Warning: this will be a mighty long and mighty weird post. :)
Some of you may remember how excited I was to announce that I’d be attending the first ever North American Permaculture Convergence and the following whirlwind Driftless Area Bus Tour of farms, including Seed Savers Exchange. Ann Kreilkamp of Exopermaculture and I planned to carpool together, and I was as thrilled to cook up collaboration ideas with her en route as I was to meet presenters like Starhawk and Michael Pilarski. I also looked forward to meeting other people interested in permaculture principles, urban gardening, food forests, mycellium running and living in harmony with the land. The prospect of getting out of Goshen for awhile and camping by Geneva Lake sounded quite enticing, despite the fact that it would be smack dab in the middle of ragweed season. On the way to the convergence, which takes place near Minneapolis, Ann and I planned to stop at friends of hers in Chicago, and then on the way back, we were going to camp out in David’s and my friend Sue’s food forest in Madison. I had even planned to do in person sessions at our dear friends’ Brian and Ingrid’s chiropractic office there before heading out for a vegetarian feast with them.
Despite all this excitement, I felt a strong hesitation before purchasing my NAPC and Bus Tour tickets. The Bus Tour has limited seating, and Ann for sure wanted to go. Since I needed the ride with her, I booked everything right away, despite an undercurrent of uneasiness about my haste. In the past, I’ve gotten messages not to go somewhere, mined those messages for details, and then adjusted my plans accordingly. I figured I’d use whatever timeline shifting abilities I have at my disposal, plus intuition to know specifics to avoid or include. Basically, I recognized possible obstacles to the trip but expected — as per usual — that I would find ways around, over or through those obstacles, even if it meant saying some extra prayers and employing a little extra magic.
Well, apparently not so fast! Shortly after registering, Ann posted that she began suffering from a highly unusual (for her) illness, including a fever that left her unable to do much of anything. For my part, I got a wicked case of poison ivy, despite having successfully asked the poison ivy in our yard to leave last year. It came back just at that time, and silly me, I didn’t realize I had it on my hand, which spread it to my neck and torso in addition to my hands. I briefly thought how odd it was that the two of us were incapacitated at the same time, but hey, the convergence was 6 weeks away! Surely, Ann would be fine by then, and I’d have no more poison ivy. To my knowledge, Ann’s completely fine now, but I have run through another (minor) batch of poison ivy since then. At the time, it did cross my mind that camping in August with poison ivy that itchy would be no fun, but again, I dismissed that thought as largely irrelevant, despite the persistent sense that I should not be going on that trip.
Normally, I do follow my intuition. Yes, sometimes I tweak plans here and there by using my intuition to find the one way that I can do something I really want to do without the consequences life would seem to throw at me for doing that thing, but I should state here that I really do value intuition. Heck, I make my living following it, and I generally do not live in a state of fear. When ongoing anxiety or outright fear starts to prick at my consciousness, I know myself well enough to explore those feelings as the likely warnings they are. In this case, I still reallllly wanted to go to the convergence, so I continued to make plans as though I were. “A-hem!” said the Universe, “You’re not paying enough attention, Laura. Perhaps we can help you recognize the importance of this message.”
Another week into the plans, on July 23, I was scheduled to host the Goshen Garden Gals Gathering at my place. The night before, I got a slight message that I should cancel and reschedule for the following week. Several people had already RSVP’d that they couldn’t come; I thought it might just be my friend Kimber and me, so I didn’t cancel. Why bother sending out another email when only one person was probably coming anyway? The next morning, I awoke feeling quite urgently that I should cancel the meeting. I almost did, but I thought, “You know? I don’t feel like canceling the meeting. I’ll be hanging out at our house and in our yard, talking about gardening with Kimber and possibly a few other gardeners. What could possibly go wrong? [Note: at just this moment of typing that question, a bird flew into our north window, facing me. It's fine, but it hit like an exclamation point!] It’s not like I’ll be going in a car or something. I’ll be at home. I’m not going to have another car accident.”
By now, it was only about twenty minutes before the gathering was supposed to start, and my intuition was screaming at me to cancel the event. “It’s too late, now,” I thought, and dragged a chair to get to the cabinet above our fridge, where I thought we had some plastic cups we could use outside in the garden. “You don’t need those cups!” shouted my intuition. “Don’t get those cups!” After stepping on the chair, I completely blanked out that I had already opened the cupboard door. When I stood up, I cracked my head — hard — on the corner, all but knocking myself out. It took me a few moments to realize what had happened, but all the spurting blood and my throbbing head provided some excellent clues. I’ll spare you the rather non-spiritual flow of words that followed as I immediately recognized that I had only myself to blame.
After my life-altering 1998 traumatic brain injury, any time I hit my head, I pay laser sharp attention. The 1998 injury had been preceded by a similar set of instructions to cancel my plans that day and just sit tight in the hotel, even though I had many business meetings scheduled and would need to call in sick to company headquarters while staying in a hotel at their expense. Somehow that day, I just knew I’d have a car accident if I left the hotel, but I was too embarrassed to “flake out” at the last moment. Long story short: I checked out of the hotel, drove ever so carefully, and got rear-ended at a red light. I was completely disabled for over four years, and it took me six years to recover from my brain injury enough to support myself. Instead of missing one day of work, I spent years on workers compensation, in extreme chronic pain, in legal battles, totally disabled, unable to work or attend graduate school, and financially insecure.
Since then, I have impeccably followed guidance not to get in a car if I have any sense of an impending accident. I ground vehicles with Reiki when I enter them, but if I get the sense not to go in them, I don’t go. I’ve canceled social outings that involve cars numerous times, usually helped along by a sudden wave of vertigo that reminds me how I felt for four years following that brain injury.
The most recent time since 1998 that I had hit my head hard enough to matter marked the necessity of my internal determination to find a way out of my marriage. My now-ex and I had agreed to get a divorce and then he reneged right before Christmas 2008, saying he couldn’t survive by himself. When I said that I was sorry but I really needed to leave for my own survival, he pulled out all the stops from enticements (didn’t work) to threats (got my attention) to stay. I was so angry that I stood up fast from unpacking groceries and bashed my head on the marble counter top. That temporarily ended the discussion.
In 2008, the head injury resulted in extreme nausea, the inability to keep food down for a week and a sudden weight loss to under 100 pounds. My body rapidly demineralized, I got severe cavities, could almost see through my front teeth, and really felt like I might die. I recognized the head injury as my soul’s desperate call to action. No more passive acceptance of a seemingly impossible to leave situation. I needed to find a way to get my then husband well enough to support himself so that I could leave the marriage — cleanly –, leave California and move back to the Chicago area. It felt like the most urgent message of my life, and the urgency continued to grow.
That injury took me out for several months. All I could do was work and sleep, but I began a deep internal and external healing protocol. More importantly, I took the message to heart and began (at that time secret) plans to leave. Once I made the firm decision, everything else fell into place at just the right moment. The most unlikely scenarios revealed themselves to make for the easiest transition possible, including everything my now-ex needed to live without me. In retrospect, the series of synchronicities that followed led me directly to David and the amazing, compatible, loving relationship I always imagined possible.
Given both the 1998 injury and the Christmas 2008 injury, this July 2014 head crack took on stronger significance. And it hurt! A lot. It turned out not to be anywhere near as severe as the other two injuries, but I did develop some post-concussive symptoms. Nothing some extra naps, arnica and rest couldn’t address, but those were non-negotiable. Still, it did not escape my notice that the accident happened after I’d received numerous warnings to cancel something I wanted to do. The looming elephant in that themed room was canceling my travel plans to the NAPC. Since it seemed important, I began, in earnest, to ask for clear signs one way or the other. I immediately got the message that I could go on the trip, no problem, but doing so would put a complete end to my current timeline. For whatever reason, I kept hearing, “If you go, you cannot come home again.”
Crazy, right? Certainly dramatic.
I contacted Ann (an astrolger as well as a permaculturist) and asked her to compare my birth chart to our trip. Did I, by chance, have something major happening around that time? Indeed, at the exact moment the NAPC starts, I have four planets moving from my 12th house into my 1st house, which indicates the end of a major 12-year cycle. I don’t remember all the details of that time frame for me, but suffice to say, numerous decisive layers and facets of my astrological chart support my sense of finality. I would leave here in one cycle and return in another. We agreed to hold off on any decisions until today, August 20, and I began praying for clarity on whether this was a purely symbolic “end” and new beginning, or if I literally could not come home again.
I expected to find symbolic messages, but I began having dreams of literally getting “detained” in Minnesota — for many years, up to a decade, and returning here to find everything gone. Around that time, some articles also crossed my path about executive orders to detain people with respiratory symptoms (ragweed allergies, anyone?), and learned that Minneapolis is one of the locations in the predictive programming movie about an Ebola pandemic, Contagion, as well as a designated CDC quarantine site in the event of a pandemic. I’m not predicting anything here, but the synchronicity of these various articles crossing my path right after receiving the message that I would be “detained” definitely got my attention.
I continued to pray for guidance and asked others to pray and send energy, too. Whatever the answer, I wanted clarity, nothing ambiguous. During that time of discernment, despite my desire to go to the NAPC, I received precisely zero encouragement to go, along with a bevy of signs, synchronicities, spontaneous stories from others, and dreams warning me not to go. Bummer!
In the past, I had a situation like this occur, in which I had two full classes scheduled to teach in Reno, Nevada but about two weeks prior began having nightmares in my home in Sedona, warning me not to go. I had no intentions of canceling that trip, but the nightmares increased. Every morning, I’d awaken from being raped and murdered on that trip to Reno. I don’t normally have nightmares, so these dreams seemed highly unusual and intense.
I asked for instructions if there was any way I could make that trip without those results, and I received via dreams very clear instructions not to take a cab (under any circumstances) and to follow my intuition to the letter (no arguments) while there. I arranged for rides and some safe ones volunteered themselves in Reno, and during that weekend trip, I received specific, seemingly crazy instructions on what to do and when. More importantly, I got messages telling me to stop doing certain things midstream “because you look like a teenager and that makes you a target.” I followed those intuitions to the letter, even if it meant leaving my lunch at the hotel and paying extra to use an ATM that would charge a fee when my own bank’s ATM was just a two minute walk away.
When I finally returned to Sedona, I found a bunch of concerned emails from a very intuitive friend who’d known nothing of my dreams but was worried sick about me on this trip. Here’s the truly bizarre part, though: within a few minutes of my getting home, my now-ex got a fax from the Reno Police Department. The fax (we have no idea how they got our Sedona number or why they faxed us) was a missing person’s report of a 19-year-old (teenage) woman who looked surprisingly like me. She had disappeared that same weekend in Reno. Person of interest? A cab driver. Shivers went up my spine. A couple weeks later, we received our only other fax ever from the Reno Police Department stating that they had found the woman, raped and murdered by her cab driver.
All of which is to say that I do trust premonition dreams and know that sometimes they can help us work around situations in order to still enjoy previous plans. Apparently not so with the NAPC, though. I asked for alternate timeline information, and received dream messages that there was no alternate timeline in which I could return home to life as I knew it. I could be safe, but I would get detained and when/if I finally made it back to Goshen, nothing I loved would be here. The most dramatic and disturbing dream involved my returning here after a long journey, possibly on foot, after having been detained for years. When I arrived, everything in Goshen was grey, and everyone and everything was dead. It looked like a nuclear holocaust or something. At the end of the dream, I noticed my sunflowers still standing, but grey. I reached out to touch them, and they disintegrated in my hands. When I awoke, I was told that “I hold the energy in this area and that leaving at this time would remove whatever protective bubble I have around Goshen and those I love here.” Again, I could align with timelines in which I would be fine, and I was free to go; however, no timelines supported me leaving here at this time and returning to reality as I know it.
That dream was so disturbing that I officially canceled my trip. If even .0001 percent chance of being a literal representation of what would happen if I went on my fun, little networking vacation, I couldn’t handle the guilt or sense of irresponsibility. I felt immediate peace after canceling my trip and arranged to transfer my ticket to two locals in Minneapolis who would change the full pass into two single day passes. The exchange? Thirteen pieces of handcrafted orgone pucks with black eye’d Susans on top. Perhaps all that extra orgone energy would protect Goshen?
The next morning, I awoke from a different dream, also featuring my sunflowers. In this dream, I encountered a mansion of rooms full of boisterous children, along with some specific details about the morning’s first two phone sessions. The children in the dream kept saying, “It’s so good you’re in Goshen to protect your garden. So and so (named entity, but I forget the name) has taken umbrage at your sunflowers.” I laughed, “Where did you learn the word ‘umbrage’?!” But the kids kept repeating that message until I finally realized in the dream that someone really was very PO’d that I had decided to remain in Goshen. Whatever energy buffer I represented, was protecting this area, symbolized by the light seeking sunflowers. When I awoke, my first two phone sessions included the exact scenarios and information shown in the sessions in the dream. That seemed like double confirmation of my right decision in not going.
Sunflowers on Saturday, when I felt called to ask David to photograph me with them since they played such a role in my dreams.
All remained calm and decided until the guy who mailed the thirteen orgone pucks learned immediately after mailing them that his friend could not attend the NAPC as planned. He didn’t want to go alone, and so the ticket(s) once again became free. “These things are like a hot potato!” I said. Then, I began to wonder if it was one of those “If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you then it’s yours” kinds of things. We agreed to donate the ticket(s) as a scholarship but didn’t know if NAPC would make another shift. I secretly hoped they wouldn’t and that whatever timelines had shifted, opening a viable option for me to go after all.
Here’s where things get very strange … and we’re nearing the end of this tale (as I know it so far, anyway). Yesterday, I agreed to go to a meeting under fluorescent lights, which I despise. Truly, this world would be a better place without that hideous, garish, mercury-laden, cancer causing and migraine and seizure inducing form of “light,” but I digress. Yesterday, I was sitting in a meeting — in Goshen — and it began to storm. I began hoping the power would go off so those god-forsaken lights would stop flickering. As I mentally expressed the wish, the lights did momentarily dim as though they’d go off, but I realized the place would have a generator backup. I started thinking about the generators going off, too (I really do hate fluorescent lights!), but then thought better of that wish, because it would affect a lot of people there in major ways. (It was a healthcare facility with many people on various machines to keep them alive. Not a good place for a full power outage, and certainly not one that I requested.) The lights stayed on and we completed the meeting.
Only when we started driving home did I notice all the downed branches and said to David, “Oh, my gosh, I was so distracted by the fluorescent lights that I forgot to protect the garden! I didn’t do any of my usual Runes or energetic protections. I hope everything’s OK.” We got to the driveway, and I noticed the giant sunflowers were gone! The stem had cracked and they took down the only other two sunflowers continuing to produce new blooms:
Here are the downed sunflowers after I removed them from the two other stalks they were crushing.
David helped me use string, stakes and zip ties to rescue the two crushed sunflowers, which remained attached to their stalks:
We can now see this lone red sunflower from the Autumn Beauty mix.
I had wondered if the thirteen additional orgone pucks could substitute for whatever protective presence I offer in Goshen, but oddly enough, the previous day, I had followed guidance to distribute four orgone pucks with my own hand-drawn Runes on them at the corners of our yard. One puck sits very close to the downed sunflowers, and it was not enough to keep them from falling. I then wondered if rather than showing the effectiveness of all my protections, prayers and energy work, if maybe the downed sunflower was like the crushed watermelon from my New Madrid Fault dream. In that case, I took the real life watermelon’s detachment as evidence of an end to the timeline my dream showed. I described this phenomenon in the post called, “When Life Gives You Tornadoes, Make Bouquets!“
I wandered around the yard to see what I could surmise, and strange and irrational as it may seem, I cannot deny this one-time devastation from a relatively very minor storm. We’ve had tornadoes rip through here without even disturbing a sprout leaf, but yesterday’s minor storm uprooted borage, ripped apart tomato plants, downed sunflowers and smashed seedlings. It was the only time we’ve had such damage in any garden, and coincidentally, it was the only time I didn’t use Runes or intentional protection of our property, whether here or in Madison. The only plants and trees that suffered no effects were ones I had late last week put special blessings around because I knew they would be vulnerable to wind. Those plants — even the unstaked ones in free standing pots — were totally upright and untouched. If they got the special blessing, they held up fine; if not, even sturdier plants nearby hit the ground.
The garden will recover. It looks just fine to the untrained eye, but it did experience significant and seemingly disproportional damage without my protections. Even though I cannot predict or explain why or how my staying in Goshen holds the energy here, I’m not going to the NAPC this year. The sunflower saga, head cracks and synchronicities are just too dramatic and bizarre to ignore. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope somehow this post reveals methods of discernment, “logical” ways of testing intuition, potentially prophetic dreams, and the influence we do and do not have in our world. We can do amazing things, but sometimes, the Mystery announces its presence with a capital M. And when it does, I eventually bow in awe. ;)