I went back to visit my hometown after driving past it so many times as I traveled up and down the east coast over the years. After dropping in for an afternoon, or an evening, or an event here and there without ever really plugging in, getting my feet on the Earth, or opening my mind to the spaces there for very long.
Once, I was invited to do a psychic ghost walk-through of one of the historical houses left as a standing memory, white and pale on a lawn of cut grass and trees. The slave quarters had been taken down years ago, and what now stood was only the house, a garden behind it, and a large yard, quiet and still, year round. On that walk through I received the impression of a woman carrying tea cups to the men having a meeting in the parlor. The china cups rattled on the tray as she carried them. Nerves. She steadied her hands and kept going.
I learned that day that when the northern troops traveled down through the south after the Civil War recently ended, this site - the old house I was visiting and the nearby river - hosted a deadly battle which ended with the northern troops never crossing at that point. Along with other interesting goings-on of that day in Village View, like a beam of wood mysteriously falling over when we read a certain name out of the family Bible (of a ghost that is said to still haunt those halls,) I realized that the tight racial tension I grew up with could be explained energetically like this. The energy of freeing the slaves never made it through Emporia. Well. That explained a lot.
Meanwhile, my great grandfather was building homes and schools and churches. I am proud of the Black side of my family. As I type this, my cousin is Mayor of this town. Every time I go back to visit, I see a more healed, gentle, peaceful and prosperous town. The aching I felt in my spirit is eased in ways that are reflected by conversations I have with people on both sides of the race lines, seeking resolution, healing, growth and harmony.
On this trip, I decided to go back to the place where that battle was fought. Perhaps there were spirits there I could help release. I felt something calling me.
When I arrived at Veterans Memorial Park, the site of the yearly Peanut Festival throughout my childhood, the pavilion where I played in my roller skates for hours, hills I rolled down with friends, getting leaves caught in my hair and laughing ourselves breathless, I read memorial plaques also sitting on that land for what felt like the first time. Perhaps I read them before when I was young, but I don't remember now. It felt like new information to me.
Bordered by heavy, clinking, iron chains, these signs stood dark and strong, quietly holding their information about the battles once fought at this bend of the river, over this bridge - or one like it, that stood in this same spot.
I felt spirits whispering around me, rustling, feeling me reach for them. But this isn't a new feeling. I do this same work everywhere I go, sometimes in the back of my mind, sometimes with full focus, like I had on that day.
As I stood and read, my mind fell to the side and I let the information soak down through my body and soul as the gravity hit me. There were 26,000 northern soldiers that came to this battle on December 9, 1864. Twenty six thousand. And that side didn't even win. How many more people came from the southern armies? The entire town, during my decade and a half there as a child and adolescent, was only peopled by about 5,000. This was more than 5 times (maybe 10, considering the numbers on the other side) of my entire home town. Fighting and dying right here, by this river, not very long ago.
I said prayers and walked through the rustling leaves, feeling my consciousness spread down into the earth beneath me, hearing the energies of blood spilled in pain and hate and shouting all those years ago.
More than the spirits, who I released like sweeping old cobwebs out of corners, I felt the pain of the land. I felt the scars left by Mother Earth holding her sons dying throughout the days there, bleeding into the ground, crying for their homes, killing each other. I felt the scrape of metal blades, dull with much fighting, against hard bone, soft organs, and elastic tendons. I felt bullets, large and slow compared to what we now have, whizzing by my head, creating echoes that would last for many years afterward. And again, I peeled these traumas from the land, carefully, gently, respectfully, giving thanks for the learning and giving energy and focus for healing.
I don't believe it is right to erase the hardships our people (Humans of all colors and backgrounds) have been through. But I do believe that we can heal from anything. We are resilient. We all want the same things. To be happy, fulfilled, safe and loved. To protect and support our families. To live lives that are worthwhile and leave value behind for those coming later.
I don't know how much similar work has been done on this land. I have a feeling that there has been some. The ghosts there on the day I went weren't angry or vindictive for the most part. They were remnants, echoes from a terrible time.
As we clear these old unseen patterns, I do believe that the new healthier space is reflected in the minds and hearts of people now living. Wounds on the land are felt by the people that live on that land. It only stands to reason that as those wounds are healed, any people nearby can become happier and more free in whatever way they need.
I ended that trip feeling more aligned with my hometown than I had ever since I left at age 18. I thought, for the first time ever, about one day buying some land and building a home there. (I plan to have many, dotted around the country so I can travel as I now do, but with places of my own making to ground into as I bounce around.)
I felt an even greater deepening of pride for the varied background I come from. Having blood from 3 of the cultures most at odds in our nation right now (Black, White, and Native American,) I've felt the dissonance before but with each passing year, I feel the solutions curling through my veins as I live life as someone with all types of heritage working together. And as a Mystic, someone who sees spirits and works with them, I felt as if this trip, connecting with the soldier ghosts and releasing them like the myths of the Norse Valkyries did, I felt quietly proud. Only time will tell if the work I did makes any mark on the visible world. But I certainly felt different.
Days later, I discovered that the weekend I went was when the USA celebrates Veteran's Day. I hadn't realized that's where I was on the calendar. I love validation like that.
charis melina brown
Oracle, healer, author, star person, beloved of this world.