Letter from Sedona: Au Revoir



For the past three days, I have attended an intensive all day workshop. I’ve listened to the teachings of a scholarly intuitive, a man who has spent a lifetime devoted to the spiritual path. I’ve been fascinated, inspired, overwhelmed at times, and secure in the knowledge that I am only absorbing bits and pieces of the tremendous story of man and God that he has woven so beautifully. While I will not remember much of it (and he has assured us that we will not), the overall message has been simple: we are not separate from God.

As I write this, I am recalling the words of Maya Angelou, the writer and poet, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The hours of history, metaphysics, religious concepts, and inspiration all boil down to that. And how I feel is peaceful and joyful, as if everything is going to be all right, no matter how things may look at any given time. I’ve had a glimpse of a very big picture, and it has made me feel safe.

Two more days of the workshop, and I will say au revoir to Sedona on Tuesday, but not goodbye, for this is my home now.  Some people are called to places on this earth for reasons that are not clear, but right. Some are born in the “right” place, never leave, and never want to leave. Some find their way, and know when they have arrived. Some have lived there in a former life and are drawn back because life was good and happy. The earth knows you when you come home.

I have lived most of this life on the East Coast of the United States. The connection to Sedona came as I was nearing completion of my book, The Messenger. It was also right after my husband Bill passed over, six years ago. Did he send me here to be healed?  Perhaps. Did he lead me to the shaman who pulled grief out of me? I like to think so. But I have come to the peaceful conclusion that I do not have to know everything. I do believe that no matter what is happening at any given time, there is a Divine Order to things and all is well. I know that my second book is to be written here, where the energy is full of light. It doesn’t matter how I know or why I know. I just know how it makes me feel.


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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at http://www.amazon.com and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

Letter from Sedona: The Great White Dog

I met the great white dog, Hanta Yo, on my first trip to Sedona (See my post two Sundays ago: Letter from Sedona). The second time I was with Hanta was when we went walking in the wilderness and climbed a great red rock—the shaman, my daughter Michaela, me, and a second dog, Cheyenne.

As we rode along in his truck, Clay – the shaman – asked if we had any “restrictions.” “Well, I’m old, I said.” He laughed and said, “What’s old?” Well, okay, I thought. Let’s see what happens. We rode along on narrow dirt roads through what looked like barren desert, but now and then he would point out a bush or a flower and tell us what they had been used for by Native peoples. The desert is a beautiful place if you know how to look at it. Hanta rode along in the back seat as if he did this every day. He did, of course.

A great red rock loomed in the distance. Clay stopped the truck. “That’s where we’re going,” he said. It didn’t occur to me that he meant we’d climb it. He started out toward it. The dogs and Michaela and I followed him. When we reached the foot of the great rock, he turned to us and said, “Three things: Follow my feet, don’t look down, and don’t stop.” For some crazy reason, I wasn’t afraid. He held a coiled rope in back of him. “If you need to hold onto something, grab this.” I’m sure he meant, don’t grab me. He started ahead, holding the coiled rope in back of him.

Up, up, and up, we went with rocks for stair steps. I was behind him, my eyes riveted on his feet. Sometimes the path was no wider than a foot.  Michaela was behind me. Some of the rocks were too high for me to step over. I had to crawl over them. Clay just kept going, not looking back. As we climbed higher, it got hotter and hotter. We were carrying nothing – no water, no nothing. We needed our hands free. I began to feel lightheaded.  Please don’t let me faint, I prayed. That would be stupid. And embarrassing. Finally, I had to stop before I did faint. “I need to stop,” I said. I sat down on an enormous rock and dropped my head between my legs. Nobody said a word. Clay was above me, looking down. Michaela was below me. They waited. Thankfully, no one said a word. All of a sudden, I felt a huge presence in front of me. I lifted my head. It was Hanta Yo. He had walked up to me and come very, very close. I looked at the big, calm face in front of me. I had never seen anything so still in my life. It was as if he had come to lend me his strength. He did not move. Neither did I. His eyes were confident, reassuring. In a while, I felt myself returning to normal. I rubbed his head and said, “Thank you, Hanta.” Recovered, I turned to follow the feet again.

We reached the top and Shaman’s Cave, a place ancient and sacred, beautiful beyond description. We looked out of its circular windows at the land stretching to the horizon, red rocks in the distance.



Hanta and his companion Cheyenne, not even breathing deeply from the climb, settled down to rest as we three humans stood in awe, feeling the presence of the ancient ones who had also rested here, safe and hidden from harm.


The next year, I went walking alone with Clay, Hanta, and Cheyenne. This time, we visited the circles he had made in the desert, sitting without speaking, sometimes listening to his drum making the sound of a heartbeat, aware of the sacredness of the land. My days of climbing the big red rocks were over. And so were Hanta’s. I noticed that he was slower than usual. Several times we had to wait for him to catch up.

And then one day, back home in Maryland, I got an email from Clay, telling me that Hanta Yo had died. I cried.

Back in Sedona the next year, I was sitting with a meditation group.  In the quiet, I closed my eyes and waited for the stillness. And I saw him, the great white dog, walking ahead of me. Once he turned to look around, as if to say, “Come along. I will lead you.” I did, and felt safe.

Hanta is my spirit dog. A photograph of him stands on my desk. He is the big healer, the confident, silent one, the assurer, whose name, Hanta Yo, means Clear the Way.

Hanta Yo



Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It can be obtained at http://www.Amazon.com and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

Blessed Are They Who Mourn

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Letter From Sedona


“I was called here.” People who live here say that a lot. Someday I, too, will live here. I am waiting for the door to open. I am waiting for my house to sell. The timing is not up to me.

I don’t remember exactly when Sedona called me. I’d never heard of it; I knew nothing about it. All I know is that the thought came to me soon after Bill died, and it wouldn’t leave. When I followed the call and came, my daughter, Michaela, came with me. I was broken. I was paralyzed. The way you are when death takes the love of your life.  A friend of Michaela’s, hearing we were going to Sedona, told her about a shaman there who had helped her let go of a heartbreaking love.

Michaela made the appointment. He lived outside of Sedona, about half an hour into desert country. When we arrived, a little early, he wasn’t there. We waited in chairs outside his front door. Before long he appeared, walking down the driveway toward us, a beautiful, stunning creature with white hair in braids leading a huge white dog. He greeted us as if he had known us for a long time.

We sat on his floor. The dog, Hanta Yo, snuggled up against me as he talked. His eyes had a light in them, and he laughed from time to time as he tried in vain to explain what it was he was about to do.  “I will dream for you,” he said, finally. “Follow where I go. I do not know where that will be. Just follow the sound of my voice.” We laid on his floor, our heads touching, eyes closed. Soon the sound of soft music filled my ears. He had chosen a plaintive Irish melody, something Bill would have loved. How did he know to do that? He knelt by my side. He placed one hand above my heart chakra, the other above my solar plexus chakra. As he touched me, I entered a trance state. I heard him, it seemed, at a great distance, as he began to wail and weep. “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you,” he wailed, over and over again. Tears spilled from my closed eyes. I could hear Michaela crying. He had found my pain and was taking it into himself. When he released it at last, I had a vision of birds rising from a field as if startled. Up and up they flew, lifting my heart with them. I remember his voice saying that I would be filled with radiant light, and then he left me and went to Michaela. Her music was different, and he reached into her heart and found something I knew was troubling her. He left us alone to recover and become fully awake. A little wobbly, we said goodbye and returned to our hotel room, fully spent, where we both dropped into a deep sleep. When I woke, my grief had not entirely gone, but its great weight was no longer there and I felt as if I could live again. Since then, I have been back every year, and Michaela and I, once even my granddaughter and I, and sometimes I alone, walk with this shaman to holy places among the rocks, above the canyons, and sit in the sacred circles he has made there. I do not know for sure, but I believe more each day that Bill sent me here to be healed.

This is a magical place, a place held sacred by the ancient Native Americans.  They sanctified the area for special spiritual ceremonies as they experienced deep spirit here in the red rocks, where energy vortexes give forth a sacred high vibrational energy to the air. The sandstone in Sedona is covered in quartz that sparkles in the rocks. It is said that wherever you walk or sit you become part of the Universal Energy Force.

Next week, I will tell you a story of the big white dog, Hanta Yo.  I am here in Sedona for the month of November. The month of gratitude.


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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at http://www.Amazon.com and at the News Center in Easton, MD.