Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
November 2008
Volume 8 Number 11
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Muskoka Vibes
by Catherine Bastedo

Muskoka Vibes

by Catherine Bastedo
author of the Bird Vibes meditation deck

It is difficult to leave cottage country on such a perfect day – the water mirror-calm, reflecting crimson-leaved maple trees, tall white pines and a few birches, still green. No boats are on the lake this September day, and I hear only the sound of the gulls squawking. As the summer season draws to a close on Lake Muskoka, north of Toronto, I sadly prepare my hundred-year old cottage for the winter, removing window screens, putting on shutters, emptying water pipes, sorting bedding, and so on. I say good bye to my favourite places – sunset rock, the place where the sweet grass grows, the tangled undergrowth left by the tornado years ago, the bay where the driftwood piles up. I give Reiki to the special trees to help them through the winter: the old ash tree, home to the Broad-winged Hawks, my mother’s nut tree planted forty years ago and still only as high as the cabin, the new crab apple tree planted in her memory, and the little maple tree I am hoping the beavers will spare. I ask Source to watch over the cottage until the spring. As I sit in my special place, looking out at the lake, I reflect upon special moments, and a few of the lessons that nature brought me over the summer.

The Great Blue Heron reminded me that I need to think about my environment, and how I should protect my space from what does not nourish and sustain me. Like the heron, I need to take time alone and to accept that at times I must move on to find what is truly meaningful. I recall how the heron likes to stand silently, alone on the rocky outcrop, keeping its distance. When I approach, it flies off, wings making a soft, whooshing sound as they rise and fall, slowly, rhythmically. The heron seeks the solitude that I also crave, as a balm to my spirit and a means to find my inner peace. In my busy life, where I am followed electronically by family, friends, work, and marketers trying to sell me more and faster means of communications, I will recall the heron watching out…

The little Lincoln’s Sparrow outside my door made me think about my need to be grounded. It scratched in the earth, looking for something to eat – a tasty invertebrate or seed – and was completely focussed on this task. Three feet away, a chipmunk emerged from the old tree stump that is riddled with entrance and exit holes. Ever alert to danger, he stood on his hind legs, staring with big brown eyes, assessing the sparrow, and then seemed to decide that it did not present a threat. Both creatures seem so clearly part of their surroundings; their hues of browns and grays blending with the soil. And both find their food and build their nests on the ground. They remind me to feel the grass beneath my feet, the warm soil, and the rough bedrock. My soul may soar, my ideas may take flight, but still I must remain connected to the earth, grounded, if I am to make my dreams reality.

I carry home a braid of sweet grass to remind me that when I walk along my path, ready to accept what comes, when I trust the universe to bring me what is right for me at that moment, and let go of my will, then something as wonderful as that sacred scent of sweet grass will come, and the peace that emanates from it. On an earlier hot summer day, as the grasshoppers sung and the birds were silent, I walked over the flat bedrock, through the wild grass, the daisies and St John’s Wort, and the elusive scent I love rose from the land – the aromatic scent of sweet grass. It was impossible to recapture and made me think of the warm current I come across when swimming in the lake – one moment it’s there and then the current is pushed on by bitingly cold water. Although I found the sweet grass, reddish at the base, with rich green spikelets rising, and even though I lay down right amongst the grass, I couldn’t smell it. Such a delightful scent, brought out by the warm sun, was to be treasured when it came and enjoyed in the moment. And so I put my nose to the braid now, telling myself to trust life’s current to bring me what is in my highest good when I need it. A feeling of peace seems to flow through all my cells.

September, 2008
© Vision Reiki 2008


Catherine Bastedo, teaches Reiki and leads nature retreats. She is the author of the Bird Vibes meditation deck. Catherine holds a master’s degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University, is certified as a Reiki Master and Holographic Energy Master, and has been practicing Reiki since 1998. She welcomes all special stories of encounters with birds and asks that you send them to her at: cbastedo@visionreiki.com


Catherine Bastedo now teaches a Chakra Basics Class


Bird Vibes

Spiritual Insight Through Birds

Treat yourself to this new meditation deck!
• Receive positive, uplifting messages about current life situations and meditation paths
• Gain spiritual insight from the text on each card
• Learn more about the 8 chakras
• Discover interesting facts about 50 birds of North America
• Enjoy the 54 beautiful and unique paintings of birds and the four seasons


Bird Vibes is based on 54 birds that may be seen in various parts of North America, grouped by eight chakras according to the bird's colour, habitat or other characteristics.Each card shows a different bird through paintings commissioned from Ottawa nature painter, Heather Bale. Use this deck to gain insight into current life situations, to connect with Nature, and the Universal Life Energy around us and within us.


“Bird Vibes has become my deck of choice with my
readings lately and I find people are so empowered by them. Thanks for
your double creativity!”

Julie Desmarais, Holographic Energy Master, Reiki Master Teacher Trainer

Order Bird Vibes in our Bookshop



new Chakra Basics Class
taught by Mentor: Catherine Bastedo

This class provides you with a basic knowledge of 7 chakras, from Crown to Root; facilitates your connection to your chakras and understanding of your chakras’ health; provides suggestions for ways of chakra clearing.

This class will help you learn the location of your seven major chakras and their attributes, as well as the state of health of your own chakras and how they affect your emotional and physical health. You will learn how to sense your chakras, connect with them and techniques for clearing them, through quick exercises and assignments. Since this is a “Basics” class, it emphasizes the attributes of the chakras, and ideas for clearing them and aligning them, without going into specialized therapies such as crystals or aromatherapy.

Price: $49.95

Sign up for this Class

About the Mentor:  Catherine Bastedo teaches Usui-Holographic Reiki at all levels, facilitates healing through energy sessions, and holds spiritual nature workshops and retreats. She is the author of Bird Vibes, a meditation deck based on the chakras and our spiritual connections to birds.  This deck helps to understand daily life situations and deepen our connection with the universal energy in us and around us.  Catherine is a Reiki Master and Holographic Energy Master, and has a M.A. in Canadian Studies (Carleton University). 

Catherine held leadership roles as an executive in the Canadian Public Service and then as the Executive Director of the International Council for Canadian Studies for a number of years. Catherine Bastedo uses archetypes, myth and nature totems to help people reduce stress, release and transmute old patterns, restore balance on the physical, mental, and emotional levels and develop new ways of looking at life and the patterns in their lives.  Her clients appreciate the wisdom, experience and love of nature she brings to her work.



I must add a huge thank you as well-I did get to hear you speak in Denver about 1 1/2 years ago and you helped me change my healing and my body and I am sooo very grateful!

Much Love and Thanks,





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