“Of Stars and Clay” | Chapter 3

< Read Chapter 1 

The sunset glowed through the virgin forest surrounding the Bear Claw First Nation Reservation in Alberta, Canada. The tribe members lounged around a bonfire while the children entertained themselves by burning sticks. Some of the men stood outside the circle drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

John, a spirited young man with long hair, carried an armload of logs to the fire. He shooed away the children before placing the wood on top of the burning embers. Sparks shot into the air. He used a stick to prod the logs until the flames grew bolder, dazzling the little ones who drew closer once more.

A boy, Hoki, stepped away from the blaze, going over to Tom Running Deer, a headstrong man in his mid-thirties who sat beside his equally headstrong wife, Cecile Two Feathers. The boy tugged on Tom’s t-shirt, which had the words “The Original Founding Fathers” printed above an illustration of four Native American chiefs.

The man set down his beer. “Yes?”

“Uncle, tell us a story,” Hoki requested, his big brown eyes hopeful.

Tom shook his head. “No, not me. Grandmother Hausis is the storyteller.”

An old woman stopped chatting with the woman beside her, and called out, “What!? Did I hear my name?”

Tom explained, talking louder than normal, “Grandmother! Hoki wants a story! Would you do it!?”

When the other children heard the request, they aptly followed the conversation. They loved to listen to the stories.

“What does he want to hear?” she asked.

Hoki pointed at the sky. “Tell me about those.”

Everyone gazed up at the hazy opalescent plane trails that marred the darkening sky, tinged with orange as the sun left for the day.

“Those things?” The old woman shook her head. She knew the tribe had no ancient stories of this modern-day phenomenon. “Nay, why don’t you do it, Tommy?”

Hoki and the other kids refocused their eager energy on to Tom.

Cecile patted her husband on the back, smiling. “Yeah, let’s hear it, big guy.”

He cleared his throat while racking his brain. “Ah…give me a minute.”

The children settled in the dirt in front of him.

Tom tried to remain optimistic for the young ones, but, deep inside, he was somber. He had done his best to ignore the plane trails all day long because their presence meant the Earth Sentinels’ agreement with the world’s governments had been violated, and that knowledge was too bitter of a pill to swallow after five years of good medicine.

The fire sizzled and snapped. Everyone grew quiet, waiting for the story to begin.

Tom cleared his throat. “There are prophecies from another tribe that speak of the end of days. One says, ‘near the Time of Purification, there will be spider webs spun in the sky.’”

The children’s eyes grew big.

A girl pointed at the misty plane trails, asking with a slight lisp because her front baby teeth were missing, “But…how’d they get there?”

Tom was at a loss for words. He didn’t want to ruin the mood of the gathering by explaining, in the past, the government had sprayed chemicals into the atmosphere for unverified reasons. Geo-engineering, such as cloud seeding, was one possibility. He had also read the sprays might contain particles that reflect the sun to counteract global warming. However, because of the secrecy, he suspected something more sinister was afoot. Not wanting to disappoint them, he improvised, “Once upon a time, there was a giant spider that spun webs to keep the stars from floating away.”

His opening line captivated the children. Some of the adults chuckled because they knew he was crafting the tale from scratch.

“Whenever a strand was weak, the spider would climb up to fix it, keeping every star in place. And, because of her efforts, everything was good and balanced. But one night, the spider slept too long, and one of the strings broke, letting a star hurl through space.” Tom pretended to fling a star.

The children envisioned it flying away, lost in the cosmos.

“The hole needed to be filled, so the Giant Spider went after it, hoping to catch the star and bring it back.” Tom moved his fingers like a spider scurrying through space. “But while she was gone, another spider snuck in through the hole.

“Now this new spider was not like the other one. It thought only of itself, and weaved a web across the hole to keep the Giant Spider from returning. And that—” Tom pointed at the plane trails in the sky, “is the Sneaky Spider’s web.”

Hoki asked, “How will the Giant Spider get back?”

“When she returns with the missing star, its heat will burn up the Sneaky Spider and its sticky web. And after the star is in place, the world will become balanced once more.”

“Is the Giant Spider coming back soon?”

“I hope so.”

***

A steady downpour hit the roof of the shack where Tom and Cecile slept. The clock on the nightstand read 7:04 a.m. The dreamcatcher hanging on the wall above the bed served as the headboard. The sound of rain prodded Cecile awake. She immediately noticed the aches in her body and throbbing head. She wondered how a sickness could come on so quickly. She looked over at her husband. His face was flushed. Concerned, she touched his forehead with the back of her hand. Feverish.

Tom opened his bloodshot eyes.

Cecile gasped. “Tom! Your eyes—” She didn’t finish her sentence. A sudden urge to vomit came over her.

She tossed the covers off herself, rushing out of the bedroom, past the frayed green chair in the living room sitting under the rain-spattered window. By the time she made it to the bathroom threshold, she was lightheaded and forced to hold onto the doorframe to steady herself. What is wrong with me? She reached for the sink counter, making her way to the toilet. She sunk to her knees, placing her head over the bowl, throwing up.

Tom unsteadily entered the bathroom to check on her. “You okay?”

She shook her head.

“Me, neither. Damn, I feel—” He unexpectedly gagged. He motioned for Cecile to move out of the way. She sat back as Tom kneeled over the bowl, every muscle in his body contracting as he retched. Dizzy, he fell to the vinyl floor, lying face down and moaning.

“Tom!” She pulled on his shoulder, attempting to turn him over, but his moans echoed through her mind.

The room spun.

Cecile became disoriented.

Everything went black.

***

The makeshift infirmary in the tribe’s community center was divided in half by a waist-high barrier created out of blankets and sheets draped over chairs spaced evenly apart. The temporary wall offered a slice of privacy for the sick people lying on the floor. Men were on one side and women on the other of the unlit room. Most of them slept. A few moaned because of their aches and pain. All had blotches that resembled bruises covering their bodies.

Adeelah, a junior in the reservation’s high school, walked around the room to see who needed her assistance while holding a pitcher of water in one hand and a few empty mugs in the other. The girl looked much healthier than her older “patients”. The blotches on her skin were almost indiscernible.

She noticed Cecile was awake for the first time, and sidestepped the others to check on her. She kneeled beside Cecile, setting her pitcher down to check her forehead, saying, “You’re better, but you should drink something.” Adeelah poured water into a mug, holding it against the woman’s dry lips, telling her, “Just so you know, Tom’s here and he’s doing fine. He’s on the other side.”

Cecile pulled her mouth away from the mug. “Can I see him?” She tried to get up, but became woozy.

Adeelah helped her to lie back down. “You should rest. Okay? Don’t worry, you’ll both be fine.”

With her bloodshot eyes, Cecile examined Adeelah’s face, trying to detect if the temporary nurse was lying, but she found it too hard to focus. She was simply too tired and weak. Her eyelids drooped.

Adeelah set the half-empty mug next to the sick woman’s pillow. “Let me know if you need anything else,” she said, then walked away. There were others that needed her help.

Left alone, Cecile groggily noticed the teenagers were the only ones taking care of the others. She wondered, Where’s Grandmother Hausis? The elders? The children? But she didn’t have the strength to ask, and maybe didn’t want to know.

Cecile fell asleep, dreaming she was walking down a red road. The sides were lined with arching trees dotted with pink blossoms. Crows flew overhead. The fiery ball in the sky was touching the horizon. Each of her footsteps became heavier than the last, and just when she thought she couldn’t go any farther, a stag stepped out from behind the trees, standing in the middle of the road. The sunset silhouetted its strong form and magnificent set of antlers.

The totem animal had a message for her. “This will be your most difficult lesson, but you will find the strength, wisdom and courage to do that which must be done.”

The stag became waves of light, swirling around Cecile, joining with her spirit before the woman drifted deeper into her dreams.

< Read Chapter 1  | < Read Chapter 2 


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“Of Stars and Clay” | Chapter 2

< Read Chapter 1 

High in the misty foothills of the Ōu Mountains in Japan, built on the grounds of an ancient temple, stood a one-room curator’s house that had been crafted out of stones excavated from the mountainside. A 200-year-old rose bush clung to its southern wall, dotting the stonework with thorny canes and yellow blossoms.

Inside the dwelling, the morning sunlight peeked through a gap in the faded cotton curtains, the warm rays falling over the futon where a man and woman lay together. The man, a Native American named Billy White Smoke, had made his living by working construction and odd jobs back in the States until he ventured across the ocean to find the woman beside him. Her name was Haruto. She was an Earth Sentinel, like Billy, but also a Miko like her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before her—a tradition dating back thousands of years to when female shamans mingled with Japan’s ruling class, acting as healers, mediums and ritual dancers. Her flowing black hair, tinged with a few grays, was sprawled across the pillow. Billy held her close, kissing her forehead before rubbing her pregnant belly with his calloused hand.

Haruto wistfully said, “I wish this moment could last forever.”

His deep voice tenderly responded, “But then the baby would never come.”

“True.”

“Still think it’s a girl?”

She nodded.

“We’ll have to think of a name for her. Maybe your mother’s?”

“Maybe.”

Billy hesitated, then said, “I was thinking, before the baby comes, we could get married.” He waited for her response.

Haruto frowned. “We’ve talked about this before.”

He turned away, lying on his back, clasping his hands behind his head, trying to remain calm.

She said, “We are in love and have a baby on the way. I don’t understand why that’s not enough for you.” 

Billy answered louder than he intended, “Because I’ve traveled around the world to be with you!” He immediately regretted raising his voice. “I just thought you’d meet me halfway.”

“You know I want to be with you forever, but—”

“But what?”

“I just thought that you, of all people, would appreciate not conforming to society’s expectations. To its patriarchal controls—”

“God knows, no man would ever control you.”

Haruto shrugged. There was some truth to his words. “We can talk later, but, right now, I have to get ready for an appointment.”

Billy wasn’t happy at where the conversation ended, but he was old enough to know you have to pick your battles, so he said, “Fine, I’ll walk with you.” He flung the duvet off himself, getting out of bed to rifle through his clothes piled on top of the dresser, putting on a pair of work jeans and a black t-shirt. He snatched his black-brimmed hat decorated with silver conchos and turquoise from a peg on the wall, placing it on his head, adjusting it to make sure the tilt was just right.

Haruto grabbed her scarlet-colored silk pants off the chair in the corner, pulling them on, wrapping the ties around her protruding stomach. She looked forward to this small act every morning. It helped her to measure the baby’s growth as the pant ties seemed to become shorter and shorter with each passing day. She let the white silk blouse fall over her head, sliding her arms through the draping sleeves, leaving the hem untucked so it would fit over her rounded belly.

Ready to face the world, the couple stepped out of the house. They strolled along one of the stone paths that meandered through the meditation garden filled with bonsai, cherry, apple and pear trees; lavender; wisteria; and cultivated roses.

As they walked, Billy admired the view until he noticed several overhead planes leaving iridescent trails in the sky, hatch-marking the atmosphere. He stopped walking, and cursed, “God, damn it! I thought we were done with that shit!”

Startled, Haruto glanced back at him, then followed his gaze, solemnly noting the unusual plane trails. “Was it all for nothing?” she questioned.

“Maybe. Maybe it was a fool’s journey to even try.”

Discouraged, she let out a deep sigh before offering Billy the only advice she could think of, “Just let it go…”

He gave her a reluctant smile.

Haruto stretched out her hand, opening Billy’s clenched fist, slipping her fingers between his, leading him through the garden toward the temple. “Everything looks wonderful,” she complimented him, hoping to brighten his mood.

“Thanks. It’s coming along.” Billy was being modest. He had transformed the neglected garden into a thing of beauty by reinvigorating the trees, resetting the stone paths, and patching the numerous steps that had become hazardous. His favorite improvement was the addition of the medicinal herbs planted throughout the grounds, which introduced an element of untamed wildness and balanced the vibrational qualities of the landscape.

They moved toward the ancient temple at the forefront of the property. The three-story structure sat on top of a foothill overlooking the road below. It had originally been built for Buddhist monks, who had abandoned the place due to a lack of parishioners and dwindling financial support. Its distinct gabled roof was a combination of Chinese and Japanese architectural styles, which, at one time, were used exclusively for those in power. 

The couple stopped at the rear of the temple. Here, steps led to an expansive landing that supported a wooden pergola holding an enormous bell—seldom rung these days.

Haruto faced Billy. “See you tonight,” she said, standing on her tiptoes to give him a quick peck on the lips.

Two Mikos, who happened to be strolling along a nearby path, gave them disapproving glances.

Most of the women here had not adapted to Billy residing on the grounds, despite the passing years. Men traditionally weren’t allowed to live with Mikos. But in Billy’s case an exception had been made, allowing him to dwell in the curator’s house in exchange for his gardening and maintenance services. This exception spoke of Haruto’s status—one that had risen considerably after her participation in the Earth Sentinels’ group.

Billy ignored the other women’s disparaging looks, tipping his hat to Haruto. “See you tonight.”

She went inside the temple, passing through the foyer and bypassing the stone staircase that led to the upper floors. Haruto entered the common area where a few Mikos mingled with the city dwellers, who wore workout clothes and held rolled mats while they waited for the yoga class to begin in the Great Hall. A plastic banner with the words “Sign Up for Yoga Classes” hung above the fireplace mantle, but it seemed out of place in this age-old building. On a narrow table, pressed against the wall, were jars of honey for sale.

“Haruto!” a young Miko called out, gracefully moving toward her. “A priest is here. Should I send him to you?”

“Yes, please.” Haruto always enjoyed a visit from the local Geki—the male version of their sect.

But her anticipation was squashed when a young Catholic priest strolled around the corner. The Japanese man wore the traditional black robe and white collar, and held a Bible in his hand. The gold crucifix hanging from his neck was centered over his heart. His eyes glanced at Haruto’s pregnant belly. If he held any judgments, he concealed them well.

The priest bowed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Haruto hid her displeasure at what she considered to be an intrusion, mostly because she assumed he was here to convert her as so many others had tried before. She politely bowed. “The pleasure is mine. How may I help you?” Being polite was the Japanese, and Miko, way.

“I wish to introduce myself. I’m Father Chong from Saint Agatha Lin’s church located downtown. I’m reaching out to the community, and would like to personally invite you and the others to attend our mass on Sundays.”

“Oh…” slipped off Haruto’s tongue before she caught herself, and tactfully responded, “I’m flattered you came all this way, but you see, I’m quite content with my path.”

“I do see, and your dedication is commendable, however, sometimes people are looking for…something else.”

Haruto was offended by his implication that her path was somehow inferior to his, but she chose to overlook it, saying, “I am familiar with Catholicism. I, like the others here, have studied many different religions and beliefs. It helps us to better understand those who come to us for spiritual guidance and healing, so I’m quite sure your religion is not for me.”

“Yes, I also am familiar with the Miko tradition,” countered Father Chong who, after glancing at her bulging stomach, mentioned, “but I wasn’t aware Mikos were allowed to marry.” His words were meant to demonstrate his knowledge of their traditions, not insult her.

Because Haruto believed the priest had inquired sincerely, she answered, “We are allowed to marry, but, if we do so, our status changes to that of priestess.”

“Oh…so you’re a priestess?”

“No, I’m not married.”

The priest was not sure how to respond.

To fill the awkward silence, Haruto said, “I have an upcoming appointment I need to prepare for. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Well, again, I welcome you, or any of the others here, to attend our mass, or visit, or call me personally if you have any questions regarding our faith.” He opened the cover to the Bible he carried. “If you change your mind, here’s our church address…” He pointed to the first interior page, then offered her the book. “Please take this. It’s my gift to you. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to return again, and perhaps catch you at a better time.”

Haruto graciously accepted the Bible. “Thank you.” She moved toward the entrance, encouraging him to walk beside her. As they passed by the table displaying the honey, she picked up a jar, handing it to him. “My gift to you.” This token offering allowed her to feel she had repaid Father Chong for the Bible, and thereby released herself from all obligations to meet with him again.

However, her action gave the priest a very different perception. He thought perhaps she was having a change of heart, and was pleased by the parting gift. “Thank you. Honey is one of my favorite treats.” He had touched on a topic they could both agree on.

She responded, “One of our Mikos loves taking care of the bees. And the taste is quite delicious, mostly because the pollen comes from our garden. There are roses and jasmine, cherry blossoms, lavender and honeysuckle.”

Father Chong salivated at the thought of eating the artisan honey later. “Nothing better than fine honey. Thank you, again, um…I don’t believe I got your name.”

“It’s Haruto.” She politely bowed.

***

Later that evening, dark storm clouds gathered in the sky. The wind howled through the trees, forcing the limbs to dance manically.

Haruto and Billy were having dinner inside the curator’s house. They sat at the small table next to the window whose handcrafted glass panes had been rippled by time. Candles lit the room.

She quietly chewed her food.

He wondered if she was still upset about their disagreement from earlier that morning. “Is something wrong?”

Haruto wiped her mouth. “I had a visitor today. A Catholic priest.”

A forlorn look came over Billy’s face. He set down his fork. “Really? What did he want?”

“To save me.” She stabbed at her food. “I know he meant well, but it was…umm…”

“Insulting?”

“Yes. Insulting.”

Billy solemnly said, “The white man came and killed our people, took our land, then took our children—beating them with one hand while holding a Bible in the other, trying to make them believe in his loving God. I have no taste for their medicine.”

“But he’s Japanese.”

Billy shrugged. “Same Bible.”

A gust of wind rattled the window. The candles on the table flickered.

Outside, the mounting storm tore leaves and twigs from their branches, hurling them through the air.

A barn owl crash-landed on the windowsill. Its golden-rufous breast thumped against the glass.

Haruto gasped, startled by the bird’s sudden appearance.

Unharmed, the owl righted itself, struggling to maintain its perch as the wind ruffled its plumage. The bird of prey focused its eyes on Haruto, who felt honored. Owls were considered bearers of good luck in Japan.

Billy did not have the same reaction. In his Native American culture, an owl was an omen of an impending death or tragedy. He felt a strong desire to stand between his lover and the night hunter’s line of sight, even as he knew he couldn’t save her from the harbinger’s premonition.

The downpour pelted the bird as it stared at Haruto through the rain-streaked window. Its strange unrelenting gaze caused an unexpected fear to arise within her.

Lightning ripped through the turbulent sky. Thunder exploded.

The barn owl screeched, then flew away, disappearing into the ominous darkness, leaving the man and woman with a sense of dread they couldn’t quite name.


< Read Chapter 1  |  Read Chapter 3 >


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Quotables

Some notable quotes from books by Elizabeth M. Herrera.

 

SSS Mems3

“Unique and captivating, we need only to listen in order to learn her subtle, yet powerful spiritual message.” —Awareness Magazine | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems4

“Valuable glimpses into the deep and universal spiritual roots of all healing processes.” — HAL ZINA BENNETT, Ph.D., Bestselling Author of Over 30 Books | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems2

“Facilitates understanding about shamanism and alternative spiritual paths.” — SANDRA INGERMAN, World-renowned Shamanic Teacher and Author | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems

“Take this journey into the world of the Shaman and the miraculous power of love.” — LOUIS LaGRAND, Ph.D. | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

ES Mems

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems3

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems2

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems5

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems4

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems7

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems6

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems8

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems10

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems9

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems13

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems12

“This compelling adventure shows that our struggles around the world are connected and that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the better.” — Dr. Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance.org and Co-chair of the Green Party| http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems11

“This compelling adventure shows that our struggles around the world are connected and that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the better.” — Dr. Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance.org and Co-chair of the Green Party| http://bit.ly/ES-TSC | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems14

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

 

A Mother’s Love is Forever – Excerpt from “Shaman Stone Soup”

Shaman Stone Soup Cover-2017.indd“There are no accidents…there is only some purpose that we haven’t yet understood.” Deepak Chopra

I was cleaning up after a workshop that I had hosted. The sangria punch had been a hit, and I was putting the glasses in the sink when the phone rang.

I walked over to the phone, but I didn’t recognize the area code and let it ring. A minute later, the phone beeped with a voice message. It was my brother asking me to call him back. Since he seldom called me, much less at 10:15 p.m., I knew it would be bad news.

I dialed the number on the caller I.D. A woman answered. I asked to speak to my brother. A moment later he answered in a wavering voice that caused my heart to sink. “Mom’s been in an accident.” He paused as he gathered himself. “It was really bad…she didn’t make it.”

How do you comprehend news that doesn’t make sense? I had talked with my mother the day before, and she spoke of her plans when she retired in a few months. She recently had begun taking violin lessons and was looking forward to playing a duet with my son when we came home for Thanksgiving. She was taking acting classes and had performed in a play over the summer. When I mentioned I would be sending her the first draft of this book later that day, she squealed with delight and said she was looking forward to reading it. But now she was gone. I began to cry and after waiting a moment, my brother continued, “She was riding a bicycle when a car hit her. The officer at the scene said she was killed instantly.”

This was a bad dream! My mother was so healthy that everyone believed she would outlive us all. The summer before she had built a block retaining wall in her garden by hauling blocks in a wheelbarrow and stacking them herself. Her efforts were rewarded when her garden was selected to be in the town’s home garden tour.

Now all of our lives had been altered. With tears in my eyes, I told my brother I would be there the next day and hung up the phone.

I stood in the kitchen staring through the window into the night. Never had I felt so alone. I delayed walking up the stairs to tell my husband. Somehow by not repeating it, she was still alive. Finally I proceeded to our bedroom. I stood over him as he slept, tempted to let him sleep through the night, but I couldn’t keep it inside any longer. I tugged on his arm until he woke up.

He turned his head and looked at me, asking, “What’s wrong?”

“My mom died.”

“What!?”

“She was riding a bike and was hit by a car.”

I turned and walked toward the phone in my office to call my sister. She answered after a few rings.

“Sharon? Are you home?”

“Yeah, why? Is something wrong?”

I told her of mom’s passing. She began to wail and scream. I waited until she finally calmed down, telling her I would see her tomorrow.

My husband and I decided to drive through the night. We picked up our kids, who were each spending the night with a friend, packed our clothes, loaded the dogs and cat in the van, and started toward Michigan after midnight.

I sobbed continuously as we drove through the night. We stopped for two hours and slept in a parking lot—checking into a hotel would have wasted too much precious time. I needed to be with my family as soon as possible.

As we drove there was a tightness in my chest that was so intense I could barely breathe. I truly did not know that grief could cause such severe physical pain.

We arrived in the afternoon, in time to eat dinner with the immediate family at my brother’s home. Afterward, we felt compelled to visit our mother’s house and choose what she would wear for the funeral. On the way to her house, we passed the accident scene. My brother slowed down, asking if I wanted to see it. I felt my chest tighten even more, but said, “Yes.”

Fluorescent orange, spray-painted marks covered the road and adjacent grassy slope. Each one marked relevant evidence of the collision…a piece of a headlight here and a side-view mirror there. A circle painted around a gouge in the asphalt pavement indicated the point of impact. My brother explained the markings and finally pointed to the spot on the grassy slope where our mother had landed after being thrown from the impact. Orange letters indicated the position of her head, body and legs. How do you deal with something like this?

I crouched down and touched the grass. Anger burst forth and I thought, Why did you leave me, mom!?

Monday morning was a surreal dream of going to a funeral home to choose our mother’s casket and plan her funeral. I kept thinking I would wake up soon and that somehow, if we all held hands and clicked our heels, things would return to normal. But the nightmare continued.

Tuesday morning, I sat on the guest bed in my in-laws’ attic watching the sun filter through a window, wondering why I could feel my mother’s love surrounding me like an energetic blanket radiating to the center of my soul. Her presence offered a complete immersion of love and comfort. Yet this abundance of love was strange, because when my mother was alive, I would occasionally question if she loved me at all.

I thought to myself, Why do I know that my mother loves me now without a doubt when I wasn’t sure when she was alive?

A small voice came to me and whispered, “It’s a gift.”

I cried. It was a gift to feel my mother’s love so perfectly. It was an indescribable comfort.

After I showered and ate lunch with my husband, we went to my mother’s workplace to meet with the HR director at the state department where my mother had worked for 32 years. My sister met us there.

The HR director offered her sympathies and said that our mother’s passing had a huge impact on the entire department. The State of Michigan had just offered a retirement buyout the previous week, which our mother and many others had accepted. Most set their retirement date for the end of the year. However, the HR director said two people had come into her office that morning to change their dates and retire immediately—life was too short!

She then got to the business at hand. We were told that our mother’s accounts would be divided equally among her children, then the HR director mentioned that the pension would be given solely to my sister. Immediately I resented that my sister was given the entire pension, but I didn’t want to feel this way!

After the meeting, we were taken to our mother’s cubicle to clean it out. I was emotionally distant from my sister as we emptied the drawers. I kept battling the resentment that stabbed at me by repeatedly asking the Spirit to take this thought from me.

Suddenly my mother’s spirit descended over me. Her presence completely surrounded me and her vision became mine. Through her eyes, the whole world glowed with love while beams of light radiated from my sister. My mother’s memories filled my consciousness, and I could see my sister as the little girl, the teenager, and the young woman she had raised. My mother saw her as an innocent daughter, who would be taken care of with the pension she had inherited. I felt the comfort that it gave my mother and the love she had for my sister. Immediately all resentment left me. I knew my mother had given the pension out of love, and as I experienced that love, it became impossible for me to feel anything else.

Then my mother was gone.

I realized that my mother had sent me two beautiful gifts after her passing. First, she comforted me with the knowledge of her undying love, then she immersed her spirit with mine, and, for a brief moment, I saw my sister through her vision of all-encompassing love, which healed my heart.

Love is perfect and never dies. My mother reminded me of this basic truth. 

Message from the Spirit

Your mother’s love came when you needed it most. She thought only of her love for her children, family and friends. She highly regarded her life, accomplishments, and even things left undone.

Things left undone seem to be the hardest part of letting go…yet those were the lessons that did not need to be learned. Look at those as accomplishments.

“Of Stars and Clay”

Earth Sentinels II ebook cover-v2

“Elizabeth M. Herrera has created an amazing work — one that should be in the hands of every human on Earth who cares about this planet.” — Dr. Stewart A. Swerdlow, Grand Prior of New Templar Order

An engineered virus kills most of mankind. Those who survive are controlled from behind the scenes by a dark force that has waited millenniums for global domination. Gone are our scientists, leaders, military commanders, teachers, engineers, parents and children—the only ones left standing are those useful to the agenda.

To maintain order, the United Nations organization dutifully steps in, but its leaders are not what they appear to be. The trusted UN uniform causes each country’s army to hand over its leash. All of the world’s soldiers follow the commands of the New World Order without a single shot being fired. The devious plan unfolds perfectly—with one exception.

The virus brings about an unexpected DNA mutation among a handful of Earth Sentinels, causing them to develop supernatural abilities. Those impacted are: Zachary Thompson, a young American adapting to the Amazon Jungle alongside his indigenous wife and children; Haruto, a Miko in Japan, who lives with her lover, Billy White Smoke; and Tom Running Deer and Cecile Two Feathers, rebellious Native Americans who reside on a reservation in Canada. While their transformative changes unfold, Bechard the fallen angel tries to regroup his fellow Earth Sentinels so they can save mankind.

During their perilous mission, the Earth Sentinels uncover secrets about mankind’s origins, ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, the Illuminati, and the lies that have been woven throughout religion and history.


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Elizabeth M. Herrera’s Books At-a-Glance

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Without us, they have no power.

An engineered virus kills most of mankind. Those who survive are controlled from behind the scenes by a dark force that has waited millenniums for global domination. Gone are our scientists, leaders, military commanders, teachers, engineers, parents and children—the only ones left standing are those useful to the agenda.

To maintain order, the United Nations organization dutifully steps in, but its leaders are not what they appear to be. The trusted UN uniform causes each country’s army to hand over its leash. All of the world’s soldiers follow the commands of the New World Order without a single shot being fired. The devious plan unfolds perfectly—with one exception.

The virus brings about an unexpected DNA mutation among a handful of Earth Sentinels, causing them to develop supernatural abilities. Those impacted are: Zachary Thompson, a young American adapting to the Amazon Jungle alongside his indigenous wife and children; Haruto, a Miko in Japan, who lives with her lover, Billy White Smoke; and Tom Running Deer and Cecile Two Feathers, rebellious Native Americans who reside on a reservation in Canada. While their transformative changes unfold, Bechard the fallen angel tries to regroup his fellow Earth Sentinels so they can save mankind.

During their perilous mission, the Earth Sentinels uncover secrets about mankind’s origins, ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, the illuminati, and the lies that have been woven throughout religion and history.

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Dreams of Heaven

Winner of the Readers’ Favorite Award

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Sometimes Our Greatest Tragedies Offer Our Greatest Lessons

Savannah Watkins is haunted by a dream of losing her family in a tragic car accident, which causes her to vacillate between two lives—before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears to offer her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach while answering some of life’s toughest questions.

Dreams of Heaven (2017) takes you on a fantastical journey with Jesus, who leads the way through an alternate interpretation of his ancient teachings and applies them to one of our worst nightmares—being separate from the ones we love.

Genre: Fiction, Spirituality


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The Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com

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“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author

Intriguing blue doors and ethereal mists beckon people who are devastated by mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference, such as Zachary, a young man whose family’s organic farm is ruined by fracking; and Haruto, a Miko living in Fukushima, Japan, where the nuclear meltdown is raging out of control; Mahakanta, a cotton farmer in India, who used GMO seeds with devastating results; Amazonian tribe members, Conchita and her father, Pahtia, who are fighting against the intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and the Bear Claw First Nation Tribe that is dealing with an unstoppable oil spill, which is ruining their traditional hunting grounds. After stepping into another dimension, they find themselves face to face with the mastermind Bechard, a fallen angel and the Master of the Elements.

Together, they use supernatural powers to grab the world’s attention, demanding that the world’s leaders implement the changes…or else. But as the events unfold and governments retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives, fight for their lives and listen to their hearts.

Genre: Visionary Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy (2014)

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“Unique and captivating, we need only to listen in order to learn her subtle, yet powerful spiritual message.” —Awareness Magazine

What if you didn’t believe in God and miracles started to occur?

Shaman Stone Soup (2010) takes you on the journey of an atheist who discovers Native American spirituality and becomes a healer for friends, family and clients. The author shares her personal stories that demonstrate how spirit guides, angels and enlightened beings can answer calls for help through miracles. You will read about the matronly ghost who overstayed her welcome, the spirits of ancient wise men who offered advice and a miraculous cure from cancer for a friend, the man who got out of his wheelchair to go hunting and fishing, a vivid dream and later chance meeting of a pastor who needed guidance, the metamorphosis of a schizophrenic, the loving afterlife contact from her mother who died unexpectedly, and many other stories.

Read Excerpt: Gas Station Dreams

Read Excerpt: The Spirits of Past, Present and Future

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Origin Lies – Poem

Paranormal levitation

Our creators were alien geneticists,

Claiming to be gods.

We were made to be slaves,

Formed out of stars and clay,

Abused offspring who blindly obeyed,

Generation after generation,

Until the gods fought, and then left,

Leaving us mired with the fallen ones and serpents,

Who took their place.

But their numbers dwindled,

Under the harsh sun and earth’s vibration.

So they fled beneath the surface,

Scraping out an existence,

Using humans for subsistence,

Controlling the minds of the masses,

Controlling the ruling classes.

They still exist, but,

Now the battle has begun anew,

As the serpent fights for supremacy,

Manipulating our genes,

Altering the vessel to suit their needs,

Taking the final step,

For total domination.


This poem is based on the novel “Of Stars and Clay”.