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Cocooning, Covid & Hungry Ghosts - Part One

The names I have used for the worldwide lockdown were A Time of Cocooning and The Great Cocooning, among others. At the time, I felt like the world had been wrapped in a blanket of caution and fear, stopping all forward momentum. Deservedly so, since there were so many unanswered questions in those early days.


The greatest turmoil came from the flurry of differing media reports. They were coming at us from all directions at the speed of light. The conflicting information was confusing, to say the least. Processing it all was more than one could handle most of the time.


The 2020 world pandemic was to be an historic event that those who experienced it firsthand could only guess at. Much like the 1916 Flu epidemic that took so many lives, this was unprecedented in our lifetime.


Four years later, I am just now realizing the full extent to which my life has changed. As I sort through the remains of my life, I am amazed by the subtle differences and the not-so-subtle ones. There is no "returning to normal" for me.


In 2019 I was steadily rebuilding my "brand" online and in person. After too many years of bare-bones living and toiling away in relative obscurity, it was a refreshing change to feel valued in my work and community.


I had been invited to share a wonderful space to work from in town. It was a place that felt good. It was affordable with a generous staff and clientele. A place where my art for sale hung on the walls and my talents were getting noticed. I was becoming busy again. It was an exciting time.


Then March 2020 swept it all away. The entire world was under lockdown. Everything that was not necessary for survival was closed down. 


The beautiful space I had been working from closed down. Like many others, I took this time to focus on the shifts I wanted to make in my work and life. Shifts that I didn't have the time for before now. Silver linings are important to find in times like these.


Despite the lockdown, a few brave and kind souls sought out my skills. I was and am fortunate to have those generous souls who have stuck by me. Besides my visionary artworks, I teach meditation techniques, facilitate a variety of ritual healing arts, and guide others in exploring the Creative Mysteries. As an artist and a ritual healing arts priestess and consultant, a steady income has been elusive, at best. 


Their financial investment was especially meaningful because my application for financial assistance for the self-employed was rejected. Twice. There was no government help coming to my rescue.


I will always remember and cherish those who supported me, investing their trust, time, and money when little support was available. Thank you to every sacred soul who was willing to trust me. Most of all, I am grateful for my husband's unconditional love and continued support, as someone who sees me and believes in me, especially when I do not.


I consider us lucky and blessed. We were eating regularly, had a roof over our heads, and had at least one income that had been spared. So many were suffering such great losses that I didn't even consider my own, minor as they were.


Throughout the previous 4 years and through all the mutations I had worked diligently to keep us healthy and strong. I cleaned constantly, disinfecting everything from the outside world. We took immune-building supplements and herbs, washed our hands, wore our masks where and when needed, and did all the other things my friends who worked in the medical profession recommended.


By the way, Thank You!, to those who work in the world, doing the hard jobs that sustain us all.


Here we were, post lockdown, post covid, which had not found its way into our home during the past 4 years. I thought we had escaped its wrath until this year.


My husband succumbed first. In mid-January, he unknowingly brought the contagion home from work. It was after a long eight hours on a busy Saturday. He arrived home tired but in good spirits. It went downhill after that.


By 9 pm his fever was raging. The fever stayed for days and he wasn't getting well. We eventually went to an Emergency Clinic which diagnosed him with a sinus infection on top of the virus. After 2 days of antibiotics, he was feeling like himself again.


I became ill a few days later.  My fever and headache showed up first. My husband and I took turns taking care of each other. I was slower to rebound. 


We were lucky and blessed yet again. It wasn't a severe strain. He was back at work after only 10 days off.  My return to health took a month from me. More if I count the catching up I'm currently doing.


We noticed symptoms others had spoken of, especially the fever, headache, and, mental confusion. My cognitive thinking skills were hit-and-miss. Mostly a miss.


This mental misfire stayed with me longer than any other symptom. I had read that covid was a "mind virus". Now I knew exactly what that meant.


My mind could not process information. I couldn't make a coherent decision, read text, or even speak full sentences at times. It was frightening. My mind's abilities are essential to my quality of life and my work.


The high fever brought hallucinations and nightmares. Fortunately, that was short-lived. But the nightmares had a message for me that lingered, nagging at me to pay attention.


The nightmares consisted of a "hungry ghost" trying to take over my body as I struggled to wake up. It was like a waking experience, not a dream, with a terrifying visceral reality. The sensations were remarkably physical and emotionally intense.


At times it is hard to catch my breath. It is rare now, but I still feel that something is trying to steal my breath over a month later. When triggered, I stop and take deep breaths. I remember to pause as the rise of panic from the nightmares is soothed with my loving attention.


I researched the "hungry ghosts" reference and found links to ancient beliefs from Asian cultures. Strange, since I'm not Asian. Then I found the connection.


During one of my meditation practices using an ancient ritual body posture journey technique, an Ancestor spirit came to tell me that my "hungry ghosts" nightmares were speaking to an addiction I hadn't been aware of until now.


I found a video talk by Dr. Gabor Mate' on the hungry ghosts of addiction and trauma. Viola! There was my breakthrough. The dots were connecting and a bigger picture was becoming clearer.


Part Two continues my unfolding journey through "Cocooning, Covid & Hungry Ghosts" as I emerge with profound revelations and enlightening insights as we stand at the gate into Spring Equinox's Time of Rebalance, Rebirth, and Renewal.


You can find me slowly coming back to life on my website: CShepardArts.com and on Instagram & Facebook under AncientEchoesStudios.


"Stargazer" artifact Image Source: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1993.165#


Dr. Gabor Mate's video link about "Hungry Ghosts": https://youtu.be/1Jjo0ep4jrI?si=r0dNkKeoQVxLKW-8

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