I have a love/disgust thing with ants. They're so cute, and I really do love them, until I look at them up close (space creatures! ugh!). As a tiny kid I loved picking up the little critters and putting them on my arm to watch them crawl, except the ants kept disappointing me, and not crawling, because I did not yet have a delicate, ant-appropriate touch, and I squished 'em while picking them up.

As an adult, I'm not interested in small critters crawling up my arm. My live-and-let-live attitude (or, more accurately, "stay out of my space so I won't have to kill you attitude") was not effective during ant invasions. Telling ants to get the heck out of my home so we won't have to kill them didn't work, either. Red-pepper-in-their-path made interesting patterns around the house, but the ants simply walked around them. Finally, allowing my husband to put out poison worked in the short term for getting rid of the ants, but it made me unhappy.

I still had not heard of Machaelle or Perelandra when the book Kinship with All Life, by J. Alien Boone came into my hands. That book taught me that creatures don't hear messages of hate and war; it's just not communication if it's done with anger and revulsion. With some sustained effort on my part, I was able to get into the love-ants state of mind, ask them to leave, and they left! After several successful experiments, I told my husband what I was doing. Then I bravely tried mentioning this to neighbors, who were very polite and didn't tell me I was out of my mind. Still and all, much as I do like ants, I really don't like having to get into that love-space to communicate with them. I prefer to love them from a distance. But I didn't know anything else that would work. Each time the ants appeared, I opened myself to feeling the love-of-ants and asked them to leave. It worked, but it took longer than I wanted, and I wished they could get the message once and for all.

Along came Perelandra into my life, and I found Machaelle's writings and the tremendous comfort of reading about somebody who does much, much wilder things than talking to ants. I figured that she held the key to my communicating with ants quickly, precisely and with more lasting effect. The next time a trail of ants visited I opened a coning with the Deva of Ants, Pan, the appropriate members of the White Brotherhood, and my higher self. I talked to the coning about not wanting ants in the house. Within a day and a half, they were gone. They stayed away for a long time, but eventually ants appeared in the studio. I opened a coning and got the feeling to explain that the studio, though a separate building, still counts as my house, and asked would they please leave. A thought came to me that I should ask if there's anything the ants need, and I kinesiology-tested "yes." I got the thought that they might need more water outside. I tested for which area outside, closed the coning, went outside and watered, and the next day the ants were not in the studio.

During the winter two separate households of neighbors were describing their terrible ant season. It was so bad that in both homes ants were dropping from the ceiling onto their tables and floors! Did we have any trouble with ants? Nope, not until the time a neighbor came over and noticed some ants starting a trail near the fireplace. When she left, I opened a coning and somehow got the thought that the ants didn't realize that this outside wall is a part of my house. I explained that this wall is a part of the house and I'd like them to not be there, and the other side of the wall (that is actually outside) is okay. And I asked them if there's anything that they need. I kinesiology-tested that they did not need anything, and they were gone within a day. I thought surely I had the ant problem licked (ugh!), until the Great Winter Lemming Ants Incident. Ants, thick columns of ants, were climbing up our refrigerator, working their way into our freezer and there they died, leaving thick piles of ant corpses. My conings didn't work. I couldn't figure out what was going on. This continued for days. (I later realized that this would have been the time to do some Perelandra testing and processes. It seems obvious now, of course. At the time I couldn't think of anything, anything at all.) It was awful. Finally, our neighbor came over and offered to put poison at the place in the wall where the ants were coming in. I gave in and said yes. My husband moved the refrigerator out of the way, and we I discovered that the refrigerator was leaking! That's what attracted the ants! If they hadn't motivated us to move the refrigerator, we would have never known about the leak and our floor would have rotted and we'd have a big, expensive mess to deal with. Thanks, ants, and I'm sorry you had to die in the process. So, for an intelligent human, have I learned anything? Well, my husband crawled under the house and found piles of mouse droppings. We have a no-poison policy, so he cleaned up the piles and took a look around. Couldn't find any other signs of mice or their entry holes. Weird. What was going on? A few days later he crawled under the house again and saw a few drips. He followed the evidence and saw that the water heater was leaking. If the mice hadn't left big piles of evidence, and encouraged my husband to look around, once again we would have had a rotting floor and not found out until it was too late. Thank you, mice.

Surely we've learned our lessons, right? So when the dying-animal smell pervaded the bathroom, and we looked everywhere and couldn't find anything, once again my husband went under the house. He found a dead mouse in the insulation, next to a water leak that would have created problems if it had gone undetected. Thanks again, little creatures! I guess it's true that insects and other critters can be important messengers of imbalance! And it's true that they can be communicated with in conings. And it's not the simple formulaic answer that deals with the infestations: we have to use our own minds, too. I'm most familiar and comfortable with conings, but I know there are other environmental processes that can pinpoint and solve home maintenance problems. I need to practice and become more familiar with them. I want to deal with house problems and fix them before some critter has to die for my cause — which will spare all of us a lot of grief. And maybe I'll get confident enough that I'll be willing to explain to our neighbors the reason we don't have ants dropping from our ceilings.

Are all my ant problems gone? I don't think of this as a permanent, fixed solution, never to be faced again. Now and then I see a scout ant in the house. Usually, I get a feeling that he's just passing through. Almost like he's got a briefcase in hand, hurrying through a shortcut to the important meeting, and he's late. Sometimes I see a scout and get a feeling to open a coning and double-check that all's well, and no big transport is planned. Occasionally there's an ant that seems to have come in by accident, and I take her back outside.

Although I have much more to learn, and, thankfully, Machaelle and Perelandra offer many more processes, the conings alone were able to help me so very much. I'm very grateful.

— S.S., California