We are all on this strange and often painful journey called life. Whilst most of us attempt to find some meaning in our lives and do our best to be a loving and productive member of society, we all know that our lives are short, and often soon forgotten.
In the years since the 2012 Mayan prophecy culmination we have seen many endings and completions. That has included many deaths. Many who passed over this year were musicians and involved in the arts. The musicians and artists who have recently passed were all part of a collective spiritual soul group, who incarnated to offer us insights, inspiration and spiritual depth.. but we have also lost so many loved ones.. How do we heal the loss?
Many of us have also lost close loved-ones and family members. I am certainly one of those people. Although my spirit guides prepared me, it was still challenging. Many of us “know” that people go on to other realms and world; we know that we are eternal beings, but we must also acknowledge the very human and frail side of us that “misses” and mourns the lost loved one.
Allow yourself to mourn. This is a gift you give yourself.
In traditional Native American culture mourning was encouraged, but in moderation and with certain guidelines. The Medicine person of the tribe would allow people to show their emotions and walk around disheveled with their hair untidy for a limited time. This was usually a year. Then there would be a “releasing” of the spirit ceremony to mark the end of that period and a return to regular life. This varied from tradition to tradition, but the people I lived and worked with used a wonderful symbol. It was a birch-bark basket which was embroidered or beaded with a dragonfly totem.
Releasing the Spirit:
The basket symbolized the spirit of the loved one and was kept in a place of honour for a year. Then, in ceremony, the medicine man or woman would open the lid of the basket allowing the spirit to fly free. After that ceremony, the possessions of the deceased person were given away, everyone had to dress up smartly, braid their hair and not talk about the loved one again.
Traditional people in Australia also have similar beliefs. Many Aboriginal people say that talking about and going “on and on” about the loved one tugs on their spirit stopping them from moving onto the next field of life. They also prefer not to look at photographs of their loved ones either.
Of course this may not be your belief system. You may disagree. However, please consider the wisdom in this tradition; which does encompass many North American and South American tribes. It is there for a reason.
My elders would say that the dragonfly is the spirit of the free and unencumbered spirit. The dragonfly dances with its reflection in the lake and shows us how shimmering and ethereal we all are. In essence, the dragonfly is the symbol of the light body and if you have ever watched a cloud of dragonflies on a lake, you will know what I mean.
If you feel drawn to this wisdom, consider meditating with the dragonfly. This delightful and free spirit will help you come to balance with your loved one (that loved-one may also be a beloved pet!) but hang on to the wisdom and the feeling of appreciation and love that you still feel for them.
In September 2016, I traveled to Uluru in central Australia to offer this ceremony for several loved ones who had passed over during the last couple of years or so. I wasn't sure where or how to do it but prayed to be guided. I was led to a very powerful pond at the foot of the great Mother rock, Uluru .. it was swarming with hundreds of dancing dragonflies... this was my sign!!!
I made a prayer stick, and held it to my heart and said my prayers and gave thanks for the gifts these beautiful souls have given me during their lifetime. Then I tossed it into the pond to release the spirit. A friend joined me with her own prayer stick. The two sticks bobbed next to each other, acknowledging that we had prayed for the same people.. then the little dragonflies all sat on the sticks as they floated across the pond into the dark shadows. They shimmered like little rainbow dancers in the afternoon desert sun.. it was magical!
This very simple "ceremony" or offering can bring a sweet closure to the journeys we share together in this world. The ancient ones knew this; they had spoken to the dragonfly spirit and received this ancient wisdom.
Traditionally a basket is made with this symbol. You may wish to simply draw one on paper or make a little paper boat with the dragonfly symbol. Choose a symbol that will allow you to release and free the memories of your loved one. A basket with a lid can be used to open and release; a paper boat can be used to be placed on a river or the ocean (as they do in Indian and elsewhere) or a prayer tie, which includes tobacco and any symbol of your loved-one can be buried in the earth or burned on a sacred fire.
Hold your object next to your heart and speak to your loved one. Thank him or her for the gifts of wisdom they gave you; for the honour of being their (wife, mother, daughter, brother...etc.) and when you feel ready and you feel the tug of the dragonfly in your heart... release the spirit of the person, saying: “Fly into the next world... so-and-so ... we shall meet again...”
Watch the prayer bundle burn, or float out to sea, etc and continue to say good bye for now, but not forever. Focus only on the gifts you shared together and not the sadness you may be feeling. Then give thanks or offer gratitude for the gifts you shared together.
After the ceremony is over you may feel worse at first. This means all the string of attachment are slowly releasing. Over a short period of time, however, you will feel lighter and brighter.
This is a powerful, and yet oh so simple ceremony. Make it your own. Share it with others. It is time to heal ourselves and Mother Earth. The new year, 2017 is the beginning of a new Medicine Wheel and only the unburdened will have the power to walk in balance.
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