The Shaman aligns with nature and allows Mother Earth and Father Sky to be the guide along with all the brother and sister spirits, we often call totems. While we each have personal totem spirits, there are also collective totems who give us all the same kinds of messages. One of the most powerful teacher-totems is the beautiful dragonfly. The Earth herself is a temple, but within the wilds and sacred places she offers us many signs and many Totem Spirits to help us all heal ourselves and our world. The shimmering and magical dragonfly is the totem of eternal and ever renewing life and is one of the spirit healers of the soul. She shows herself when we might be in grief over loss or change because she reminds us that spring-time is near and that is the magical time of renewal.
We may be in sadness over the death of loved ones or perhaps we may be impacted by the many suicides, both "accidental" and deliberate. It has been a challenging time for many of us. But if we can pause, bless and honour all the dragonfly can help us find the soul renewal we seek.
I believe we are being called to embrace Mother Earth iand go deeper to bring about a collective healing. In short, this is the essence of the energy of the winter solstice. It is time when we release the journey of the last twelve months.
The shortest day, the longest night is the shaman's table, or altar of healing.
Many of us have lost close loved-ones and family members, for that is indeed the journey within the third-dimensional pathway. Most of you reading this column would "know” that people go on to other realms and worlds; 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. Therefore, the wise shaman takes the first step, which is :
Allow yourself to mourn. This is a gift you give yourself - Dragonfly Medicine
In traditional Native American culture mourning was encouraged, in moderation and with certain guidelines. The totem of this mourning is the Dragonfly. 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.
Once, in springtime, 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 India 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 very sad at first. This means all the strings 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. We can do this kind of ceremony at any time. It is just more powerful during solstices and equnoxes. However, if your guides urge you to do it, listen to their guidance and know that the timing will be perfect. The key is to always walk in balance and guidance.
Feel free to share this article with anyone you feel would benefit ...