To Know Death is To Know Life
Fear of death is at the crux of all fear. Acceptance of our own and others inevitable mortality is often avoided with complex life-style which assures safety and life-ever after. The choices one makes to protect life may be set up in careful, risk-free, controlled and controlling ways. How would our lives be different if death was a normal part of living? In many cultures, to know death is to know life which guarantees an acceptance of what life brings to us daily.
Ancestors are honored by connecting with the deceased loved ones around this time of year, when the veil to the worlds is thinnest. Cemeteries in Mexico are lit up by candle light for the soul to find its way back to the realm of the living. Here, on Dias de los Muertos the living prepare a favorite meal of the deceased and place it among the flowers and candles on an altar either inside their home, if death struck within the year of this holy time, or in the cemetery upon the dead one's vault. I’ve witnessed people rising early in the morning in the Pantheon (cemetary) after sleeping on the grave all night in hopes to have a visit and message from theIr loved one.
You may have a very different way of honoring the passing of your loved ones. Today it seems that a memorial service often suffices for saying goodbye. An elaborate Catholic Mass may still be held for the believer, and I’ve felt that the soul of the deceased has moved on because of the attention and ritual intended for that purpose. Yet, often these days the purpose of a ritualized funeral alludes those who do not embrace this religion. I grew up Catholic, pre-Vatican II and have experienced everything from a spiritual awakening to Catholic-lite with mass. However, if one does not have a strong spiritual or religious background or believe in an afterlife of some sort, how does the living know one has moved on to what we call the ancestral realm, their soul homeland, or heaven?
The greatest fear is and should be, that the soul remains stuck in the bardo, purgatory, limbo, or simply on the other side of the veil of the living. A ghost is a stuck soul, able to be seen by some in the realm of the living, but unable to participate. A miserable soul existence. Many want the best for their loved ones’ soul: I often hear that it’s the least one can do for their beloved mom or dad who has just died. I am an escort for the soul. I perform Funerary Rites, guiding the deceased through the realms beyond this realm in order for the person to reconcile their lifes’ burdens, be purified and journey to his or her original soul homelands, the place of soul creation. This is a lengthy shamanic ritual that takes two days of preparation, ritual and story telling of the soul’s journey. The story Is told back to the living as a teaching, and often includes a tale of how one lived their life and the trials they faced, and the reconciliation and purification of the soul so that it can move on. This is a sacred journey, and may be considered the last rites for the deceased before arriving at the doorway to the ancestral homelands.
Funerary Rites are a way for the living to be assured that the soul is well-tended to and in a peaceful place. Many cultures and traditions have a form of funerary rites, elaborate and ancient rituals to care for not only the soul but the living people as well; assuring them of proper burial and rites leaves one knowing about death and its consequences, so that life can be lived well.
...Cultures honoring the cycles of life including elaborate funerary rites, did not live in fear of their pending mortality for to know life is to know death and to know death is to know life...
Archaelogiststs have found in gravesites of ancient people, what I may consider to be offerings of gold and jewels, tools, grains in pots and symbols of the afterlife lying with the bones of the deceased. From ancient texts, one may find stories of elaborate funerary rites along with guidelines for living and dying. It is witnessed that intact cultures, cultures honoring the cycles of life including elaborate funerary rites, do not/did not live in fear of their pending mortality. To know life is to know death and to know death is to know life. The elaborate funeral rites actually kept the culture strong, long lasting and intact. It is known that once the soul goes to the homeland, the place of its origin, it returns or reincarnates back into its original culture. This is how original cultures maintained and strengthened their existence for millennia. It is only in recent times that these rites have been dismantled and now, people are lost, without a rudder or guide for living.
If you do not have a religious background or a life rooted in an ancestral tradition where death produces the guideline for living, you may feel bereft, at sea, and scared of the inevitable. Fear is often at the helm of this boat that will eventually lead you across to the afterlife.
In the early years of my shamanic training I went through a long period of darkness where I
had to experience death. This, along with a few of my own close encounters with death by a climbing accident and again with emergency surgery, I had dreams calling me to do this work, I was led through a strenuous ritual preparation and initiation in order to perform the funerary rites. For more than 15 years I’ve helped the deceased move on to their soul's origin, their homeland, the 'ancestral pool'.
For more information on my after life work, please contact me at 970-210-9520 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for a webinar in the near future on Death as a Sacred Passage.