Stories of Spirit…Welcoming Death [the art of the Doula]

Last night at the end of my Sound Meditation class, it came to my awareness that a fellow Reiki Master, friend, and gentle healer had entered into Hospice.  She had fought the good fight with Cancer only to watch it return, this time with death as it’s companion.  The thought crossed my mind of heading straight to her house and catching a ride home later with a friend, but it had been a long day and I opted for riding home with my husband and making a quick dinner.

Waiting on dinner, I checked my Facebook messages and read “You should come sooner than later.  She seems to be holding on,  enjoying time spent with her boys, but her time is close.”

I put down my phone, packed my basket with oils, sage, my drum as well as snacks, water, and coffee.  When death calls, I never know if I will be going for a short visit or a long.  I ate quickly and got in my car, immediately tapping into my dying friend.  Before I was even out of my driveway, I was singing Spirit Song [song of the soul] and could feel the miles between us dissipate.  I was in duel reality…existing both in ordinary reality-driving my car, watching the road & the otherworlda psychic/shamanic state of existence.  In the otherworld, I was sharing space with my friend; as close as if I were sitting by her bedside.  In this state, I could see her life force and recognized that my decision to see her that evening was a good one.  I felt it as an honor and a duty, that death itself was asking me to come recognize such a beautiful soul as she transformed from body to spirit.  Her work as a healer needed to be acknowledged.

When I got to her house, I was touched by the way her family was already showing reverence.  The love in the house was palpable, and there was a somber reverence that spoke of how much they wanted to honor her in her passing.  We spoke for a few moments about creating sacred space when a loved one is passing, and soon they were walking around the house collecting photographs and special items to place on the altar in their mother/friends room.

Creating an Altar for the dying is a beautiful and thoughtful way of calling in the Ancestors to help with the transition between life and death.  I have given directions for creating an Ancestor Altar at the bottom of the article.

As her family gathered pictures and memories, I began to do Reiki on my friend and to sing gently to her.  My song was a continuation of the song I had already been singing to her during the 20-minute ride from my house to hers.  When singing the song of dying, the words are not important, in fact, I seldom sing with words at all.  The song of dying is sung with emotion and reverence for the person awaiting transition and for death itself.  As a Medium, Death is a friend of mine.  I spend much of my life between the veil, communicating with those who have transcended into death.  I have a great respect for death, and can honestly say that I love it.

By loving death, I do not mean that I love pain and suffering.  I mean that I love the act of transition.  Like birth, death is magical, it is more ‘real’ then any other experience we will have in our lives.  When we sit with death we cannot be anything but what we truly are.  We are vulnerable.

Singing to my friend, I began to loosen the strands of life that were sticky; the places she held tight to her body.  I sang and I soothed.  I could feel her life force & was aware that her death would be soon and did not believe she would live another day.  My song was joined by the soft murmurs of the others in the room.  Her children and friends joining in ‘spirit song’, guiding her soul across the veil.  As I held my tones out long, I felt her sliding on the vibration and her breath becoming slower and slower.

Then it was done, my time with her had come to pass.  She would not pass for hours still, but I felt that it was time for me to leave.  I knew she would be gone before long, but that her last hours were for deep quiet and her family alone.

I left her home at the same time as another friend, and we stopped to talk outside the house.  I spoke of how my need to visit; which had been so urgent, felt like administering last rights…kind of like “Hey there, all is well across the veil, safe travels to the Otherworld”.  In such moments, I connect deeply with my ancient self, my priestess self, the tribal shaman, volva-self.  I see this as the holiest of the work I do, for it is never something to plan on, but something that I must do when I feel it’s vibration.  When death asks me to pay a house call, I do so with great reverence for both the dying and the spirit of death alike.

We are changing the way we interact with death, we are remembering the old ways of honoring and reverence.  Families are interacting deeply with the presence of death through hospice, as well as with the art of home funerals and celebrations of life.  We are remembering the sacred and death is becoming a deeper act of healing.  Years of disassociation with death; death behind white curtains, and sterile environments, and funerals without connection to our ancestors put a serious hick-up in our ability to heal and understand death.  That is changing.  Death is an exceptional moment of Spirit.

My friend passed late this morning, and I am happy to know that her spirit is free and she is no longer burdened with a painful body.  I take heart in knowing that one of her dear friends washed and anointed her body with lavender, showing love and kindness in the ceremonial act of preparing her body for death.

Creating an Ancestor Altar for the Dying-

*You will need- a shelf (dresser, portable tray in the hospital, bookshelf, window sill), family photos of living & dead relatives, special treasures (wedding rings, holy items, crystals, etc).

Set the altar up where the dying and the people holding space can see it.  Even if your loved one is unconscious, set the altar up within their personal space.  Invite your ancestors to join you in the room, and to come aid in the passing of your loved one.

My hope is that ‘ancestor honoring’ become a regular part of death and dying.  We need to remember that we are connected on both sides of the veil.  Our Beloved Dead are waiting for us when we cross, and like our living loved ones sit by our side when we are dying, our loved ones in spirit do the same.  One saying goodbye, the other welcoming home.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…peaceful travels to the spirit world for those who are crossing.

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Best Friends with my Spirit Guide [soul-friends]

My book has been out for 3 weeks now, and people are starting to share their experience of reading it, with me.  Most of the feedback has been in regards to similar personal psychic experiences people have had, and how they gained intuitive insight from reading how I navigated my own Psychic development.  The other sharing I have experienced is that people recognizing the people & places in my story.  This is not all that unusual as I have lived within an hour radius of the Connecticut River for the entirety of my life (minus a few months in Maryland here and there).  Vermont & New Hampshire are my home; particularly the areas of the Northeast Kingdom, and the White Mountains.

Last week one of my community friends brought up Adam when she spoke of my book and how the reading of my relationship with him affected her.  She recognized Adam, she remembered him, she loved him and as she spoke of him tears welled up in her eyes.  At that moment I could feel Adam standing in my space, I looked at the tears in her eyes and I could feel his heart filled with love.  This, of course, made me want to reciprocate with tears of my own.

I changed some names in my book, but not Adams, he insisted that his name and story be mentioned, after all, Adam’s story and my story have been woven together for the last 15 years.  Anyone who has ever done a Seance with me knows who he is.  For those of you who have not, Adam is my doorman; the spirit guide who holds the job of watching my back and organizing traffic in the spirit world.  I call him my doorman because I use to own a bar, and the job is pretty similar.  He decides who come in, who is not welcome and delivers messages for spirits who need a bit of help communicating with me.  Although I knew him briefly in life, our friendship is something that has developed after his death.  I love Adam and consider him one of my dearest friends.

When my friend spoke of Adam she mentioned how tragic it was that his life was cut short.  I understood what she meant for he was a remarkable soul, but I couldn’t help but smile.  My immediate response was to say “He still is making a difference, he is still working toward a goal.”  I often refer to Adam as the ‘hardest working spirit I have ever met”.  He goes to work with me every time I do Spirit Communication, which means he is working a full-time job in the afterlife. Like me he is a healer, helping people to find peace in knowing that their Beloved Dead are ok.

Adam has taught me so much in the years we have been connected.  But the most important lesson he has taught me is that older spirits, ones who have been around for awhile, often continue their work between death.  He has shown me the dedication that spirit guides can carry and how much they are willing to be present in the world of the living. They care about what’s happening here, and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is getting thinner.

I appreciate all the feedback, and love hearing your experiences through reading it.  I hope that you are all fortunate enough to gain the peace of connecting with your Beloved Dead.

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Sacred Melancholy

October is my favorite month, with it’s early darkness and heavy mist.  The colors, the smells, the coolness of the air; all these things bring me to a place of remembrance.  Not the remembrance of old times, but the remembrance of people who have have passed from life, into the world of Spirit.  With the fullness of Autumns embrace, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin, becoming sheer and transparent, allowing those who have even the slightest bit of sight to catch glimpses of the other world.

In my home, as in the homes of my family; the approach of Samhain/Halloween, is invitation to celebrate our Beloved Dead.  Photographs and memento’s that remind us of our family in Spirit come out, to be displayed with honor and thankfulness.  Remembering these people, who walked the path before me, gives me a sense of place, and fills me with a sacred melancholy.

Sacred Melancholy, is a deep sadness or feeling of loss.  It is a romantic feeling really, one that fills us with yearning and remembrance.  It is something to appreciate and immerse oneself in, for it holds great depths of knowing.  When we allow ourselves to connect with that feeling of loss, it is not the same as being depressed and suffering, but more a tender reminder of times past…like savoring the memory of a lovers goodbye kiss…there is a wonderment in the remembering itself.

doorwayWhen I place photos of my departed family out on display, I am consciously choosing to step into that powerful place of remembrance.  I am also inviting the Beloved Dead in the pictures to be present in my home.  I am asking them to infuse my space with their presence, to fill my memories with Spirit.  This is my invitation for them to cross the veil, and pay me a visit.

As a Medium, I am fortunate to have communication with the Spirits I love, often.  I do not need to wait for Holy days, such as Samhain/Halloween, to feel their presence, yet I still go through the effort of giving them honor at this time.  I do this because they appreciate being remembered.

We are living in a time of awakening, a time in which we are finding our way back to the ways practiced by our elders, ancestors and tribal communities, for they have merit.  We are remembering that we remain connected to our beloved ones, even after they have crossed into death.  Our minds and hearts are opening, and we are seeking space for visitation.  When we give them honor, they will come.

It is true, that some people are more adept at feeling them, seeing them, sensing them, but they come for all of us, and they are thankful.

familyalterHere is an easy, do it yourself way to give honor to your Ancestors-

*Find a shelf or stand in your home to use as an altar.  An altar is a space used for things we view as sacred (spiritual, devotional, deserving of special attention).

*Remember everything placed on your altar should be intentional…no junk mail, car keys, or gum wrappers, unless you are doing specific work with such items. Your dead grandpa’s car keys would be ok, if they were used to remember him.

*Decorate your altar with photographs, knick-knacks, and other items of remembrance, that represent your Beloved Dead.

*Place religious, or spiritual items on your altar if you like, to give blessings to your Ancestors.

* Place a candle (doesn’t matter what kind) on your altar, that you can light whenever you want to give extra acknowledgement to your loved ones.

*Place a special treat on the altar (coffee, tea, cigarette, chocolate) for them occasionally.  They will not actually eat it or smoke it, but will instead appreciate the energy of the offering you have given.  Make sure to clean it up at end of the day.

*Keep your Ancestor altar up through Samhain/Halloween.  You may keep it up longer if you like, some people choose to keep their up through the holiday season.

Remember, it is the judgement of emotions and sensations that make them uncomfortable.  Melancholy, and sacred sadness are not things to avoid.  We often rush the mourning process, telling ourselves that like all things modern, it should be efficient and productive.  Well that my friends is bullshit.  We need to understand that our emotions are complex things, and the feeling of loss created from the void of loosing someone we hold dear, is immense.  Some of us will mourn deeply, for a long period of time…some of us, will mourn in bits and spurts.  But to hold a place of deep memory for our Beloved Dead is a good thing.  Do not hold your memories to the moment of loss, but instead allow your mind to take you on the journey of knowing the ones you love, while they were alive and vital.  And remember, Spirits can see us and hear us much easier then we can see and hear them.  They are listening when we talk to them, do it often and you may just hear a reply.

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