I have had the great privilege to be present to witness and be part of many ceremonies in my life. I started learning the art of ceremony and ritual in my 20’s when I lived with a Native American Woman,
. She taught me the value of honouring the small things in life, the big things and everything in between. Ceremony resides deep within. It allows us to bear witness to each other and to connect in a way that makes meaning. Skyhawk taught that we only need intent and purpose and that is ceremony. So simple, yet so meaningful.
We open to what is truly meaningful, that place where the love, joy, sorrow and pain reside. We get a glimpse of our true humanity and connect to others in an exquisitely beautiful way.
Death and loss are something all of us are going to face. Allowing a space where one can give voice to the unsaid, allowing yourself to feel this space in a safe place is what ceremony is about. Healing can only happen when we acknowledge what is.
Every culture has death rituals and the level of intimacy in each varies. We in the west tend to ‘attend’ a funeral, often times only being allotted a 30 minute time slot. Someone up the front speaks words of welcome, maybe a poem or song, we have a slide show, a eulogy then a goodbye. Can we do things differently? Of course.
Now imagine, your friends and loved ones gathering together to grieve and really attend to what is happening in the heart. Not as a guest, as a person who is actively participating. This doesn’t mean that you have to don the feathers or bang the drums, it means showing up and being authentic, remembering, its about intent and purpose. Friends and family speak from the heart, to show the gratitude and love and maybe the ‘not so pretty bits’, but speaking about what is. We speak the name of the person who has died, we give thanks and blessings for this person and the part, big or small they played in our life. We light a candle, we say our goodbyes, knowing all the while we are ‘being seen’ beyond the ordinary day to day life. We hold these moments close, to allow the healing process to begin. There is no ‘time’, we are taking it moment by moment, whisperings from the deepest places that reside within.
This is ceremony.