Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shiva


Last night my husband and I visited with a friend whose father has recently passed away.  FR is Jewish and yesterday was her second day of Shiva.  In every religion or culture there are special traditions dedicated to the dead.  In Judaism, immediately after the death of a loved one, relatives go into a state of grieving.  For seven days they receive family and friends at the home of the deceased where they share food, stories and prayers. 

Obviously as a traditional Keeper of the Dead I’m always impressed with how people mourn or deal with death.  Most people these days understand the Keeper of the Dead as an Angel of Death:  Someone who has the ability to see death coming; and also holds the skills necessary to guide the dying to the after life.  Psychics who see or hear those who have passed on are not necessarily considered as Keepers of the Dead.  Actually in many teachings of the Wheel they are identified as Messengers:  People capable of confirming that there exists some kind of reality beyond life as we know it…  What makes the difference between a Keeper of the Dead and a Messenger is that one guides or assists the dying or deceased on their journey; while the other one helps and supports the living through the death process.

Where Keepers of the Dead attract the actual experience of death in countless different forms; Messengers attract “ghost-like memories” of the deceased.  A good number of Keepers of the Dead will develop Messenger skills.  Obviously, Keepers of the Dead seem to magnetize death experiences.  I’ve always seen it as “being hired by the Universe.”  I believe I am literally led to individuals who need me.  Amazingly through every experience I’ve had, I’ve been told by the dying and their closest relatives:  “You were actually expected.”  How that works is beyond me!

Isn’t it incredible how every little detail of life is calculated even death? I’ve always found it fascinating how in death we attract our Death Angel. Whether he/she is a stranger who responds to the call; or a relative / friend / or deceased loved one who takes up the responsibility we are never left alone to embark on our journey to the Stars. 

For most humans it is difficult to understand that no living creature on our Planet and beyond ever stands alone. Loneliness if profoundly explored, is definitely a “human theme;” which can bring us to the reality of  intuitive trust and faith. Our DNA for example consists of billions of connections; which prove that our makeup contains the sacred knowledge of all of Creation.  Our every action, attitude, thought and behaviour considers with every breath our era; our environment; and every cosmological influence.  We may not be consciously aware of the fact that we are an example of collectivity; but the fact remains, science can confirm we are constantly bringing together countless particles of LIFE; searching to be whole.

In Judaism like in our First Nation traditions or Old Religion language holds sacred “medicine” (power).   If you journey with the words of the “old languages” – you should awaken in the dreaming of these words and have access to their meaning or wisdom. Shiva for example means “seven” and is referred to in the Old Testament (Book of Genesis); when God creates the Earth and Man in seven days. On the Medicine Wheel “seven” refers to the Clans: The seven species of life; or again how LIFE came to be…  You can find incredible similarities between the stories of the Hebrew Bible and the stories of the Sacred Circle (what is often called the stories of Creation).  

Basically Shiva is about seven days dedicated to “lamenting and comforting:” Two crucial elements within the mourning process.  When someone we love passes on we always feel “loss, loneliness, and separation / detachment.”  Many individuals also feel “judgment.”
 
·      Did they say goodbye?
·      Did they love their relatives appropriately or adequately?
·      Did they make sure to resolve conflicts and issues before their death?
·      Were they committed enough?

What I love about Shiva is how it touches so many different facets of the mourning process.  For example during Shiva the mourners are not allowed to indulge in anything relating to vanity.  All mirrors are covered.  The mourners don’t bathe; don’t shave; don’t wear makeup; don’t wear jewellery; or wear fancy clothes.  There’s no sexual relations during this time or even work.  Shiva is seven days of “standing still” present to loss, memories, and the departure of a loved one. It’s about feeling “low” and moving through these different emotions.  In doing so we are contributing to the journey of our loved ones – helping them move through to the after life.

From my perspective, rituals are more then just repetitive actions.  They hold so much power; which can help us bridge the consciousness of other realities.  I’ve never seen FR without makeup; messy hair; and answering the door in bare feet.  I appreciated this ritual of “depriving one’s self of ego (vanity and pride)”.  It made the moment more authentic.  FR talked about her childhood as she grew up in this house with her parents.  She pointed to old pictures on the wall.   And showed deep emotions towards J her uncle and father’s brother who was the last surviving relative of the elder generation of her family. 

She said: “I feel bad for him because he’s never been without my father.  They actually lived side by side their whole lives: Brothers, neighbours, and partners in business.” 

I couldn’t help but glance towards this old man – white hair, distinguished and singing the traditional prayers.  No doubt his soul called out to me.  My husband and I spent barely 20 minutes at the house.  Enough time to meet J and to realize he would be soon to follow…  Continuing his journey side by side with his brother.  Beauty was the only word that came to mind.  As we left I took a moment to cherish the experience of death. I left a bit of tobacco to a nearby tree and sent a prayer to Spirit. 

We never die alone!

5 comments:

Rose said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. With Death feeling so present it is good for us all to be reminded how Death should not be vilified. I watched a film the other night, Britain in a Day. Many people had filmed their day on the 12th November 2011 and these had been turned into a film. It wasn't about people's jobs but about the connections they make to others, their family, their relationships as well as their conenctions to their past and the events that happened in their lives. There was one man who was obviously very sick and his family had filmed his day and they showed a snippet of them thanking him for sharing his day and it was obviously an act of good bye for all.

I am coming to realise I have been terrified of Death and all that comes after. Too many Ghost stories maybe...

Lisa F. Tardiff said...

Rose,

There's no doubt we are "taught" how to react to so many situations in life and in death. It would be wonderful if "modern parents" would take the time to teach their children new ways, new traditions and new perspectives. We can only change the World one child at a time..... At least that's my perspective.

LISA

Lili said...

Lisa,
I want to thank you for your words. There is something here that touches me deeply. I will be back to read again I am sure.

I am fascinated that our dna contains over a billion connections!!!

Love You
Leanne
x

Lili said...

I felt called to share that whenever I come back and read this blog it reminds me of My Nan and how she is preparing to journey to the stars, it is a comfort to know she will not be alone. If I am not there some one shall be.
I see a room full of people waiting for her. Having a dreamchart for My Nan was a wonderful gift for both of us Lisa.
Love you
Leanne x

Anonymous said...

Hi! Everyone. I received this message from Brandy through e-mail.
I promised I'd copy and paste it here. She had trouble writing a comment.
LISA

****
I loved your blog about where it all began for you. I loved your keeping the dead blog even more. I tried to comment on there but it wouldn't let me in, so I headed over here instead. When you wrote you feel like you have been hired by the universe to usher people to the other side I could relate deeply. I currently work with a dying dementia client who is getting close to the door. It has been an interesting few months with her as I unknowingly worked through her lifes resentments and her accomplishments. After each area has been put to rest she has slipped closer to death. As hard as it has been on me, it has been such a tremendous honor to be enlisted for this job. It's not the first time this has been put in my path either and now reading your blog I realize it's probably not going to be the last either.

I also just, as in weeks, started having a conversation with my deceased grandma. I feel I am working the same thing with her, but through my life. Does that make sense. I feel like I am living her life experiences and through her guidance I am changing the way I live my life and breaking patterns that are releasing her from her bonds to the earth. When I talk to my mom about this she kinda zones out because I think she doesn;t even know the things that gma is telling me. At first I thought my imagination was just over active, then when I realized it wasn't I started to get spooked and push my gma away. Again after reading your blog I see this as part of the other. I feel honored here as well and excited to have help breaking my families viscous cycles.

Thank you for sharon your wisdom.
BRANDY