The Death & Rebirth Process Is Not Over

I was being foolish. At least, I forgot an important part of what I had been taught :

The death and rebirth process is very long. Even the death part, for a start, can be. The soul dying from repression, or depression, slows itself down, and shuts itself down, little by little. So that you don’ realise it. It’s excruciating. And once you’ve seen it, there is an even longer road to make.

My shamanic sickness* was of this type. Slow, progressive, extending greatly over the years. My soul was dying. And then, there was the harsh process of realisation, triggered by the Spirits. It was a time bomb, and a cluster bomb too. It exploded in every directions, every areas of my life. My emotions, my relationships, my work, my studies, my path, and my health. It got worse. I was made really sick. It drove me mad at times. I was open enough to get help – professional help that is. But once I started, the obstacles, the road to follow seemed even bigger and farther – and harder – than what had happened before. It was harsh. And the Spirits also tested me during this exhausting step. More and more. Quicker and quicker. Die. Die again ; and again and again. I felt I almost lost my sanity.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been feeling a real change. I understood so many things about myself and my path with the Spirits during that most intense year. The shadow work and the work on my psyche – plus the spiritual work – were deep. I’m feeling something new, lighter. It has not only to do with Imbolc ; it is synchronistic though. I’m emerging from my sickness and my death and rebirth’s final step. I’m feeling so much hope… It is new ! No wonder Khepry went back my way. The God of Change, death/rebirth and regeneration. I was feeling small, looking at a wonderful dawn. Khepry. I felt that Imbolc was an irregular tunnel full of bumps, yet helping me shed skins. Looking at the dawning light, I had the impression to be covered by dew. Purified.

But I had forgotten one thing : the death and rebirth process is actually not over. There is one last step to make. When you die, and are reborn, it’s not sufficient to step toward the future. Maybe it’s even impossible at first. You’re stuck. You’re surrounded by shells and waste. If you want to be able to move forward, acknowledging the change is not enough : you have to live it, to stage it.

I was feeling good, purified, but it wasn’t deep enough, not sufficient enough. It is a death, proper. And I had missed a step. I was experiencing a new phase of it : the grieving. I felt something happening but didn’t realise what it was. But that’s it. I was feeling grief – for myself. I have to do it, to feel it, grieve for my old self that died. I am new, but I have to look at what once was and is now dead. Which I have to let go. And to make this step complete, I have to go beyond introspection and contemplation : I have to make myself a ceremony, a funeral. I have to cut off those parts and mourn. And then I’ll purify myself again, to be able to stand in the new dawn.

And then, only then will I be able to make the first step as reborn.

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* Let it be noted that a shamanic sickness is supposedly unique (little use to compare) and multifold. Plus, I think it never comes alone. Soul sickness can be a thing of its own, parallel to the shamanic sickness.

Hail to the Dead

A shot from a tomb I had never seen before. It made a deep impression on me, because it was big, and… just powerful. The statues ? Alive… I had the impression to be facing a pagan altar, to some very chthonian deity. Hekate or something… it felt of dirt, of caves… impressive.

It had been a little while since I did go to the Cemetery, not alone at least. Today I really needed to walk for an hour instead of staying at home, moving my body, and so at the first rays of sun around 16:30 I decided to go out. A very quiet moment, I met almost no one, and the place was… intense.

I took a path that seems to be seldom visited, because the all tombs there felt “wilder” than those in the bigger alleys. That is quiet fascinating. I had the impression of entering a real sacred place for once. Flowers for devotion and grief, and not from admirers. I felt like an intruder almost, it was so quiet. And then I began singing for the Dead, and speaking, as I do, and it was different than any other time before. I felt surprise, sometimes hostility for being disturbed. But after I had spoken words of honor, the air was “lighter”. And I guess having made a food offering to an anonymous Dead, and communed, prayed, helped also. This part of the cemetery is special… it felt empty of human energy. It’s not complicated to go there, it’s the side… but I had the feeling now one goes there. And I lost myself, really felt disoriented, didn’t know where I was, for the first time. Felt like crossing to he other side…

I had to hail a guardian and ask for the exit (time was passed!). And we had to walk quite far…

Of Silence II

To complete this recent article, I may post images or quotes to introduce new “faces” of Silence. I found thanks to our support group a quote that is very interesting : it denotes Silence in his first sense, as it being an inability to hear, or an absence of sounds. It is very interesting to observe Silence as a form of necessarity / inevitable disconnexion.

I love that you’ve titled this post “Lacuna.” I had to look up what a Lacuna is, but I find it compelling, particularly as it’s used in music.

From Wikipedia: “In music, a lacuna is an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played.” “Contrast this to a musical rest, which is of much shorter duration and a normal part of musical performance that serves to create rhythm and movement between notes. In general, rests do not call attention to themselves in the perception of the listener, whereas lacunae actively force the listener to experience silence as part of the overall performance.”

In my own spiritual practice, I have experienced many “spiritual lacunae,” where the Holy Ones are silent, _actively silent_ in order to force me to experience silence as part of our relationship. I think I am going to incorporate this word into how I speak on religion. Thank you.

– Source : Matthew Gerlach on Galina’s blog.

Of Death And Silence

An article originally written in French, for my online shrine two my Egyptian Guides. It is many things put into one article. A devotion to Meretseger, who is not that known and talked about. But also a meditation on Silence, as a tool and as a Sacred Path, and also something more general about death work.

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Even if I have been surrounded by Death deities for a long time, I never cesae to be amazed by the things hat I find out and learn, which I had not realised earlier. Each of them who guide me corresponds to most signifying elements of my work, and each can be an object of meditation, a whole paradigm itself for me to study.

Meretseger arrived rather early in my polytheist path. It was so natural that I have trouble remembering how and why. But I must have been feeling something very intense, while reading a list of Egyptian deities, or reading through an article. I think it was during my researchs to find myself an Egyptian name, so that I could call myself and be called by Gods from this tradition. And obviously, “She who loves Silence” struck me deeply, even though I did not realized its underlying depth and high significance. It is very disturbing for me actually, this type of experience is upsetting. When you see how much one element is so deep and essential for all that you are and do, how it goes back in time, to the beginning of your quest. And it is only now that I can perceive and understand clearly, and wholly, thanks to all the distance I’ve run, with my fragments of knowledge and practice.

My work with the Dead is intricate. It’s only the beginning, and yet it is already so complex and multi-fold. It wavers between several attitudes, or postures, and each represent a whole panel of the work. And today, only today, I finally realised how much Meretseger’s presence at my side was logical, how she could have been a great guide, a great help ! But at the time I was not conscious of every detail of death work, or even my own path. Moreover, I think this Goddess has the particularity of being especially elusive. Her energy his soft, but discreet, remote, when she is not angry, and so hard to actually feel. This makes it difficult to reach her. Thus, I am not very surprised that I wasn’t able to follow her road before. She would be – would because I don’t like the following concepts – a sort of archetype or model ; plus, she looks “like” me ; she’s one of the posture of the Death Worker, a part which I work on : the withdrawal from the world, into silence. This is a rather solitary path, and a private one in a way.

Silence, out of respect for the Dead, but also for the few living who are also part of the work, those who are grieving. Silence, as a funeral ornament and tool, much more than a ritual necklace. Silence, as an act of devotion. Silence, as a way of honoring. Silence, as a paradoxical speech ; even as a different, profound language. Silence, as a taboo, because Death inhabits the Silence. And because the work has to remain unspoken of.

I have fought and rejected silence for so long ! In my spirituality at least, because I am eager to share and exchange. But I now walk a Path of Silence ; it is a sacred path of its own. And for me, it is at the same time a trial (which makes it even more sacred), an limpid reality (it’s been more than a year that I no loner share only the details and structure of my path and practice online), and the structure, and matter, of my work – As I said earlier, at the same time a place, an attitude, a tool, a ritual in itself… It is complex, and obviously beyond words. A beautiful tautology, isn’t it ? But how could I  not say  it, or how could I say it differently ? It was when I got to working, immersed into practice, that Silence became so flagrant, and established itself naturally, without my thinking about it or fighting it. And yet, I never cease to explore it.

Not unlike Sigyn, the Northern Goddess, and others, these deities who are (sometimes) called “minor goddesses”, who are entitled to simple tasks in appearance, seem to remain unfathomable most of the time. They are misunderstood, and not much looked for. Are they unattractive ? I think they are mainly uneasily understandable and reachable. Their mysteries are pure, but they have to be incarnated, to be lived. And from the outside, our eyes and mind do not see the wealth that lie in simple things, and look for… more “lively”, exciting models. Few people seem to manage to maintain the link and communication, to fully live the relationship with these Goddesses. It was a secund obstacle for me to manage to work with Meretseger – the first being the previously mentionned energetic difficulty – , the fact that my mind was not used to penetrate simplicity, and thus rejecting it as “empty”. The more I think about it, the less surprised I am that I didn’t go beyond either. It gives the impression to stand in front of a pool of water or mist, which you try to hold back into your hands. Or of trying to look through a one-way glass, in vain. No wonder Meretseger did not move into my direction. She was there, and it should have been enough. I have the feeling that she does not are at all about lifting men’s illusions, she has much on her plate already, and she lives her life, fulfill her duty. It’s our part to follow her, actively I mean. To crack her secret, one needs a lot of patience, and to diligence to follow. I assume I was not ready to do that, not at all in the right state of mind, and I did not possess the right approach. If my path had not been the same as Hers, I would most likely never have understood all that ; I would never have come back. Today, after all these revelations, besides the fact I feel a little “stupid”, I find in Her renewed grace, power and beauty, which are so huge and beyond myself, that they fascinate me and make me feel a terrible awe. I feel all the limitations of my humanity, and the grandeur of Her divinity. It is… purity. And never have I experienced it outside of my work around death guides. Hel at first gave me that impression too : the simplicity, the grace, the beauty in its pure form. But Hel has so many fields of expertise, so many things to do in her Realm…. that in this moment of illumination I found that Meretseger has even more power and merit, because She blows my mind with much less than Hel have. Meretseger have something queenly by her pure “simplicity”, but I feel something domestic about Her. Plain matter, leaving in Nature (a sort mountain in Egypt supposedly) or in tombs… which are not her own. She has no home, Her place is the resting places of others. She is all alone, because she is not in the Other World with the Dead, but in the physical one to ward off. Her task is singular, watching and protecting. I barely dare to enounce an oath that came to me during the process, but I pronounce a wish in a whisper : to get back to serving Her, but better than before ; to offer Her a very special place ; to put her at the core of my practice.

Silence is a Mystery, and can be an ecstatic experience. But it is impossible to convey. I have never felt so whole since I’ve been “practicing”. The only comparison I found was my works with the Void : the Void of zen, the Cosmic Void, or the primordial Void, which is mostly talked about in the Northern paths. We tend to define them in negative terms, whereas they are “full”. We tend to say “emptiness”, whereas they are sounds, textures, matter…  the wealthy fabric of all possibilities.

And this is so funny that back at the time I looked further, I desperately attemped to find other guides, because I felt shut down, cut off. In my research for the perfect resonance, I had not seen that I had been blessed by Luck : I had found it at first try ! “Hedjet Meretseger” (my Egyptian name), a little bold ? But from this weird and sudden inspiration perspired the deep truth ! It kills me now, it blows my mind and blinds me with its evidence, as if I were looking straight at the sun….

Death is Change

I’m glad that some people try to put into words the unfathomable qualities of Death Work here and there. It gives a slight feeling of comfort that we are many, that while I do the work other also do their part. So I’m glad to pass along their articles. If you missed them there were that one, and this one which is also about change.

It’s funy all the more so since the timing is perfect. I’ve begun a meditation on my own Death Work, on my personal history, and I check the signs on my path. I’ve been surrounded by deities of death since the beginning… when I was unable to hear spirits properly, the Gods were here though. And they were not at first Gods of material death, of corpses, of death work / psychopomping. They were first and above all Gods of Change and transformation. The Morrigan, Dionysos, Khepry (or Kheper), Meretseger (but she is actually about the work). My path is full of deaths and rebirths. I have come to terms with the fact that it will last a very long time. It’s been years already, and I now know that I have to refine myself wholly and in depth, watched by my closest Spirits and Gods. But if I think that Change is inherent to my path of Death, it may be only in the sense that I have to go through the process myself, as a trial, and as a means to become who I need to be. But I don’t believe that it is the very texture and goal of my path, as it is for my online friend here. Just have a look, and you will get the idea :

The Death I walk beside is neither big, nor noisy. It does not announce itself, it does not demand our fear, our mortality, it does not feed on pools of red nor graveyards filled with expensive concrete and marble nor the cries of carrion birds.

The Death I walk beside casts a mortal shadow and demands that we do the same.

It requires our gaze only in that it walks beside me and its very presence requires that we change the plot of our path to accommodate Its shadow.

This Death is our daily guide, carves its initials in our flanks and takes a daily dole from our hearts and our souls.

Its the in-between, the space of change, the black hole that envelopes and hides and requires a sacrifice in order to escape its clutches. Its the people you strive to not make eye-contact with, the severed shadow-selves who perch upon the walk and beg for your attention. Its the hidden, the threshhold, where we have the choice of holding the door open or slamming it close. Its the point where live and death become nebulous. We name it,  call it change and it scares us. Its the chaos of the dark and the chaos of the light pooled across our skins and our brains and our lives.

This is the Death who is my companion, who whispers in my ear that we must be grateful for these opportunities that beat us down and bleed us upon the earth. This is our ritual sacrifice, our returning to the womb.

This is the passage from Life into Death into Life and I am the psychopomp to bear silent witness to the sacred act of rebirth.

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