Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For the Recent Dead

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart)
~ e. e. cummings

We passed through Samhain and the axis of the planet tipped those of us in the Northern Hemisphere into winter, just as the axis of the overlapping worlds tilted us into a place of thinning veils. In that place we bid our loved ones to slip into that other space we know as death. We don’t know it’s true nature or form and we all call it by differing names. It is a place that none of us shall know until it is our time, a mystery we must accept or spend our lives fearing and fighting. It is hardest to honor the Recent Dead, for the grief is still fresh and real in our bodies. We strengthen our reserves and let them go, holding memories instead of arms.
Who you were is no more, though who you were to us remains, shining brightly in the hearts of every soul you touched, every mind you moved and every heart you stirred. What was becomes something new. We light a lantern to show the way.
What was breath and laughter becomes memory. What was flesh and bone becomes earth. Vital fluids nourish what remains. What was spirit becomes star. We open the way for the dead. We open the way, within our breast, for the dead to cross over. We unlock the door to our grief and let the water flow through and become the river bearing spirits across. In our hearts, we become the way for the dead to cross over. May they be at peace.
The very first Spring Equinox I celebrated was while I was in college, facilitated by my partner’s T’ai Chi teacher and spiritual mentor, Thomas E. Malinoski, known to the Seneca people as Tom Kingfisher. He was an adopted elder in the Wolf Clan and a student and friend of Grandmother Twylah, as well as an artist and faculty member at SUNY Fredonia for many years. He led his T’ai Chi class, which he offered free of charge every Thursday in the Newman Center, and afterwards, as some people went home, he prepared the space for the Equinox celebration.
There was no pomp or pageantry to the ceremony he led us through, which only amplified its intensity for me. It was my first experience of awareness with sacred space outside of institutional religion. He opened a doorway for me that Equinox, though it would be a bit longer until I saw it and walked through it. Thomas Malinoski-Kingfisher passed away July 3rd, this last summer, after illness. May the Ancestors welcome him home and may his reunion with Grandmother Twylah be sweet and full of laughter.

At midnight on Samhain, I spoke a prayer for the recent dead, those of mine and the loved ones of friends. When we pass we do not cease to exist. We cease to be. But once we were here, once we were, we cannot be erased. We honor the memory of those who have gone before us:
Edward W. O’Rourke, beloved Godfather, passed April 4.
Be at peace, Edward.
Tom Malinoski, beloved mentor and friend, passed July 3.
Be at peace, Tom.
Pretty Penny the Guinea Hen, beloved companion, passed September 27.
Be at peace, Penny.
William Russell Norcross passed September 29.
Be at peace, William.
Ann Herrington, beloved Grandmother, passed October 9.
Be at peace, Ann.
Willis Kingsbury Rowell passed October 10.
Be at peace, Willis.
Debra Ann Martineau passed October 16.
Be at peace, Debra.
Sophie F. Bachurz passed October 17.
Be at peace, Sophie.
Josephine Elle Rispoli passed of cancer October 23 at the age of 7.
Be at peace, Josephine.
Michael Pullano, beloved teacher, passed October 26.
Be at peace, Michael.
Paul Sachs passed October 28.
Be at peace, Paul.
To those unspoken and unknown…be at peace.

As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us:
As we remember them!
At the rising sun and at its going down we remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter we remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring we remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer we remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn we remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends we remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us. As we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart we remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make we remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share we remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs we remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live,
For they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
~A prayer from Gates of Prayer, the New Union Prayer book

**If you feel so moved, please add the names of those you loved who died within this last year in the comments section. May they all be at peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.