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, July 10, 2013

Bindrunes for Transformation

When someone I love dies, I say silent prayers that they be free from pain and the tethers to their physical body. I wish that their spirit and soul- for I have seen all the proof I need to believe they exist as entities of their own- transition into whatever it is that comes next for us, as effortlessly as possible. I wish their souls to be at peace so they do not walk in the waking world. In the moment of loss, I try to be selfless.

How do we grieve? How can we wish our loved ones peace in the wake of their loss? How do we say goodbye in a meaningful manner? I’m the kind of person who needs something tangible. I want to put my hands on the dead body and feel that lack of life. I need to feel that their spirit has moved on. I need that in order to convince my brain there is a reason for the physical emptiness that will come. I like to be hands on. It’s not for everyone.
            In the last three years we have had to put two dying cats to sleep, both of whom were young enough that the moment left us unprepared. We stepped up and did what needed to be done, but afterwards the grief left me wanting for more, for a ritual to help me process through the transformation as well.
I like symbolism and the magical intention of it works for me. I use runes in a lot of my healing work, not for divinatory purposes, but for the magical focus of their linguistic meaning, and the emotional translation. I understand the energetic connection between their forms, how one shapeshifts into another, and their origin stories.

I took that knowledge into the woods. Both cats were cremated, the bodies that had betrayed them burned to ash. To heal and soothe my heart, I did my ritual with water. I used the beorc rune, the symbol of the birch tree, of growth and new beginnings. I mirrored it on itself so it became a bindrune, and I took note of the other runes in the image revealing themselves to me. I drew my bindrune for peaceful passage on a piece of birch bark. I threw the birch bark into the water and I let myself cry for my loss.

On a second piece of bark, I broke the top staves off the bindrune and spread them, like wings unfurling. I drew that onto a piece of sycamore bark. Sycamore sheds it’s bark by growing more wood rings beneath it, stretching and splitting it until it sloughs off. I threw that one into the water and simply quieted my heart while it was swept downstream. I waited until I couldn’t see it anymore.

I drew a third bindrune on another piece of sycamore bark. I broke the bottom staves and spread them, again, like wings unfurling. I thought of all the wonderful and weird memories I had of Luna and Bella, and how they both filled my life, in similar and different ways. I let that joy fill me, and I set the bark adrift in the water.

I drew one last picture on another piece of birch. I drew a more fluid interpretation of the bindrune with the staves broken. I drew a butterfly. I said a prayer of hope for Luna’s transformation, for Bella’s transformation. I knew my grief would remain for a while, yet, I accepted the necessity of both passages as I laid the white bark in the water.

It didn’t make the hurt go away faster. But it was a ritual that was meaningful for me. To open the way for dealing with my sadness, it allowed me to accept that we did what we could for Luna, and for Bella. It helped me accept that, as unfair as it seems, both of their times were meant to be shorter on this earth, and that we gave them both good and full lives while they were with us. It reminded me of the love, and because of how much I loved them, it’s important to share that love and carry it on into the world.

Author’s note: In the photos for this post, all the pictures are on birch bark. I do not take photos while I am doing my rituals and did not have any sycamore bark at home to use.

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