I walked by the place where an old red oak had stood for at least 100 years on campus. There was nothing to show where it had been, no stump remained. It’s now just a patch of grass that is a lighter shade of green than the surrounding lawn. But I remember its huge branches making so much shade, and the funny hollow in the base that looked like a perfect home for faeries. I sent a blessing to any of its essence that was still in the ground; tiny adrift root threads and sawdust mulched into the soil.
The campus daily news wrote about the tree removal due to structural issues that made it unsafe. I watched the arborists slowly dismember it over several days. One day I was watching them work from a bench nearby and I felt like it was the day for honorable closure. Groups of crows came and settled in the surrounding trees. I felt the energy of nature spirits circling all around the area, and the hidden folk; faeries, elementals, elves, and dryads in solemn respect for the old oak. As I tuned in, I got the message that the essence of the tree would always remain in some form. It would remain in the decades of composted leaves that had enriched the soil, the acorns that squirrels had stored away and forgotten, the pollen from the flower buds that dusted into the cracks and crevices of nearby buildings and fields. The spirit of the tree was moving on, but the vibration of all it had been is in the energy imprint of the area. The nature spirits knew that. They honored its energy as well as witnessed its transformation. I sent my respect as well. I thanked it for everything it was, grateful that I got to know it, and let it know that I would miss it. I wished it a good journey home. The sadness was there, but the honorable closure gave it a place to settle within me.
I’ve been in a large online study group with shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman all this year. She has been talking to us a lot about honorable closure as being a way to acknowledge loss and endings. By honoring death, we respect and revere life. It doesn’t mean we can’t grieve. It doesn't mean we don't feel the pain when someone we love dies. But for me there is a comfort in recognizing that the cycle and flow of energy does not disappear or end with the death of the third dimensional form.
This is also a way to honor other things in our lives that pass away; relationships, cars, jobs, ways of being in the world. We can honor them for the experiences; nourishment received, services rendered, and lessons learned, while deeply acknowledging what we are feeling. Simply thanking them for everything they have been and given helps create an ending for our own peace and fertile ground for fresh starts. Honorable closure is a vital part of energy work and shamanic practice. It helps us move forward, and it also sends a beautiful energy out into the world. And we need that now more than ever.
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindredspirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
My friend and herbalist mentor, Lawrence Birch is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.