Druidry & death

In the Druid tradition, each of the great “rites of passage” is marked in the calendar by one of the fire-festivals: death, or Parting, is marked by Samhuinn, 31 October to 2 November, when the old Celtic year ends and there are three days of No-Time before the new year begins. Birth, and consequently Naming, is marked by Imbolc on 1/2 February—the time when the snowdrops appear and we can sense the first stirrings of spring. Mating, the Great Rite of making love, is marked by Bealteinne on 1 May, when the forces of spring are in full flood. Marriage, the formal recognition of having found a long term partner after the explorations of the spring time of one's life, is marked by Lughnasadh on 1 August. This forum is for discussing the ceremonies and customs associated with each festival and for all of the rites of passage in our lives.
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Twig
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Druidry & death

Postby Twig » 09 Jul 2013, 07:10

Since my mother died last year, I haven't been able to get very grounded at all. I've dropped my studies altogether. I do have to drive out of town to care for my dad now, so that is uprooting as well. But I am having a bad time putting together my beliefs about dying. Inimate death has visited me late in my life, so I am ill-prepared.

My mother was a Christian and believed the whole "see-you-on-the-other-side" theory. My dad believes that when you die, you're gone. Period. I thought I had my Death Ducks all in a row until I actually had to experience it. The old Christian beliefs are very comforting, but I left that all behind some time ago. Reincarnation is the Druid belief, and I had come to believe in it long before I ever joined OBOD.

But I don't find it very comforting. Like an abandoned child, I cry aloud, "Where are you, Mother?" Is she somewhere around me as an essence of some sort? Is she in another dimension, doing her own reincarnation thing? Did she feel me stroking her face when she was lying in the ICU, her brain destroyed by four strokes? Will I ever "see" her again? What are the Druid answers to these questions?
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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Aphritha » 09 Jul 2013, 16:49

I'm very sorry for the passing of your mother. I don't think anyone can really be 'prepared' for a close death like that, even when we think we are.
I have no set in stone answers for you on the afterlife; I don't think anyone does. Its one of those things you don't know for sure until you get there. I've always felt that a soul doesn't immediately reincarnate, but rather takes time to rest and heal, so the idea of 'meeting up on the other side' doesn't seem absurd. I've always read that those close to one another will chose to reincarnate together again, in differing roles, waiting for each other to be ready. I wouldn't dismiss the idea of her being there, waiting to guide you when its your time.


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Re: Druidry & death

Postby shirley mclaren » 09 Jul 2013, 17:54

Twig, my mum died. In 2002 and there is rarely a day goes by when I don't think of her. I think that death is a gateway to another kind of existence, more spiritual than human.
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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Twig » 10 Jul 2013, 07:26

Thank you for your replies, Aphritha & Shirley. It's encouraging to think that my mother's soul might be resting & healing. Do you think that maybe a soul hangs out in this resting place until the whole family gets there? I keep wondering if Mother has all the dogs with her!

I know there are no answers; I seem to be searching for some "glue" to cobble my beliefs together in some way that will comfort me. Thinking of death as a gateway to some other type of existence would mean that life does go on in some way, but are our loved ones still aware of us still here on Earth? I believe they exist in some type of spiritual "form," but would that mean that they're off in another dimension which doesn't include a gateway to us living in this dimension?

I know there are people who believe that the veil is thin between the living & the dead, that they're right here with us. That's very comforting, but how can one know this is true? There are psychics who can "see" loved ones who have crossed over. Are they making that up?
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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Hennie » 10 Jul 2013, 13:05

No, Twig, I don't think they are making that up. I have had the experience of 'seeing' a dead person several times. It was true enough for me, certainly my grandfather stating that he was 'looking after all of his descendents' . However real this was, it is still possible that I made these things up, for I would like so very much for these things to be real.

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Re: Druidry & death

Postby feranaja » 10 Jul 2013, 15:13

Twig,
Let me first say, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Having dealt with tragic death myself, and asked myself all these questions, I can only say that the journey through the depths of loss were one of the most important spiritual experiences of my life.
I had a hard time surviving the untimely death of my younger brother, at the pinnacle of his life, with a daughter who adored him, and a career he had worked so very hard to achieve. I lost my only close family member, someone with whom I shared an incredibly deep spiritual bond. I was devastated. Nine years alter I am only now able to start writing about it (actually, since starting the bardic work a month ago).

What we perceive and understand about death is so personal. I have a firm belief that it's possible that many things can happen, not one hard and fast rule. One deeply chilling memory for me after John died, was a story my sister in law told me about two weeks later. She had been walking with her daughter (who would have been 5 back then) through an area they all used to go to together, when Robin, my nice, suddenly said "Mom! Daddy's here, can't you feel Daddy?"

My sister in law is not a spiritually-inclined woman, but she said she felt something profound at that moment. She asked Robin where Daddy was, and the little girl - who was holding her mother's hand, absolutely beamed up at her and replied "He's right HERE, he's swirling around in between our hands".

My SIL was very affected by what she described as an uncanny moment of opening, something in her felt it as well,and she called me up to ask about/discuss it.
I don't have answers, but I affirm the possibility of other levels of existence. Too many experiences in my personal realm not to know in my bones that there is more than what we perceive with our regular senses.

I read widely after I lost John, but the books that helped me most on a spiritual level were John O'Donohue's. "May you know that absence is full of tender presence, and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten"...both Anam Cara and Eternal Echoes brought me to a place of understanding time, death, love and loss much more deeply than I previously had. And I know, without question or hesitation, that not only my brother but one of my dogs, has reached out to me from across the Veil. Does this mean they don't reincarnate? I am sure, too, that I've witnessed old souls in new bodies; I have powerful memories of my own life in WWII France.
There's a reason these are called Mysteries, and all I can do aside from sharing a bit of my own viewpoint, is wish you blessings and peace on your own passage through it all.

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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Aphritha » 10 Jul 2013, 16:53

Do you think that maybe a soul hangs out in this resting place until the whole family gets there? I keep wondering if Mother has all the dogs with her!
I do believe this. I believe my grandfather is waiting for my grandmother on the other side; I can't see him going on without her. My youngest sister has had dreams of him correcting her on her behavior(which at those times, really needed correcting), though she'd never met him. I think he's watching over us all, but mainly, I think he's waiting for her. I think those with a special bond wait, so they can decide what to do next time! I had a cat in my younger years I was very close to, who still guides me in dreams, warning me of changes before they occur(both good and bad). I am in for trouble if she isn't waiting to guide me; I am expecting it so much I can't see myself "traveling for the light" without her being there to pick me up!
There is no way to tell what's going to happen, it all boils down to beliefs. This is what I believe. Its not something I'm spouting forward to sound positive, but I believe it as strongly as I believe the car is parked in the driveway, and the laundry clutters the floor. Someone can argue with me about it if they wish, but it won't change my beliefs.
A book that's done me a great deal of healing through the years is What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. It deals with the story of a man who dies, his travel into the next world, and his relationship with his family afterwards. The book is a work of fiction, but the contents were researched by the author to try to put together a story of what is probable to happen when we leave this plane. I'd highly recommend it, though it'll be a tear-jerker. There's also a movie, but in this case I'd have to recommend the book, as there's so much more information and detail...


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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Whitemane » 10 Jul 2013, 20:23

Those who have gone before us still live within us. Their lives have become part of ours and as long as we celebrate and seek to perpetuate those lives by acting in the way that they raised us to, or perhaps they way wanted to live with us, they will live.

The death of a loved one hurts, and we can't pretend otherwise. Mourning is right and proper, and should be observed in full and appropriate measure. That does not mean that we should consider our own lives over when theirs are over (and how close have I been to thinking that). It means that in some ways, our lives have just begun, because we have been given the responsibility of making sure that their lives were meaningful by making our own lives meaningful.
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All love surround you,
And the pure light within you,
Guide your way on.

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Re: Druidry & death

Postby skydove » 10 Jul 2013, 22:41

So sorry for your loss Twig. My mother died 23 years ago and once told us before she died that if it were at all possible she would come back to us. She had such a strength of will and so much love for us that I know if it were possible she would have done. Was it my imagination or my need that I would see her in a butterfly by the door or looking out at the stars or walking through the woods, it is a heart to heart experience that I know she remains deep in my centre, that part of her is within me still. However, mainly I like to know her spirit is roaming free, painless, unbound by her body able to experience a blissful state beyond human life where the beauty of her soul is matched by the beauty of being part of everything, that she has returned to the home we all return to.
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Re: Druidry & death

Postby Twig » 12 Jul 2013, 08:36

All of these replies are so thoughtful & generous. Each one I read helps me not only with learning, but also with not feeling so alone with the search & the grief. Each is also uplifting in its own way.

I do experience the relief that my motherr is no longer suffering. She suffered for several years without anyone knowing. (She had what we call Texas Woman Syndrome: Never, ever complain about anything, especially if it's about your health.) But her last several days were gruesome, and I am happy that she no longer has to go through that. And I do think that she is "somewhere;" I don't think she's gone. Like Hennie, I believe that there are those with the gift of being able to somehow connect with others who have passed on. I would so like to talk to someone like that.

I have friends like skydove, who see their mothers in butterflies, birds, and ladybugs. Maybe that's need or imagination, but I wonder if defining it even matters? Again, it just seems to all come down to what one believes, and my beliefs seem to be all over the map. Is belief a fluid thing, changing to meet one's expectations, to help one cope? I would like to say, "I believe X." But I haven't worked it all out yet. This is obvious by my 4,000+ posts, my 66 years, and (still) my Bard grade! I would like to have Aphritha's certainty, the same as my friend who clearly smelled roses when her mother died and knows without a doubt that her father was there waiting for her mother with her favorite flowers. (Thanks for the book recommendation, Aphritha. I knew about the movie, but not the book. Sounds like I need to read it).

feranaja's neice proves that children are so much more aware than we adults are. What a great story, but what a brutal experience to lose your brother. That is a truly heart-breaking story, and I thank you so much for sharing it with us. Knowing that you acknowledge other levels of experience makes me aware of my friends who also experience this. That so many people close to me are affected by these experiences certainly gives me reasons to believe. I sometimes feel like I'm not "evolved" enough to be aware of other kinds of presences, that I haven't grown enough yet. I'd better get with the program as time is running out! (Oh, and I love John O'Donohue. Best I read him again.)

Yes, feranaga, "mysteries" they all are. I need to make peace with them. Death is the Big One, the one that brings us to our knees. As the song says, "No matter how we struggle and strive/We'll never get out of this world alive." Somehow, until it happens in your life, you have no idea how you're going to react. Thanks for your posts, you guys. Y'all are the best.
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

"It takes courage to live ordinary lives." -- Connie Schultz (newspaper columnist)

:awen: :terra: :seasons:

http://www.elephants.com


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