Marnie wanted to find peace with the miscarriages, and to clear the family field of any blockages they may have created. She and her husband wanted a clean, clear, welcoming space into which to invite another child.
There’s something deeply cathartic about passing the shovel from hand to hand, and carving out a spot for the one we love.
We’ve been vigiling with him since mid afternoon. All six of us are gathered around his bed, singing, crying, telling stories, chatting, and holding his hand.
I worked with a couple who were choosing to terminate a pregnancy, and we held a series of rituals to help everyone involved get through it with as much love and grace as possible.
The brother had never been ritually conveyed to the Village of the Ancestors, and the sister hadn’t been helped to reconfigure their bond so she could relate to him as an ancestor, rather than a living sibling.
They knew the death was coming, but that didn’t prevent the shock and confusion they felt. The ritual brought loving structure to a situation in which the family felt totally unmoored.
Instead of standing around awkwardly, drinking bad coffee, and trying to figure out how to act with a dead body in the room, the ritual gave them a way to move their grief.
When Annie was three, her mother and sister died together in childbirth. Fifty years later, the family system was still out of balance and Annie still struggled with her grief.
After his stroke, I held a series of rituals to help my Dad find peace with what had happened, and to bring the larger family and community system back into balance.
We never left Richard that night. About two in the morning, we bathed and dressed his body. It was a beautiful, beautiful night. There was a chorus of frogs coming through the window, and moonlight.