Grieving Rituals


#21

tracy-
in your research have you run across martin prechtel’s grief and praise cd (scroll down)?.


#22

I went through a period of time when my son saw me cry A LOT, and it felt so good to have company/witness, even a very very small child. He doesn’t really remember it, but at the time, I remember it feeling like a healthy expression from the spectrum of emotions for him to experience with me.

I think I know what you mean about squashing it so you can do what you gotta do, though. I got into a car accident once, crying (while driving) over the death of a loved one.

[quote=“lahermite, post:20, topic:716”]i’m studying thanatology a little and death practices and rites have changed so drastically over the millenia. the 20th century has really messed it all up! everything is institutionalized now, hidden, machinery-fied. we’re scared of death. it’s become unnatural. so, like mostly everything else in the 20th century, it’s all fucked up haha.

we cremated my husband and scattered his ashes onto the beach and into the ocean. there is no marker for him. it was done originally by accident, but the more i study death, the deeper i journey into the spirit realms, the more i think maybe that’s the way it should be. we don’t put markers up for trees or rocks or mountains or lions or… [/quote]

yes, yes, yes! I remember as a child, the concept of consecrated ground struck me as odd. Graveyard with markers, as if that place could only ever have one meaning, ever again, and that the pile of bones underneath (and the bones’ family, i guess) could own that meaning. . . regardless of the intangible legacies that person may have left. seems a little absurd.

also, I read recently the embalming ingredients–one of those FD&C red dyes (ok, first i laugh that we certify as “non-toxic” dyes for use in someone already dead) helps bring back the pinkness to the skin of real, oxygenated blood and life force coursing through capillaries! a giant raft of denial. i’ve seen the results, and i just knew my friend SO did not reside in there any more.

another thread has touched on some of this. . . June’s project really heartens me.

also, i picked up a magazine recently and saw a bunch of photos from this project–The Travelers. weird.

death is change is life. as civilization crashes and we move to a more natural way of existing again, i hope to see a more natural relationship with death occuring.

Me too. :slight_smile: :’(


#23

My father died seven years ago (Wow can it really have been that long? I still think of him every day and when something interesting happens, I imagine talking to him about it) and I don’t think about death the same way that I did then.

I remember the moment he died, I no longer wanted to touch his body;
the thought of touching a corpse disgusted me. I imagined his “real” self floating above us in the room watching. Now I prefer Whitman’s idea of death (I don’t have it in front of me, so I’m paraphrasing here), " There is really no death, and if there is, it brings forth life instead of waiting at the end to arrest it." Or at the end of The Golden Compass trilogy, where people’s souls disintegrate back into Dust after death instead of staying trapped on some other plane of existence.

My father wanted to be cremated, but my grandmother wanted him buried in his hometown next to my grandfather and where she would someday lie. We acceded to her wishes. She paid for the funeral, the coffin, and everything. I never could have, since I was completely broke at the time. The funeral industry really takes grieving relatives for a ride.

I thought he looked awful, lying there in the coffin. He did not look like himself at all. The people who prepared his body did not love him or even know him. We feel so uncomfortable about death in our culture, that we pay someone else to take care of everything for us. I did not wash my father’s body after he died. I did not carefully dress him in his best clothes. I did not kiss him goodbye. I did not help dig his grave or fill it back in. I did not gather wood for a funeral pyre. At the time, I could not have done any of those things.

I grieve for that loss almost as much as I grieve for his self. Perhaps part of the reason our culture hates death so much is that by outsourcing all of those things, we never got a proper sense of closure. Death is something foreign that happens in hospitals and funeral homes, not an ordinary, everyday matter.


#24

Hey Willem the link to Martin Prechtel’s cd put me at a funny looking clock.I like the part in Secrets of the Talking Jaguar when someone dies and the whole village parades the body through the streets , kinda like a party. I have never viewed death as such a bad thing just part of this life.I would like for my passing to bring a party rather than a typical American funeral.


#25

ooooops. i found that clock and saved the link because it made me laugh to see the words “prechtel beer and ale - good friends, good times” on a bar clock. the corrected link:

http://floweringmountain.com/CATALOG.html


#26

[quote=“starfish, post:23, topic:716”]My father died seven years ago (Wow can it really have been that long? I still think of him every day and when something interesting happens, I imagine talking to him about it) and I don’t think about death the same way that I did then.

I remember the moment he died, I no longer wanted to touch his body;
the thought of touching a corpse disgusted me. I imagined his “real” self floating above us in the room watching. Now I prefer Whitman’s idea of death (I don’t have it in front of me, so I’m paraphrasing here), " There is really no death, and if there is, it brings forth life instead of waiting at the end to arrest it." Or at the end of The Golden Compass trilogy, where people’s souls disintegrate back into Dust after death instead of staying trapped on some other plane of existence.

My father wanted to be cremated, but my grandmother wanted him buried in his hometown next to my grandfather and where she would someday lie. We acceded to her wishes. She paid for the funeral, the coffin, and everything. I never could have, since I was completely broke at the time. The funeral industry really takes grieving relatives for a ride.

I thought he looked awful, lying there in the coffin. He did not look like himself at all. The people who prepared his body did not love him or even know him. We feel so uncomfortable about death in our culture, that we pay someone else to take care of everything for us. I did not wash my father’s body after he died. I did not carefully dress him in his best clothes. I did not kiss him goodbye. I did not help dig his grave or fill it back in. I did not gather wood for a funeral pyre. At the time, I could not have done any of those things.

I grieve for that loss almost as much as I grieve for his self. Perhaps part of the reason our culture hates death so much is that by outsourcing all of those things, we never got a proper sense of closure. Death is something foreign that happens in hospitals and funeral homes, not an ordinary, everyday matter.[/quote]

Reading that brought instant tears to my eyes. The final death dance has become a spectacle in which we’ve become audience. We NEED to participate fully in the life cycles of our beloved into and beyond death. I hope i will find the courage and wisdom to make that possible when my time has come to take those responsibilities.

Take Care


#27

(and i know that this requires deep healing work because we have been very wounded.) -Patricdraper.

Speaking of being wounded and needing deep healing, I want to present the four agreements.
1: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD.
Speak with integrity.Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the (spoken) word to speak against yourself or to gossip about
others.
Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

                2: DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of
their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others,you wont be the 
victim of needless suffering.

                3: DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings,
sadness,and drama. With just this one agreement,you can completely 
transform your life.

                4: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different
 when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
Under any circumstance,simply do your best,and you will avoid self-judgment,
self abuse,and regret.

These agreements are from the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec wisdom wisdom book, called The four agreements.
This book is helping me see my unhealthy patterns that I have developed since a child, This helps explain in depth what hellish habits we develop partly as a result of a non continuum childhood, creating a living hell for ourselves, by lying to ourselves.
It is a wonderful easy to read book. We can all learn to live love, and live our lives in heaven.
-ofthewood


#28

I was at a funeral today for a friend of mine. He was in his late forties, not even as old as me. He was a real bush man. He always got lots of huckleberries and wild asparagus and saskatoons. He grew a big garden. He canned and made lots of pickles. He hunted and fished, he always got a moose and a couple of deer every year. He was generous. He was always helping someone, dropping off food from his garden, meat from his freezer, firewood for people.
He helped the old folks, he would take old timers out hunting and fishing so they could remember how it was when they were younger. He was one of those people that did so much you would think there must have been three of him to be able to do all that.
He was a pretty grizzly character. Usually dirty from work. Cracked, calloused hands with dirt permanently in the cracks of his skin. Always about four days worth of beard and uncombed hair that kind of stuck out all over the place. A lot of people would think he was pretty scary.

He cut and sold firewood for a living. He was always up and out in the bush by first light. He got killed last week cutting wood. He was cutting a snag and the top broke out as the tree was falling. It came straight down on him and killed him.

There was probably 500 people at his funeral. It’s amazing to think of how many people he touched and helped out in little ways. So many people got up and told about him stopping by with a bag of moose meat or a couple of frozen salmon, or a box of vegies from his garden, or coming home to a pile of wood in their driveway. The funeral was beautiful, all those people, families, young moms with babies, lots of elders who had to be helped to walk. Literally hundreds of people who will miss him.

He wasn’t big on philosophy, not much for politics either. He just lived the best way he knew how. No judgement of people. He’d been through plenty himself. I’m so glad to have known him I wish I could have spent more time with him.


#29

good topic. i feel that i have gone through what i have heard Jon Young call the wall of grief(just coming out of in the last few months). only i never really grieved (maybe that’s why it took so dang long to get trough). For me it was going through the rewilding process from 19 to 28. Then at 28 i started going the other way wild to domestic. I could feel vital parts of wildness being smothered. I didn’t have a clue on how to raise 2 teens and live wild. i can remember going to work and crying on the inside.
I could literally feel the western system inside my body attacking the wildness.
I was one of those that didnt cry after the age of 15 or so. so i sure wasnt going to show this western system my weakness.
anyway im 37 now and can look at rewilding again without the terrible pain of lose i have felt for so long every time i revisited wildness. I realy hurt when i would go outside and feel a little wildness and be reminded of it.
i think some kinda ritual or something would have helped me faster. The problem is i am really shy and for a shy person that already doesnt like to be looked at to be the center of some ritual i wouldnt have let it happen anyway. dang ran outta time to write. so i cant edit this hope it isnt to choppy writing
Garth


#30

Yah, ritual requires trust, esp grieving rituals, so any rituals to help someone through rewilding require a community of rewilders, or at least, a community committed to helping you, as a member. One problem I’ve seen over & over is that we’re all still very much on the bleeding edge, most of us don’t have a trustworthy community to develop a ritual like that.

Having said that, I can say from experience that solo rituals may help, but ymmv.


#31

Woah. I must have missed that “Keening” thing. That’s friggin rad. I’ve been toying in my mind with the idea of doing a grieving ritual with some friends. I’d like to read a bit more about it and maybe attend a couple before doing one myself. I have a harder and harder time opening up with people these days. Maybe because all of the groups are compartmentalized. It’s like, Primitive skills friends over there, spiritual friends over here, family up there, grief ritual strangers over there… Why can’t there be some cohesiveness between the whole? Isn’t that real rewilding? Real relationships? Argh!


#32

Sounds like a good man, may he be in peace.


#33

My friend Emily (AKA Penny Scout) used to talk about healing rituals she had read about in which people dug holes and threw up into them.

So lately… I’ve been have a craving (for lack of a better term?) to do this. Like… When I think about it. I imagine digging the hole. What it will represent. I feel my body giving into it and emptying my grief into it. I keep thinking about it. Martin Prechtel talks about weeping into a hole. I think I may make time for it and try it out. I’ll get back to you on what happens.

Anyone else have a ritual like this they think about? One that they feel drawn to in a bizarre kind of way?


#34

Peter, I’m curious whether you’ve tried weeping into a hole.


#35

God I haven’t yet. I really want to. But there is still a fear of it being weird or people watching. I may go on a solo trek to the molalla corridor or Joyce lake and do it when I know there will be no one but the trees and bears watching me. :slight_smile:


#36

I gave it a go last night in my front garden. It felt good, not weird, and my cat stood there alongside me, which was sweet. So now I have a little crying spot. (Though honestly more snot than tears ended up in the hole…)


#37

There have only been a few times in my adult life that Grief has became so utterly uncontainable that I have allowed myself to howl or keen a bit of it out, before sucking all the emotion back inside of me for fear of being heard. It would be nice to be able to release it freely sometime. A secluded hole sounds like a good place, but even a sound-proof room would be handy sometimes.


#38

In Fanny and Alexander (probably my favorite film ever, and I mean the full-length mini-series version) there’s a short grieving scene. The two children, whose father has just died, wake up to the sound of howling, creep through the dark, and find their mother screaming, alone, and pacing by the father’s body. Screaming seems like a natural cleansing mechanism. Too bad it freaks people out.


#39

People in this culture are so used to compressing grief deep inside themselves, or denying it completely. Hearing anyone else releasing their grief reminds people of their own, and the desperate need for us all to release it, even if unwilling to do so. But this seldom comes up, as this very culture is designed specifically to bury and ignore grief, or desensitize us thoroughly. But I think much of the anger and violence we see around us has its root in desensitization and unprocessed grief.


#40

Hey Mindy,

That’s awesome you gave it a go! :smiley:

You’ve inspired me. I’m going to try it this week!

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is what I’m calling “Grief Triggers.” Things I intentionally do to trigger tears. I have a few triggers that I pull out when I need a little extra push, or to just make myself cry for no real reason other than I’m craving it. One is the Last of the Mohicans violin song. That movie is so epically tragic, and the music is so epically tragic, that every time it triggers me to weep.

[html][/html]

Another one is the Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby. If you haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth, you should immediately watch it. (BUT NOT WITH CHILDREN). It is basically my favorite movie and is both a tragedy and simultaneously a story of redemption and reconnection to the spirit world. It’s really hard to explain. Best. Movie. Ever. I saw it in the theater and I was paralyzed with tears and sat their for 15 minutes crying until the turned the lights on and made me leave. lol. It’s hard to explain because the tears are both grief and praise. Happy and sad. It’s the best marriage of those feelings I’ve ever had. I’m tearing up just writing this thinking about it…

[html][/html]

Another cheesy one that I have from my youth is an… Enya song. haha. It’s called Boadicea. I had no idea who or what Boadicea was until recently when I watched the BBC Barbarians about the Celts. She was the leader of a Welsh resistance against the Roman Legions who conquered what is now Wales. The Romans raped her daughters and made her watch. So she retaliated and sacked London. Eventually, the Romans recovered and murdered her and destroyed her army. When I learned this, and that this sorrowful tune is named after her, it makes the song that much more powerful of a trigger for me.

[html][/html]

These are a couple of mine that I use when I need some extra push, or when I want to feel that sorrow.

Does anyone else have any grief triggers? What are they? Songs? Thoughts? Quotes?