The second stop for me was in the Blue Mountains with Glenys Livingstone at her lovely home and beautiful ritual space, Moon Court, where Glenys holds seasonal rituals as well as different presentations, sharing her moon temple with others of like mind. The topic of the three talks I gave throughout the month as a precursor to my workshops was “Midwifing Death: Revisioning Death and Dying.” The first Friday night talk was at Glenys’. Rather than focusing on the “how tos” and the “what to dos,” I preferred to invoke ancestral wisdom about how early people — from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, mostly from Old Europe — regarded life and death. I feel our current culture is so fear-based, that if we have some understanding of ancient earth-based and cosmos-based wisdom of our foremothers, perhaps we could be less afraid of death.
Even with “talks” I prefer to sit in circle if possible. At times this wasn’t conducive, so I just went with the flow. I based my offerings on my book, Midwifing Death: Returning to the Arms of the Ancient Mother. Though the book is several years old, I am still learning who the “Ancient Mother” is. I feel the revelation of her essence is a never-ending journey. I was thrilled to meet so many wonderful women already working in the field of conscious death and dying.
As a shamanic practitioner (I refer to myself as a “shemama”), my work is rooted in nature. As I have said, I do not immediately dive into a place of linear “how to do,” though I know many women are usually interested in these particulars, which subsequently find their relevance after a kind of immersion in excavating the realms of the Sacred She. Most of my work involves introducing women to the shamanic wisdom about life and death that I am in touch with, encouraging women to deep “soul diving” to find and heal what needs healing within themselves and to strengthen ancestral connections. Once this is experienced, the knowledge of how to midwife death emerges more organically through cellular re-membering. This is a different approach than studying in school or learning from books about doing (though these paths are of course helpful). My work with death is about being. I feel that for the last 5000 years our woman/womb wisdom has been layered over with concretized patriarchal lies and enforced beliefs; in order to really know what a soul midwife, a death midwife is, we need to reclaim the creative fires of our vital woman-being. We need to understand source from a totally female perspective, not externalizing her, but seeing that she is who we are and that her expression needs liberation from the lies and untruths about life and death that have shaped our being, myths and societies for millennia, particularly Euro-Western societies. So, for me, it is not an easy path, this path of teaching others to midwife death, because we must first become midwives of our own lives.
The weekend workshop I offered in three different cities was Mothering the Dying: Midwifing the Final Passage. I feel that herstorically, because women are the life-givers, we also tended the dying, which is a transition from one plane through a portal into another. In birth, women bring souls in from one dimension through our bodies into this dimension and in death women help souls depart into another. The word “transition” is used both in birth language and in death language. The difference between birth and death is that we come through our earth mother’s body in birth and in death we must learn to midwife ourselves out of our own body to return to her great womb of creation. In birth, the mother brings the new soul into the earth plane when she enters transition. In death, we say that people have made their own transition when they leave the earth plane.
I also offer a new cosmology that is much more female friendly than such things as the big bang. My power points introduce this cosmology in which I present about the electric universe, or YoniVerse, as a model of creation, with snake energy reflected in the plasMA state of matter (mother). I offer this context in which to learn because I feel that women must know our own roots — our truly radical (meaning “root”) wisdom. I feel that the linear approach to physics we have all been subjected to is a thoroughly male dominated world, and like everything else in patriarchy, the truth about the living YoniVerse has not been told. Gravity as the current standard model of how the cosmos works, as the main defining force in the cosmos, does not work for me, and I think it really doesn’t work for anyone else either. Not that gravity doesn’t exist. But when I learned that the electricity in the YoniVerse is a force billions of times stronger than gravity, I have been enthusiastically studying, and have had many epiphanies.
In the workshop at Moon Court, where twenty of us gathered in sacred space, we called in Medusa and invoked a re-storing/re-storying of her snake wisdom as an honoring of the YoniVersal creative forces. We placed Glenys’ beautiful Medusa plaque in the middle of our circle for our central altar. With imagery, journey, sharing, song, dance and prayer, we worked together to re-member our woman ways and how to apply them to the process of death and dying. Following my workshop, about a week and half later, women during another workshop found a diamond python curled up in a tree in Glenys’ backyard! Glenys hadn’t seen a snake there in fifteen years!
I also felt it was not an accidental blessing that Glenys introduced me to dragon fruit. I had never seen or had it before. Eating her dark red interior was like feeding my soul the blood of the snake/dragon mother that had been forbidden to me for millennia — Tiamat, Eve, Medusa — my ansisters were alive in that blood red gorgeous fruit! I felt I was eating the fruit of so-called “forbidden” knowledge, making it whole/holy again in my body and being. It was ecstatic! I understand why “mankind” has made up this concept of “forbidden” knowledge in patriarchal religions. Men, jealous of women’s core creative power and steeped in fear, wanted to own it for themselves, which is impossible. Men simply do no have wombs, vulvas or clitorises. I highly recommend eating dragon fruit and eating it in a ceremonial manner to help women reclaim our snake, dragon, womb and blood wisdom!
To be continued.
Read part 1.
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