(Essay 3) I Must Call Her Awe/stralia By Leslene della-Madre

After a welcoming stay with Glenys, and being able to visit sacred places in the Blue Mountains with her like “The Three Sisters” in what I saw as Awe/stralia’s version of the Grand Canyon, I traveled on to Brisbane to Susan’s lovely home in the bush. The birds, landscape and lushness all nourished my soul! The fact that Awe/stralia’s population is only 22 million people invites one into a spacious, grounded and heart-warming experience of the land. I felt this everywhere I went. I went barefoot as often as I could. (In fact, when I first arrived at Jane’s in the beginning of my adventure, I immediately removed my shoes and grounded into the earth. I believe it is this practice of “Earthing” that kept me from being jet-lagged. I never experienced it after a fifteen-hour plane trip and travel from the past to the future through a time change. Nor did I experience it upon my return.) I spent another lovely time gathering with kindred sisters in the Friday night talk and workshop.

The workshop was particularly a-mazing because a beautiful Sri Lankan woman, a cancer survivor, brought the ashes of her recently deceased sister who also suffered from cancer and placed her ashes on our altar. It was one of those things that could not have been put in a schedule. It was the first time she had brought out her sister’s ashes in the presence of others beyond her family, blessing all of us with her sacred presence. With her ashes on our altar we had twelve women in physical form and one in spirit — a perfect circle of thirteen. We opened our circle sharing a grieving process with her that I felt was held by the ancestors. We bonded immediately in sacred sisterhood — as the circle of women acting as shaman. This particular workshop allowed some women, who had been unsure about coming due to feeling not quite ready because of recent transitions of loved ones in their lives, to feel held by the collective of women and to be witnessed in safe loving space. This is the tribal way of women I feel we are all longing for. Women just know how to love each other. And allow what needs to emerge in the moment. This is the experience that I like to honor as being dreamed together where any agendas of doing are surrendered.

Mothering the Dying workshop, Brisbane
Mothering the Dying workshop, Brisbane

Again we honored Medusa. Many women fear snakes. I feel this fear stems from fearing our own exquisite creative power, being blamed for the sin of all “mankind” and being told that our bodies are evil — that we are the evil seductresses of men whose crimes are punishable by death. I think it is imperative that women transform these internalized beliefs, especially if we are to show others how to die. In sacred dance, we reconnected her head to the body of woman and took back our stolen and cut-off power that patriarchy has mythologized as the power of “man.” I feel this act restores a deep, long hidden power for women, especially since the snake and Medusa have been demonized in patriarchy. Giving women permission to reclaim this raw, primal creative power, especially when understood from the view of electric YoniVerse cosmology, which I believe is at the heart of Mago, is deeply healing on many levels. I feel that retrieving this power is essential to the midwifing of life and death, because we can source an intact, all-female wisdom from a “patriarchal-free zone,” bringing transformation rooted in beauty and ecstasy — the authentic expression of women’s being.

Revisioning Death and Dying talk, Melbourne
Revisioning Death and Dying talk, Melbourne

From Susan’s graciousness and generosity, I traveled to another home of a lovely sister in Melbourne. Brooke’s open arms made me feel so nurtured and comfortable!  Melinda was my ever attentive “road priestess” and melissae as she oversaw my comings and goings and made sure all was well! She met me at the airport once again and delivered me to Brooke’s home out in the bush of Melbourne. Brisbane had been warm and sunny. Melbourne had the coolness of autumn and the coming of winter in the air. I was so excited to see a “mob” of kangaroos in a field by the roadside on our drive! My beautiful cottage had a wood stove, brick floors and a lovely kitchenette — perfect for the arrival of my youngest daughter to join me for a few days! The kindness of Brooke and her family made our stay there a total joy! We were both so grateful to have had the opportunity to stay with a family who lives nearly off the grid. Very inspiring!! I was reminded of my days of living on The Farm in Tennessee where our lives revolved around chopping wood and carrying water and where my daughters were born some thirty years ago. We lived without running water and electricity and many of us gave birth by the light of kerosene lamps (though we did have very good medical backup). I was happy to enjoy the wood stove in the cottage, being close to the elements! I thrive in mystery in the wildness of nature. To me, it is the “wild zone” of the wild Mother.

In Melbourne we hosted over eighty women for the Friday night talk! It was so exciting and such a pleasure to be with so many interested and awesome women! And to have my daughter with me. The astrology for that time in Melbourne was incredible. While I felt guided by the ancestors for my entire journey, the feeling of their presence was so deeply profound for me on the final leg of the tour. I felt their orchestration at the timing of our events in Melbourne because not one of us felt we could have ever done it ourselves! Here is an excerpt for what was happening in the skies at that time:

“On April 25th (2013), the Highly Charged Full Moon / Lunar Eclipse will occur in Scorpio at 3:57 pm EDT. This will initiate a release of what’s tightly wound up as a seed of potential. Eclipses are known for surprising or shocking events. What’s usually kept under wraps is made visible — and the truth is revealed. Scorpio’s gift is penetrating to what’s locked up, denied or in the shadows. There can be a chain reaction of healing or destruction at this eclipse. Keep in mind it’s just the kick off eclipse, the first of three powerful eclipses in a row. The next two will occur on May 9th and May 25th… so the effects are felt into May and beyond. Remember, energy transforms. For what appears to be a loss or leaving your life, there will be something new being born or emerging.”[1]

 

And my moon is in Scorpio! I felt I was right in the flow! The energy had been building all month and culminated in a deep sharing at the last workshop where I had the honor of meeting more beautiful awesome sisters! We were a circle of twenty-six creating sacred space yet again! Another opportunity to be met with the wisdom of the moment presented itself as a second woman who had just lost her sister a few days prior had the courage to sit with her pierced heart in the presence of others whom she did not know. Once again we opened our circle with a collective grief ritual — the circle of women acting as shaman and holding her in her pain. She was held the whole weekend because she brought her authenticity to all of us and allowed us to be there with her. This is not an easy thing to do. Women have suffered so much in patriarchy that our trust with one another has been eroded. Even though most of us did not know one another, as women coming together in sacred space and trusting the process, we could open to that ancient knowing and allow ourselves to be held together by the ancestors.

Mothering the Dying workshop, Melbourne
Mothering the Dying workshop, Melbourne

At one point in the workshop we were talking about the different faces of death. We collectively read from the introduction by Monica Sjoo in my book — going around the circle with a woman reading a paragraph followed by another woman until we completed it. Monica’s story is particularly poignant. She described her experience as a mother who endured the deaths of two of her three children. It is both a heartbreaking and inspiring story. One woman in the circle had experienced the loss of two children and shared her experience with us. I shared that prior to my coming to Australia a woman I knew in my community had just lost her son to murder. He was only twenty-four. As I spoke, I said that I had been taught that when our children precede us in death, many times it is because they have come here to teach something specific. Just then a beautiful chime rang out and punctuated the end of my sentence. I assumed it was from a cell phone, but it didn’t really matter where it came from. It was an audible affirmation of the truth, witnessed by everyone at once. The room filled with the crystalline and vital clarity that synchronicity brings in the moment, and we felt blessed.

Each workshop had its own unfolding. Once again we honored Medusa and with sacred theater we brought her to restoration. With twenty-six women spontaneously creating together, we were all deeply touched and healed by one another.  Some may wonder what this has to do with midwifing the dying. Or what a power point on what I call sacred cosmology might have to do with helping those in their final passage? Because I feel all things and all beings are connected in a vast web of living, pulsating electric current — from the atomic to the galactic, I feel that changing the violent mythologies that have shaped all of us allow us to access different and new wells of healing that are literally sourced in stellar beauty. When we can do this, our DNA is reborn. The midwifing of death takes place on cellular levels that we may bring it forward to the bedside of the dying. The death of the old myths and all of their constrictions gives birth to ecstatic awakening. This gives rise to a presence we may not have ever felt before. It gives rise to a re-membrance of the sacred domain of women, of our truth, and gives us permission to be present in a way that perhaps we have been afraid to be.

Restorying Medusa, Mother the Dying, Melbourne
Restorying Medusa, Mother the Dying, Melbourne

I feel we must know ourselves first in our bodies in order to give. Many of us think we are giving when we actually are not because our giving is not based in our body wisdom. I feel when we are truly present in the moment, we will know what to do — both in life and in death. This is why it is important to me to be able to allow what needs to be present in the living energy of any offering I make. I think it is absolutely necessary for anyone who wishes to work with death to work with their own — to develop a daily awareness of the fragility of life and the impermanence of it all — to develop an innerstanding of one’s own mortality, what this means, and what contemplating one’s own death brings up. We must know what it means to die while living.  We must learn the deep mystery that life and death are not opposites — that they are part of the great eternal cycle of what the Dreamtime in Awe/stralia has held for her indigenous for millennia.  Euro-Western culture is so fragmented and shattered that we don’t have the intact shamanic teachings of life and death. The psychic excavation we must do to relearn requires deep commitment and a deep sense of purpose. And we must be bold in creating new myths that reflect beauty and love.

To be  continued.

Read part 1 and part 2.


[1] Psychic Astrologer, Helane Lipson

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Glenys Livingstone
Guest
yes Leslene: “We must know what it means to die while living. We must learn the deep mystery that life and death are not opposites — that they are part of the great eternal cycle…” It seems the deaths we experience while living (old selves and relationships changing as well as people passing) are the practice of letting go. I have a student in Memphis starting to prepare for Lammas ceremony now – I am enjoying that energy, of sharing with her the Season of going into the Dark … though we here are just moving into the Light, and… Read more »
Leslene
Guest

Thank you, Gleny, for your added insight!

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