Winter: Sacred Death & Rebirth
We are now fully immersed in the depths of Winter here in the Northeastern part of the US. For some, this can be either a joy or a burden, depending on perception. One might moan at the thought of bearing the cold and shoveling pounds of snow or looking through the eyes of Spirit, notice the profound beauty in each magical fairy-like snowflake.
Winter represents the metaphorical death of Nature. The songbirds that we associate with the livelihood of Spring are not found now. The bitter cold sends plants and animals into a state of dormancy, even hibernation.
If we look back through history, Winter was a time that challenged the survival of clans and tribes. Our Ancestors had to face their own fear of death and the possibility of not surviving the long, cold nights, the sharp drops in temperature, the challenging modes of travel through snow and ice and the scarcity of food sources.
In modern times, we also become less active, huddled in our warm homes. The Great Trees draw themselves inward just as we do. As living beings, we are wired to live and to avoid anything that threatens our sense of survival.
Having experienced several intense Near-Death Experiences, I can say that the mind/body is wired to fear death, and will naturally fight it. However, the spiritual process of death is often expansive, spacious and full of peace and not what we fear in our minds.
In my own experience, Beings full of Love met me and told me I had a choice. I was welcomed to leave my body, and I was given acknowledgment of the intense suffering I was physically, emotionally and spiritually experiencing. I was also informed that it was my choice to either "call it quits" with absolutely no judgment if I chose not to return to my body. I was also given a choice to return, if I so desired - again, with no judgment.
I felt immense compassion. I felt truly "seen," understood and deeply loved. In those moments, I distinctly heard a resonant voice that instructed me to either continue into the brilliant light I saw before me or to return to my body. I was gently and lovingly reminded that if I did return to my body, I would continue to suffer, but that it would not last forever - that I would find a way through it. At the time, I did not know how I could possibly find a way. However, I chose to return to my body, with a renewed sense of deep trust in my bones that I would not only survive, but be restored to full health.
When I replied to this resonant, kind voice that I had "too much to do" in this world, I was immediately thrown back into my body, and the overwhelming pain immediately returned. I gasped my first breath back and was quite in awe of what I had experienced. This was the first of several of these experiences. It took me a long time to process what had occurred.
After years of processing and working with Spirit to better own these otherworldly experiences, I can say that there is nothing to fear concerning death. Much like many of our fears, they shrink in intensity once confronted. It's important to acknowledge our fears, but equally important to not be overpowered by them.
These experiences have shifted my perception of the limitations we give ourselves and the paradigms we have been taught collectively. I have come to understand that we genuinely are co-creating with the Creator. Although we walk in this 3D world, we are also part of a multidimensional construct that many of us are not conscious of.
Many people through the centuries have experienced some sort of spiritual death, and that this is an opportunity to realign who we "think" we are, based on constructs that do not align with our Truth into a recalibration of something more.
To the shamanic practitioner, life is a never-ending series of initiations. I have come to accept this. There might be aspects of our lives that are not for our Highest, whether a job, a relationship, dysfunctional family members, certain "fair-weathered" friends or the way in which we live that Spirit sees as not beneficial for the Path in which the practitioner has been chosen to walk. Instead of fighting and clinging, I have learned the gentle nuances of understanding when it is time to accept and let go and when it is time for yet another rebirthing process. Like the ouroboros, we are always in a cycle of death and rebirth.
In the depths of Winter, it is Nature who reminds us that dormancy is sometimes the only way to recalibrate and rekindle our light and plant seeds for a New Day. Through mindfully allowing, the spiritual death process, although typically not easy, can be supported. Full acknowledgment of what does not serve and a complete focus of what your soul calls for and the Path that Spirit has in store for you is a co-creation. There is a delicate balance of allowing and focus.
Collectively, one might say we are going through a death process. We are consciously coming to an understanding of what is not working, which can be absolutely heartbreaking, waking up sleeping emotions and thoughts that are personal and challenging to bear. It is so important to process authentically. But, in my experience, if we wallow too much in what is not working and sit in our individual and collective shadow, we will remain there. It is the rising up of new visions and dreaming up the world we wish to live in that are prayers that the Creator will hear.
Acknowledge the necessary deaths, the suffering, and the unfortunate current occurrences, but keep your eyes on the Light. What is the Light within you? What dreams and hopes does your soul hold? That is why you are here. To give birth to these dreams. It cannot happen by being sucked into the darkness of what you fear, but rather in what Light you are willing to plant for the Spring.