D is for Death: Recipes, Remedies, Rituals and Resources for Dealing with Death

Welcome to the Alphabet series! Where we tackle a letter of the alphabet and connect that letter with a physical, emotional and/or spiritual ailment that impacts us individually and as a community. We gather as many recipes, rituals, remedies and resources as we can to support the healing of these ailments.  This is not by any means a comprehensive list, but a working list of possible things that can reinforce and engage healing. Please be sure to consult your doctor/practitioner/spiritual guide/intuition before using any of these therapies. We are all different and respond uniquely to various healing methods. Its important to only use what is meant for you specifically.  We started of the series with A is for Anger, followed by B is for Burnout and C is for Conflict.  Lets continue with the letter D.

“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path…exactly where you are meant to be right now…And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love”
~ Caroline Adams

My second biggest fear in life used to be dying, followed by my first, dying alone. Dying felt final and a permanent conclusion to life I wanted to continue much longer than death had in mind. Inevitably, regardless of my fear,  death presented itself, countless times, in many different ways and I was always left traumatized,shaken, stunned, finding it hard to pick up the pieces and move on with life. Death, as certain as gravity, shook me deep, threatening to unravel the roots that seemingly held me safely in place. My fear of death touched all of its many forms. Death of a loved one, death of a relationship, death of a job, death of a dream, death of my spirit, death of my favorite restaurant. You name it, if death touched it, I was a wreck. My lack of awareness of the nature and sacred role of death left me helpless, bound to a debilitating fear that shut me out of the valuable lessons that death offered to me.

The courage to deal with my fear grew when I began to understand the cycles and seasons of life and the important and necessary place death held in our continued growth and connection to ourselves, each other ,our his/herstory and the physical and spiritual realms of our world. I recognized that I had very clear expectations around death and what it meant in my life. I expected death to be final and so it seemingly was. My expectations painted my reality true. What I came to learn however was that death is a continuation of a cyclical and seasonal unfolding of life. Life cannot evolve and grow without death. Death, like life, is a universal part of existence. It happens to all manifestations of living things. It happens with every season, every cycle, every relationship and within every aspect of life. Rather than a single event, it is a process, a necessary process that supports life. Death gives us the gift of making meaningful connections to ourselves and to community. Death is a conscious transition into a new phase of living. While there is no right way to deal with death, there are healthy ways to support and renew ourselves as we heal and live on.

POTENTIAL INGREDIENTS: WHAT CAUSES PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL AND/OR EMOTIONAL DEATH?

  • Unaddressed emotions
  • Oppression
  • Abuse
  • Loss of health
  • Trauma
  • Loss of safety
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of relationships
  • Stressful environments
  • Loss of your connection to your Higher power
  • Toxic friends
  • Loss of an animal friend
  • Being in relationships based on fear and guilt
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Being possessed or possessive
  • Loss of a valued dream or goal
  • Inability to connect with your sense of Divine purpose
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself or from community you value
  • Loss of financial stability
  • Living a life you are not proud of
Physical, Emotional and Spiritual manifestations
Each person deals with death in their own personal and individual way. How we process death is connected to many factors, including our life experience, our connection to ourselves, our connection to community, our coping mechanisms and how we view the nature of death. Transitioning through death takes time. No matter how we process, we must recognize that healing needs to move at a natural pace. There is no “normal” way to process death. Be patient with yourself and travel on your own healing path with no judgements. Sadness, crying, being afraid, feeling lonely, needing to yell at the top of your lungs are all natural reactions. Our emotions don’t make us weak. They show our strength and capacity to bear witness to that which will make us grow.
Often times people associate dealing with death with emotional manifestations such as sadness, anger, guilt, shock, disbelief, fear and depression however when we deal with death, it may also manifest itself physically through weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, depressed immunity and headaches. Regardless of how things manifest for you, pay attention to what comes up and be compassionate and loving with yourself and reach out to community to support you as you process this moment in your life.

RECIPES

Dealing with death affects every aspect of our body systems, particularly the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems. Unresolved sadness, anger and grief can manifest as breathing problems, lung disfunction, stressed nervous system, heart problems and anxiety and depression. Taking herbs that support and nourish our respiratory, circulatory and nervous system and restores them back to their states of joy is important. To learn about all the different ways to prepare the herbs listed below, visit Herb Affair.

  • Lemongrass: a natural sedative and astringent, it is wonderful at supporting depression and relieving tension to the nervous stem while nourishing the lungs by helping it eliminate mucus.
  • Mullein: an incredible lung tonic that soothes and comforts the lungs. Helps to ease regret and stimulate gentleness when we are harsh on ourselves.
  • Oatsraw: a highly nutritive herb containing calcium, magnesium, zinc and B-complex vitamins, this is one of my favorite herbs for the nervous system. Not only does it nourish and rejuvenate the nervous system, it also helps to relieve feelings of anxiety, fear, grief and stress.
  • Ashwagandha: an ayurvedic healing herb that strengthens the immune system, restores memory, reduces anxiety and depression, nourishes the brain and reinvigorates the body.
  • Two of my favorite herbs that support memory loss and reconnection to our memories are Siberian Ginseng and Ginko Biloba.
  • In dealing with the death of a loved one or death of relationship, I love using these herbs to nurture my heart and support my heart space in dancing through transitions with loss. hawthorn berries, motherwort, and flower essence of bleeding heart
  • I love combining herb blends. To support your healing heart, make a heart rejuvination tea by combining equal parts lavender, oatstraw, rose petals, hawthorne leaf and hibiscus flower for soothing a grieving heart dealing with loss.
  • I also enjoy using crystals such as rose quartz to heal the heart. I like meditating with it. Wearing it. chanting with it.praying with it, and using it with a heart chakra meditation.
REMEDIES
  • Soak in a healing bath of rose oil and lavender flowers. Place 15-30 drops of rose oil and 3 tablespoons of lavender in warm bath and soak for 20-30 minutes to support your heart in opening up and welcoming joy.
  • Let yourself be taken care of. Reach out to community and blood and chosen family to support you during this time. Remember you are not alone. Tell people what you need and allow them to be there for you.
  • Join a support group. Sometimes sharing your loss with folks that have experienced similar losses can be helpful.
  • Seek the support of a therapist, especially when your grief or pain becomes too much to bear.
  • Be gentle with yourself as you meet this space of transition. Allow yourself to awaken into the self that represents the loss and the new self that is about to be birthed.
  • Acknowledge all of your feelings. Your feelings are important. Feeling is one of the greatest remedies to healing. To feel is to recognize the power of your heart. Make sure you feel how you feel. Don’t let anyone manage your emotions and tell you how to feel.
  • Meditate under a powerful Linden tree. Linden trees teach us about the power of healing. Its shiny heart shaped leaves remind us to follow our heart and reconnect to our inner bliss.
  • Keep a journal to record feelings, memories and thoughts that arise during your healing journey.
  • Identify things that might trigger you and plan ahead if you can. Participating in certain activities can trigger memories of what you have lost. This is completely natural. Come up with healthy strategies that can help you honor the moment when it arises.
RITUALS
  • Have a celebration party to honor the past and welcome in the present moment and the new spaces you will embody.
  • Set aside a clear, intentional, sacred space where you can build an altar in honor and rembrence of what you have lost. As you build your altar, ensure that you are embodying a spirit of love, intentionality and openness.
  • Draw, walk and/or build your own labyrinth. Labyrinths are sacred symbols of balance and wholeness, representing the journey to our core and back out to the world. These sacred spirals help us meditate on our life purpose and the transitions that support our growth.
  • Do a full moon releasing ritual to release the pain of a healing heart.

Here is a transition ritual from Ritualwell.org
Begin by having friends and family line a path for the individual marking the transition to walk through. Each individual holds a jar/cup filled with water. The transitioning individual begins at the start of the path holding an empty jar/bowl and states the following:The transition I am about to honor is ___________

She/He/They continues stating each of the following:

I am leaving behind _________
I fear _____________________
I need ____________________
I hope for _________________
I welcome _________________

As she/he/they makes each statement, the family and friends repeat:

You are_________________

She/He/They continues walking as each statement is made. As the individual marking the transition makes her/his way through the path, each person she/he passes pours water from their jar into hers/his (representing support and giving). At the end of the path the individual marking the transition bows or pauses. The last person in the path then takes the jar/bowl from the transitioning individual and pours the water over the hands of the individual marking the transition

The transitioning individual says:

Blessed are you, G-d or whatever Divine power you connect with, who gives strength to me, and who is present in the unfolding of these changes.

The family and friends then say together:

Blessed are you, G-d, or whatever Divine power you connect with, who gives strength to ____, and who is present in the unfolding of these changes.

Optional: Family and friends bring small symbols of transition to give to the individual marking the transition at the beginning of the ritual. Each person walks up to the transitioning individual and presents their symbol of change.

*If there are fewer people, this ritual can be done with just one supportive individual.

RESOURCES

Blessings on your journey!!! and please share what recipes, remedies, rituals and resources that have been supportive with you dealing with death. 


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