Candles are lit for those crossing the veil, including a long-time Shamanic Reiki client. The first time she got on my table she just wanted to relax and release the stress-related tension in her body. But last year she needed support after cancer returned to her body and spread. I worked with her between chemo and radiation sessions, after she had a different kind of chemo when the first didn’t work, then when the doctors said no more could be done.
Now, just after her death, I remember looking up during a session with her late last summer to find a hummingbird hovering just outside the window, watching me. Hummingbird, who to me has always represented long journeys home, held my gaze for what seemed like minutes, although it was probably just seconds, shamanic time being what it is. Looking back, I realize Nature’s message was clear, although it wasn’t at the time.
I was with her five days before she died. She stayed in her bed and simply received the energy. The week before, she was on the table and had a vivid journey that leaked into the journey space I was in as I did the energy work. We were bombarded by ancestors and helping spirits and she was flooded with early memories as Spirit gathered all the aspects of her together.
The last session was quiet. All the energetic helpers were absent even though I called for them. Then I felt it – she was light, love, and perfected wholeness. For the rest of the session, I affirmed that over and over as I asked the Reiki energy to ease her transition. I heard from her family that the love was felt as her body peacefully died.
I learned Shamanic Reiki for me, to support my own healing process, and never intended to work with the dying. But this is not the first time I have been asked to support someone battling cancer or, for a few, surrendering to it. I didn’t realize, going into this work, how often grief would be present, nor did I realize how all the practices I know and teach, including building a relationship with helping spirits, would help me through it.
My client’s death follows just a couple of days after the death of a friend I unfortunately hadn’t seen in a few years. Earlier this month, I lost three turtles – a rescued red eared slider, an educational ambassador, and an injured wild turtle – and didn’t take the time I needed then to grieve. The candles burn for them, too.
If you have been called to the work of shamanic practice, know that you can’t avoid encounters with death. You will learn the life/death/rebirth process through experience. You are being prepared to be a healer and a leader in this chaotic time of transformation and to hold space for every being in the web of life. And you will know you are connected to Spirit.
May it be so.