Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Leave Taking Ritual

(Note: My sister, Lily and her husband, Jim, are moving from U of Denver to Oakland U in Michigan. I asked her permission to post this in line with the continuing threads here about Eros, babaylan, and now...the role of rituals in body-soul integration work).

The kurandera, Mavis Salazar, came today and performed a beautiful ritual with us. We prepared some sort of a sacred center where she had tealights, a black clay vessel that she uses to hold a burning charcoal w/ sage and other aromatic herbs. Jim had bought beautiful red and yellow roses w/ baby's breath, but she asked us to take the petals apart and lay them in a circle around the sacred area. She also asked us for pictures of recently departed relatives (I had Ma and Tang's wedding photo), something from a place that evokes joyful memories (I took the Hello Kitty night shirt Rox gave me from our reunion), something from our childhood (I only found Ma's sewing kit where she had folded a shoulder pad, sewn the edges together w/ a whip stitch and voila, you had a pin pad! reminded me of my love for sewing, like Ma, and memories of her making all our clothes growing up.)

Then we did the Native American Four Directions prayers beginning with the East: heralding new beginnings, the South, which holds all our joys and happy memories, the West which blows dark and cold winds and holds the sorrowful memories and painful experiences of our past, and the North, invoking our ancestors. With each direction, she first led us in prayer and we took the cue from her on the meaning of each direction and took turns expressing our desire in terms of each theme. The end was a prayer to the sky and then to mother earth. I loved her and Jim's prayers, they were beautiful.

Then she did the limpia cleansing ceremony where she passed an egg all over the body, followed by a thorough brushing using the remaining roses. As we held the egg in our hands (before the ritual), we breathed into it all that we were releasing. Later on tonight, we will take all the organic materials we used (including the eggs) and throw them all into the river. I know every object that was there brought us the gift of its energy and we are now to release them one by one back to the earth.

I liked the ceremony--especially after reading our Osage friend's chapter on Spirit. It was very moving from beginning to end. Even the act of tearing the petals and laying them around the sacred space did something to me that I have no words for. She said that she feels our move will be very exciting for me, more than it will be for Jim and I sense she's right.

I'm glad we had the ritual when we did as we were both getting on each other's nerves w/ OU already collecting my tenure materials from me and everything packed away in boxes in the garage and having to search through so much and JIm just trying to cope with everything (poor thing). It calmed us both down, thought I'd share.

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