The recent of losses of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glen Fry, have me contemplating death more than usual. I am grieving in some ways the loss of my youth. The music left behind during the 70’s and 80’s by David Bowie and the Eagles, was such an integral part of that time in my life. The actor Alan Rickman, who played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, has me thinking about my children when they were younger. They grew up watching Harry Potter movies, as well as “The Labyrinth” with Bowie, and they have now grown into young adults. These events have heightened for me a deeper vibe of change, that is causing me to look more deeply at the reality of death.
My own father died in 2008, and he has been paying me visits more often in my dreams now. In a recent visit, he showed me a photo of a Native American Indian Ancestor. He told me, “this is your ancestor”. In the photo, I see a strong man in the prime of his life, wearing buckskins and a few eagle feathers tied loosely in his long dark hair. He carries a pipe in his hands.
In the dream, I wish to speak with him and so I decide to enter into the photo consciously as a portal, enabling the photo to come to life and I now stand beside him in the dream space. I see the pipe he carries is turned toward his body, so that I cannot see what the pipe bowl looks like. I ask him, “Can you turn the pipe? I want to see what medicine you carry.” He responds by turning the pipe bowl, so that I can now see it clearly. It is a human skull. He tells me, “This is your medicine.”
My father once again visited me in my dream, just the other night and told me, “You need to meet your death” and then he handed me a pair of black handled scissors.
So what does it mean to meet your death? Does it mean I will be meeting mine soon? Perhaps, or maybe instead he is pointing at the medicine of my ancestor, that of death as a bringer of change and awakening, transformation and rebirth. The scissors he offered are also of note. It connects with the three fates, one of which cuts the life line with scissors when it is time to meet death.
Prophetic Bird Goddesss
In a recent gathering, I facilitated a conscious shamanic journey for a group of women who dream with the New Moon each month. Our intention for the journey was to connect with the Three Fates for a glimpse of the year ahead. During my drumming for the group, I saw a dark sky across which flew a large, dark winged bird with the head of a woman. She made a very loud cry as she flew across a dark mountain range and cried out three times. I felt she was meant to be the harbinger of death. She lands on a shore of this dark mountain range and I see myself standing before her. She is feeding me meat from her beak, like a momma bird to her chick.
I was previously unaware of the Slavic prophetic bird goddesses, until I dreamt with her in my journey, it appears the one I connected with was Alkonost, the messenger of sorrow. The image above of the painting, “Prophetic Bird” by Russian Artist, Andre Shishkin, looks much like the what I saw in my journey. I also did seem to understand that the dark mountain range was somewhere in Eastern Europe.
These dreams all had me thinking it was indeed time to meet my death, in the shamanic sense of die before you die. I reflected on the writings of Stephen Levine, who wrote about contemplating death in his book, “A Year to Live.” If you had but a year to live, what would you do? I found out the other day that he too, has crossed over. Die before you die means the time is now, to live your life fully, without fear or hesitation.
(Turn and face the strange)
Valley Reed ©2016