NHT's Writing Desk

 

                 Shamanistic Dismemberment
                a rite of passage


There is no way around it: the word dismemberment conjures nasty images and most folk just don’t venture further -
but for those who do, dismemberment becomes sacramental(1)
albeit, a seemingly distasteful sacrament to be sure … 
but then, isn’t it true that letting go is hideous sometimes? 

 ritualistic dismemberment is all about letting go --
it’s about relinquishing in the highest form – 
in order to boldly break out of the old and seize the new -
it’s about dying to the illusion, to the darkness,
and being reborn into the light, into the I AM  –

when years ago i was introduced to the shamanistic concept of dismembermentgiven my personality 
i was at first and naturally repulsed,
but as i contemplated the concept’s deeper meaning, 
i decided that belief is power 
and
who am i to judge the power of another's belief?

thus  i moved along my path,
and dismemberment fell from my radar -
that is, until a number of years later 
when Spirit provided me this Dreamtime(2) experience: 

 i found myself at the bottom 
of an extremely narrow canyon
 where i lay 
prone and loosely tethered to a cold slab
of marble or granite 
with only a slit of sky above - 
 
the space was filled with an energy foreign to me.
and while all logic screamed "danger!"
i was calm and yet unafraid

slowly my eyesight brought in a golden firelight
which cast more shadows than clarity in the space - 
but by them i could feel but could not see
the sea 
of palpable vibrations on which i rode the silence,
broken only by quiet brief vocalizations here and there
about the work at hand …

when my sight had at last adjusted to flame flickers, 
i realized in fact that i had no eyes –
yet, i could ‘see’ the energy surrounding me 
and counted a baker’s dozen of Crow(3)
standing 
tall as humans, led by the humblest among them -
at this one my heart recognized
the source and conduit of love
that i have known since forever,
which was now filling this chamber slashed in Mother Earth 
this Crow i'd known as my corvine mentor 
from many many many many lifetimes
crows in flight

wordlessly he communicated to me that the task was nearly completed now,
and i watched unaffected 
as the others scraped 
the last bits of flesh from bones(4) 
which i knew as my own …

this meat of my body was then 
flown bit by bit up through the cavern's slit 
and offered to the eagles and bird of prey
reminding me of the Tibetan sky funeral.
i felt conflictingly unworthy and deeply honoured at the same time …
 
from the dwindling pile of bones, each Crow took one, 
then flew off somewhere and returned until the pile was no more,
only a fresh fleshy mass remained on the table.
When the very last Crow paused slightly 
before reaching for what remained of me
my mentor spoke softly,
"Leave her heart - it is already broken.”



                                     
NHT
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(1) sacrament – comes from the latin sacre- meaning sacred … literally, a sacred action

(2) Dreamtime – NOR (non-ordinary reality) – medicine dream –  these are culturally informed, anthropological terms used to distinguish a specific shamanic experience from normal sleeping/dreaming -

Dreamtime experiences are unique in that from them something becomes manifest in OR (ordinary reality) -  in normal dreaming, this does not occur …

for example, in real life (OR) i was bitten by a brown recluse -- i received Dreamtime (NOR) medicine which Spider delivered directly into my eyes - in the morning each of my eyelids bore a bite mark … further i followed Spider’s Dreamtime instructions (a continually refreshed poultice of MSM and 'holy basil' as referred to by the Hindus), and the brown recluse bite healed without a trace…  this is significant - brown recluse bites can kill (i lost a friend) and leave a typically deep pitted scar from necrotic tissue.

(3) Crow has been a lifelong teacher ... i was beaten more than once as a child for talking to Crow (imagine: a white trying to help an NDN 'fit in' but the NDN child 'cawing' to a bird because it's impolite not to answer when spoken to ;) )

 (4) there’s something to be said for DNA memory because only recently i learned of Choctaw bone pickers, long after this experience …