I mentioned earlier today that I’m working with a couple who need to terminate a pregnancy, and that we’re designing a series of ceremonies to help everyone involved get through the process with love and grace. In the few hours since I posted that, I’ve had an outpouring of private messages about this story, so I’d like to tell you a bit more about it, with great gratitude to the couple for their willingness to share their experiences.
There’s nothing easy about the decision to abort a pregnancy, or the process required to complete it, but those challenges are made much more difficult by the deep societal taboos around silence and shame. Our goal is not only to change the experience for this child, this couple, and those who care about and support them, but also to help build some new healing patterns in the cultural field around this experience.
At our first healing session, this morning, we talked a lot about what is happening, spiritually and energetically speaking: for this spirit who has begun the journey in, and also for those here who would welcome it. I see the journeys of birth and death as voyages across a great sacred river, between the Land of the Living, and the Land of the Dead (which is also the Land of the Not-Yet-Born). In my imagination, there is a great wheel superimposed on the river, overlapping on each shore. Each of us travel around the wheel; at birth, we enter this world, and at death we return to the other one. The Wheel of Life holds and guides both those processes.
My work is usually about helping people travel from this world to the other, but in the case of pregnancy loss, the soul has not fully made its way here yet. There’s a kind of compression of the wheel, where coming in and going out overlap. It can be painful and confusing, for everyone involved. A big part of healing requires unwinding these two processes, so each can have the attention it deserves.
The Mom is very clear that this tiny being inside her is a boy, and they have named him already. Before his parents and his community are able to say goodbye to this little one, they need to fully say hello to him. Naming is powerful; it makes him real. We did a beautiful ritual today to let him know that his people on this side of the river see him, they love him, and they claim him as one of their own. And we let him know, with great tenderness, that this is not the right time for him to come. For many good reasons, he’s not going to be able to finish his journey to this side of the river. The image was of a lighthouse beacon, flashing a loving message to him out in the water, letting him know that he should prepare to turn around.
I believe that each soul that comes into this world does so with an idea of what it wants to learn or experience. Some of us have big tasks, and it can take us decades to fulfill the goals we set for this lifetime. Others need only a very short time to receive what this world has to offer them, and when they get that, they can return to the far shore of the river.
This child’s time here will be short, and so at this ritual, his Mom committed to giving him the fullest experience of love and beauty she can before he goes. Likewise, her time being pregnant is short, and because mothers in this situation are so rarely able to publicly claim their mothering experience, she is going to claim her own experience of pregnancy fully in the next few days too. This includes going to a pre-natal yoga class, and really connecting to and loving this tiny spirit, while knowing that their time together is short.
We’ve set another ritual for the end of the week, which is 2 days before the appointment for the abortion. That ceremony will involve Mom, Dad, and friends and family members who support both of them. At this point, we’ll shift the energetic pattern from welcoming and loving this soul while he’s here, to grieving his leaving, and helping him start his journey back across the river. We’ll ask him to pull his energy out of the tiny physical form that it’s beginning to coalesce in, and to turn his attention back to those on the far shore, knowing that he’ll be leaving us and joining them soon. With this loving preparation, our intention is that his spirit is aware and able to accept what is happening.
This is a journey in progress, and I appreciate your interest in it. I’ll post another update after the next ritual.
May this healing work bring love and light to all who are touched by it.
www.soulpassages.ca Ritual Healing for Death Midwives and Celebrants: A Practical Skills Training Begins April 15th, 2106