Reclaiming the Sacred

“Indeed, it is the most difficult thing in the entire human experience—to claim your Self, your Life, your Light, your Truth and your God.” ~ Emmanuel

A hospice nurse was in the room with my sister when our dad drew his last breath. The nurse, working efficiently, got on the phone and started making arrangements for dad’s body to be removed from home. My sister called me and explained what was happening. I told her under no circumstances was he to be moved until I got there. I was 8 hours away. I didn’t want the mortuary to come and whisk dad’s body away without having time to prepare for his transition. We would handle this last sacred rite in our own way and in our own time.

The room where my dad spent his last days was transformed into a place of honor and beauty. My sisters washed and wrapped dad in white linen, draped him with serapes, and covered him in marigolds. I gently laid down feathers, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco and performed my blessing. We kept dad for three days, packed in dry ice, much to the consternation of the mortuary, the medical examiner and local police. We called the mortuary only after we had finished our ceremony, and then they took dad away.

The rules of our society are often fixed and sometimes rigid. We are conditioned to live in accordance with precepts that regulate our behavior and thoughts, from how we are birthed to how we die. Reclaiming our sovereignty can be a daunting challenge when it appears that other people and agencies are more knowledgeable, or have more authority and power.

Not long ago, I sat in a circle of boys and men, sons and dads together around the fire.

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