Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Shamanic Burial 21/12/2012

As the full moon rises, it shines light on the fullness of my shamanic burial. I feel like I have come full circle in all areas of my life – all is grounded and I am ready to move forward into the unknown.

Twenty years ago I read about a ceremony of death and rebirth call a Shamanic Burial. The participant is buried in a hole they have dug; they are then covered with soil. A small air hole is made around the head and the participant lays here overnight to be at one with the earth.. The article explained the feeling of being reborn and an embrace of the death process. This allows the participant to lose any fear of death, so a full life can be created without fear. I can remember thinking “That would be a cool thing to do”.

In August 2012 an email arrived – as I read it a wave of remembered excitement flowed through me and I knew I would be part of this.

Embrace of the Earth
Mount Warning, Byron Bay Hinterland, NSW
Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 December 2012
~ What ‘Embrace of the Earth’ is about ~

 This shamanic burial is a profound way to truly connect with the powerful energy of the Earth. It will also be a celebration of the completion of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar on the summer solstice, 21 December 2012 and the galactic alignment of our solar system with the milky way. This special event will be held beside the sacred Mount Warning (Wollumbin), where the first morning light touches Australia, and offers a tremendous opportunity to mark the beginning of a new era and your own personal spiritual evolution.

The ‘Embrace of the Earth’ experience has been described as a combination ‘vision quest’ and ‘full body meditation’. Drawing from the Toltec Tradition of Central America, this ceremony is inspired by the intimate connection that the Toltecs have with the land. It is a ceremonial initiation and rite of passage where participants are buried overnight in the earth to receive the powerful healing and loving energies of Mother Earth. You may use this experience to activate deep shifts in consciousness and obtain heightened connection with energies of the earth.
Taken from

As soon as I committed to doing this something in me shifted, calmness moved through me. When I thought about it too much a feeling of apprehension replaced the calmness.  In those times I would remind myself to breath and that all will be fine. In those beautiful moments when I allow love to enter every part of me, softness descends, all becomes one and my dreams and desires seem possible. All limitations and fear fall away and a clear, bright inevitable path shows itself with certainty. There was so much feeling and knowing in that moment nothing would sway me from this path.

It took 20 years for me to allow this to occur. Over the last 20 years I have been searching, actually I have been searching all my life. I don’t really know what I have been searching for, maybe it has been me. I think it is time to stop searching and start being.

I carefully packed all that I thought I would need for my journey, of course I took much more that I needed which says a lot about my life and the lives of so called civilised humans. We take more than we need. As I entered the plane I felt like I was within the belly of a dragon preparing to slay my own dragon. I know my inner dragon has been guarding buried treasure now is the time for me to dig deep and find my treasures.

From the moment I got off the plane I felt a pressure on me, a feeling of being pushed into the earth. I feel I was already being planted - a reminder that all occurs energetically before it happens physically.

We arrived in the Gold Coast and were greeted by our hosts Alison and Greg who drove us across the border into NSW to their house in Uki at the base of Mt Warning. The burials were to take place upon their property, walking distance from their house.

I met the other participants; there were seven of us in total. That evening we had a lovely vegetarian Mexican feast prepared by our host Greg. The first of my challenges also occurred that evening - the dreaded March fly (AKA Horse Fly). I seemed to be constantly bombarded by one particular fly. That evening I decided I had to become one with the March fly - to shapeshift and be the March fly. As I was still swatting them away on the last day and swatting them away from others I don't think I really succeeded. However, I received a message from the March fly. There is balance in truth - this may sting and bite, but truth is truth nonetheless. I am still integrating this - when I allow whatever to be in my life maybe I will also love March flies - hopefully!

The next morning we arose at 4.15 to prepare for our sunrise walking meditation. Here was my next challenge - walking barefoot to the burial site. It was about a 1/2 kilometre walk that meandered through grass, bush and cowpats. Just when I thought “I can do this”, our main facilitator Michael brought out blindfolds. “You’ve got to be joking,” I screamed to myself, resistance became strong with waves of fear hot on its tail. Quietly we all put on our blindfolds and rested our right hand on the person in front and somehow moved up to the top of the mountain. We removed our blindfolds and greeted the sun. Silence and wonderment replaced the fear and resistance.
We then moved to the place where the burials would take place, thankfully the plots were covered with marquees and tarps, so we would be protected from the rain and sun. I was also relieved to see a portaloo about 50 metres from camp.

We chose our grave that had been sacredly drawn out with cowpats.  I laid down next to mine and felt at ease as we meditated. Then the digging began, this was to take most of the day as the tomb had to be deep enough to allow me to roll on my side and not have any part of me above ground. I was blessed to be assisted in my digging by all the facilitators and another participants' partner - a reminder that all we need comes to us.  As I was digging my tomb the left side of my body felt like fluid, it seemed to be sinking in to the earth. On the contrary my right side was rigid holding firm on the earth. To me this symbolised my feeling side is fine with this process, the feminine is already sinking and allowing the process, however, my masculine side was panicked - it was trying to figure out why I would be putting myself through this, it was resisting and pushing against the process.

When I finished the digging I made my grave a little more comfortable by lining it with a printed Om sheet and a couple of cushions. We all then went for a refreshing swim in a waterhole and back to the house for a light dinner. After dinner we were told to collect about 10 sticks from a prepared pile and carry them back up the hill to the burial site. I faced many fears and moved through lots of challenges but this one was to prove most difficult. As I clutched my sticks and started to walk I felt like an invisible wall of fear surrounded me, every step was an effort and my breath seemed to leave me as I gasped for air. I was in a panic, a strange voice exploded in my mind, “what the Fuck are you doing, you can’t do this, what were you thinking”. I felt like I was walking to my death and every part of me resisted it, I started to cry and the child in me was close to having a full on hissy fit.

Lovely Alison could see I was struggling and offered to take my sticks, I felt guilty, even though I just wanted to get rid of them. She asked again and I passed them over. She then helped me to centre and find my breath again. We silently walked up the hill and the panic in me started to recede.

We meditated and then one by one we entered our grave. The sticks were placed over me, then a sheet and finally earth was placed upon the sheet. An air hole was propped open with a stick just above my head. All resistance melted away as I heard the earth hit the roof of my grave. I felt safe as the earth embraced me and made me a part of it.

Throughout the night I experienced serenity, profound insights, panic, fear then calmness. This repeated itself many times over the eight hours I was entombed.  It was a strange and beautiful night, filled with many experiences - the sound of drumming, chanting, rain, the critters of the night and even a cow stampede that was dissipated by our wonderful facilitators.

Thoughts, feeling and knowings flowed through my mind and heart. I thought I was free. I thought I was civilised. I thought I was intelligent. It turns out I am none of these things and yet I am all these things. I lived in the embrace of the earth for a night as humans would have in the past. I lived as a human in conjunction with the earth, not upon her, not separate from her but with her. I take this and mix it with all that I and my ancestors have accumulated to move forward into something new, a co- creation of love.

Before this I believed some control was necessary. This played out in my life as self-control, a controlling of my thoughts and ideas, however I realised this was a learnt behaviour from my father as a way to feel safe. But there is nothing to fear so why control? There is nothing to control. There is nothing to fear. All that I need to know comes in each moment, the expansive way of the universe; the collective wisdom is there in each moment. All I need to do is be present, to know it. If I am busy trying to control in order to feel safe, this will distract me from the moment and I will not feel the wisdom. So what do I do? It is ok to be me. All is one and all is ok.

Lying in my grave overnight made me realise one moment leads to the next. There were many times I laid in the earth fear gripped me like a vice, I couldn't breathe, I couldn’t think. What I could do is move my hips, this is all I could really do in this confined space, however, it was something that I could do to make myself feel better. I moved my hips in the form of a figure eight. This seemed to move the energy building up in my base, sacral and solar plexus chakras. So I moved my hips to create something different and the fear would pass. Then I would lie quietly listening to the whispers of my inner life. Here I realised, I don't really know myself at all. I am an observer of me through the eyes of the outside world. Who I think I am is a concept, it is an illusion based on what others tell me.

I did not automatically become one with the earth; she seemed to reach across and accepted me as the earth, as I accepted her as human. I went into the grave to unlearn all that I had learned, to unravel the wisdom from education, to lose control when there really was none to start with - just a state of mind of control. To move past the illusion of what I think I have created. We all flow from the same source; however, we have different agendas in order to experience different ways of creating for the ever evolving spirit of curiosity and becoming more.

Mother Earth embraced my illusions and I regained my life.

Unfortunately all of the photos of my grave disappeared; all I have are a few photos of the surroundings. Maybe this is an experience I am to hold in my heart and feel it and for you maybe it is for you to imagine how your embrace of the earth would be. Namaste, Denise

 Image: Tapestry by Toni Carmine Salerno

The Facilitators, Alison, Michael and Greg were supportive, wise and loving. Throughout the whole process I felt nurtured and safe on all levels. This made it easier for me to delve deep and challenge every aspect of myself, for this was my intent. For more info on Embrace of The Earth - Shamanic Burial and Gudhara Holistic Sanctuary.

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