Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Creating a Green Burial

I have just returned from a green burial for my friend who died recently. What a powerful experience. I felt that this is the way that is right for the earth. My friend’s body was placed in a shroud instead of a casket, with no chemical embalming, and no headstone. The Royal Oaks Burial Park in Victoria, British Columbia is perhaps the only one in Canada now offering this remarkable new, old way to return our bodies as food for the Holy.

I was asked to officiate at the ceremony, and began by calling the winds to bring the spirits to witness the beauty of her life told in stories, poems and songs, as these became an embroidery of eloquence on a beautifully embellished shawl already draped over her body, made by her circle of women friends, so the ancestors will recognize her on the other side.

The most moving part of the ceremony for me was when myself and other women sang while I drummed, as her many friends and family moved slowly past her body, strewing it with flower petals. The petals continued as a rain of beauty and tears into the grave, as her body was lowered to the earth. When I now think of her body lying within the moist darkness of the enveloping earth, I am comforted anew to know its energy of transformation can touch her directly.

Once home I asked the Journey Oracle cards to show me insight about this experience, and this image came. The question is particularly meaningful to me, because I believe when we recognize a way of being in right relationship with earth and spirit, we become responsible for manifesting that way, as best we can, so that like a seed cracks open and cannot resist reaching for the sun, we enable new behavior to come into the light.