Honoring Tahlequah's process and giving thanks for the powerful medicine her grief sojourn has become. This past Saturday, August 11 the world learned that, after 17 days of holding vigil and carrying her baby over 1000 miles across the ocean, Tahlequah released her beloved and let the her baby's body fall to the sea floor.
And, just as Tahlequah's family rallied and held space for her process, community gathered around my partner and I this past August 11 in our backyard oasis created in honor of our first born sun Kali Ra. In this sacred and protected space my partner and I welcomed old friends and new faces. Side by side we facilitated ceremony and celebrated the spirit of our beloved Kali Ra. Kali would have been 2 years old August 11.
With Kali's navigation and assistance I have stepped back into my soul work as transition priestess. The greatest of tragedies has itself rebirthed me with renewed purpose and vision. I am passionate about this reclamation, working hard to make family directed funerals, home funerals and the transformative experience of "after death vigiling" more accessible to families in New York State.
Unbeknownst to many, NYS has some of the most oppressive funeral laws in the country. We are one of only a handful of states that by law require that a "licensed funeral director" be contracted to "supervise" all after death care, transport and disposition of the deceased. Accessing alternatives to the funeral industry's often impersonal and hollowed out services is a serious challenge in NYS.
It's not the most reasonable expectation to imagine that funeral directors, whose business it is to sell expensive coffins and perform unnecessary, invasive, environmentally problematic embalming procedures, will be the very same ones to voluntarily "supervise" persons like myself as I facilitate *family-directed*, chemical-free after death care, decorating of handmade coffins and green burial/disposition... If I held my breath waiting for that miracle I'd be writing this piece from a much more interesting perspective.
Not suprisingly, NYS funeral laws are written to protect the big business of funeral industry. The community (understood as the "funeral consumer") often suffers the devastating consequences of parasitic capitalism and profiteering, victim to funeral firms which literally feed off our dead and the vulnerability of the bereft. This paradigm will no longer be accepted. We rise together to take back this sacred work and return to our rightful station at the threshold.
When my own sun Kali Ra transitioned back into the arms of our ancestors at just four days old, he was wheeled away and into the refrigeration unit of the hospital morgue, where his body lay alone. My partner and I were ushered upstairs with empty arms to my hospital room. I didn't know my rights or my options 2 years ago. I grieve not having taken the opportunity to hold my baby's precious body and spending even just one night with him in my arms.
The experience of perinatal demise in my life continues to be a fierce initiation and catalyst for remembrance and reclamation of the sacred. I endeavor to allow this heart break to be the fuel that drives me and to let these tears clear a path of service to others navigating transition ♡
As I always say, "Momma knows what Momma needs." Tahlequah showed us what her grief process looked like. Her family demonstrated what it means to hold space. As a community we have forgotten how to do this for one another. Let us embrace the wisdom keepers and welcome the return of this knowledge.
IT IS OUR DUTY to remember how to hold sacred grief space as a commUNITY. My intention for this powerful new moon/solar eclipse is that my two legged family open to the grief medicine mother Tahlequah has shared.
☆♡ JAI MA!! ♡☆