Psychopomp is one of the many roles of the shaman. This is only necessary for souls which lose their way. For the well prepared soul, at peace and centred at the time of the death of their physical vehicle, the road home to Awonawilona is clear.
Sudden deaths, fearful passing, highly charged and emotional death, as, for example, on the battle field, can affect a disorientation which requires some assistance.
“For this fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the unknown; since no one knows whether death, which they in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.”
The first was a young local man, just into his eighteenth year. Sudden…
Your watch stopped
At 3:15. Still,
You smiled, as time
Finally made sense.
Of growing into
The man shaped space
That awaited you.
Once filled, I guess,
It just felt too small
To hold all your hopes,
All your dreams.
“Sudden”, they said,
Not knowing, perhaps fearing,
The months and years
Of planning it took
To reach this day.
To take control
Was never easy.
My watch stopped at 3:15,
Still nothing makes sense.
Farewell, my fairest,
So final: sinking into
The peaceful embrace
Of Mother Earth,
And, thence, home.
Whatever demons had driven him over the edge, it was a dazed soul that wandered up the cliff and entered my sacred space. It was his eyes which touched me most deeply, his confusion palpable. He showed no signs of the trauma which had taken him this far.
Inviting him to sit, we chatted a while. His only concern was how his mother would cope, a thought which had never crossed his mind as he went off-road, nor when his vehicle got stuck, nor when he got out, leaving the engine running, to continue on foot.
I could have called on Michael. This lad didn’t seem ready for that. I lit a bundle of sage. The sweet smell quickly filled the space. Placing sacred tobacco on the embers, he smiled and melted into the rising smoke.
“I tell you this: whatever of dust to dust
Goes down, whatever of ashes may return
To its essential self in its own season,
Loveliness such as yours will not be lost,
But, cast in bronze upon his very urn,
Make known him Master, and for what good reason.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay