Dying and Beyond

Morning arrived and right after breakfast our workshop started. I didn’t know what to expect; I was just eager to learn as much as I could about dying, death, and the afterlife from a shamanic perspective.
We rearranged the living room so we would have enough space on the wooden floor to spread out our blankets and rugs, and to arrange our rattles, animal totems, and other shamanic tools that we’d brought. It was mid morning and it had stopped snowing; the sun was bright in the sky. The morning seemed magical. Snow blanketed the pine trees, the branches bowing towards the ground under its weight, and splashes of sunlight broke through the patchy clouds.

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Our first journey was to meet one of our relatives who had passed away, Dana told us, and went on to instruct us how.
“Think of a relative that you’d like to meet. Ask if you can help him or her. I will beat my drum as you all journey to the Lower World to meet your Power Animals. Your Power Animals will aid you in meeting your relative. Once you find them, ask if he or she needs help, and if so, what kind of help. Sometimes all they need is just to be able to talk about something unfinished. But sometimes their soul is trapped on Earth and they need help moving on to another realm. All you have to do is ask.”

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One winter morning in October 1952, my dad was found dead. I was just a baby when he had been shot in cold blood several times in the chest and left to bleed to death on the beach at Jaffa in Tel Aviv. At the workshop, I was immediately consumed by an intense desire to meet him. I felt I was ready for our rejoining. I wanted to talk to him so much, but I was also anxious at the thought of it and felt a tightening in my chest, even though I knew I was in a safe environment. The people around me seemed to be experiencing similar emotions. But Dana would take care of us all.

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