Listening to the Bones: Feeding the Hungry Ghosts
Listen to them Bones (Spirit inspired Song by Martha Lucier, with Gwenith Kikkawa and Kevin Alexander)
Listening to the Bones: Feeding the Hungry Ghosts
In the winter, we collect the bones in silent reverence. We slow down and listen, past the stillness, to the inside of trees, rock, fire and ice. With the old bones, we kindle the inner flame, surrendering, releasing, and grieving the lives we have not lived. The old bones are transformed into a heart crystal by the heat of the flame, opening a portal to divine love and light, welcoming new dreams and beginning our lives anew.
Listening to the Bones
As the Earth shifts and quakes, and the bones of our ancestors begin to move, old stories that have been lodged deep beneath the surface call to us. These bones carry wisdom in the wounds of long ago that have kept the ancestral souls Earth-bound.
In the cold dark times of winter, when our bones creak and bodies contract from the chilling winds that blow, we are invited to listen, past the stillness, to the stories contained within our bones. What stories are we carrying on behalf of the Ancestors? What stories that are ready to be rewritten? What light wisdom do the bones of the Earth have to share with us?
Moving Our Bones
In winter, especially in the northern hemisphere it is easy to feel stuck in the stillness, as we naturally want to curl up and retract. When we move our bodies we create space, opening channels between our joints, moving energy that may have become stagnant.
We can engage the elements to assist us in releasing the old stories contained within our bones, freeing us to live more fully.
As we shake our rattles, we grow roots through our feet, gently awakening the Spirit of the Earth within us. Movement of Earth pulses with slow rhythm through the legs and pelvis, shaking loose that which binds us to our old beliefs and patterns.
The Spirit of Water flows gently, as waves wash away stagnant energies of resistance, pain and suffering, opening us to the treasures below the surface.
We raise our vibration invoking the Spirit of Fire within us. Opening our hearts, with staccato rhythm we shake off the layers that have kept us bound, burning the old cloaks and heavy blankets of another life.
Our breath carries us upward, inviting the Spirit of Air to sweep away the old dust within our lungs, clearing our Spirit Voices to speak in song and prayer.
Bones of the Past
An old Chinese woman uses a pole to propel a wooden raft through murky waters of the Yangtze River. She trolls slowly, collecting old bones, dredging the bottom of the river and hauling them to the surface. She fills a barge with the bones of the past. Alone, her job is tiresome and endless, with no end to the skeletons that lay dormant, restricting new life from emerging from these waters of life. As the river changes from the Yangtze, into the Amazon, the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Volga, the woman, too, changes in her appearance, but her purpose and task remains the same.
The woman in this dream, like the Greek God ‘Hermes’, is a Shaman or ‘psychopomp’, conductor of souls. As she collects the bones of the past she brings the souls ‘home’ while restoring balance to the land and the people.
The image of this dream beckons us to ask: what can we do to assist the old woman so that she is not in her service alone? By helping her collect the old bones we clear passageways for our ascendants to arrive. How can we do this? Imagine listening with love and compassion to the marrow inside the bones telling the old stories contained within them. What would it be like if the we polished our bones from time to time, nurturing their health and beauty in exchange for the wisdom they contain?
Feeding Hungry Ghosts
In 2007 I attended a shamanism and peacemaking retreat sponsored by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies called, ‘Where are the Dreamers? Restoring Shamanism in Community Life’ facilitated by Myron Eshowsky. There I gained a deeper appreciation for the role of the Shaman as mediator between spirit and community, helping to resolve conflict and restore peace.
Even after the shrapnel from past trauma, war and natural disaster has been cleaned up, the spirit of the people and land may carry imprints of the wounds that were inflicted. Those lost souls who died, seek solace in the living and the land, hungering for love, connection and healing just as the living ‘ghosts’ do. Any one of us can be a host for lost souls, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and addictions, further perpetuating fear and conflict. We can help restore peace and balance while maintaining healthy boundaries. We do this through creating sacred space for their stories to be heard and rewritten, feeding the hungry ghosts with love and compassion.
A helping spirit all dressed in white, with a long white beard arrives by sleigh pulled by gigantic white swans. He points to the juniper berries on the altar and motions me to put some in my hand to feed the hungry ghosts.
The ghosts line up to feast on the love and light that lay in my hand, flowing through my heart. With just one taste they change from old suffering souls to children licking ice cream cones. They climb aboard the sleigh pulled by the Norse God, returning home to innocence once again.
May we remember to polish our bones, feeding the hungry ghosts in our homes and on the land with a good dose of compassion, as we fill our own cups with love.