I had found a dead, Barred Owl on the side of the highway at least two months ago. I stopped to take the remains home with the intention of disposing of Owl through Ceremony. But I kept putting it off: it was too cold; the job was too unpleasant, I didn’t want to think about the smell, the destruction, the broken body hit by a car.
Time passed and I knew that I was putting off an unpleasant but necessary chore/job. I didn’t want to face the consequences of my actions that had started with good intentions but had petered out without proper carry through. How many times has that happened to any of us?
As time passed, and I continued to procrastinate, I finally realized that Owl was teaching me about letting go and what happens when you hang on far too long.
I’ve held on far too long to patterns of resentful thinking that were destructive to myself or to my relationship with Grenwinae; I’ve held on to disgusting jobs far too long, causing me to leave angry; and I’ve held onto preconceptions of who I was and my place in the world because they gave me sad comfort or allowed me to nurse a grudge.
There is much I need to learn from this lesson and I thank Owl to bringing it to me.
Death brings an end, thus starts a beginning.
Flesh decays to replenish the Earth.
Soul releases to purify and returns to Spirit.
Thus Life renews itself with Life.
Grasped too hard, from misplaced needs,
Allows no movement of the Spiral –
Leads only to corruption and stagnation –
Brings no peace to living or dead.
A Winter, with no Spring,
Starves the World.
Last night we sent Owl’s physical body back to Spirit. The moon was waxing, but just a crescent, and the sky was filled with stars. Due to recent snow and rain, I knew we could have quite a bonfire without endangering ourselves or the property. The day had warmed so being outside at a late hour was doable.
We had gone through the house and removed a sacksful of old paper work. Paperwork filled with typed words and numbers of past bills, obligations, issues that are now gone but have caused us to suffer, still weighed our minds and emotions down.
We’ve gone through a huge financial crisis that lasted at least 10 years which is now nearing an end. I’m in a huge transition of trying to find new, meaningful work; still needing to let go of past expectations and sorrows about working/not working. Grenwinae had to address how it loves to stay in a rut at work, despite signs it is unproductive.
The paperwork lined the circular, fire pit that Grenwinae had built last winter from stones found on the property. A stacked layer of small dry sticks and branches were topped with chunks of Pinion wood and acorns. Homemade firestarters were sandwiched underneath to help start the blaze.
Set on top was Owl’s box containing his body. We broke dried Sage leaves on top for purification. Through the night we tossed eastern red cedar (harvested, with permission, from a tree on the west property fence) upon the blaze – their prickly and sticky branches (akin to troubles, said Grenwinae) took brightness from the flames, burning into a dark, delicate skeleton pattern before being fully consumed.
We sent Owl’s remains back to Spirit, smoke to sky and ashes to earth, ringing bells, crying our grief and release to the night sky and the stars.
Owl answered, joining song to our own, answering our need to heal our own Spirit.