Submitted by Soma Hunter
Where have the roots gone in our modern culture for integrating
and understanding (literally and figuratively”standing under”) the
purpose inherent in life transitions and rites of passage? Recently
several of us had a wondeerful experience with a friend who, at age 61
was being called to a new stage in life. Since Alice is decended from
Native Americans (she is 1/4 Shoshone), when given the opportunity to
honor and to witness this threshold in her life journey, I naturally
chose some Native American ceremonial tools to facilitate this among
us. The four elements of water, air, earth, and fire correspond with
the four sacred directions: west, east, north, and south.
Beginning with water is like going to the source of life itself:
transparent,flexible, nourishing, and cleansing. It opens the way by
its inherent quality of being to our sacred origins and nourishes the
seed there while all else is released. Even our 4 and 7 year-old
participants withstood the cold, shocking stream of gentle water
flowing from a hose held overhead. One-by-one, we stood in a 4 foot diameter
wading pool surrounded by witnesses. Each shuddered his or her
releasing embrace of the water while sending and receiving forgiveness
to all and sundry in each of the four directions.
Air symbolizes the ubiquitous nature of spirit which is and
sustains all life in form. Our agreement, our unity, is known when
spirit is known and its truth spoken or revealed. With Alice before
us, we spoke powerful words of honor and blessing to her from our
There is something about earth which truly grounds and connects
the blessings known and intended in our minds, hearts, and spirits.
We shared a delicious feast next that rivalled Alice’s Restaurant! You
can give anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant and we
did…delectable treats from mango and avocado slices to brownies and
muffins were lovingly placed as precious morsels in each others’
mouths and consumed with great pleasure.
With fire comes passionate praise! I chose the sacred pipe of
red pipestone wonderfully carved for this culminating act of honor and
respect. While some continued sharing the delicious food, others
stood in a respectful circle of silence as the pipe was smoked before
each one as a cleansing and honoring smudge around the circle. We
were done and it was done…the honoring and blessing of a good friend
at a stopping-off place on life’s sacred journey.