Love like a willow tree
The other night I joined a shamanic spiritual drumming group with my dear friend and drum leader, Jaime Meyer. The focus of the night's shamanic exercise was to aid the spirits of those who died in Haiti with passing to the other world.
At first, it seemed heavy and even presumptuous, but in actuality, it was neither.
Jaime instructed us to protect ourselves spiritually (as you do in all journeying), not avail ourselves to the spirits in any way but rather to pretend we are a grove of willow trees so as not to attract their attention (our goal was to guide them through this sort of tunnel to the other world). The most important thing was for us to project all the love - the high Love that births all life and creativity - into the ritual space anchored by a huge 4' diameter drum. This would literally attract the spirits here.
The woman (interviewed here in this video) who brought the willow branches from Coldwater Spring in Minneapolis for Jaime to use in the ceremony told a story of collecting the branches from the "crotchety old grandmother" (Jaime was relieved to hear that he wasn't the only one who felt the tree by the spring was bitchy).
Well into the ritual, trying to focus on Love and being a willow seemed so Original in nature, and hilarious. Here we are, people, humans, working hard to concentrate on being as loving as a tree (and if you've ever been touched by the spirits in the woods, you'd see that this isn't so far fetched an idea that trees offer great wisdom and healing). I felt as if we were healing the grandmother willow tree and ourselves (I couldn't muster up love for the ritual space without first loving myself wholely), generating our original qualities of Loving, while guiding the spirits.
During the ceremony, I felt rushes of spirits - at first hesitant, then pulsing through, and then being hesitant again. Towards the end as the drumming was quieting down, I felt the children, the most timid, and tried opening the space more for them to pass. It was scary to me that the children might not make it, at least not this time, through our effort. I'll have to ask Jaime what he sensed.