The Consequence of our Actions

I recently had the huge privilege of facilitating a friend through a
rites of passage ceremony.  It was an earth burial.  For those of you
who are unfamiliar with this particular initiatory practice it
involves a hole being dug, usually by the person who will be in the
hole, that is long enough and wide enough for them to lie down in ~
something not unlike a coffin.  Indeed, it has a tomb-like quality,
as well as a womb-like one, given that the initiate will be returning
to the Mother of all mother’s – the Earth.

The ceremony usually takes place through the night and I went to the
woods where my friend had chosen the ceremony to take place in the
afternoon to see how things were looking and to see and feel the
place, since I had never been there before.  It was important for me
to know where things were going to be placed and, therefore, how
things might take place.

The hole was there and the poles that the blanket and then the soil were
to be placed were also there.  Except that there weren’t enough of
them and the ones that were there were not going to be strong enough
to take the load, since they were too old and slightly rotten.  I
wanted to feel happy in myself that this was going to hold, that it
was going to be safe for my friend to be inside without her being
crushed or suffocated.  I had to act pretty fast since there wasn’t
that much time and there were still other things to be done in
preparation for the ceremony.  I tuned in and listened.  Who and what
would be the most effective and have the least impact on the woods?
(they are owned by a friend of the initiate whom I have never met and
so I had no idea what the protocol was for the trees there).  I
simply had to use my knowledge of trees as well as my  ‘other’ sense.
I asked the Sycamores, of which there were a fair number, if they
would be willing to support our sister for this journey of great
import.  I listened.  They were young, like teenagers.  They were
like a gang of adolescents with a lot of attitude.  They were
reluctant to help, but only, I realized, because they were a gang –
not because they really believed they were right.  As individuals
deep down they knew that the right thing to do was to help.  I made
sure I could really feel that and its truth and I started to chose
sensitively and respectfully and took one or two of the straighter
and smaller branches from certain trees.  In my mind I was wondering
what to give by way of exchange, as an offering to these trees who
had so courageously given of their branches.  There was a
heel-dragging quality to the offering but I knew it was ok, because I
could really feel that they got it.  Nevertheless, I was slightly
wrestling with the ‘what to give?’ question, and wasn’t coming up
with anything.  Often, I offer some of my hair  but on this occasion
to give so much hair to so many trees felt a bit much for my head
(!).

I was rushing slightly and going with a little anxiety of things
needing to be complete here so that I could move into the next phase
of preparation.  I slipped and the saw went into my thumb.  Not
really deep and not so that it hurt a lot but just enough for a fair
bit of blood to be lost. There.  The question had been answered.  The
offering was being made – my blood in exchange for theirs.  Why
should it be just them that loses blood?  After that, I felt a sense
of rightness and balance.  That things had squared themselves.  I
also learnt a beautiful lesson about even when things like that are
ok, everything has a consequence.  Everything in the end needs to be
balanced out if the integrity of the actions are to be in place.