I mean really, Diomira?
Must you be so morbid? Can we not talk about “happy things” — airy-fairy ideas and light-filled lively teachings that inspire us?
Death is a doorway of transformation, and to avoid it is to never fully come into relationship with its complement: LIFE.
Amanita muscaria, Fly Agaric, taught me this in my dream one night.
The beautiful ruby red mushroom with white polka dots is the iconic fairytale toadstool image. Always the star of the classic Faery ring – a mushroom circle that transports us to another time, another place – the Fly Agaric is poisonous, and in some cases, deadly.
As the ally of the shamans of Siberia, Fly Agaric helps them enter into their trancelike state to journey into the Spirit world. Of course, even the Siberian shamans would not dare ingest the mushroom in her whole, undiluted form. Instead they opt for a watered-down version of her, literally, when they collect the reindeer urine.
You see, the reindeer are able to digest the mushroom, a process that breaks down the deadly toxins. So the excreted byproduct is a digestible hallucinogen, sacred to the shamans of that region.
During a Winter Solstice ceremony, the traditional dress of the shamans is white and red robes.
Just like the mushrooms they work with.
Notice anything familiar?
When Amanita muscaria appeared to me in my dream, the whole world stopped. I’d been standing in a low-lit room and looking in the mirror, when she appeared next to my reflection in the mirror’s corner. She only existed in the Otherworld.
To teach me about death, she first became the hat on my head – signaling to my soul that she fully intended to guide the way I viewed world for this next stage of my life’s journey. In order that my purpose unfold according to the Divine Plan of my life, much had to die in order for anything more to truly bloom.
Amanita then moved to my shoulders. Becoming an ornate boa, she glided around my neck and down my torso. As if to say, “Now you are invisible. Rest in me, and let go! Walk in the world, but no longer of it!”
Death is a removal from matter. In our culture, we shy away from it:
Whether it be the death of a loved one or the death of a relationship — we don’t like to deal with it.
And more often than not, we fail to meet it on its own terms.
So instead we try to mitigate it. Then make it into something nice that we can “deal with.” Or we just check out, avoiding it all together.
How many of us have been guilty of engaging in a rebound relationship? Jumping to the new, while deep down knowing we can’t really invest any energy into anything new at all. Because we have none to give. Because we have not given death its due, nor allowed ourselves to fully release what once was.
We don’t like endings, so we overstay our welcome – in life, in relationships, in jobs, in projects. But what if we could consciously recognize the moment that something has run its course? And then gracefully honor that by allowing it to die with dignity.
Moving onto the NEXT thing, adventure, project is not the same as letting something end. My students often want to know what their next step is. They come in with this burning desire to birth what is theirs to express in the world. Which is wonderful. And the step that is usually the most unanticipated is the death process.
Are you willing to die to your old self to be born again anew? For what comes next could then FULLY be born in a space of newness, clarity and peace.
With the help of Amanita muscaria, the Faeries teach us the importance of the death process.
The mushroom ring so clearly depicts the deepest and most subtle Faery Mystery teaching, DEATH. The mushrooms are life’s decomposers. As minions of the Goddess of Death, they help transform and transport us to another version of ourselves. But they cannot do this if we are holding on. For this threshold into the zero point of the unknown cannot be traversed without complete and utter letting go.
What dead weight are you holding on to in your own life right now? To release it sometimes a simple memorial ceremony to honor what once was can suffice.
And what if you don’t know what it is that you are holding on to that is holding you back? Then try this simple exercise:
Go outside and sit with a mushroom. Breathe with it for a while. Share its space. And maybe it will come to dream with you, and show you in what way you are currently holding yourself back from your own death process.
For it is only once you have fully submerged into the darkness that you can truly re-emerge into the light of your greatest potential.
Is death something you’ve struggled with? Please share your comments below or over in the Facebook group.