It has been quite a year for me. This time last year (All Souls Procession 2013) I had no idea what was coming…such is Life. All winter, spring, summer and autumn I have been experiencing new layers of myself due to a cancer diagnosis and surgery. This last October I was told by the experts that I have no “recurrent or residual” cancer cells in my right leg (where the huge tumor was removed in March). I am incredibly grateful for that reality, and I am grateful that i still have my right leg today and that it works perfectly. During this process I learned that in the days before modern surgery, someone with my issue would only have limb removal as a defense against cancer overtaking one’s body. I have felt strongly that this has happened to someone in my lineage/DNA/past life experience and that for some reason this reality was recreating itself, with a different ending…the best possible scenario. I thank my shamanic practice (and help from shamanic human allies), spirit guides and ancestors for this outcome. With this understanding, I decided to walk this All Souls Procession for my ancestors who had limbs removed to save their lives, and those who lost their lives to the ravages of diseases.
I found in my past thrift store travels a small skeleton without a right leg, as well as a larger right leg skeleton part. These reminders of what I am grateful for, and honoring, were tied to my belt. My headpiece made of Desert Claw (grown and stretched by my partner Jacob) held big white bird feathers to help people’s prayers go to the Upper World.
I also had a hysterectomy in April, and so now my uterus and one ovary are in the Spirit World (they were burned after removal). I dressed in a feminine way for them.
However, I knew I was not to walk only for myself or my ancestral line. As a shamanic practitioner, I felt called to gather a costume that would reflect the energy of strength and sparkle that I feel when I am called by the Spirit World to work with people. As I gathered each item to wear, I asked to be a conduit between the Spirit World and the Human World for this night. There were many thousands of people on the sides of the road where we walked. I could feel many ancestors as well. This year I only shaded my eyes…I did not cover them. I walked slowly by the adults and children on the side of the procession…looking at them as they looked at me. I consciously looked at them through the red and white facepaint I wore, and the black veil I was wearing. I watched as numerous people cried in their own experience. When people looked at me, I felt many people really saw the “me” that I was presenting, who I call “OOlah” (meaning One Who Balances). Some were very drawn to me and I looked extra special at them. I sent heartfelt messages to the people who saw me, knowing that their ancestors are near and that they care, even if their ability to care was less than desirable in the physical world.
I rang a bell as I walked. A few people asked “why a bell”? I answered “to ask for the attention of the Spirits”.
Many people asked to take photographs of me, and of my two lovely companions. I hope that as the people look at them later, they say to themselves “how beautiful and powerful”, and know that they see beauty and power in themselves, and their ancestors.
Thank you to Tucson, and the beautiful All Souls Procession for creating such a powerful venue for community bonding, both human and spirit.