It was for that reason I was acutely aware of the power released as the roosters spirit passed. It really hit me like a small jolt of lightning – WOW did I feel that energy penetrating into my chest and spreading out to my fingertips! My site for the harvest was not well chosen, it was messy and longer than it needed to be. Perhaps for that reason my heart was especially open to the animal as its spirit left. “Aha”, I thought to myself, “this is why people practice animal sacrifice.” There’s nothing like direct experience to communicate the truth of something.
For this reason I was well prepared for harvesting our Turkey for Thanksgiving. It was a large bird, at least 40lbs fully cleaned and gutted. Surely the energy released from this animal would be significant. I decided I’d better journey to the spirit of the animal itself to ask it where this life-force, this power should go (as well as discuss the method of ending his life). His answer was clear – out into the land to nourish the life there. This was very much in harmony with what the Spirit of the Land herself wanted, this power could be shared with the land nourishing many. I made preparations in my process to deliver his energy to the land as well as more expected steps like honoring the greatness of this gift – giving thanks for the life that would feed many.
The dissipation of power was not as sudden as with the chicken but rather an ongoing process that gradually infused the space around me. It was only afterwards, when I was plucking and gutting the bird that an unexpected power transfer occurred.
I’m not against receiving power, I think its a part of life. But including intention in the process feels important to me. I don’t think I absorbed much of the power of that turkey, only a little really. Still it had a significant impact on my state of being. I was glad to be able to release the energy so cleanly, so clearly back out into the world. What a teaching, what a gift. The dance imparted to me more of the grace of the spirit of the turkey, increasing my gratitude for the blessing of its life.
This whole process has brought to light a new level of responsibility with respect to animal husbandry: caring for the spirit and the power of the beings we raise and harvest from start to finish. Its also an invitation to look at the power immanent in the land itself, to try to understand how our actions impact the spirit of a place, its vitality.
So when we make sacrifices we are liberating power for a new purpose in life. I think this can be taken metaphorically as well as literally. Have you ever had a personal process of sacrifice that was positive and liberated some stuck energy for the greater good? I’ve seen animals die, knowing it was their time, knowing they were ready to give back their life-force to the world and let their spirit journey on. I think in our culture most of us hold on to our life force until the bitter end, unwilling or unable to let go. Very often this creates tremendous suffering and waste.
Parents sacrifice and liberate energy in little ways every day. When we get triggered, reach a limit and instead of shutting down we surrender – laugh, embrace the little being thats driving us crazy, we liberate energy hidden in our spirits. Sacrifice and rejuvenation probably surrounds all of us every day. In fact, I bet you’re receiving power from something right now. How amazing is that?On another note – for those of you who know me through my work as a teacher for the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, I’m stepping down as faculty. Some new requirements, the demands of home life are making it difficult for me to follow that track. Still, expect to see some new class offering from me in the not too distant future. This sacrifice will surely liberate something new and ancient!Blessings to you and yours throughout this transformative time.