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The certainties of life are change & loss

This week I pulled an oracle card from Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth’s Fairies Oracle deck and it was the Lady of the Harvest. I don’t often use an oracle deck but when I do, it's for my own personal use.

If I were to loosely relate this card to the Tarot, this card could have similar connections to that of the Empress. The Lady of the Harvest can be related to energies or spirits of decay, and carrying things away. Harvest is normally at a time that marks the end of the abundant energy of summer, where things are also changing and being released in preparation for the inward seasons that are coming. At one level harvest is a time of fullness and abundance, but it is also a time of the wheel of the year when it turns towards winter, death, decomposition.

This card solidified my intention to talk about grief, loss, and letting go in this week's class in the Spiritual Life Upgrade. These things can manifest in different ways such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a change in one's behaviour or circumstances. The biggest grief for me after Gershwin’s death last month, has been and continues to be related to my changing health and physical ability. All these forms of grief are valid and real, and we can establish a practice for holding space for these experiences and managing our response to them.

When handling our own grief and the process of letting go it is important to identify what exactly we are letting go of, whether it is a person, an event, a phase of life, or a capacity.

When I grieve a person - and animals are people - my first practice is to write down what they contributed to my life. For example, when I lost my beloved cat Gershwin, I identified the qualities of her presence and our relationship, which included feeling grounded, liked, and validated. We collaborated in the care of many stray animals that came through our home and she was the matriarch for them and me.

The process of identifying what is being let go of can help to acknowledge that the person or phase of life is gone, but also recognise the gifts and lessons learned. It can help to fill the hole left by the loss and move forward. Most grief is actually a grief for a future that won't happen, which is why it's important to focus on the present and the lessons learned.

The process of engaging with grief and loss involves asking yourself what you can let go of. Letting go creates space in your life, heart, and energy field, allowing new experiences to come in. Once you've clarified what's on the other side of what you're letting go of, it's important to mark the transition in a ritualistic way. A ritual is a process or act done with intention to mark something that is distinct and separate from the everyday. It doesn't have to be elaborate; it can be as simple as lighting a candle or creating a physical memorial for a loved one. The key to moving on and growing despite grief is making sure your physical, emotional, and energy bodies understand what has happened and what's to come.

Another process I use when letting go of grief is to use my body in the process.

I visualise the grief as a ball around my chest and imagine it being pulled out of my body to make space. I physically step into the new world and visualise a gateway or archway to symbolise the new opportunities and possibilities that come with letting go. I also have to emphasise the importance of crying and allowing ourselves to feel the emotions associated with grief.

Once you have identified what needs to be let go of, you are actively choosing what to take with you, and marking the significance of the experience. I always encourage you to be expansive in your approach, rather than being constantly stuck in the past.

I always reject the idea that everything happens for a reason and instead focus on ritual and the positive things that could occupy the space left after letting go.

Let me know what your experience is using this practice or if you have one of your own.

This was drawn from a full masterclass in SLU! If you find these discussions useful or inspiring, and you want access to more in-depth analysis and actionable practices drawn from them, join the Spiritual Life Upgrade!

Kate x

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