Earlier this week, I returned a little sparrow to Mama Earth, one who had flown into a window at our home … heartbreaking, yet with a message for me.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this… a loud bang on a window, jumping up to see what happened, then seeing a tiny feather. However, for me, this was the first time and it saddened me profoundly to find the lovely little sparrow so still. I cried for her sudden passing and said a blessing for her. The little bird looked so much like the figurine in this picture, a memento and beloved possession of my Mother who passed two years ago… it seemed like there was also a message from her, although I couldn’t see it at the time.
I have supported friends in the passing of their companion animals — mostly horses — leading a shamanic-based blessing and transition ceremony, and also journeying with them and their animal companion prior to its transition, so that they could bond one more time. By facilitating that journey for them, the animal friend can share their emotions, how they want to transition, and what their hopes are for the Otherworld. The human friend can step inside and experience that journey with them in a loving act of bonding.
With this little creature, I had no immediate bond, no shared experience, but I mourned her sudden passing and wanted to return her to Mother Earth in a gentle and loving way. When my long-time companion cats Rundle and Ludwig passed several years ago, I was not yet on the shamanic path… but still found myself creating ritual for their passing to honour the beauty and wisdom and love and companionship they had brought to my life in the more than twenty years we travelled together.
I wrapped the little bird in leaves and a piece of fabric, and carried her to a favourite meditation spot of mine, placing her under a rowan tree for protection. I surrounded and covered her with leaves, branches and rowan berries, and then foraged some fresh Scotch Broom from a nearby shrub for a limpia (cleansing) wand to use in the ceremony.
I called in the directions to begin the transition ritual, gave a blessing, and then released her, cleansing the release spot and myself at the end… I was her Doula to the Otherworld.
When I returned home, I asked for wisdom from my guides, and Horse called out to me… So fitting, as Horse is such a powerful communicator of messages between the worlds.
The message of the card? In brief —
🕊 Detachment and Surrender
🕊 The Pain and Wisdom of Old Age
🕊 “This horse (which I read as “bird”, to honour its passing) has reached the final crossroads of her life, the place where she will share her hard-won wisdom and surrender to a higher will.”
I felt some comfort in acknowledging her journey on Earth, that it had meaning, and that the cycle of life, of which we are all a part, would continue for her.
I later journeyed with the little sparrow and with Horse, and meditated more on the meaning in the card and the message from my Mother… a profound experience. My Mother too passed quickly, far from me. I had left her only a few days earlier, promising to return soon to celebrate her birthday a few weeks later… but suddenly her health deteriorated rapidly, and there was no flight that could get me there before she passed. I was numb with grief, and with the realization I would never smile with her again. The message I received was that we had already said our goodbyes, that she was okay with that, and that she was surrounded by love and family as she passed into the next life… ready for the crossroads of her life.