Psychopomp, or Crossing the Dead Over

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I wanted to share with you my first experience in psychopomp. It happened before I had any classes or workshops in it, although I was aware of the ritual in shamanism.

It was my father. He had been ill on and off for about a year. He was failing – he had broken his neck in a fall in his room and had been in nursing home for a few months. His breathing was getting more and more labored.

I traveled down to Staten Island to be with him and my family over the Columbus Day weekend, 2015. It was thought the end was near. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday with him, singing to him and with him, and letting him know it was ok – it was time for him to cross. We were told that death was imminent, but he still seemed to be hanging on.

My family had just left the nursing home around 10PM and I had arrived at my mother’s house.  As I got out of the car, a flock of geese flew right over my head in a perfect V formation. I started to cry, knowing in my bones that we would get a call back right away. We went inside and were having a snack when my father’s caretaker called us and told us to come right back. it was time.
When we got there, his breathing seemed the same as before. We sat around for an hour, and then wondered if we should go home. My mother said, “Let’s stay for another hour.” I got her a blanket; she and I sat on one side of my father, my sister was laying on the bed with him, and my brother sat behind her. We all dozed off. I was actually trying to journey without the drum, and I was talking to my Spirit Animals, who told me it was time, and they would escort my father. I said he had his own escorts, and they said to tell him to get going – his Angels would take him to the light. I opened my eyes and noticed his breathing had really slowed down. It was breathe in, breathe out, pause for about 30 seconds. I got up and I went to his head, kissed him and whispered “Go to the light, Dad. Your Angels are here to take you. They will escort you there, to peace and light and safety. Go Dad. Go with them to the light.”
I suddenly felt this unbelievably powerful force to my left – between me and the wall. It felt like two presences. Powerful, they felt like they were infinitely powerful, but not scary. Not a negative force. I repeated, “Go to the light, Dad, your Angels are here,” because that is the form he, as a Catholic, would understand. He took one more breath, and that was it. The life left his body. He crossed over as soon as his Angels got there, and I told him they were there.
He no longer even felt like my father.
I’m still having trouble believing that it happened that way. We don’t often believe our own miracles, but as soon as I told him his Angels were there, I really felt them and he crossed. I am so honored in having a part in his crossing. Shamanism has given me this gift of being unfair aid of his crossing and knowing that he had to cross well.

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