A vision of the last Earth's forest gathered in my eyes as I walked down to the river Dart on a dark winter on the hills of Devon, in 2016.
The Last Forest appears to my left. A haunting scene gathered in my eyes calling my full attention.
I have kept this vision for the last 18 months, pregnant and trembling myself...wondering where and how the birth would take place... Anyone willing to listen? ... puppeteers, artists and soul tenders were seeked to no result. The brith of this vision appeared in a forest of oak and beech trees. 18 women activated this vision as a constellation.
I am writing with gathering butterflies in my belly to let you know about the most adventurous vision I have ever followed and activating as I type ~ it is called : SOULand Pilgrimage 2018 which started on 2nd January this year by the river Dart~ 13 Lands, 13 Water, 13 Hosts and 13 Pilgrimages completing on 21st January 2019. It will be followed with a book ~ gathering the harvested of shared stories of the many ways and practices for the caring, feeding and maturing of our Human Soul.
I will be travelling with SOULand's bundle of Grief Composting, WomBelt: Weaving Women back into Matter, Soul&Sanity making conversations with Grief, Love, Death and Life the four sisters of our last forest.
We will offer Water ceremonies. One2One mentoring will carry on for a handful of people. eARTh infused with rituals will be the gold thread of the pilgrimage.
The relationship between Water, Women and Soul will also inform the ongoing active prayer journey.
You can follow me and join us if you can in Totnes, California, France, Sicily, Belgium, Malvern, Ireland, Scotland, Bristol and Totnes for our LIFE CAIRN.
Switzerland, Canada and Slovenia are also being considered at present...
See HERE for full list of the various countries I will be actively praying with and where I will share what is emerging.
I will be moving following the invitations, what is being revealed and the rhythm of the moon throughout the year.
There are ways of supporting this SOUL maturing Pilgrimage journey with our newly hatched crowdfunding ~ set up by two dear sisters who have my back!
If you want to be kept informed about SOULand Pilgrimage 2018 enter your email HERE to receive SOULand Newsletters
Blessings on all our journeys and offerings as we get increasingly tempered and more than ever...needed! .
Azul-Valerie Thome for SOULand and for my mother (who died 3 months ago) and the 2000 generations behind...it is time to live this wild and precious Life while we can...for the living and for the dead.
Thank you for reading and for your support. See you perhaps weaving the gold thread somewhere on our astonishing little blue Home.
The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change, pollution, and the destruction of our habitat. If you exhaust natural resources, there will be nothing left for your children. If we continue in the same direction, humankind is headed for some frightful ordeals, if not extinction.
Before we go extinct 12 species a day disappear in response to our amnesia and anaesthesia .
This morning as I sang to Water and Sun I was grief stricken as I remembered how the West African Black Rhinoceros also bathed and drunk that water as well as the Pyrenean Ibex, Passenger Pigeon, Quagga, Caribbean Monk Seal, Sea Mink, Tasmanian Tiger, Tecopa Pupfish and all my extinct relatives.
I felt moved to speak to them all, my tears mixing and binding together the past, present and future. All in motion, spiralling in what time and space might really be like...constantly accessible.
I told them of our Totnes Life Cairn. I spoke the ones created before in honour of them all ~ to place their bones and return their soul to soil... I told them that we will also celebrate the ones who are still with us.
I drunk a glass of water just now and heard their grunting, flaps, songs, scratch and their intimacy with their lives then. In each drop of Water is the whole of everything and everyone at all time.
My and your praises, tears and committing to a life of give away - for Life to thrive, for water to be our teacher again as she so longs to be once more... 'Bring them to me Water said, bring them to me and they will heal'
Our Life Cairn in Totnes will be laid down on our soil on 30th November 2018.
Our first community meeting is in Totnes on Thursday 11th January at 6pm at Ben's Wine & Tapas for all eARThist, artists and lovers who would like to 'weave' and bring into form this soulful and sanity making memorial. Much love ❤ Azul 07765257517
You can find the black (gone) and red (endangered) list on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
OUR FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: www.facebook.com/events/1773741646245298/
OTHER LIFE CAIRNS: Thelifecairn
SOULand Pilgrimage 2018 second land and water is in San Luis Obispo in February
We will be creating spaces for Soul to feel welcome again. We will learn with passion and little patience to feed, care, court and praise Her back into being.
“Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
More about SOULand Pilgrimage 2018:
This coming February, Azul-Valerie Thome will visit San Luis Obispo on the first international stop of a 13 month SOULand Pilgrimage which will launch from Azul’s home in the UK in January 2018. She will weave her visit to 13 lands, 13 rivers, 13 hosts, along with 13 prayers into a book in 2019. Donna Helete will host Azul during her stay.
She brings with her a Vision of a place called SOULand in Europe. A Water Mill/ land based Hospital and School for SOULand practitioners. A Place and a Programme to learn and remember rituals and practices for the care, health and maturation of the human Soul.
Azul brings with her sacred questions:
How do we remember, repair and create a soulful culture?
Azul brings with her a bundle of soul nourishing practices and rituals with the intention of giving people the experience of soul tending and training those who wish to carry on these practices.
Descriptions of Events and Offerings
Grief Composting Circles that weave together the traditions of Sobonfu Some, Francis Weller and Joanna Macy along with Azul’s own wisdom teaching.
The Circles are a 3.5 hour experience while the training is 3 days long.The Grief Composting Circle Training is for men and women wishing to hold circles for the well being of their community. In order to sign up for the training, it is best to have had the original experience of the Grief Composting Circle so please plan to sign up for both.
WomBelt: Weaving Women back into Matter. For Women. This full day workshop brings 13 women together to bless, heal, celebrate and protect their wombs, the wombs of other women and of Mother Earth herself through the art of traditional backstrap weaving combined with story sharing and prayers.
eARTh: Art infused with ritual, informed by Mother Earth, for Life. Azul will bring some eARTh pieces for sale and is open to commissioning new works in a collaborative process.
One2One: Soul&Sanity - Azul will offer a limited number of individual coaching sessions while she’s in town.
We hope you will join us on this pilgrimage to bring these soulful gifts to our community.
Azul and Donna with the support of a great community
SOULand Pilgrimage San Luis Obispo:http://www.souland.org/california-feb-2018.html
On the 14th October at 15:40 my mother France died in Paris after a very long addiction related illness. She is called France, like her country, due to being born in 1945. A marking, through the women, of the end of the second World War. I wonder how this impacted her life...
...This post is not actually about my mother's life. It is about the precious gifts and deep mystery that were woven into our last few weeks together. I had the healing privilege to accompany her all the way to her death and beyond until today the 40th day after her death.
This post can be read as a story that also refers to our dying structures and eco systems...How do we accompany who is dying, what do we do with our dead ones and how do they become ancestors to support the living ones.
The first 3 Thresholds of our I am feeling into are our Conception, 9 months Gestation in our Mother's Womb and our Birth. I will write about my findings and reflections in an other blog post. I could not talk about death without inviting Life to have a seat.
When my mother decided that she did not want to be kept alive by brutal means of prolonging life her mask was taken off. We were told it would take 2 or 3 days for her to go. It took 4 weeks... a brutal and cruel journey for all.
The first Death Threshold presented itself: How to accompany to her death the very same being who brought me to Life? It was a hard, pain-full and complicated relationship between my mother and I since conception. The stories were many that could take me away from this sacred invitation. The invitation to hold her hands, massage her feet and sing her soulsongs as she crossed.
I cancelled everything planned 'knowing' that I would stay to the end. The separation stories vanished into ether. All I knew is that as the eldest of her three children I had the role to accompany here to her last breath. I had no idea of what would happen, nothing in my bringing up neither my culture contained and guided me .
Intuition and instinct took a front seat. The mind calmed down. Soul and her deep waters guided my moves and choices. I let her.
But then as I kept placing the blue print of an intact culture onto the Parisien system an immense grief required attention and release. The brutality that comes from the disconnection with other than humans, the land, water, beauty, songs and village ripped me apart. I was shredded into a million threads...
I started weaving mother a belt, a WomBelt and a bridge. It was I understand today a way to calm and mend. 5 belts were eventually woven with the same balls of wool... one for each member of my family.
The crows made their appearance outside her window. Good company to keep. I went to the river, la Seine, to bring Water to her room secretly placed under her bed with little stones. I started sleeping there during the last 10 nights sensing that to be alone as we die is not humane. I did not know how to become a whole village how could I ?
My family was going through her own ways and paths not replacing the intact earth based culture that my bones and marrow sensuously and intensely began to remember. The weaving became coherent.
Second Threshold appeared ~ What do we do with our dead ?
Death took my mother when she was alone, 40 days ago. I arrived 5 minutes later. The air was thick and expelled me from her room. It took me a short while to touch her dead body. I refused to be scared of Death. Death longs to be met and matter. I was not familiar with dead ones.
She looked very beautiful, free. I caressed her hair, felt her temperature change, put a bit of lipstick on her lips as she would have wanted.
In Paris you rent a space for burying your dead, 10, 30, 50 years depending how much money one has or not. When 10 years pass the body is moved along. Cremation being cheeper and more convenient it has become the prefered way . Even our dead do not touch soil anymore.
So mother went to a big fridge in a grotesque blue plastic shirt while we worked out what to do, how much we could spend and who we were when death turned up. Death brings up a strong mirror to what binds us and what scatters us further apart. Death also calls for remembering the deepest humane way, the original way of the longest gold thread connecting us to our 2000 generation ancestry.
There again the poverty of our culture, when it comes to rite of passage, initiations, rituals and ceremonies, hit me very hard. I hang on to the few threads gathered in the last few years of awakening my animist and studying ancient earth wisdom ways...sanity must be found somewhere. With only a few thread to create a frame we can start weaving again what resonate to our world today while being held by all that have been here before... I held the Dagara people threads, the threads of the ones who are still breathing as one with other sentient beings.
My Mother was in a fridge alone... it is a BIG business the business of death. Her body does not belong to us??? We cannot take it away because we do not have a strong religious recognisable tradition. I am not able to convince or inspire my family to have a wake for her at home in her bed with her clothes...
I reached out to my chosen village. By email and phone I called for presence, for knowledge and to create a frame on which to add the threads of deep memory. All would otherwise fall on concrete like so much does nowdays.
My mother stays in her blue plastic dress alone in Paris's largest fridges... A bit of me dies with her. I am so sorry Maman. What ever you did, who ever you have betrayed and hurt in your living state no-one deserves such in-humane set up. Human's roots come from 'ground'. Humus roots come from 'Soil'. Each in-humane acts takes away a bit of our own humanity. Fierce love is required then, one woven with passion and compassion and much imagination. To then create a shrine with the prayers and praises of an intact culture's guidance matters.
Third Threshold ~ What do we do for the crossing of our dead to becoming ancestors
In many traditions there is a 40 days crossing after the death for the crossing of Soul. I had to make a choice and then bring form to that choice while listening carefully to what wanted to happen.
There again I felt alone within my immediate circles . Our amnesia being real, a night mare visited my days, what was I to do with my dead mother? What can I do to stay a human and feel humanity flowing in my veins?
It is told that our tears become the river on which the soul make her way on a boat to the other side where the Ancestors await for our return. We the living ones make our Ancestors happen. It is the tears, the grief, the stories, the shrines, the yearly celebration, the photo albums and the compassion for our humanity that weaves a passage.
Each morning I sing diving into the unknown praying grace and soul will catch me with at least one thread, the same one that connects me with 2000 generation behind her. I sang and drummed to my ancestors. Asked them to start singing and drumming day and night so my mother would hear them and feel their joy and readiness to see her again soon.
I sang and drummed for the living ones with a lit candles each night so my mother would not be lost as she did while alive. 4o days and nights from the 14th October takes me as I said Ito the 23rd November , the birth date of my son...all the gateways are opening for a deeper remembering and weaving of the world of our longing. May it be so...
This path of remembering our sacred ways is woven with total lostness, deep grief and singing gratitude. My sense is that without it our Soul and our Sanity will perish totally.
Mother thank you for letting me accompanying you to your death and beyond. Thank you for the 3 Thresholds that were revealed and remembered. It informs my work of how to accompany what is dying in our world, how to lay it down, how to show gratitude and grief and how to weave them back to ancestry.
1- How to accompany the dying?
2- What do we do with our dead?
3- What do the living need to do for our dead to bring ancestors back to work with us.
Tomorrow I will go to the sea once more Maman, to see our ancestors welcome you on the shore where you can sort out what needs resolve . Then we will call on you to help the living ones to mend and serve Life, Death, Love and Grief. I will also celebrate my son's 25th bEARTHday... <3
May it be so.
Some links you might like to read:
ACCESSING THE WISDOM OF OUR ANCESTORS: An Interview with Sobonfu Some'
Ancestralizing our Dead by Malidoma Some
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: