By Marylois R. Schott
Connecting in peace and oneness as the cycle of life ends.
It is my passionate lifework to assist those who are transitioning from this world. I hold a position of peace for them, a space that allows for what they need to take their last breath here on what we call Earth. Most often, this is done by connecting with song or Native American flute. In this work, I also have been privileged to assist nonhuman creatures to return to Mother Earth and the cycle of life that we all share. At any moment I can be called to do this, and here I want to share one of my profound and beautiful experiences:
I had named her “Mommy Osprey.” For over a month she had become part of my life while I commuted daily along a busy causeway. Every day there had been something new to observe.
I was there when she started building her nest on the top of a utility pole. She would fly overhead with twigs in her talons. Sometimes when traffic was backed up I would see her place the twig in just the right place, before flying off to retrieve something else for the nest. I felt like I was a part of these intimate moments preparing for the arrival of new life.
There were hundreds of vehicles around us in these moments, yet only her and me. Each time I saw her I was transported into memories of the preparations for the arrival of my children (decades earlier). While I thrilled at the female bonding we were sharing, our connection grew.
If I was driving by at sunset, sometimes she would fly overhead with a fish headed home to eat her supper. (So was I). When my nights were very late, I would hear her calling out in the dark. For me it was her love song for all to hear. Putting my window down I would greet her with “Wado.” My Native American (Cherokee) Elder taught me this word for extreme gratitude to another for what has been shared. (For everything Mommy Osprey shared with me there will always be “Wado!”)
Driving by one sunny morning, I could tell that she was not leaving the nest. I could feel the change in energy. How many eggs had she laid? I drove by every day anticipating the arrival of the young ones. I would send love and gratitude to my sitting Mommy Osprey.
Then, one early morning from miles away I could hear her high-pitched calls. I was looking for her as I rounded the bend. I noticed her leaning over the edge of her nest. She was looking very intently at something below. I thought that she had located prey for her morning meal. As I came along, I looked where she was looking. There, lying on the blacktop was an osprey. I knew that this was her mate. And I heard her screech as I passed by. In an instant, I knew what she wanted. I was being called upon to assist another with the transition from this life.
He had to go back to the Mother. Lying on the road was blocking his return to the Earth and the cycle of life.
I drove to the first turn and circled back. There was no traffic! On a street where cars stream by every moment of the day there was no traffic. I pulled the car over just behind the dead bird. There did not seem to be any trauma to his body. But he had begun stiffen.
There are so many different traditions I know for this simple act. I connected with Source and knew instinctively to ask “Mommy Osprey” what to do for her mate. As if she saw through my eyes, I saw the ceremonial cornmeal I carry in my medicine bag. (Cornmeal is an offering used in many Native American ceremonies.) Today, I would use it as a gift to the Earth Mother. I sprinkled cornmeal on the ground where he would lie to return to the Earth. Then I raised his lifeless body to the heavens. I invited all the elements of nature to join this Father Osprey on his journey to a new place. Then I spoke to release his spirit back to the Mother. With great appreciation for a life well lived and the continuation of the life cycle we all live.
From the nest high above me there came a loud screech. Gratitude is how this piercing sound echoed through my being. Mommy Osprey and I were connected.
Now that her mate was gone, I felt concern that she would be without food.
“Should I bring food to you and place it on the ground next to the utility pole,” I asked.
I heard her immediate reply: “It is not your place. I am healthy. He fed me well. There is not much more time before the little ones arrive, and the hunting is good nearby. Keep sending love; the rest will take care of itself.”
“Aho” was my only response. I got back into my car, took a deep breath, and started to focus on the task of getting back into traffic. I noticed the traffic building up behind me. There was enough time for me to get back into my lane and continue on my journey before the cars started streaming past me.
I knew that for a moment time had stood still, while the natural rhythm of the universe had taken over. I also knew that, truly, this is all there is. The rest is an illusion of separation.
With every being whom I have shared the natural rhythm of the universe during the time of transition, it is always a place of peace, while we share our oneness.
Rev. Marylois, mother, grandmother, great grandmother! In this life, her foundation was established in the Christian tradition. She is an Ordained Minister of Holistic Spirituality. Marylois studied and practice Celtic Shamanism and her Native American blood line traditions. She is a Sun Ceremonialist, a student of life, and an amateur anthropologist.
Her practices are wellness through balancing of spirit, body, mind, and emotional well being. She is and shall ever be the Great Spirit’s Joy. “We are all one, together.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.