What happens when we die? In our society, death is often hidden away. Rarely are we present for the passing of a loved one, a major exception being our animal family members.
Echo, my horse of 22 years, took her time dying, even with the help of euthanasia drugs. By allowing those of us present to experience the shifts in her energy, she taught us many things about deathing.
Deathing is a term I learned from a book on human death called “Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life”, by Anya Foos-Graber. Birth and death are really the same process, the spirit going into the physical body in the first, and leaving the physical body in the second. Birthing is also associated with the physical body leaving it’s host, the mother, in which it had a symbiotic relationship for the first part of its developmental process. Deathing, on the other hand, is a return home to the realm from which the spirit originated.
When someone says, “nobody died”, they really mean that the spirit continues, and the physical body drops away like a suit of clothing. To those of us who have not witnessed this process, it may seem frightening and that the being who is departing is suffering. This is not always the case. A lot depends on what the being who is leaving believes about the process.
A few months before Echo’s time to leave arrived, I asked her some questions telepathically about the process of dying, especially with regard to her own life. Echo was 32 years old, which is quite elderly for a horse, and had some physical problems which we were managing fairly well at the time. However, I had a sense that this would be her last summer, and indeed, it was.
My questions had a great deal to do with what she wanted. Would she be open to euthanasia? Would she be willing to tell when she was ready to pass on? How did she feel about receiving help for this process?
Echo referred to deathing as “transition”. She was perfectly open to receiving assistance from a veterinarian to end her physical life. She told me, “in the wild, animals rarely suffer because the role of the predator is to release the spirit whose body can no longer support it. The spirit quickly moves out of the body, and all the thrashing about is the physical body struggling to survive out of instinct. The spirit moves off and doesn’t experience pain. The predator receives the gift of the physical form for nourishment and the spirit of the prey receives the gift of a rapid release from the physical realm.”
When I asked Echo how long it would take her to leave her body, she replied, “About 90 seconds. I still remember how to do it. It’s easy.” Still, on the day we agreed to release her, Echo took 90 minutes to move all the way out. The reason for this delay was that Echo decided to slow down the process so that those of us present to honor her passing humans could learn about this experience in more detail.
No two deaths are exactly alike, but this is how it worked that day for Echo.
Prior to receiving the administered drugs, Echo’s spirit had already begun to expand outward. I had learned to feel where the outer edge of her aura was, and it now extended more than twice as far from her physical body as before.
Once the drugs were administered and Echo was lying down on the ground, her spirit first moved out her legs upward into her body. My friend, Kate, and I, both of whom are energy healers and can feel energy, used our hands to feel the changes.
Kate suggested we feel along Echo’s chakras. We each did this separately and compared notes. The spirit may exit through a specific body orifice or through a primary chakra, one of the large vortices of energy that are located along the spinal column. In Echo’s case, the first chakras, at the base of her tail and second chakra, at her croup, were totally closed at this point. In fact, they felt like they were sealed shut. Echo’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth chakras were only partly open. Echo’s crown chakra, also known as the seventh chakra, was open wider than I have ever found it to be at any previous time.
During the entire time, Echo’s body lay peacefully on the ground. Despite Kate and myself encouraging Echo to move forward in her process by sending energy up her legs to assist her, Echo showed no indication of moving any faster than she intended. It required two additional injections of chemicals before Echo’s spirit moved out through her crown chakra.
While the humans physically present for this ceremony were sitting on the ground around Echo, my friend, Nancie LaPier, a shamanic healer, was present with Echo’s via a Shamanic journey. Nancie later described her experience, which paralleled that of all of us present. In addition, Echo invited Nancie to get on her back, as if riding a horse. Echo and Nancie galloped all over the farm, visiting all the other horses as well as Echo’s favorite places to her farewells. Then Nancie and Echo moved towards an area of bright light, where they separated. Echo exited by going into the beam of light and finally disappeared from Nancie’s view.