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Ritual Death and Rebirth, and becoming someone new.


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#1 Barnstock

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 04:15 PM

I brought up this idea in another thread, and Nikki requested that I start this thread to more fully explore the idea.

The idea behind ritual death and rebirth is to provide a stopping point for the old, and a starting point for the new, easy enough. The person's former life symbolically ends, and they let go of old patterns, beliefs, associations, etc. They become free, free to choose, free to change, free to re-define themselves in a more conscious and deliberate way.

This is a great tool for initiation, for leaving an old life behind, for shedding all the crap that we build up around us in life and discovering ourselves and the world anew, and the list can go on. I'm going to leave initiation, as in becoming a member of a group out of it for now,

Instead, I'm going to jump ahead to after the actual ritual because I want to get into the "becoming someone new" part.

Do you really become someone new, or is it all just affectation?

A large part of what makes us who we think we are, in this world, is just our own (often flawed) interpretation of events that we experience. The circumstances of our birth, the events that follow, and our subjective interpretation of them regarding our personal identity have no intrinsic value, but are valuable only to ourselves. These elements are the foundations of the patterns of our lives. The ritual of death and rebirth, if done correctly, devalues all of those concepts and creates an opportunity to deliberately re-interpret the world and oneself.

This period of detachment creates a new self awareness, and a new awareness of the world we live in, and consequently, the freedom to redefine who we are.

Concept wise, that's the general idea. All thoughts and opinions welcome

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#2 Autumn Moon

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 04:59 PM

The concept is okay, but I don't think it is entirely possible. The first 3-5 years from birth are the imprinting years, that is when your nervous system and to an extent beliefs, are hardwired into your brain...can that be truly changed? Not really, but perhaps a little, but one ritual isn't going to achieve that, imk. Also, why throw out the baby with the bathwater...most learn a lot of great things as well, so one does not need to totally redefine oneself. I think that later learning from age 5 on, can be altered to an extent, but as mentioned it would take years or a shattering life event to really change. That said, I think the core remains pretty much intact ie. your hard-wiring. We all have so many filters that we see the world through, that I think that an initiation adds another filter, and it does not necessarily mean that it is a objective or correct view.
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#3 Barnstock

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 09:23 PM

The "core" can't change easily, nor does it need to, neither can the ways the spirit expresses itself. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater because part of the process is selecting what traits are useful, and what ones aren't. This isn't complete erasure of the previous person but more the aspects that interface with the world.

A good initiation should do exactly what the word means.

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#4 RapunzelGnome

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 09:30 PM

I've got some thoughts on this.

The symbolism behind the cycle of life is something that has always been quite important to me. In our modern society, we are sorta removed from many parts of that cycle. We don't prepare our own meats, grow our own food, etc. We ship food from other parts of the world out of season, disconnected from the cycles of the seasons and the rhythm of agricultural societies. Winter loses its danger when you've got heating provided that doesn't require chopping down a trees for your own firewood.

At the end of our lives, we're removed from society...packed away at a nursing home or hospice. We die and morticians take care of everything. We just don't come in contact with the dead and dying like our ancestors would have. They lived with birth and death in its cycles every single day and they could recognize those cycles in everything from the rising to the setting sun to the changing of the seasons. They understood death's power to transfer energy, they honored the sacred nature of life. And it's not that people in our society can't connect to that as well, it just requires more intentionality.

The idea of rebirth has been on my mind a lot lately because of where I am in my life right now. All endings are also beginnings and I'm coming up on some big changes. So your suggestion of a ritual death is a bit fascinating to me. I'm not sure what that ritual will look for me, or when the right moment for it will be.

Memento mori, Memento vivare

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#5 RoseRed

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 10:35 PM

+1
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#6 Oroboros

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 10:39 PM

@ barnstock. This is fascinating. It is true the persons core from development would remain regardless and in the individuals case originally discussed- even that is probably scarred due to the parent issues. However, the statement about not throwing the baby out with the bath water makes sense as well as being ironic. This reminds me of soul retrieval and Shamanic tearing apart and rebuilding type "death". Which would probably be a good place to explore for this individual as well. There are many people who swear by that, though I have only read about it and can not speak personally of the efficacy of that method either.

My thought is this could probably only be effective if there was some serious magic employed to aid the procedure. This individual - even if they started out "normal" - undoubtedly has neurchemical imbalances and psychological habits formed that are harmful. So ordinarily, meds and therapy would be needed. HOWEVER, based solely on my impression of this discussion - I think this COULD be effective IF and only IF the participant genuinely believes in the procedure. We have tremendous self healing ability, and perhaps the combination of the assistance of a talented individual guiding him through this and his own genuine desire to be well and belief that it will work- perhaps it could. Either way very interesting concept. Do you have first hand knowledge of this having been used effectively?

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#7 Autumn Moon

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 10:39 PM

The "core" can't change easily, nor does it need to, neither can the ways the spirit expresses itself. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater because part of the process is selecting what traits are useful, and what ones aren't. This isn't complete erasure of the previous person but more the aspects that interface with the world.

A good initiation should do exactly what the word means.

_______
lol, I think you pretty much reiterated what I said above. Traits may be useful at one time line in one's life and not in another...but I guess a person can keep reinventing them self if they want to.

What do you think a good initiation should do, since it can have different meanings dependent on the context of use?

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#8 Nikki

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 02:09 AM

Barnstock, What would some examples of deliberate ritual death be?





RG +1 from me, too.
A beautifully crafted illustration about the unnaturalness of modern life.

Edited by Nikki, 06 December 2015 - 02:18 AM.

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#9 Michele

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 05:49 PM

Most tribal cultures have a puberty-age "coming of age" type ritual where a boy dies as a boy, and is reborn as a man. There is often the same type of thing for girls when they start menses. I think these types of rituals can be very important to the person undergoing them, but I also think there has to be something physical that takes place, or at least an emotional or psychological growing. I don't think someone can want to change their life, do a ritual, and just change. I think that specific mundane steps - whether initiation, puberty, graduation, marriage, birth, religious or spiritual baptism/initiation, have to be undergone to grown and become.

M

P.S. I don't think you actually become someone new, I think you add to and adjust who you are.

Edited by Michele, 06 December 2015 - 05:51 PM.

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#10 Nikki

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 06:21 PM

In a recent conversation with a career military man, he mentioned that Navy Seals are drowned (and then revived ) as part of their training.

To face this kind of agonizing fear -- must have an altering effect.

BTW, generally I think people are 'adjusted' by adding to (or subtracting) from... however, I do think a total transformation is possible. Rare. But possible.

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The difference between Medicine and Poison is the Dose. :oil-bottle:
I Love you as certain Dark Things are to be Loved,
In Secret, Between the Shadow and the Soul.
- Pablo Neruda


#11 travsha

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 06:34 PM

I do death and rebirth often in a ritual I call "dieta" (Spanish for diet). Basically you spend at least 10 days, maybe as long as a couple months or even up to 3 years doing a diet. Usually for healing you would do 10-30 days, and for apprenticing you would do the longer ones or maybe a ton of the shorter ones. To become a shaman in the tradition I study it is usually recommended to do 2+ years of dieting (some do it in one go, and some split it up into a few big chunks).

You spend every day of the diet in isolation. No electricity, no books or media, very strict food, no sex ect.... You remove yourself from all your normal habits and from the expectation others put on you. You are completely by yourself.

You feel your old habits change and die. You learn new habits and new ways of thinking. You find yourself without other distractions trying to tell you who you are. You have enough time for those changes to take root.

You do not make up or create a new you.... You find the true you and learn how to express this. (I think this here is the key)

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#12 Nikki

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 06:39 PM

The 'true' you and your 'core'.... can these terms be used interchangeably?


Travsha: Expressing the 'true' you without Earthly interference is, to me, is Divine expression.

Edited by Nikki, 06 December 2015 - 06:41 PM.

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The difference between Medicine and Poison is the Dose. :oil-bottle:
I Love you as certain Dark Things are to be Loved,
In Secret, Between the Shadow and the Soul.
- Pablo Neruda


#13 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 02:56 PM

@ barnstock. This is fascinating. It is true the persons core from development would remain regardless and in the individuals case originally discussed- even that is probably scarred due to the parent issues. However, the statement about not throwing the baby out with the bath water makes sense as well as being ironic. This reminds me of soul retrieval and Shamanic tearing apart and rebuilding type "death". Which would probably be a good place to explore for this individual as well. There are many people who swear by that, though I have only read about it and can not speak personally of the efficacy of that method either.

My thought is this could probably only be effective if there was some serious magic employed to aid the procedure. This individual - even if they started out "normal" - undoubtedly has neurchemical imbalances and psychological habits formed that are harmful. So ordinarily, meds and therapy would be needed. HOWEVER, based solely on my impression of this discussion - I think this COULD be effective IF and only IF the participant genuinely believes in the procedure. We have tremendous self healing ability, and perhaps the combination of the assistance of a talented individual guiding him through this and his own genuine desire to be well and belief that it will work- perhaps it could. Either way very interesting concept. Do you have first hand knowledge of this having been used effectively?



I have only done it myself, so unfortunately, my experience is subjective.

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#14 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:21 PM

_______
lol, I think you pretty much reiterated what I said above. Traits may be useful at one time line in one's life and not in another...but I guess a person can keep reinventing them self if they want to.

What do you think a good initiation should do, since it can have different meanings dependent on the context of use?



I think I did.

I think a good initiation should be the start of something new, but in the context of magic, witchcraft, etc. It should not come with any promises of one's safety, or the safety of one's moral orientation. There should be a factor of the unknown, and that should be genuine. There should be a feeling of risk, and a fear of failure. Otherwise it's just a high school dance. So in a sense, the initiating should be in control of the initiators, not the initiate.

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#15 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:23 PM

Barnstock, What would some examples of deliberate ritual death be?

I'll get back to this one, I think I need to be careful about how I answer it.



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#16 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:29 PM

I do death and rebirth often in a ritual I call "dieta" (Spanish for diet). Basically you spend at least 10 days, maybe as long as a couple months or even up to 3 years doing a diet. Usually for healing you would do 10-30 days, and for apprenticing you would do the longer ones or maybe a ton of the shorter ones. To become a shaman in the tradition I study it is usually recommended to do 2+ years of dieting (some do it in one go, and some split it up into a few big chunks).

You spend every day of the diet in isolation. No electricity, no books or media, very strict food, no sex ect.... You remove yourself from all your normal habits and from the expectation others put on you. You are completely by yourself.

You feel your old habits change and die. You learn new habits and new ways of thinking. You find yourself without other distractions trying to tell you who you are. You have enough time for those changes to take root.

You do not make up or create a new you.... You find the true you and learn how to express this. (I think this here is the key)



I did something similar once for four months, I ate one pack of ramen a day, no tv, no travel, very little human contact...I call it being poor. But it did have a similar effect.
I believe you and I are each viewing things from the opposite side of the same duality. That being that there is a true self to be revealed on one side, and that there is no true self on the other. Both are true, and cannot exist without the other.

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#17 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:32 PM

The 'true' you and your 'core'.... can these terms be used interchangeably?


Travsha: Expressing the 'true' you without Earthly interference is, to me, is Divine expression.


I would say "true you" is your spirit expressing itself without interference from you. Where the core is that first set of tools you learn to use to have your needs met.

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#18 travsha

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 07:15 PM

I did something similar once for four months, I ate one pack of ramen a day, no tv, no travel, very little human contact...I call it being poor. But it did have a similar effect.
I believe you and I are each viewing things from the opposite side of the same duality. That being that there is a true self to be revealed on one side, and that there is no true self on the other. Both are true, and cannot exist without the other.

----------
Not exactly the same. Eating ramen and being poor is not the same as willingly sacrificing and sitting with intention to know yourself and work with spirits. I have spent a lot of my life poor and it is not the same at all to what I am talking about.

I would say that I disagree with the idea that there is no true self. At least when I look deep into my heart I find something very tangible there - I do not encounter nothing. I encounter so much that I have to keep going back into my heart to know more of it - there is so much that it is very hard to express it all. But it is certainly there to be expressed.

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#19 Barnstock

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 09:55 PM

----------
Not exactly the same. Eating ramen and being poor is not the same as willingly sacrificing and sitting with intention to know yourself and work with spirits. I have spent a lot of my life poor and it is not the same at all to what I am talking about.

I would say that I disagree with the idea that there is no true self. At least when I look deep into my heart I find something very tangible there - I do not encounter nothing. I encounter so much that I have to keep going back into my heart to know more of it - there is so much that it is very hard to express it all. But it is certainly there to be expressed.

A little joke. But that is what I did, I sat day after day with only my thoughts until even my thoughts left me, and I was experiencing existence without interference, or interpretatiin or filters. And I learned, and I still carry it with me because it was always there.

And I did say the true self does exist, and doesn't at the same time. This cannot be understood intellectually. Your true self keeps unfolding and revealing more, and it will do that forever because there id no crux, no locus mundi, no center. Each revelation is another nexus, and another passage that leads to whst is you, and not you. But don't take my word for it.

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#20 Oroboros

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:32 PM

And I did say the true self does exist, and doesn't at the same time. This cannot be understood intellectually. Your true self keeps unfolding and revealing more, and it will do that forever because there id no crux, no locus mundi, no center. Each revelation is another nexus, and another passage that leads to whst is you, and not you. But don't take my word for it..

This just deserves to be highlighted. Worth some consideration- imho.

Edited by Oroboros, 09 December 2015 - 11:34 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe