Death

Personal Accountability in the Face of Tragedy

Dedicated to Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Markis, Jeremiah and Sierra Hart

This article contains no links, offers or promotions. I want to focus on two things only:

  1. Honoring the murdered Hart children
  2. Personal accountability

(If you are unfamiliar with the tragedy of the Hart family, please read here and here.)

I am holding myself accountable.

When I learned about the tragic death of the Hart family, I assumed it was an accident. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel or had somehow lost control of the car.

I knew of the Hart family largely through the periphery of my community. I spoke with Sarah once, chatted with Abigail and Hannah about their costumes and never again personally interacted with any of them.

I fell for the carefully curated image they presented. I saw what I thought was a group of happy, healthy kiddos running around, freely connecting with community and sharing their love. I saw the photos when they popped up on my feed, and never thought twice that anything might be amiss.

When I heard about the death of these children, I thought it must have been a horrible mistake. As more articles described the charges, the abuse and details of the scene, I felt taken aback that this tragedy was looking less and less like an accident.

I am challenging myself to say anything about this topic at all, because I'm not directly involved, I barely knew the family and I generally dislike engaging with Facebook as a conversation platform (*note: I originally published most of this article as a Facebook post).

...but despite all of that, I was unknowingly complicit in condoning not only the terrible abuse of these children, but of white supremacy, white bias, and participating in the suppression of people of color.

By not saying anything, I would be letting myself off the hook, in a way. But that's not how I roll.

I'm hesitant to make this about me, because the world knows we don't need more of that, but that's really my best place to start. If I don't hold myself accountable, who will? If I don't challenge my own subconscious ideas and background narrative, who will? If I don't address my underlying beliefs about privilege and racial justice, who will?

If I don't ask myself how I indirectly participated in the murder of six children who were members of my community, who will?

Most of my work focuses on the micro: how can I support people as individuals? How can I help every human I meet to feel more empowered, healthy, aligned and present in their heart?

I hesitated to share this article because this is a very macro-topic of social justice, but when I ask myself how I can show up and serve more fully, I can approach it from a micro- point of view.

If you would like to join me, please see below for three invitations.

Invitation #1: A prayer for Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Markis, Jeremiah and Sierra Hart

We call upon and invoke the presence of our own Innocent Hearts, Archangels and Ascended Masters, guides and teachers of Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Markis, Jeremiah and Sierra, to please be present for this highest of healings for them, for their highest and greatest good. Please support their process of transition. We ask that their karma may be cleared of all abuse, fear, trauma, pain and suffering incurred in this lifetime and in all their lifetimes. Please help them to integrate the lessons of their lives and their deaths, so they do not need to repeat this pattern again. We ask that they receive support in shifting their soul patterns to align with health, happiness, vitality, joy, expansion, ease and love. Please help them move through the veil with ease and grace, knowing that they are loved, supported, held, Divinely protected and guided. Please let them release all that which does not serve them, and receive exactly that which they need on every level--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, throughout all dimensions and throughout all space and time--so that they may be completely whole and healed. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blessings.

We offer our deepest love to Hannah, Devonte, Abigail, Markis, Jeremiah and Sierra. We are so sorry for the traumas that you endured during this lifetime. Please forgive us. Thank you. We love you.

Invitation #2: A prayer for Jennifer and Sarah Hart

We call upon and invoke the presence of our own Innocent Hearts, Archangels and Ascended Masters, guides and teachers of Jennifer and Sarah, to please be present for this highest of healings for them, for their highest and greatest good. Please support their process of transition. We ask that they receive the support that they need in order to move through the Realm of Suffering Souls. Please help them to align with forgiveness, compassion, grace and love. We ask that their karma may be cleared of all patterns of abuse, violence, trauma, pain and suffering incurred and perpetrated in this lifetime and in all their lifetimes. Please support them in integrating the lessons of their lives and their deaths, so that they do not need to repeat this pattern again. Please let them release all that which does not serve them, and receive exactly that which they need on every level--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, throughout all dimensions and throughout all space and time--so that they may be completely whole and healed. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blessings.

Invitation #3: Journal and Meditation Prompts

It is only by asking ourselves the challenging questions that we can push our edges and grow. I firmly believe that system-level change begins with the individual--meaning that our personal patterns and belief systems directly translate to the patterns and systems present on the societal and global level. If we wish to change the system, we must look at the core beliefs of the people in the system: change happens from the bottom up, not the other way around.

If we live in a society that condones white supremacy, white bias and child abuse, we must investigate each of our core, underlying beliefs. This is where it can get a bit challenging. Looking at something in ourselves that is surrounded by emotional charge, societal conditioning and so much tension and judgement can make anyone shy away. But if we never look at it, it will never change. So we must look at it.

The good news is, you do not have to share your journal with anyone! (I do, but that's me. I have a higher threshold for personal discomfort than most people.) Your innermost thoughts and beliefs can stay on the page--that blank paper is your refuge.

That being said, please take this as an opportunity to be honest with yourself. You might uncover something you don't like--some hidden belief or bias, something that maybe you wish you didn't know about yourself. This is the risk we run whenever we do personal work! And yet, it is also the reward. When we shine a light on our deepest shadows, it can feel profoundly uncomfortable. Please know that you are safe, it is okay for you to look at these parts of yourself and that overall, you will be more empowered as a result.

Let's start with the self:

What are my beliefs about my own racial identity? What does that say about me? How do I want to feel about my racial identity?

Now let's zoom out a bit:

What are my beliefs about other people of the same racial identity as me? What are my beliefs about people of other racial identities?

Let's bring us all together:

How do I consciously AND subconsciously relate to people who are the same racial identity as me? How do I consciously AND subconsciously relate to people of other racial identities?

What next?

How do I want to show up in the world in the context of my own racial identity? How do I want to relate to people of other racial identities?

This is by no means a comprehensive guide. I absolutely do not claim to be an expert on racial justice. However, I am an expert on personal work and investigation, and this is the best I have to offer: a place to start.

If you're interested in more, check out this resource that a friend sent my way: SHETalks WETalk: Race Talks for Women.

Solstice Darkness

Originally published on Eagle Song December 21, 2015.

Tonight marks the Winter Solstice. This is a personally significant holiday for several reasons. Not only is this when I celebrate the New Year, but four years ago today (on the Solstice in 2011) I received my Shamanic Initiation. Add to that the perfect container to call in the darkness to do some lovely Shadow work–this is a very Shamanic holiday.

Last night I attended Solstice Dance for the third year in a row and spent some time taking stock of the last year. I felt considerable distress when I noticed some similar themes of what was going on this time two years ago, last year and now. And as I danced, I thought, “Has that little actually changed? What the fuck am I doing that this is still a main theme in my life?”

But of course, things have changed. This is one of those examples of the Cycles of Power: after all, everything is cyclical and we live in a spiraling Universe. So even though it seems that around this time every year I revisit themes of power, love and wounding, each year I do so with a new level of understanding, awareness and comfort of working within the darkness.

Two years ago, I remember my big Solstice revelation was centered around the idea of “It’s okay to not be okay.” Using darkness itself as a healing tool was relatively new to me, and by that time I had already been going through Underworld Initiations for at least six months. Accepting that I didn’t feel happy and shiny all the time was a big step for me.

Last year, one of the main threads of darkness was working through healing my relationship to relationship itself. I held three consecutive days of some form of ritual and I worked as hard as I could to move through the darkness so I could come out the other side and be done.

And I’m still not done, because the Underworld Initiations have continued. (And according to my astrologer friend, they probably will for about another year, until the end of my Saturn Return.) But I’ve reached a place, after spending the last two and a half years or so working through some level of wounding and trauma and challenge, where I’m totally okay with hanging out in the darkness. And even though this Solstice is helping me confront some of my deepest fears, prompting crises of purpose and inspiring new levels of pain, I finally know how to welcome it.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been saying “I feel like I’m dying.” I’ve actually been able to feel parts of me shriveling in the presence of intense emotion and energy. But it occurred to me last night as I was dancing that I didn’t really know what parts of me have been dying. Given the trajectory of my path thus far, it seems like a good thing. So I decided that I would dance my Death. As I danced, I called upon Pluto and Persephone, Lord and Lady of the Underworld, to bring me my Death. I asked that all the parts of me that were ready to go move with Death to be guided into the Underworld. I also asked that, if the next year will continue to bring Shadow work, Pluto and Persephone stand with me as guides through the darkness. (Owl also showed up for me yesterday when I was teaching Reiki Master class, so I danced with her as well. She is another entity who has offered to guide me through the Shadow.)

Even though it initially felt like I was in a similar place as I have been for the last two years, so much has changed. The mere fact that I am now completely comfortable calling in the deepest darkness available to work through my own wounding is new within the last year, and I can attribute this ease in working with the Shadow realm to the last several years moving deeper and deeper into darkness with myself and others. This particular Cycle of Power has offered me some wonderful reflection about my growth in all areas of my life, and I am grateful to embrace the Darkness as my ally for transformation. This has been a long process of Death, and I’m happy to learn everything I can until I’m ready to be reborn in the Light.

Artwork by Veronica Gutierrez