by Rick Gossett
Editor Note: While we want to be respectful to the community and families of the those who lost their lives, it is our nature to search for answers. The following is how the members of the Svaha Spirit Lodge community responded. This group has been gathering for more than twenty years just a few miles away from the location of the landslide.
A Rent in the Earth! Psychopump Work for Oso and beyond.
A Shamanic Community’s response to the Oso tragic landslide – 12 joined in circle with 21 working at a distance that day!
On an uneventful Tuesday morning in March, a slab of earth ½ mile wide broke loose and cascaded a wall of mud and debris 40 feet deep, down the slope and into 40 unsuspecting homes of a small rural community called Oso just 20 miles from my home. The slide instantly buried 41 or more folks – some of whose bodies may never to be recovered.
Indeed because of the suffering and the possible lack of closure the larger community worldwide responded with heartfelt attention and help. Our spiritual community, the Svaha Spirit Lodge, immediately felt the impact in the spirit world and gathered to do Psychopomp work as we have done in the past with other portentous, sudden events.
In earlier cultures, the Shaman was usually present at the death of an individual to help their soul to move on to Heaven, to Valhalla, the Light, or however the ‘other side’ was perceived to be. It was a time of healing for the family and community. The process is now referred to as psychopomp. This work involves journeying to escort souls to the land of the dead. This is practiced in many cultures but is sadly forgotten in ours.
In the past we have used journeying postures for the work with great success. This time however after gathering our spirit guides and helpers and doing a diagnostic journey we clearly got that we needed to work with a different intent and use other types of driving devices for trance induction: drum, flute, and large gong. The resulting journeys were less linear and content focused; and more experiential and energetic in nature.
Bear and eagle/hawk had been strong in many of our dreams and sightings leading up to this day’s work, so it was not a surprise to learn that Oso ment bear in several languages. Four hawk and two eagles flew closely overhead as we all stood outside at the end of the day. Here is one journey shared that day:
“For some time in the journey I merely ministered through holding the pain tenderly with no sense of urgency to dispel or fix it. As I was looking into the site a face emerged out of the mud and it spoke to me about how on the Earth plane pain is inevitable and yet suffering is not. Some of us are learning about suffering, how to transcend suffer.”
Another reported: “I felt strongly that two parts were needed during our gathering. One journey to work with the land and souls still trapped there (I believe people have died in mudslides in that specific area going back lifetimes) and a second journey working with the gong to bring healing. I let the gong play itself through me as I I worked on choosing silence and listening.”
There were a few of us who needed release and clearing after this work. I felt we received that healing. The smiles and deeps sighs at the end of the day reflected our atunement. We left Rick’s Office knowing that we were healed, that the Earth and all living beings were healed.”
Our community has been working with Psychopump techniques for decades. Here are some excerpts from writings first published in Shared Visions Magazine, 1995:
A week after the bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, Rick and several of his apprentices travelled to that area to work with the victims of the bombing, those who had died but still had not found their way to the land of the dead. Here are three stories they shared.
“I met an old black man wandering around. I asked him if he knew that he was dead. He said that he thought so, but could he just please see his grandchild one more time. We went to his home and had a tearful visit with his living three-year-old grandson; then the old man went easily on.”
“A black woman was standing there screaming and screaming. I stood behind her, just putting my hands on her shoulders and breathed with her. Her screams became more melodic and she grew less agitated. Finally, she was singing. It was a rousing gospel hymn and the Light began to surround her. I gave her a little push from behind and she went to the Other Side in an ecstatic posture, head thrown back and arms outstretched, singing her heart out. My hands and arms glowed where the Light touched them. I felt wonderful.”
“Children everywhere! All crying and wanting their mommies. One little girl clings to my skirts, burying her head there and weeping inconsolably. I look again and an angel is walking with them. I pick her up and carry her out into the open. Her mother runs up, takes her into her arms and speaks softly to her. Still murmuring to her daughter, she turns and begins to walk away.
“They walk across a threshold and I can see them no longer, only the Light. I am deeply touched!”
About Svaha Spirit Lodge: This divers spiritual community of several hundred folks in the Pacific NorthWest use Shamanic tools including the Long Dance to care for each other and the Earth itself. Richard Gossett is a member of this community and reports that he is learning how to be an elder.