Spiritual guide may help the dying take their next step

As the time of your or your loved one’s death nears, it may be helpful to keep a picture of your beloved spiritual teacher or guide nearby. I sometimes recommend to people who are virtually bedridden that they might place a picture of Jesus, Mother Mary, Buddha, or their favorite spiritual guide on the wall by the end of their bed. This way, whenever their eyes are open, they will see and be reminded of their beloved one, to whom they may well be returning.

I had an interesting experience with a gentleman who was on our hospice over a lengthy period. I actually got to know Jerry’s dear wife much better than I did Jerry, because she was very open and curious about spiritual matters. I sensed she wanted to learn and grow through her husband’s experience. About a week before Jerry died, she told me he had asked her for a picture of Jesus to place at the foot of his bed. She had found a lovely, rather unusual, framed picture of Jesus that they had in their possession. She believed it gave Jerry much comfort to see Jesus at the end of his bed as he prepared to enter the spiritual realm.

In another situation, I recall meeting the wife of a gentleman I came to know on hospice. The gentleman was in a room in an adult family home and could no longer speak. However, I got to meet his wife one day and she told me about the beautiful picture that was hanging on the wall at the foot of his bed. It turned out that his wife had wanted to find something to place there that would remind him of where he was going. She searched in religious bookstores, but found nothing. Then, when she was in a Michaels craft store, she found a beautiful poster of the Earth Angel, by Josephine Wall, a British artist. She decided it was exactly what she was looking for and posted it at the foot of her husband’s bed.

I was so taken by Josephine’s “Earth Angel” and its beauty that I went out and found a copy of it at a Michael’s myself and mounted it on a strong, wooden purple frame. It became my muse for this work. Eventually, I was able to get permission from Josephine’s agent, and Earth Angel is now on the cover of my second book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? It is a reminder to me of the peace and harmony that is coming to planet earth, especially as we do our “work” around death, grief, and the mystery of life – releasing the fear that still remains, of the unknown.

Chanting and repeating the name of a spiritual leader or guide is also said to be a powerful way to die. The person who is dying can do this, if he or she is conscious and desires to do so. Otherwise, in planning ahead, a loved one who is with the person as death nears might practice this on the loved one’s behalf. Anya Foos-Graber, author of Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life, writes about this technique in Chapter 23 of Experiencing the Soul. She says that invoking the name of a spiritual being or master, one who is “one with God,” is a meaningful way to approach death.

In response to the question, “Why is the moment of death so important for the progress of the soul?” Foos-Graber responds: “Many spiritual traditions teach that whatever one focuses on at this moment casts the ‘flavor’ atmosphere of what occurs after physical death. The way we die…has a profound corresponding effect for our state in the afterlife.”

She goes on to share that just as first impressions are important when we meet someone for the first time, so are our last impressions. We can leave a good “mark” on the “cosmic memory banks of the Universal Mind” when we focus on God/dess through a divine being who is powerfully connected to All That Is.

 


The Magical Essence of Frankincense, One of the most powerful essential oils

The essential oils can be such powerful catalysts for change and comfort at the end of life, and any time in our lives, really. This story tells of one of the most powerful experiences I had one day while doing my “routine” hospice work.

Douglas, my hospice patient, had been struggling to breathe all night long. In fact, breathing had become the major issue in his life during the last week. He was now wearing an oxygen mask. His daughter Marcia was on one side of his hospital bed, his granddaughter Jenn on the other. They had just tucked him back into bed after a sleepless night on the Hospice Unit.

Later I found out they’d both been giving him permission to let go all night long, for they knew that he was suffering too much.

It was a Monday morning, and I had just listened to my voice mails. One of our palliative care specialist nurses had left me a message saying that Douglas wanted me to come and anoint him with the essential oils as I had done for him last week. As I drove toward the Hospice house on the east side of Puget Sound, I had no idea that I was about to witness one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had with the essential oils as a spiritual counselor.

Having revamped my schedule for the day, I entered Douglas’s room with my essential oils and a favorite CD of East/West Chants in hand. I felt some power beyond my own guiding me.

Upon entering Douglas’s room, I knew what needed to be done. First, I anointed him with some oils.

Marcia and Jenn made room for me to bless their father and grandfather with the oils. I got out Myrtle, the Believe Blend, and Frankincense. I lifted the oxygen mask and placed some of the Believe Blend around Douglas’s nose. After anointing the area around lungs with the Believe oil, too, I rubbed some Myrtle on his right ribcage and some on his feet. Then I anointed his forehead with Frankincense, my favorite oil. Frankincense, meaning “real incense,” I’ve discovered is also considered the favorite incense of the spirit realm.

The oils almost immediately had an effect. Douglas’s breathing slowed and his whole body began to relax. Next, I went over to the CD player and got the beautiful chants by Cynthia Snodgrass filling the room with their special harmony (Ubi caritas et amor — “Where charity and love are, God is there”). Douglas’s oxygen mask had been removed, and it was Marcia who noticed that Douglas had opened his eyes to look straight up, above his bed.

“He’s going, he’s going!” she exclaimed.

“Well, maybe,” I thought to myself, as one never really knows when and how the dying process will happen, not unlike a birth.

I also found myself praying hard at this point. I recall offering a prayer out loud, too, around Douglas’s bed with his two beloved ones. Before long, Douglas’s breathing had slowed down even more, and it became clear that he was in the final stages of letting go. The three of us witnessing this turn of events were so amazed, it did not even occur to us to leave the room. Within 20 minutes of my entering his room and administering the oils, Douglas had taken his last breath.

After a few minutes of experiencing this sacred time together, one of us finally left the room to go find a nurse. Two hospice staff came into Douglas’s room to help us begin to digest what had just happened. After confirming that Douglas had died, they checked his limbs, noting that there had been none of the mottling that usually happens before a person dies.

In hindsight, I believe Douglas realized that the relaxation offered him by the essential oils gave him an opportunity to let go and make his way over to the next realm. This meant that he could forego the usual process of the body’s slowing down gradually.

Needless to say, this experience with essential oils opened me up to the subtle yet tremendous power that they can have in the end-of-life and dying process. On some level, I have known that the oils possess this kind of magic, since I’ve heard about how they were used in ancient times around death and burial. And Frankincense was what the Three Wise Men brought to Jesus as a gift for him at the time of his birth.

However, one doesn’t have to be dying or experiencing a transition to enjoy the benefits of these oils. I use them on a regular basis, to lift my mood and raise my vibration and mood.

Frankincense is known for its anti-depressant quality and for its ability to connect a person with the spiritual realm; it is also a wonderful tonic for the skin and has anti-tumoral qualities, as well.

I heard about a mother who had a son with a brain tumor. She kept her son’s head wet with Frankincense. Over time, the son was healed by the power of this powerful healing oil that was once considered more valuable than gold. Frankincense has also been known to work its magic with people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

If ever you happen to be with an obstinate person who suffers from Alzheimer’s, simply apply some of this wonderful oil to your own hands and then run your hands through their aura – energy field – in some way. This process will very soon have a calming effect on the headstrong individual.

If you are interested in learning more about the essential oils and transitions, Maria will be leading a class on this on Thursday, April 14 at the Brilliant Moon. Please call them to register: (360) 868-2190.