Tag Archives: grief

Irises: Rainbow Bridges between Heaven and Earth

As soon as the goddess entered and brushed away the dreams that hovered around her, her brightness lit up all the cave.

“The Halcyon Birds,” Bulfinch’s Mythology

In the Greek myth “The Halcyon Birds,” the goddess Iris dons her robe of many colors, then paints the sky with a rainbow on her way down to Earth. As Iris’ radiance fills the sleeping god’s cave, she delivers her message to him that a king had died. Then she returns by her multi-hued arc to the heavens.

Bridge between heaven and earth

The iridescent rainbow goddess Iris represents a connection between earth and heaven through the bows she creates with her robe—the female version of an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—when she traverses the air.

Iris blossoms bear her name

The iris flower bears her name. Symbolically, this bloom bridges earth with heaven because of its great beauty. It represents the ability to communicate messages with those who reside with (the) God(s).

If you have lost a loved one to addiction, the iris might take on some extra significance for you.

Opioid overdose

Irises have been growing for decades at Grailville in Loveland, Ohio, which has served as a spiritual bridge between the human and the Divine.

It is sacred ground upon which my 19-year-old son Brennan inspired one final time before overdosing on heroin.

Buckets of irises

Buckets of extra irises from the property found their way into my little car in 2017, thanks to Mary Lu.

They now are planted in Brennan’s garden behind my home. From sacred ground to hallowed ground, the irises connect the spiritual with the profane, the light with the dark, the living with the deceased.

They help bring the Spirit to my son who sought the Spirit in the false highs of heroin. The flowers now provide a symbolic way to communicate with him.

Iris symbolism

The iris has another symbolic connection for me. Early usage of the French royal symbol, the fleur-de-lis/fleur-de-lys, probably referred to the iris, which grew abundantly along the river Lys, rather than to the lily. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol for the Boy Scouts, in which Brennan earned the Arrow of Light honor.

The first Siberian iris has begun beaming its iridescent radiance this spring. There is no more meaningful addition to his garden.

Easing Grieving:

To invoke the energy of the rainbow, or of communication with your loved ones on the Other Side, perhaps meditate with a drop of iris essence or essential oil on your forehead between your eyebrows, or with an iris blossom next to you.

Sources:

Richard Martin, ed., “The Halcyon Birds,” Bulfinch’s Mythology (New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1991), p. 65

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis, November 1, 2017

Message in a cardinal for grieving mothers

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;

Deuteronomy 22:6, JPS Tanakh 1917

The compassionate act for a hungry person of ancient times was to take only the eggs from a bird’s nest and leave the mother. This created benefits: humans had food and birds could again reproduce, making more human food.

Fortunately I can walk to a store open 24 hours every day and get a variety of foods to eat. I don’t need the eggs in the nest by my porch to satisfy my survival needs.

Cardinal nest by my door

The cardinal nesting by my side door probably is the one that tried to create a nest on my porch light. Hanging from this light fixture is the beautiful wind chime given to me by Kay so my son, whom I lost to a heroin overdose, could make it sing for me.

Perhaps the mother bird gave up when the door kept swinging open and shut, open and shut.

So she moved to the tree next to the porch. As close as she could get without the constant disturbance.

Nest eggs

Her nest cradles two eggs. I enjoy seeing her as I walk by.

How did those eggs get out of her little body?

How does she know to sit on her eggs? The sea turtle lays her eggs and abandons them, returning to the sea.

How does she know to leave the eggs alone? If she were human, I imagine she’d be neurotically inspecting the eggs, rolling them around, listening for any sounds.

Simply being

Nope. She sits calmly, quietly, still as stone. Watching. Waiting. Being.

She makes me wonder about my way of being as a mother. I was anxious, wanting everything to work out perfectly for my two offspring. Instead, one turned to drugs, and three years ago lost his life.

Blame and shame

Would I blame the bird if one of her eggs broke, or if a hatchling fell out of the nest, or if a creature ate one?

Today I found a broken robin’s egg on my driveway, not five feet from the tree where the cardinal nestles. This is life. These things happen. We do not control outcomes, especially with terrible illnesses like cancer and addiction.

Parental fallacy

James Hillman (American psychologist, 1926 –2011), in his book The Soul’s Code, calls the inordinate self-blame of grieving parents “the parental fallacy.” It is false to think we have enough control to manage every outcome. We can try and influence, yet ultimately, it is not up to us.

Maybe it’s a message

Perhaps this is why the cardinal tried to build a nest right above my son’s wind chime and the robin lost her baby.

Maybe it’s a message, like, “It’s not your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. Sometimes terrible things happen. And I am near you now, singing through the wind chime, watching you through the eyes of a bird nesting by your door.”

They are reminders to have compassion for myself, as I have compassion for these mother birds.

Special Delivery

Give thanks in all circumstances…

1 Thessalonians 5:18, Christian Bible, New International Version

 

A large package appeared on my front porch a week before Christmas. I hadn’t ordered anything, and didn’t expect any gifts from anyone.

lville stoneware web.jpgThe label included an unknown name above my address. Hmmm.

I called the delivery company, the former homeowners, the return address phone number. After two hours on and off the phone, the originating company representative told me the package was mine.

Excited, I cut through the tape and pulled out a large red stoneware container holding potpourri. It featured an embossed fleur-de-lis.

My son Brennan’s favorite color was red. Fleur-de-lis is French for the lily flower, which is used to symbolize resurrection. The Boy Scouts, an organization to which Brennan belonged for years, uses the symbol.

Was it somehow, through a series of small errors, sent to me by Brennan’s energy? No one can say for sure. My friend Kay, who lost her son, taught me to see these unusual events as signs from our loved ones. She would say, “Thank you, thank you, send me more.” Because she is open to the possibility and watching for it, she notices what others might readily dismiss, and she feels a precious sense of connection with and gratitude toward her son.

So I am going to accept this gift as if my son sent it to me and give thanks for this unusual and wonderful circumstance.

What kind of signs have you received from your loved one who passed away?