Updated: Dec 27, 2021
When I got divorced I realized that we don’t know how to do goodbyes, well I didn’t. So I called my teachers, friends, sisters and said, “You need to come. I don’t know how to do this.” and they came. They hosted my birthing ceremony. Three days of ritual, holding, and celebration. The first day I was held in a Corn Maiden ceremony by my friend Debra where I was gifted the name Wind Warrior. The second day my dear sister/friend Barbara hosted a community sing along so that my children could experience joy being welcomed back into the house. The third day Jojopah held space for an African centered ceremony where the 14 guest each took turns cutting my hair, offered it to the fire in ritual, before we danced and feasted.
Leading up to the ceremony, in a conversation with the divine, it came to me that I needed to cut my hair. First I found myself bargaining thinking that maybe I didn’t have to cut it all off but I could just trim it a little. Spirit said no. My reply was, “but I like my hair”, the answer I got back was that is what makes it a sacrifice, your willingness to offer it is what makes it sacred. I am obedient so I surrendered and when it was time sat in the middle of the room with my eyes closed as each person took turns cutting my hair.
Lately I have been wondering what role sacred sacrifice plays in community. I have often said that we can’t get something new without giving up something old and that circle practice can help us realize that we not only belong to each other but we are each other. But sometimes in the going it together, in this culture that believes there is such a thing as independence we can feel left out of the equation when it is our turn to yield to the whole. I have in the past sacrificed things that felt important to me in the moment but I did it in more of a martyr way than a sacred one. I knew that I was the one that made the choice but I was still keeping score, holding it in my back pocket for later as evidence that I have already given and now it’s someones else’s turn.
Sacred sacrifice isn’t that, it’s an offering , a gift that is given free and clear because we know that we don’t just belong to each other but we are each other. We know that what I give to you I give to myself. We know that our liberation is tied to each other. The promise from the divine is whatever we offer up in the spirit of generosity and faith will always be replaced with equal or greater.