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In Shamanism, we believe that there is no such thing as death in the conventional sense – as

an ending to life. We see our souls existing in a never-ending process of regeneration. Our

soul remembers our ancient past, engages with our current situation, and knows our future

lives. Time is not seen as a linear line of repeating loss and gain, but more of a summative

experience unifying time into one singular moment. We live forever and our soul is immortal.

Source is looking to experience itself in as many forms, vibrations, and frequencies as it can,

and as part of Source, that is what we are doing. We are pure consciousness stilled down into

the physical realm as a personality life form.

When we are here, some of the commonest questions asked about life is; Where do we come

from? Why are we here? And where do we go afterward? Simply put, we come from a

spiritual environment into this hard physical world and will return once our time has been

completed. The whys and wherefores of specifics are up to you to discover and put into

action. The one thing that tends to be accepted, is that life on this planet is a life of hard

existence, and a life of learning. The energy is harsh, low, and not easy to work in compared

to the higher energies of the spiritual worlds. The chances are that you have not achieved all

you come here to experience and learn in one lifetime and so you have returned again and

again until this is so. By being here in the now, please note that you are here should you

choose to, to help bring about great changes and move us all upwards and onwards into a

brand-new ascension. Things are changing rapidly, and it will be the end of one cycle and the

beginning of a new exciting and totally different opportunity of existence.

With the present changing energies, we have the opportunity to affect all our lives lived and

all our lives yet to come. Life in spirit does not conform to that which we are invested in in

this dimension. There is no time as it stands in spirit. So as one of my old mentors used to

say, you have an opportunity every second that you live, breathe, and have existence to affect

that which is coming and call a positive experience into being. You also line up all that have

come before and can integrate them into a positive state of being. How do we do this? By

being present in the now and living our lives in joy and creative expression. How you do that

is up to you.

For the moment let us concentrate on the here and now. Before we incarnate into this Middle

World existence, we create numerous spiritual contracts which we intend to work into our

lives at various points. These contracts can be about any aspect of life here on this level of

existence and may well include issues that need to be explored for personal, family, cultural

and world reasons. Of course, we have free will once we are here, which makes things that

little bit more interesting. We might also be grappling with sacred oaths and contracts made

in past lives that are still affecting us today.

We might well complain, challenge, and fight the hard choices that have been created on a

soul level. We may never understand them as we are working on a much lower vibrational

rate and have our egos and emotions to deal with. Never fear, we may also have put in exit

points, if things get too much to bear. Remember all those near misses in our lives? They are

opportunities to leave if the heat gets too intense to create and weave our magical


When we unlock the mysteries of existence, we can see the continuity of life and the soul’s

eternal nature. All our experiences feed directly back into our souls. Shamanism sees the soul

as an expert shapeshifter who continually regenerates part of itself into limitless forms, some

human, some not.

We are always looking for the right experience (whatever that be) chosen from a soul

perspective when being shimmied into position to reincarnate, hence we choose our

environments and parents. Why would we leave anything to chance. There is always a greater

understanding and presence behind this part of the process. We might well have connections

with our parents from past lives, but for whatever reason we choose them, a sacred contract is

made and then action follows. The soul chooses its mother and circumstances carefully for its

personality. All is as it should be. On some level we are here to attune to our highest calling.

The chances are that we will all at some point in our lives be present at the passing of a

loved-one. This can be seen as an individual transitioning from one life into their next

existence. But how often do we share our thoughts about this process with the person

transitioning. By exploring this process in a positive fashion, it can help us understand the

eternal nature of the soul, our connection to it and bring an appreciation of our existence and

the real significance of our unity to Source.

By not speaking about death in an explorative fashion we can end up being afraid and scared

about the process. In Shamanism we accept that this is a transitioning situation where the

only thing that dies is the physical body and that the soul is always alive. The Now, is so

important in life, but we frequently find ourselves lost in thought, in dreams and fears of what

might be.

Each moment gives us the opportunity of Being. Understanding and processing what it is to

be here in this realm, experiencing all that it has to give us, both good and bad. And that is a

judgement we frequently misrepresent due to self-judgement issues. A life well-lived

celebrates the uniqueness of individual life and the fact we are never alone and linked in with

our soul energy which is endless, life is a condition of continuity, and we are all connected in

the great scheme of things.

Every birth, life and death are all part of the universal process of experiencing oneself in as

many ways as can be experienced. We have done this many times, are doing this now and

will carry on the process until we have completed what we came here to do. Indeed, there is

some thought that says, we have already achieved all we have come to do, are already

ascended masters and are now looking back through the prism of each life lived. Life

revolves round the universe, each planet in the solar system carries its distinct spiritual

schools where we will be fortunate enough to go through similar but new experiences. These

are on many varied vibrations and levels of existence. Transitions are how we journey around

the dimensions and explore ourselves and what is out there to enjoy.

“Shamans heal both the living and the dead” – Sandra Ingerman 

A shaman will help those who wish to prepare themselves for a good death, this is done

through healing what needs to be healed, releasing that which needs to be released and

perhaps even teaching them to journey to the Land of the Dead, to allay any fears this person

may have about the continuance of life after a physical death. Meeting with one’s ancestors is

another good way of acceptance of the inevitable and facilitate the meeting of one’s spiritual

allies who have been with this person for their life and will accompany them safely into the

next. Shamans also help those who have been left behind to come to terms with the trauma of

bereavement and release any ties they might have to the deceased.

Shamans routinely journey between the worlds and have usually experienced near death if

not actual death experiences themselves. This helps the shaman understand the world of the

physical and the spiritual and learns to move between them both at will. They learn to heal

themselves and integrate the body, mind and spirit elements that make them up. By working

with their allies, and becoming the hollow bone, or empty reed, they learn to channel the

spiritual energies required to lead a successful and power-full life. Shamans learn how

important it is to acknowledge and respect the initiations surrounding both birth and death, to

make their peace and live a fearless life full of power and understanding.

It is not uncommon for those of us who have lost relatives and friends to be visited by them

in dreams, visions, or feel that they are close to us after they have died. I have spoken to both

my dead parents in separate situations who wished to pass specific messages to me and my

siblings. I have heard many stories about people who have died on the operating table in

hospital having an out of body experience, looking down at themselves laying on the table

below, before returning to their bodies and waking up. People can often smell an odour

associated with a dead relative, whether it be aftershave, soup or sweat. Working as a

shamanic practitioner I meet with my ancestors regularly and know how close they are to us

every waking hour of the day. It is not scary, it is fact and so by honouring them I can access

their strength, support, and help. They are in my DNA, my emotion, and my energy. When I

call them in, I feel them coming (making themselves known) and know they are as much a

part of me as I am of them.

I have helped transition many dead people who have not been able to move successfully over

for any number of reasons. They might be connected to the living, as in an energetic tie -

usually to do with unfinished business. They might have stolen or been given other people’s

life energy and not been able to move over until this has been returned. Sometimes if a person

has lived in a place for many years and died there, they might not recognise that they are dead

and not want to move anywhere. There are those who deliberately seek out the energy of

certain types of living people and attach themselves to feed of them for a while. There are

many who wish to stay in beautiful and sacred spaces and be a willing part of the healing

energy found there.

Do we have specific set time limits here in this earthly life? I have talked about the contracts

we create before arriving and they are set in spirit before we enter the heavy, lower

frequencies of this earth plane. Does shit happen? Only in the events, people, and lessons we

attract to ourselves through our changing vibration and our interpretation of these events. So

that is why spirit time is perceived as different to earth time. Things here can move at a

different rate, but you stand a better chance of living longer if you can respect the physical

body you inhabit. The healthier you are, the longer you can extend your life. As long as you

are evolving spiritually, learning what you came here to learn and putting it into action, then

it seems feasible that you will enjoy your life here in a way you came here to do. Your soul

will always be wishing you to do what it has decided this life is for. It puts down a

compassionate part of itself to help the personality with its quest. This is the Higher Mental

part of us, which is to do with the higher learning aspect of a person. You are never alone.

You can always interact with this part of your divine make up.

Some people get worried about attaching themselves to the physical vibration, as in houses,

money, sex etc… It pays to be balanced and live in both worlds more rather than one world

less. You can have whatever you wish, live a balanced life, and don’t attach yourself to

anything that might hold you back when your time to leave has come. This might also include

religion, politics, and judgements. Letting go can mean a number of things, the quicker we

realise that the sooner life and death becomes an easier process to manage. Beware of

involving yourself in dramas that really don’t mean anything at all!

We may be inquisitive to knowing what our full soul-purpose is and through shamanic work

we can discover the basic reasons, and that can be enough to help follow a positive path. A

simple measuring stick would be to shine your light in the best way you can. In this world

which is going through a great transition in itself, there are many ascended masters out there

living lives in the most terrible areas of war and deprivation, in bodies that are twisted

through dreadful disease and illness, trying to raise the vibration of everyone to a higher

conscious level, to open our hearts and spread the love that we are all made out of and

transcend all of humanity and this planet into the next stage of its evolution.

Honouring Early Death

The contract of the spirit baby has been worked out and the length of its journey from

conception into birth is agreed. The soul energy begins to merge with that of the mothers and

fathers, throughout pregnancy, ready to come into being at birth. If a loss occurs it will be

because the soul contract is for growth, healing, and awareness to arise from the experience

to all concerned.

In today’s world, we have lost our way and can sometimes see these early losses as wasted

time and energy. All life is sacred, and all life has purpose, no matter how long it has existed

in our three-dimensional world. So, if we experience loss of a baby in the womb, or in early

birth time, we should respectfully give healing, to both parents and baby via ceremony,

awareness, and healing womb work.

Perhaps losing a life within the womb from miscarriage or abortion is a way for the woman to

bring her attention inwards, to help her connect with her womb and the feminine self. It might

be the act to help her investigate her soul path and get deeper healing and direction. A father

can also use these experiences to seek understanding and healing for himself. Perhaps this is

another way for us all to seek harmonious balance within us using the divine feminine and

divine masculine energies.

Unfortunately, the wounding of any loss can be buried deep down because the pain and hurt

it causes being too big to experience alone. Help may not be on hand to deal with the

emotions that these events cause. There might be added hurt due to the perceived or quite

open judgement aimed at a woman after an abortion and she is left alone to find a healing for


The experience and reaction to it may well create infertility, menstrual cycle imbalance, and

womb illness and unhealthy symptoms. Preventing her from being in touch with her own

intuition or being able to move forward in her relationships, work, passions, and creativity. 

What of the spirit of the child? There is no doubt that the spirit has the right experience it has

come for and so will usually depart in good grace and often be looked after by the ancestors.

There are times when we might not let the spirit child go and hold onto their energy form and

they are corded to the mother for many years. There are times when the spirit child wishes to

stay with their mother because of the bond that has been created. Certainly, through

honouring both mother and child in sacred space and having a releasing ceremony the spirit

child can move back safely into the spirit realms and onto the next phase of their journey.

Through these ceremonies any shame and guilt are released and deep love and forgiveness is

channelled for the self and spirit child. It is an incredibly intuitive process unique to each

woman. An opportunity is given for the mother to listen and interact with their spirit child.

Both are energetically disengaged from the past and are open to new starts and connections.

Ceremony can open the womb for new creativity, for new passions, projects, balance, and

babies to be birthed. The womb is also a metaphor for creating and birthing many energies

and expressions into this world.

Honouring a miscarriage via ritual can be deeply healing as it is an act of observing

pregnancy loss, honouring the experience, validating feeling, dreams, and expressions of

emotions, and acknowledging the brief life and loss of a child. You might find that both baby

and mother stay in communication for some time. It might be that the little one chooses to

incarnate through the mother later in life.

What is a Ritual?

It can be whatever the mother and father decide is appropriate for them. It can a simple

shared experience or something for the whole family and friends to come and be part of.

How ever the loss happened it can be painful and so deserves to be recognized and honoured

in some way. A ritual helps to release this pain and move on from the experience in a positive

fashion. Doing this in sacred space helps a healing for all concerned to be connected at a deep

soul level.

Rituals Ideas for Early Death

A ritual helps make the invisible visible.

A ritual helps to express and honour the emotions that come with your loss.

A ritual helps acknowledge your loss and can be an experience of support.

A ritual helps continue the relationship with your unborn child.

Some parents create a special space for their child whether unborn, or an early death with

candles, flowers, a statue, or other objects that are meaningful for them. Making your unborn

child symbolically visible makes your loss tangible. You can relate to it and do something to

strengthen the bond with your unborn child.

Organise a ceremony or memorial service.

You may want to hold some kind of ceremony or memorial service. This might be in your

place of worship, in another place that’s special to you, or at home. It could be just for close

friends and family or just you and your partner and other children you may have.

Examples of what to include:

1. An opening ritual to honour all concerned and present.

2. Share stories about the pregnancy, the dreams you had and the future you envisioned

with this new life.

3. Read a poem or say a prayer that is poignant to your situation.

4. Do a naming ritual/blessing for the unborn baby.

5. Giving thanks for the time had together, including a healing, cleansing, and blessing

for all concerned.

6. Do a ritual symbolising a letting go: blow bubbles, release a dove or balloons, lighting

a candle.

7. Closing ritual, uncasting of circle with recognition of link with child continuing


Other things you might like to add:

Light a candle/ fire…

Invite close friends and relatives to attend this ritual.

Keep it short and to the point.

Have a meal at the end to honour your child.

Artwork: Painting/ mandala

Do together and offer into the fire or keep as a memory. Creating a work of art can be very

healing. Make, for example, a painting, a drawing, a collage. Use clay, mixed media, or play

music. Get your partner and other children involved if they would like to. Don’t worry about

technique or being perfect. Choose mediums and colours that you feel drawn to.

Plant a flower/ tree.

If you have a garden, planting flowers or a tree can be a meaningful way to honour your

unborn child and to give shape to your grief. The flowers or fruits that grow on the tree might

be a yearly reminder of the ongoing love that this life has given to you. If you don’t have a

garden, you could contact a local garden of remembrance.

Creating an altar to the ancestors/ family/ loved ones.

An altar is a collection of meaningful items that is often used as a centrepiece for a spiritual

ritual or practise. Spend time here in meditation, maybe journal your feelings and intuitive

experiences. It is a place where you can emote safely and respectfully just be.

Write a poem or a letter to your child.

What dreams did you have about what they could offer the world and what you were offering

them. Writing can be a good way to find words for your loss. You may write a poem or write

a letter to your baby. Don’t worry too much about the words and getting it right. Let the ideas

flow and write them down as they come. You can keep it in a special place or memory box.

Memory box

Within this box can be placed any clothes, pictures, scans, poems, songs, memories in any



Music is profoundly healing. Find a song you love, play it, listen to it, sing it. If you are

musically inclined, you may even wish to write your own song.


You may be surprised to learn that there are such things as pregnancy loss necklaces,

bracelets, and rings. By looking on the internet you will be led to many websites. You might

see the jewellery as an expression of the beauty in life.

Late term pregnancy loss

For couples that experience a stillbirth, rituals for healing may take place in the form of

dressing the baby, taking photos with the baby, keeping special blankets and mementos from

pregnancy and the brief time with baby. In addition to a funeral, cremation, and/or

celebration of life, taking time to honour a stillbirth can be honoured in any of the above

ways as well.

Share your story with others

If you have experienced a pregnancy loss, no matter what the circumstances, you are not

alone. Sometimes by sharing your story with a close friend, or counsellor, it may help you

process what you are going through and help you move forward.

Undertake healing for self and for child.

Working in the now, to cleanse and bless a life lived and help to move onwards.

There is no right or wrong. 

Everyone will react differently to a miscarriage and there is no right or wrong way. Don’t feel

that you must perform a ritual or do anything at all. Maybe this is just not the time. Rituals

and memorial acts can be done later, even years after the loss.

© Thomas Marty 2024 Death – A Shamanic Perspective Part One


Sandra Ingerman - Death, Dying and beyond.

Jan Engels-Smith - Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective  

John Moore - Podcast on Death

Dalene Barton - How to Honor Miscarriage Through Ritual

Chancy Deanna - Abortion and Miscarriage Healing: A Shamanic Perspective.

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