The loss of a loved one can feel like a devastatingly personal experience. While this is true in many ways, it can be helpful to remember that grief and mourning are universal experiences. The human race has been around for a significant amount of time. Throughout its history, humanity has discovered a number of ways to express sorrow over the passing of a special person. Showing respect for the dead and discovering how to move on are central themes in all of the various methods that have arisen from various cultures.
If you have recently experienced a loss, you might be actively searching to find ways to comfort your spirit. Take time to look over some of these interesting ways that grief is explored in other cultures. Exploring these methods might help you to find the peace of mind that you require to move forward.
Calling Upon the Ancestors
In many cultures, there is a strong belief that the souls of those who have already departed play an important role in helping the recently deceased transition. In certain Native American tribes, for example, there is a specific aspect of the mourning process dedicated to this idea. Members of the tribe would look to the Medicine Man to invoke the spirits of the dead. The shaman would then call upon these ancestral spirits to protect and guide the departed to his or her next stage in life.
This practice is not specifically unique to the native tribes of America, either. The indigenous people of Australia, known as the Aborigines, have a special connection to a realm they refer to as the Dreamtime. It is the belief of these tribes that all life is sung into existence by their ancestors, who inhabit the Dreamtime. Once a person has passed away, they rejoin their ancestors in the Dreamtime and become a part of it once more.
Joy and Grief
It can be interesting to note that there are similarities in the ways that many cultures grieve, but there are also wildly opposing methods. Those who practice Judaism, for example, might view the time after the passing of a loved one as a somber occasion. Music and other signs of frivolity are removed from a home during the mourning period, and items such as flowers are discouraged, as they can be too joyful. This process is meant to allow members of the family to connect to the deceased and properly say goodbye before the body is entombed.
The opposite is true of many Irish cultures. In the classic story of “Finnegan’s Wake” by James Joyce, the passing of a loved individual is reason for celebration. The characters of the novel reflect upon the life of the deceased with frivolity, joy, and a passion for the life the title character lived. While this may not be the most common Irish practice, it is a good example of how many people view death as a chance to celebrate the life of the person who is now departed. Wakes in other cultures follow this, being more lighthearted than the funeral.
Go Your Own Way
Death is not a new concept. For as long as people have been around there have been ways to combat the sadness and despair that come after the passing of a close friend or relative. By taking a look at the many ways death is viewed across the cultures and throughout history, you may be able to find a bit of solace. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. The best thing that you can do is discover your own way of grieving. By taking time to get in touch with yourself and the emotions you are experiencing, you will be able to move forward in a way that is healthy and productive.