The Sacred Face of Death by Eirini Delaki

The archetype of the Weaver is being widely activated. Thousands of women and men come forth to incarnate it by creating webs of spiritual awakening, by honoring ancestral ways of being, and by promoting practical and sustainable ways of living and thriving.

However, many of these efforts collapse due to a lack of genuine communication inside the group.  How can we direct our intentions into grounding a vision that is broader than ourselves? How can we weave together in such a way that each feels heard and, at the same time, willing to deeply listen and feel into, not only the group as a set of individuals, but also to what is making its way into birth out of the group as a unit?

Although it seems easy, group synchronization is not a light task and, in order for this to happen at a substantial level, one has to start from oneself.  It is necessary for a kind of initiation to take place, an initiation called “soul individuation.” Soul individuation is a deep dive into one´s own underworld in order to unearth and liberate experiences that have caused one´s soul to fragment. Until this is achieved, one can communicate only from that broken place, not from a place of wholeness and authenticity.  Journeying to the underworld is not a pleasant process but, it is a necessary step towards balance and integrity.

Death has been demonized by patriarchal cults. I do not wish literal or metaphorical dying on anyone; I wish we could all grow only through tender experiences but since this is not entirely possible, let us explore the immense potential latent in loss, fragmentation, and trauma. For this purpose, I´m sharing my own process of initiation/individuation, hoping that it may serve your journey to wholeness.


I was born in the island of Crete, that sacred island so much adored by many. A land where Goddesses and Gods have left their footprints in its deep caves, the banks of its crystalline streams, and its shores full of playful dolphins and beautifully shaped conches. A land that, like many other sacred lands, has sustained a paradox for so long. Although there are echoes of an ancient past that reflect the thriving and growth of its inhabitants´ lives, there are also rigid and cruel social structures and traditions that do not let people´s spirits soar, but rather suppress them.

In many sacred places there are societies that follow that rigid way of life, and the more rigid it is, most possibly, the more it points to the power, depth, freedom and joy of the ancient past.  Oppressive regimes have been built on thriving societies. They remove freedom and destroy people. So, it is not just about you and about me. We are talking about collective trauma. As each one of us heals, that has a multiplying effect on others who are inspired to play their part on the collective healing. No matter how badly you have been harmed, I assure you that you can use that damage as a portal of immense power to transform.

I am the first-born of a conservative Cretan family. My father died when I was 4, so, I was brought up with my mother and my younger sister. According to one of those above-mentioned repressive traditions, in traditional Crete when a parent dies, the first-born child, has to occupy his/her place and assume the role assigned to the deceased parent.  My childhood experiences and education revolved around those beliefs, imposing upon me a role that did not naturally belong to me and that did not have anything to do with my individual nature and soul expression.

According to modern psychology, when parents or family members attempt to mold a child according to their beliefs, needs, and desires, this causes serious damage, which some psychologists have called “emotional incest.” In some ways it is worse than bodily rape, since there are no physical scars that can denote the wound and call attention to the damage that is being done. In shamanic and ancient cultures, the result of this process is called “soul fragmentation.” The person subjected to it has to go through a series of intense initiations, that will help her retrieve her violated soul pieces, in order to “resurrect.”

These initiations are intense because love, in the sense of natural flow and respect for one´s own genuine nature, is something unknown for the person whose soul has been broken. Love feels like an intrusion that causes her to feel what she deep down longs for, but has unconsciously convinced herself that, if experienced, will sabotage the survival mode she has adopted in order to please and not be rejected by her caretakers.

This survival mode had become my way of being until my puberty. Neither my family nor my society provided the ground for my awakening, but I´m telling you, if the surroundings are not helpful, the life force itself can become the catalyst. The Great Goddess makes herself radically and compassionately present at all moments, as long as we are willing to Listen.  When I was around 13, I went through a long depression that left me so shattered, that a big crack was created for the life force to take over. I was overpowered by nothingness and therefore, had nothing to lose.

This process of deep diving, called “the dark night of the soul ”, is one of the stages in the path toward experiencing love and gaining wisdom—indeed the most crucial.  If the person remains in the state of emptiness long enough, she will start being conscious of the signs sent by the Goddess that will lead her towards her restoration and destiny.

After I began to open myself to transformation, dancing, painting, and great teachers´ writings that broke into my life and began to strengthen my limping soul. They ignited the first sparks of eros, which I understand as a curiosity and passion for life and the glue that connects us with the mysterious all prevailing force that moves the strings of the Universe. I did not know where my life was heading, but I did have a very clear idea of that I didn´t want to continue allowing others to define my life. That was a great first step.

In this stage there´s a lot of courage needed because you know that if you go your own way, you will be confronted (as in my case) by family and society. You know that you are not on fertile land and sense that if you want your precious seeds to grow, you will have to look for other lands, literally or metaphorically.

I left for Athens at 17 to study literature. That is when I was first introduced to archetypal language that spoke directly to my soul. Poetry became my every day medicine and theatre a way of rehearsing for life itself. Of course, responding to the new reality was not always easy. Being on the right track is one thing, but it is another to be able to live the new knowledge. I had developed a protective mask so prematurely and for so long, that removing it felt painful.

So, more initiations came: rejection from the family, my local society, and more, that made me stand up for myself, with greater strength every time. In this stage I started becoming more conscious of that indomitable and resilient spirit in me that I believe is present in all beings. I connected with a wild and absolute love for life despite the discomfort I was experiencing. Sacred passion I call it, an alchemy of the pain that purifies debris with the ecstasy that awaits at the other side.

This alchemy works if processed in a conscious way and for that, guides or teachers are helpful. Not that it´s not possible to go through it alone, but that may take longer and will be more painful.  The Goddess did her weavings and crossed my path with beautiful healers, shamans, teachers, messengers, books, song verses, and films that helped me not to feel lost in the midst of a chaotic soul purification process as I connected with my destiny.

Another important experience as one´s subconscious gets liberated, is, not only dreams that give important guiding clues to the dreamer, but also dreams that are direct experiences of elevated forces. I began to have such dreams when I stayed at sacred places like the island of Samothrace where I had my first such experience at the age of 19.

Although I felt there was still a long way to go, I started seeing beauty in that which was broken and feeling the power of the cracks to attract the new and vibrant life. Every time I cracked, I had a strong longing for expansion and a vital need to embrace the whole world and to become limitless within my human limits.  Therefore, I started travelling. For me it is fascinating to commune with new people and places, to taste the local food, to learn about other civilizations, and to share traditions and experiences that at the deepest level connect us all.

After several trips, I ended up living in between India and Nepal. India gave me the capacity to sustain the paradox of life. She is herself so full of intense opposites, that you cannot stay there if you are not willing to proceed to their integration. There I did theatre for human rights, travelling in cities, but also to remote places near the Ganges delta where nature and people are one. There theatre becomes a ritual that honors the cycles of life while seeking to repair any discontinuity in them. India also gave me the experience of Goddess Kali, the patroness of Calcutta, where I lived for some time. She is the fierce aspect of the Divine Feminine and which I find is absolutely necessary for the soul individuation of a woman. She represents the victory over fear and death. Through her celebrations, spread all over the city, I was able to connect with her and feel into an aspect of our psyche that has been so brutally rejected in the west.

She accompanied me in my travels in Nepal, and through a near death experience she gave me the confirmation of life and love beyond death.  I was trekking on the Himalayas when got off track to a steep path. I fell and rolled until a tree stopped me (blessed, sacred tree) right before the precipice of a gorge. I tried to climb back, but it was really dangerous as stones fell on me when I moved. So, I stayed, embracing the tree in between the fallen stones and the precipice and permitting all my feelings to flow, including the feeling that, that might be my last day on earth.

What I felt was torrential, my whole life passing before my eyes at a wild speed and so intensely that I finally had to surrender to what is. No choice. And that is exactly the moment when I felt immense peace. Death was not important any more. There was beauty beyond and the embodied certainty that we do not have the last word in our lives. What a relief! No struggling any more, just being with what is. That which Is took over: a Nepali shepherd appeared behind some bushes and helped me get on track again.

After that experience my life changed radically. I stayed in Nepal for more months where I co-created a theatre project on human rights along with some beautiful collaborators. Rivers and trees, the blue sky and, sometimes, even the fresh summer rain became our rehearsal spaces and once again, theatre became a way to commune and honor the cycles of life. After a beautiful farewell ritual and celebration my Nepali companions created for me, I came back to Europe on from a completely different frequency than before.

All these experiences and others that came after that, have contributed to align me with my destiny, enabling me to share my deep experiential knowledge of the continuous life flow as a priestess. Death should not be feared. It is present within us every day helping us evolve spiritually, to leave behind all heavy luggage, and to uplift others too. That´s why in many cultures rites of passage are frequently held: rituals that facilitate the transition from one cycle to another.

Your trauma is a high voltage power portal that, once tapped and channeled, becomes the gift that you have come to offer to the world. So dear one, let the rivers claim your tears, allow the sun tenderly dry them, and embrace. You will not regret it.

Eirini Delaki is an actress, drummer, sound/energy healer, teacher and lifelong student. She uses the disciplines of Spiritual Theatre, Kundalini Yoga, Ritual Sound/Percussion and Poetry to create sacred experiences and performances. Her work is inspired by the ancient priestesses of the Mediterranean area and her homeland, Greece. Eirini has been developing the concept of Spiritual Theatre (a fusion of theatre techniques with spiritual practices) since 2006. This proposal has been warmly supported by institutions like the University of Valencia, the Manipal University Hospital in Nepal, and several international theatre projects of the European Commission. For the last 3 years she is one of the artists in charge of a ritual performance for the National Greek-Roman Theatre Festival in Spain.

12 thoughts on “The Sacred Face of Death by Eirini Delaki”

  1. This is an astonishing journey – your near death experience with the tree will stay with me –
    I confess though, that at 76 I am not certain what is meant by “destiny”. I see my life through a series of circular rounds – with each cycle I do have new insights but I also return to issues that are still

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate your comment Sara. For me “destiny” is not something fixed. It is rather a spiral process. In this sense, we coincide in this round movement. There´s a common denominator though every time I experience a new round and that is that I feel more and more at Home. For me destiny is what feels Home and it can be manifested in many different ways in our lives.


  2. Dear Eirini, thank you so much for this brilliant, profound, far-ranging, and so pertinent post. It is exactly the guidance needed now — finding the ways in to open, flourishing, inclusive human community and all the benevolence that will ripple outward from there.

    I’m very sorry you missed enjoying the pure ebullience of childhood, but it’s clear in all of your posts that you are able to live from there now. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Laurie, thank you for your heart warming comments. And yes, we need to open and flourish more than ever. We have been trained for that through the difficulties of the past that have done nothing less than generating a passionate spirit of resilience and love for the ways of Nature.


  3. Thank you dear Eirini for sharing your awakening experiences. About what you call “the power of trauma” a question crosses my mind: “Is it pain and fear what awakens us or is it the love essence that is unlocked after we just surrender to that experience our mind categorizes as “frightening”?”

    I am studying now how to use what Manuel Schoch called “the qualities” in art therapy, which I find could apply to people that had had experiencies close to death and had felt that state of inner peace and surrender you seem to describe. He calls that “stillness”. In his opinion, just in stillness our qualities can unfold and expand in our quality aura and body-mind (all our bodies, physical and eteric)

    He had a really hard childhood himself that forced his awakening at a very early age. His point of view is orienting the self towards what he calles “the fore-future” a movement towards compassion, while removing the focus from the past.

    Trauma leaves us without a perspective. Creativity naturally orient us towards a future with new possibilities, chances. We build up again a perspective. On the other hand, our inner essence remained untouched, just waiting for us to get in contact with it again and carry on with our natural growth.

    Nowadays in western societies creativity and culture is threatened. Are we going to adress it or are we going to carry on with role models that just harm us as individuals and as a group? In my opinion, it is more necessary than ever femenine experience can be shared in its wholeness, brightness and beauty. Thank you again and recieve lots of light, love and power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Laura, thank you for your comments. As far as the “power of trauma” is concerned, I find that what awakens us to our unlocked potential, is surrender itself which is the chalice that contains and alchemises pain, fear and love. It is the component that fuses polarities in such a way that NO part of us is rejected, but rather there´s acceptance and fusion of all parts. This is a very authentic way to live by.

      Thank you for sharing the experience of Manuel Schoch. I really resonate with it. Here I´m gifting you a beautiful text on death by R.M.Rilke:

      “Our effort, I suggest, can be dedicated to this: to assume the unity of Life and Death and let it be progressively demonstrated to us. So long as we stand in opposition to Death we will disfigure it. Believe me, my dear Countess, Death is our Friend, our closest friend, perhaps the only friend who can never be misled by our ploys and vacillations. And I do not mean that in the sentimental, romantic sense of distrusting or renouncing life. Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love. . . . Life always says Yes and No simultaneously. Death (I implore you to believe) is the true Yea-sayer. It stands before eternity and says only: Yes.”
      ~ Rilke in Letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. I connected deeply to this piece, with very similar connections in my life standing out in pieces you have shared. I appreciate and respect the vulnerability and the journey you have shared here.


    1. Thank you for your kind words. Glad that you have resonated with my offering and really wish that you do not feel alone in your process. We are all together in this path.


  5. Thank you for your kind words. Glad that you have resonated with my offering and really wish that you do not feel alone in your process. We are all together in this path.


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