“As you are now, So once was I, As I am now, So you will be” – memento mori and incorporating bones into spiritual practice

About one year ago my family and I moved from the centre of town to my husband’s village on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The village is small and everyone is family (although not all happily related!). The community is comprised of second and first generation permanently settled Bedouins. Although most of their grazing and agricultural lands have been taken away, many families keep their traditions alive by keeping donkeys,  goats, chickens, some vegetable crops and trees, like olive and almond.  There are quite a few animals roaming around, including wild dogs and cats, snakes, lizards, a large number of crows and much to my surprise, foxes, porcupines and small gazelles.

As someone who has lived predominantly in suburbs and cities, I have learned so much just by observing the land and creatures around me, the seasons are so much more distinctive to me now that I can witness the cycles in more natural surroundings. I feel more connected to the earth and inspired to go out and learn about all of the life, animals, wildflowers and trees in my surroundings, and I am hoping to one day contribute to it by keeping bees.

With all of this wonder of life there also comes the inevitability of death. If you walk around any of the small surrounding fields for long enough, you will happen among many remains of the animals who walked there before. Most that I have found are old, smaller fragments that are difficult to identify.

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