Holy Saturday: the space between death and birth

one leaf

This is a reprint from Holy Saturday 2007…

Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? – Tao Te Ching

Birthing my son is the closest I have come to touching the hem of Death.  In Tibet, they say childbirth is the closest one comes to death.  I’d believe it. Mystically speaking, I find myself now in the space between death and birth.

Yesterday my good friend Cynthia reminded me of Holy Saturday.  Jesus is dead; his body is in the tomb.  The rug has been pulled out from underneath his family and friends.  Each is reacting in his or her own way.  Some are freaking out, others want answers.

On Holy Saturday, nothing appears to be happening.  What is known is that Jesus is dead.  What is unknown is who they are to become – as individuals and as a community.  That is yet to be born.

Holy Saturday – the space between death and birth.

We find ourselves touching the hem of Death and yet reaching for the apron strings of Birth when we go through a transition in life.

The self I was before my son’s birth is no longer.  Who I am to be is still being birthed.  The Buddha teaches that there really is no self – self is an illusion.  There is only Oneness.

Maybe Holy Saturday is a call for us to let go of our illusions of even death and birth…to go deeper into our Oneness – our true essence.

It is a time of staying with yourself until the chattering mind quiets down and you come face-to-face with a glimpse of your true essence.

This can be scary at first.  We may freak out like the apostles in the upper room.  We may mourn our own death like the women who went to tend to Jesus’ body.  We may want to have control over something like Peter.

And yet, we want to let go.  We feel the call within us to let go of our ego’s grip on the false stories of birth and death we’ve been telling ourselves.  We are drawn into the deeper waters of the Unknown.

The only way I know how to “let go” is to be fully present with the experience of Holy Saturday.  To be present with the fear of losing what is known.  To be present with the hope that what emerges is something filled with abundance and beauty.

And how do we do let go?

– Well, whatever it is that is dying – whatever it is that is still yet to be birthed—we breathe with it.

–  We “send” compassion to that space within us.

–  We have the courage to breathe, cry, reach out, and wait until the mud settles and the water is clear.

–  We have the courage to hope that if we remain unmoving – fully present to what is happening within us and around us – the next right action with arise by itself.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kay
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 08:09:38

    Thanks Lisa. I am still waiting form the mud to clear but am finding meaning in the mud. You put it so well.


  2. Diane Ludeking
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 16:25:51

    Hi Lisa,
    In the last couple of months, I have been working on letting go of my attachment to my animals. It is difficult to do this, but I am aware of an unhealthy, codependent relationship that I want to break free of. So we can all be free yet together in a new and healthier way. It is a sort of death unto myself that feels scary but necessary. You remind me that in this death, there will be birth. I am beginning to experience some of that. And to be compassionate in the process too. Great post!


    • barefootlisa
      Apr 06, 2012 @ 16:36:37

      Hi Diane,

      Oh yes, letting go of our animals — of anything — especially living things/people/animals…I hear you. It IS a type of death. If I may, what is the call within you to break free from your attachment to your animals? Does it have to be ALL or NOTHING? YEs yes yes, be very gentle and kind and compassionate to yourself. I’m going to be doing another post in a few days about how we are to hold our pain as if we are a mother holding her baby. With gentleness, sweetness, and total presence.

      Keep me posted. Love, Lisa


      • Diane Ludeking
        Apr 06, 2012 @ 16:49:20

        Great question! All or nothing…
        First off, the call to break free came with a climax of illness in my horse. He had agreed (and I agreed to let him) to take on my stuff, take on the disease, and I want to end that. I am strong enough now to deal with my own stuff and I desire spiritual, emotional and physical health for both of us. I am currently wading through the gray area of all or nothing. I know for certain the unhealthy way of being together must die. Out of that I will discover the healthy way to be in his life, and I in his. Thanks for your interest and I look forward to that next post.

      • barefootlisa
        Apr 06, 2012 @ 19:28:03

        i just sent you an email!

      • Diane Ludeking
        Apr 09, 2012 @ 17:40:13

        Thanks. I’m still chewing on it, but I hope to respond soon to your insight and wisdom within it.

  3. Angela
    Apr 07, 2012 @ 08:31:39

    Lisa, you have such a beautiful way with words – I can truly envision being in the mud while dealing with various issues over time as well as currently. It’s such a beautiful thought that even as we are in the mud, there is new life waiting for us !


    • barefootlisa
      Apr 07, 2012 @ 14:02:33

      Awww, Angela, thank you.

      It’s interesting, right now, I don’t feel stuck in the mud. I feel like I’m in the season right now of actively seeing that mud settle and the water is becoming clearer and clearer. This was a repost from 5 yrs ago. BUT it still applies – to me and to others – in that we really do have to honor the space between DEATH and BIRTH (and BIRTH AND DEATH!)…we don’t do that much in our culture. We are quick to transition and quick to hurry along to the next thing. I have found that being in the mud is quite nourishing and necessary…even “caccoon-like”. Looking back, I was flourishing all along in those years of being in the mud. AND there will come a time when I am “in the mud” again and everything is merky and unknown. That’s when I just need to sit and be nourished.

      Thought I’d share!

      Love to you!


  4. Lisa A. McCrohan
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 15:13:16

    Reblogged this on Gems of Delight and commented:

    Often in this Easter season we can focus on Thursday, Friday and Sunday…but what about Saturday? Holy Saturday. That space between birth and death. That time when nothing seems to be happening. As I recoup from this brain injury and (this just happened this week) water overflowed from our bathroom and three levels of our home are in chaos, I am moved again to share this post. I hope it resonates with all of you. Yes, being in the space between death and birth/birth and death…between what was and what is still yet to come…and holding vigil, nourishing ourselves, gathering in community, waiting for the mud to settle, allowing the Divine to Rise within us out of the ashes. Easter Blessings, Lisa


  5. Robyn Lee
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 23:57:06

    Lisa this is absolutely beautiful expression… of such a deep and spiritual truth…
    I love the idea of “breathing with it… and sending compassion” to that space… oh you have summed it up so well ~ a lesson for us all to remember and hold on to in heart and soul ~ there is not room for the mind here — it is so much richer that the mind… Thank you Lisa ~ you are an angel! ~ Be Blessed, RL x


    • Lisa A. McCrohan
      Apr 03, 2013 @ 12:34:05

      Thank you, dear Robyn. Though written originally in 2007, the truths of this still run through me — in my bones, in my tissues. No, no room for the mind. I have found that on Holy Saturday – that space between death and birth – the mind can take us places that just create more anxiety and darkness and make us fold in on ourselves. But if I just feel the body, connect to my heart, connect to Community, allow, soften…Grace and Light emerge…softly, lightly, and yet so very powerfully. That is what I am finding this year. Many blessings to you dear friend. Lisa


  6. I got dumped
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 06:33:53

    This is a topic that is close to my heart… Best wishes!

    Exactly where are your contact details though?


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Copyright. 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of any post may be copied without written permission from the author. The advice offered herein does not constitute a substitute for professional psychological treatment, therapy, or other types of professional advice and intervention. The self-help contents are solely the opinion of the blogger and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction and/or diagnosis or treatment of any kind: medical, spiritual, mental, or other. If expert advice or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

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