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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in death and dying
Scattering Violets: A New Blog About Death Care and Funerary Traditions

For the past several months, I've found myself struggling with fresh ideas for Hob & Broom, my previous blog here on PaganSquare about hearth and home traditions. While my hearth cult is still a deeply important spiritual foundation for me, I felt that I'd exhausted all my resources for it and there was nothing left to write about. But I think it's closer to the truth to say that my interest has shifted, and has been shifting for quite some time.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When one hears the phrase "near death experience" most people think of an awesome spiritual experience in which one sees light or their god or ancestors. That's an experience very few people have. But almost everyone will have to deal with death sometime, their own or their loved ones'. The common way to be near death is to know a loved one is dying and to be trying to handle their affairs and set everything up for them to succeed at being a newly dead person. One succeeds at being a dead person by having one's cremation or burial, funeral and / or wake set up in advance. One of the major goals of a funeral is to provide the rites that help a dead person cross. If the dying person and the person doing the arrangements and the person handling the funeral are all the same religion it makes things a lot easier, but for many pagans and heathens this will not be the case.

There are things the dying person can do in advance, years in advance, to prepare for death. Among those things is to speak to one's patron deity or ancestors about where one is going and how to get there. There are also things one can do for another before the person actually dies. Most of those things will be mundane things in the mundane world, but one can also send blessings, even to someone one can no longer visit in person.

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Letting go and passing on: what Death teaches us about the mysteries of life

Recently my dad died.

It wasn't unexpected or sudden. 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    My dad and I lived in different countries, so we emailed almost daily and called once a week. After he passed, I missed that conne

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Gift from the Dying

I'll cut to the chase: we're all dying. It's the only guaranteed fact of our lives: we die.

Atheopaganism doesn't promise an afterlife. There really isn't compelling evidence to support the idea of one, and so we conclude (tentatively, at least) that it is unlikely that there is one.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Zipping down the highway on the way to a heathen friend's empty house, the clouds ahead formed a giant eye that stretched over the entire western sky. The two pointy ends of the eye reached the south and the north, and the eyeball in the center watched over me, the protective eye of Odin who looks after travelers.

My trip on the highway was just across town, so this was not the kind of journey one might associate with Odin the Wanderer, but he was there with me nonetheless. The purpose of my trip was also not what one would typically associate with the goddess Sigyn, but I've come to realize that looking after someone's house while they can't is also a type of caregiving. This was the second time I was called upon to suddenly take over the management of someone's life and property for which I was unprepared, the first time being when I did so for my mom several years ago. This time I had experience and knew more what I was doing, but I had even less authority to work with, and the property was in worse shape, so it had some unique challenges. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Frequently Asked Question: How do I deal with a family member in hospice care?

My answer:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When Community Fails

My friend’s mother died this past spring.

The stroke happened suddenly and her passing came a few weeks later.  Despite a lot of preparation for a worst-case scenario, the death hit the family hard.  My friend had a difficult relationship with her mother (something many of us can relate to, I’m sure) and her ambivalent thoughts and emotions have been complicating an already difficult grieving process.

My friend announced her mother’s illness to our group, but she kept the news of her mother’s passing to herself.  She had been out of town a lot to be with family, and it was only recently that I saw my friend since her family tragedy. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ann Edwards
    Ann Edwards says #
    I was interested in your comment "I as a priestess, did not show up at funerals..." Did you as a friend show up?
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    From 2002 to 2012, it was mixed. A coven member's father died and we did not go to the funeral. At that time it was because we we
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    My impression is that greater Pagandom has a substantial number of people who don't do well with these types of things, and that o
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    I meant "bring in a social worker who understands the nuances of bereavement and has specialty skills in this topic."
  • Ann Edwards
    Ann Edwards says #
    I'm sorry but this story struck me as almost a description of modern paganism. Events, celebrations, connections... but no true c

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