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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in death and dying
[Books of the Dead] Crows and Giving Space for Grief

At a crossroads, I watched a crow had been hit by a car, laid to rest there on one side of the street. Crows descended from the trees, probably a hundred crows. In groups of maybe eight, ten, twelve, they would walk around that individual that was on the ground. And then they would fly off, and over a fifteen, twenty-minute period, eventually all the crows flew off, leaving that corpse of the crow in the road. Tony AngellGifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

Crows have been yelling at me a lot lately.  I'd like to tell you that I can understand what they've been saying, but I don't know.  In my experience, it generally means that something is going to happen.  Sometimes good, sometimes not good, but more than daily life.  If he is feeling generous, Crow may show up in my dreams to elaborate.  But he has been silent on the matter, leaving the tiny cousins to chide me.  Or praise me?  Who knows.  I've never had a terribly strong communication connection with the goddesses, ancestors and spirits.  My logical brain is quick to tell me that I am just telling myself what I want to hear, so I try to rely on omens, portents, dreams and divination.  Sometimes that gives me a clear path, most of the time it doesn't.  Sometimes when it's particularly murky, I do as my friend JohnM, the psych guy, suggests and I assign reasons and explanation as it's as good of an answer as any.  A very Roman approach to things, but sometimes better than nothing.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
[The Books of the Dead] A Prelude

Oh, yeah. The vault. That's where the stuff I can't handle goes. Kerplunk! - Finn, Adventure Time

For those of you who have been with me for long enough, you know I have an unsteady relationship with death.  I'm not one of those Witches who can see spirits, talk to ghosts and visualize the other side of the Veil.  Or really visualize very much at all, though that's improved a little over the years.  I tend to "see" things in words, song lyrics, poetry and emotions.  You can imagine how fun this was as a baby Witch where every exercise ever starts with "Visualize . . ."  My sister, the Divine Miss M, who is not a practicing Witch and not really all that Catholic, has a much more open dialogue with the other side than I do and does not spend her dreams with dead people telling them that they're dead like I do.  She catches omens, portents and prophecy at a rate that is completely annoying given that she's not into the occult.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've read that the dead sometimes visit us in our dreams. If you haven't already got it in your collection of books you might wan
Dead and Back Again: This Mama's Experience

Most people would call what happened to me a “near-death” experience, I suppose.  Afterall, I am alive to write about it, three and a half months later.

When I think of what it is like to nearly die, I think about the time that crazy person driving the semi nearly ran me off the interstate at eighty or so miles an hour.

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  • Helena
    Helena says #
    Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it!
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Helena!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Why Rituals Matter - My Public Grief

It was Monday, January 5th, 2015. I was working on a blog about daily practices when my brother sent me a message on Facebook. It simply and succinctly said "If you want to see dad, you better come now". If you've ever gotten that call or email, you know that life completely slows down and goes really fast all at the same time. I've tried to describe the feeling to folks that haven't had this experience and the closest thing I can compare it to is suddenly finding yourself underwater trying to have a conversation with a world full of people that are still on dry land.

The next twenty-four hours were a blur of phone calls and airports and moments of snatched sleep and worry and sitting awkwardly between two strangers and hurtling through the air at several hundred miles an hour. When I finally breathed fresh air again, I was seven thousand miles from home, in New Zealand, and just like that winter had turned to summer and the east was in the west and the moon was upside down.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Natasha, I think honouring him in the traditional was is so wonderful.
  • Natasha Kostich
    Natasha Kostich says #
    Thank you so much for sharing your grief publicly. I lost my wonderful father five months ago and while I am a Pagan I have chosen
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Pixie, it is hard isn't it. I simply love that you've taken the urn and made art from it. Talk about transformational! Gwion
  • Pixie
    Pixie says #
    My partner was in hospice and died in November and I'm also attempting to make death/dying and grief more public, so I made a crem
PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday Sept 26

Happy Friday, Beagle-fans! Today we have a bouquet of religious stories starting out with one about not being religious. 7 varieties of unreligion; Hindu Goddess festival begins; teaching children values depends on politics and religion; selfies of Sikhs; Pagans on death and burial.

This story from Salon posits that there are seven kinds of unreligion (including pantheism, which is awfully close to many Pagan beliefs to my way of thinking, and maybe shouldn't be considered "unreligion" at all.)

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PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday August 26

In this Fiery Tuesday installment, we feature many communities: the Pagan response to Ferguson, Mo; creation of a peaceful community in the heart of Oakland, Ca; tiny houses for the homeless in Portland, Or; the death-with-dignity discussion in Britain, and a new generation of Native American female activists.

The Wild Hunt's Crystal Blanton interviews many Pagan activists on the subject of the situation in Ferguson and its implications.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Robin_Williams.jpgLike many astrologers, I took a look at Robin Williams’ chart last night, because I found myself wondering what sort of a man he was underneath the tremendous talent, what pressures he was currently under, and also to consider — again — the personal and cultural realities that can drive people to take their own lives. (If you want to follow along, the chart is here.)

The first thing that jumps out from his chart is the preponderance of planets at the top of the chart, a southern hemisphere emphasis (yes, when you are looking at a chart, the southern hemisphere of the chart is on top. Just put yourself in the center of the chart, as if you were going to cast a circle. Face East, toward the Ascendant. Now face South. Yep, there you are.) A large number of planets in this area of the chart generally indicates someone whose life is inextricably entwined with the collective, often to the point where their personal will is subsumed in the needs and desires of others. This is, of course, often the case with celebrities, especially those who, like Williams, tend to be deeply emotional and empathetic. And that’s the second thing that jumps out at us about this chart.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    You are more than welcome, Gabriel. I'm glad the post was meaningful to you. Thanks for commenting.
  • Gabriel Moore
    Gabriel Moore says #
    I have always been a big Robin Williams fan and always will be. Thank you Diotima for writing something that celebrates him as a p

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