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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in death

Posted by on in Signs & Portents
A Time for Death

Greetings, witches and Pagans and Happy Samhain. Samhain is the Celtic holiday honoring the dead and marking the beginning of winter that forms one of the primary influences on Halloween, along with the Catholic festival All Souls’ Day. Here in the northern hemisphere we celebrate our ancestors and examine our mortality while down in the south they celebrate the renewal of life with Beltane.

As we do every year we’ve gathered all our content for this very special day, along with a few links from elsewhere. We hope you have a spooky (but not too spooky) Samhain!

—Aryós Héngwis

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Samhain Teaching: Born Into Life, Born Into Death

The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.

Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.

Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.

And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.

Death strips us to the basics:
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.

Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.

Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.

Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.

Photo Credit: Chris B on Unsplash

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Letting Go

Winter is upon us – in the northern hemisphere.  Harvest is done (hopefully). Nature is shutting down to rest and rejuvenate.  It’s a time when I look within to see what needs to go, what I need to let go.

This year is difficult for me as my mother is experiencing some health issues.  Now I’m the youngest of six and we all have strong opinions.  We don’t ever agree – or rarely.  But then there’s mom.  Mom is 86.  She’s feisty, sassy, stubborn, and frail in some ways (though don’t call her that or you’ll get an earful).  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eileen Troemel
    Eileen Troemel says #
    Thank you. Mom is in a nursing home in the city most of my family lives. We are each taking a little time to go visit her (at le
  • Angela
    Angela says #
    I want you to know that I understand with all my heart and soul what you are going through. Last year, at this time, my sister an

Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Days of the Dead

Today is Samhain, the first day of winter in Celtic reckoning and the ancient predecessor to Halloween. It also corresponds with the Mexican Day of the Dead, the Catholic All Saints’ Day, and so-called “Mischief Night.” In virtually all of these case, October 31 and November 1 are recognized as days for honoring the dead and considering mortality.As we are wont to do we’ve gathered a large amount of content, both from our own website and others to keep you entertained this most holy of days. We hope you enjoy!

--Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Part 1: The Question

It is October,ipad-pix-107
the veil is thin
the year is waning
the leaves are turning
I am trying to say goodbye
to my grandmother
she is dying.
I do not know what to say.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Beautiful, and what I would have said is "Au Revoir, until we meet again."
  • Dianne Ross
    Dianne Ross says #
    If I were a dying grandmother, if true, I would love to hear you hope, if souls are reborn she will come back to be your grand.oth

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Rite for Nevada's Dead

Oh goddess of the welcoming embrace, may you reach out your gentle arms for those who died in the massacre. Oh sweet goddess, cradle the dead to your bosom. Help them find their way to peace. If they belong in your hall, let them have a soft place to be therein. If they belong elsewhere, help them on their way to where best suits them. Oh Death, whom we in Asatru call Hela, be kind to them.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Reaping and Sowing

It's good to know when all your training comes into play. The years of hard work you have put in. All the practice that I have done in Zen Buddhism, Druidry and other aspects of Western Paganism has greatly helped me during a very difficult week.

Breathing. It's amazing how much just focusing on the breath can calm the mind and the body. For the mind and body are one. What affects one, affects the other. Five focused breaths, in and out, feeling the air move through your nose, down your throat and into your lungs, expanding, and then back out in reverse. Concentration on this small action. The heartbeat slows, the mind has a pause to reset. And perspective floods in.

The cycles of life and death are one. It is ouroboros, the snake eating its tail, no beginning, no ending, only being. There is only energy, in different forms and degrees of manifestation.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Suzanne Tidewater
    Suzanne Tidewater says #
    I appreciate what you've written. Bringing my mind back to my breath has been a powerful meditative practice!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Lovely piece of writing and so very true. Thanks for sharing.

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