July 23, 2008
In this Newsletter ~
• Recent Journeys, Workshops & Events
• Download free updates to Lisa Carlson’s Caring for the Dead
• Crossing the Threshold: Shekhinah Mountainwater 1939-2007
• In the Wise Woman Tradition ~ Nora’s Work
I decided that blogging is not for me. Instead I’ve decided to send out an e-newsletter, as well as updating my website to make it more interactive. The exciting news is that it will soon have a message board (forum), perfect for timely posts and responses. I'm looking forward to having dialogues and conversations with you there.
I’ll catch up with you in this newsletter and beginning with the next one, I'll bring you news of the changes that are happening for those of us who are choosing end-of-life and/or family-directed funerals at home.
Recent Journeys, Workshops & Events
On the home front, I’ve just returned from my yearly journey to Ohio and Pagan Spirit Gathering, held at the lovely Wisteria Campground and sponsored by Circle Sanctuary. What a joy to reunite for the week of Midsummer with folks that love, value and care for one another like the PSG Tribe. The two-day Death Midwife Intensive I presented was well received. I presented an overview of the diverse aspects of the folkways of traditional funerals and the need for those folkways to be reclaimed.
I was also awarded the K Robins Design Peace Prayer Project Pendant.
“The Peace Prayer Project is designed to recognize that peace is an action born of love and that healing occurs when hands and hearts reach across seemingly impossible expanses, ultimately coming home to our universal connection.” (K Robins)
I'm deeply honored to receive this award! Thank you, Crystal Tucker, for nominating me.
In June, I co-chaired the bi-anneal national conference for the Funeral Consumers Alliance in Seattle. It’s incredible to see how the movement is embracing home funerals, green burials and choice at end-of-life.
I enjoyed seeing my teacher and mentor, Jerrigrace Lyons and many other Death Midwives. Across the nation, we are supporting families with choice, healing and the gift of caring for our own dead. Mark Harris, author of Grave Matters gave a fabulous talk, and as a fan of his, it was just great to hear and see him at the same time!
Another friend, Cynthia Beal of Portland’s own Natural Burial Company gave an outstanding presentation on green burials. It was complete with abundant documentation and photographs from England, where they have embraced green burial in public burial lands. Look for her soon-to-be-published book you can be sure I will give it a shout-out once it is hot off the press!
Through rain and snow and the wettest, coldest spring on record in the Pacific Northwest, I was active collecting signatures for Washington’s Death with Dignity Initiative. We successfully got this issue on the fall ballot. We were also victorious in court winning a ruling that affirmed we did not have to use the term “assisted suicide” because death with dignity is a choice, not a suicide. For those with a terminal illness and a diagnosis confirmed by two physicians of less than six months to live, this is an honorable and sacred way to respect choice and empower the patient so that she or he does not suffer. We care for our animals with such love. It’s time we care for our families with the same dignity. For more information, see www.yeson1000.org.
I have been busy over the past year doing a fair amount of education and outreach for end-of-life issues. I attended festivals in the Pacific Northwest over the summer and in October traveled to California to do ritual and end-of-life education at two California State Women’s Prisons. Last October the article I co-authored with Dr. Marilyn Stoner was published in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. It is titled “End of Life Preferences for Wiccan, Pagan and Nature Spirituality Practitioners.” The article resulted in national educational teleconferences for nurses and healthcare professionals. Dr. Stoner also presented our findings at several conferences including an impromptu presentation at the Mayo Clinic.
In February at Pantheacon I presented Death Midwifery and insight into home funerals to a new audience and new friends. It was great to finally make it to the festival held in a hotel that I’ve heard about for so many years! The response to my workshop was inspiring. Although I prefer the stars at night and drums around a blazing fire for festival settings, the comforts and ease of being indoors combined with incredible speakers and presentations made it easy to see why Pantheacon is a main attraction on the festival circuit.
I also recently taught at Summerstar and will be teaching at the Northwest Lammas Festival, coming up soon.
Updates to Caring for the Dead now available for download
The current update for the must-have book Caring for the Dead by Lisa Carlson is now available for download (PDF). The material in this book is currently being researched for a revised publication next year, but for those of you who have the current copy, don't be caught without these laws, standards and regulations that have changed since the book was first published!
Crossing the Threshold Shekhinah Mountainwater, 1939-2007
Wise woman, author, poet, songstress, artist, teacher, healer, tarot reader, fervent lover of the muse, foremother and creatrix of the Women’s Spirituality Movement.
This elder wise woman and author of the book Ariadne's Thread crossed through the veil after a year and a half dance with uterine cancer. Her final words offered were: “It is better now.”
Many of the songs, stories and chants we share today were created and taught by Shekhinah. Beloved teacher, we honor you, respect you and affirm the relentlessly turning wheel.
In the Wise Woman Tradition ~ Nora’s Work
I am available to offer support regarding end-of-life issues, home death and home funerals. These are our rights, and we must reclaim them! If you are interested in a consultation, or in having me facilitate a workshop in your neighborhood, please contact me. We can make it happen.
In the next issue: New green cemeteries, cremation urban legends, "Support Your Local Artisan" and start writing!
Until then you can reach me at email@example.com.
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