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News from Nora Cedarwind Young

October 21, 2008

Nora Cedarwind YoungIn this Newsletter ~

• The Wheel of the Year Turns
• Circle Sanctuary Turns 25!
• Write Your Own Obituary
• Let your plans for a home funeral be known
• Green Burial harvests a year of abundance
• Vote!
• Wise Woman Tradition ~ Nora's Work

The Wheel of the Year turns, it is now the third harvest festival, Samhain

I love Samhain, the Celtic New Year, All Souls, Hallowmas, Halloween — celebrating the end of the harvest season, honoring our beloved dead and the turn to Wintertide. I also adore the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. Especially the celebrations, images and icons I collect and display throughout my home. We keep a seasonal family altar year round, depicting the cyclic changes, lessons and gifts of nature. At Samhain, we place pictures and mementos of ancestors, loved ones and pets that have died. Covered with a sheer black veil, it offers a special place of reflection and inspires additional time to honor and respect those that have crossed before us. I like to light a candle, speak their names and sit in silence, reflecting on how their life was lived, and what lessons they have offered me.

Circle Sanctuary Turns 25!

Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve is a 200 acre sacred Nature Sanctuary near Barneveld, Wisconsin and is celebrating twenty five years this Samhain. Circle Sanctuary Ecospirituality Center is also home to Circle Cemetery, a non-profit conservation cemetery. The Cemetery began in1995 with the creation of a place for cremains. The first cremains were placed there in 1999. Expansion of the existing cemetery began in 2005. The enlarged cemetery, 20 acres in size, includes the existing cemetery, a restored prairie, forest, and the Stone Circle, an outdoor ceremonial site. Survey work for the expanded cemetery was done in 2006 and the process of platting and zoning the cemetery for full body burials was begun. At Memorial Day 2007, three veteran gravestones with pentacles, among the first issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, were dedicated in a public ceremony. If you plan to be in the area, Circle Cemetery is open to visitors at a variety of festivals and other events throughout the year.

It’s Samhain! Time to Write Your Own Obituary

and Check your End-of-Life Documents

Write Your Own Obituary: This reflective journaling practice guides you into answering insightful questions such as “Am I living my life and completing my dreams, visions and goals? How would I like to be remembered?” This annual practice gives you the opportunity to compile information you are certain you want to be included, or definitely excluded, in your obituary. Attach a current photo of yourself to the document. CLICK HERE for some guide questions to help you with getting started. (PDF)

When you have completed the obituary, consider the second half. To be properly prepared for end-of-life, everyone should have six essential documents completed correctly, clearly, well labeled and stored in a known place. Taking the time to complete these documents will ease potential disappointments and I promise is worth the effort!

Every Samhain, I review these papers and check for needed updates or changes . . . minor children become adults, a partner dies, a change in spirituality, the economy tanks or you now have a neighborhood green burial site and change your plans from cremation.

The SIX ESSENTIAL documents everyone should have in relation to death are:

  • Will
  • Health Care Directive/Living Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney Health
  • Durable Power of Attorney Finance
  • Disposition of Body Form
  • HIPPA/allows for communication

All six documents are available state-specific online.

Always complete forms accurately and completely in black ink. No white-out or correction tape, mark throughs. Best to make copies and keep writing until you do a perfect page.

Be sure dates, spelling of names, locations etc. are correct. If witnesses are required, make sure they are not persons who are beneficiaries in any way of your crossing.

Thanks to Dr. Cat Sanders for gifting me with the concise list of six!

Let your plans for a home funeral be known!

Talk to your family and friends about your vision and reasons for considering or choosing a home funeral. Home funerals allow families to care for a decedent, and all aspects of a funeral can happen in the affordable privacy of home. They were quite common up in the US until the mid-20th century. Home funerals offer comfort and discretion, minimal financial impact and facilitate healing for your loved ones. In almost all circumstances, you have the right to have a family member at home even if they cross over in another location such as a hospital or nursing home. A family can facilitate a home funeral on their own; however most choose the assistance of a home funeral practitioner or Death Midwife. You are welcome to contact me if you have questions about home funerals at I am happy to come to you and present to your group or family the many choices we have available to us. We are truly reclaiming family directed choice at end-of-life!

Website update on hold for a bit longer . . .

Thanks for your patience with my website changes. They will come, I promise, and I so value you hanging in there with me. I have a few more tidbits to gather and my fantastic web mistress Joanna Colbert (I wouldn’t dream of anyone else doing it!) has been swamped (because everyone wants her talent) and she is only four cards away from the completion of her totally hands down the most amazing tarot deck you will ever lay eyes on! The Gaian Tarot is divine for anyone with a love of nature, diversity and fresh interpretations of Tarot. You absolutely must check her artwork, and see why she is a renowned artist and why my website update can wait a bit longer. While you are at her website, check out her online three card reading oracle, quite intuitive, fascinating and fun. And there's a great video too! Enjoy yourself!

Green Burial harvests a year of abundance!

Slow but steady, change is happening with new Green Burial sites nationwide. Noteworthy are the many funeral providers that now offer an alternative green burial style, sometimes called "hybrid green burials" in modern cemeteries. Take note, GREEN is not going away, we demand it and we are making it happen. Let your area funeral home know you want Green Burial options! Start the conversation by telling them about your needs as an informed consumer: green, affordable choice. Check out these new green burial sites!

Thanks to Mark Harris for updating us in his blog,, with the information that in the last couple of months, some half dozen natural burial grounds have cropped up in this country.

The latest additions:

  • White Eagle Memorial Preserve (Goldendale, Washington) 20-acre cemetery within 1300 acres of permanently protected oak and ponderosa forest, meadow and steppe on the edge of Rock Creek Canyon near the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
  • Foxfield Preserve (Wilmot, Ohio) Former farmland on 43-acres in northeast Ohio that's being restored to original prairie and forest. Owned and operated by a non-profit nature center and land trust.
  • Galisteo Basin Preserve (Santa Fe, New Mexico) Natural burial ground within a 13,000 permanently protected conservation area on a one-time cattle ranch.
  • Makemie Woods (Lanexa, Virginia) The third Ecoeternity Forest in the U.S., which is sited within a hardwood forest between Richmond and Williamsburg. Burial of cremains only.
  • Steelmantown Cemetery (Tuckahoe, New Jersey) E-mail: An active cemetery dating back to the 1700s where green burial has been practiced by default. Its grounds are overspread with oak, cedar and pine and border the Belle Plain State Forest.

These join other natural burial grounds as mentioned in Mark’s book Grave Matters:

. . . and the best news is a bunch of others are in the planning stages!

Good Green Georgia News!

Recently I had a delightful conversation with Jim Wood and his partner Beth who are preparing their land for a Conservation Burial Ground they plan to call Summerland in Georgia. Jim is a Death Midwife with interest in at home after death care and Beth is interested in the cemetery aspect of Green Burials. They plan to take their permit process to the planners in January, 2009. Best of luck, and thanks for your part in reclaiming choice at end-of-life, especially green!

Another Jim from Georgia, Jim Bell of Milton, Georgia was unanimously approved by the Milton Planning Commission for his proposed green burial site on September 02, 2008. The cemetery use permit is for Jim’s Milton Conservation Burial, a green burial site on Bell's home for 35 years, the 33-acre Richland Farm.

Washington State Residents, PLEASE SUPPORT INITIATIVE 1000! VOTE YES!

Death with Dignity is about choice for the terminally ill. We show mercy for our pets when they are suffering and end-of-life is immanent. . . Initiative 1000 will give persons with terminal illness, confirmed with a six month or less to live diagnosis by two physicians the choice to self administer medication to end pain and suffering with dignity. Opponents, especially the Catholic Church have funneled mega funds to oppose this initiative that was well supported to get on the ballot by Washington State Voters. For more information go to or Please vote in support of this initiative and show you value choice!

Speaking of this time of year . . .


Oh yeah, vote OBAMA too! Yes we can, Yes we can, Yes we can!!!

In the Wise Woman Tradition ~ Nora’s Work

Web Weaving has blessed me again with re-connection. While following a link to White Eagle Preserve, I noticed it must be on or near one of my most cherished places located in southeastern Washington called Ekone~The Land of the Good Spirit. I also discovered a dear friend since the 70’s, Ray Mitchell, had crossed over. We were friends in Seattle and Hawaii, and later, we reconnected when I returned to Ekone for a Women’s Gathering. Ekone hosts Summer Camp for kids with whole foods where numerous friends have volunteered. Ekone offered my daughter a summer of healing, caring for horses, feeding the buffalo and trail rides into the canyon lands. “Hard work and good food is the best medicine for our young people,” Ray would say, and he was right, those kids were exhausted at days end! The stewards of White Eagle Preserve and Ekone are the Sacred Earth Foundation. So far they have preserved over 1000 acres of precious canyon lands and oak/pine savannas. Development and logging are constant threats to the Ekone region and the Foundation is working hard to protect these lands. Green Burial has once again invoked reconnection of friends through the bonds of earth stewardship and end-of-life choice and consciousness. Web weaving we are indeed. Blessed Be.

In the next issue: Workshops and trainings, website changes, creative containers and cultural traditions. Let me hear what is news with you!

Until then you can reach me at


Nora Cedarwind Young, Certified Death Midwife
Proudly reclaiming family directed choice at end-of-life.

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