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Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.

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Farewell to Jane

On July 7th, at around 3:30pm, a dear friend passed the veil.  After over a year of alternative therapies, the cancer in her would not relent.  She chose death with dignity.

Jane and I met when my best friend brought me to Jane's home for a shamanic study group.  She practiced shamanism, read tarot, and had converted to Judaism as an adult. 

Jane shared my mother's birth year, 1955, and in some ways she acted as a maternal surrogate after my mother moved to Germany.  Not having children of her own, she bonded with my daughter as a grandmother would.

For the first two or three years, we met in a small group in her home, expanding our understanding of the spirit world and exploring the lower, middle, and upper worlds. She taught us soul retrievals and psycho pomp and how to give back to our guides, to show them respect rather than command them to do our will.

I love Jane, and already miss her loud, brash conversations, her quick and agile mind, and her forthright possession of her sexuality.  I cried the afternoon of her death, though I didn't attend it.  I'd made the long drive between our current homes twice, made food, drummed and was healed by her once more, and she gave us gifts of her belongings.  She introduced me to another witch who shared my love of food and birth and dance.

Though I cried that first day and went to comfort my best friend the day after (she'd helped Jane with practical planning and attended the death ceremony), I've not cried since.  It's an odd, gentle sort of grief.  A grief with a known outcome, a date to prepare ourselves, and time to spend in love and joy before she went.  It was the death experience I didn't get to have with my mother, and it was healing.

Before she died, we had a conversation about the gifts she offered to people, and how no one wanted to ask for certain items because they felt greedy.  Yet the items they wanted, were those she intended to give them, or no one else felt drawn to.  I'd experienced something like this at our last visit together; I felt compelled to steal her bottle of herbal bug repellent!  I didn't, of course, and didn't say anything, but she'd told me later she meant for me to have it.

But there was something else I wanted from her, an unnamed and unnameable gift.  In my meditations, I saw her spirit rising from her body, and a light separate from her, but part of her path falling away.  I told her whatever that light represented, it called to me, like work I needed to carry on.

When I saw my best friend she had more gifts for my family bequeathed by Jane. My daughter received a rattle and lotus candle holder (she's my lotus blossom) and I received a black prayer shawl.

When I wrapped it around my shoulders, it felt like a hug.  My breathing steadied, my feet became grounded, and I centered.  This dark, unassuming shawl held what I'd been sensing from her.  Rather than try to name it, I will take up the mantle and flow with the energy as it guides me toward whatever work I am meant to do.

Thank you, Jane.  You will be in my heart for all my days, and my children will find their paths better for what you taught us.



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Raven lives in a forest with her two homeschooled children, partner, and several demanding cats. She enjoys performing, cooks a mean burger, and is obsessed with farming, but has yet to adopt a goat. Her publications are listed at


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