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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in death

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Present from Hel

I was in my garden digging planting holes. This had been the asparagus bed for years, but it hadn’t produced any spears this spring and my mom wanted to put petunias there. I turned over several asparagus crowns, flat with thick roots. I wanted to replant them, give them a chance to see if they would grow again. I wasn’t thinking about last week’s ritual.

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Letting go and passing on: what Death teaches us about the mysteries of life

Recently my dad died.

It wasn't unexpected or sudden. 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    My dad and I lived in different countries, so we emailed almost daily and called once a week. After he passed, I missed that conne

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
Passing of a Crone

For the past year, my father has been on my mind.  He died 34 years ago on October 25.  Whenever someone is on my mind like this, it usually means I need to do something for them.  No matter what I did, what conversation I had, I felt him hovering.  

I realized on the date of his passing, he was waiting.  My mother became ill after heart surgery November 2017.  At the time, we talked about end of life issues while she was in the hospital, nursing home, and even at the assisted living facility.  I took over her finances and while all six of us discussed health care issues, I took the lead with her care.  

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  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    My heartfelt condolences. I recently lost my parents.
  • Eileen Troemel
    Eileen Troemel says #
    I'm so sorry for your loss. My father passed away 34 years ago in October as well. So on top of dealing with the anniversary of

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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