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Reclaiming the Ancient Art of Death Midwifery

By Jerrigrace Lyons

Imagine the opportunity to transform your own view of death, diminish your fears and re-frame your relationship to living and dying.

As with childbirth, over the past century institutions have taken over the field of after-death care. Because of this, our culture has forgotten the traditional customs and rituals that keep the family involved, and we miss opportunities for healing and connection during this sacred transition.

Family-led home funerals offer a natural, sacred, affordable and ecological approach. Hundreds of families who have returned to the tradition of home funerals have afterwards repeated this statement, “now that I have experienced a home funeral I can’t imagine doing it any other way.” Instead of feeling fear at having their loved one’s body remaining at home for 1-3 days, they felt comforted, and reported that it helped them process and integrate their person’s death.

This presentation/interview will inform you of how families can create a personal ceremony/ritual for their loved one at home, from pre-planning consultations to the final destination for disposition. You will learn about the many new choices of disposition arising from cultural, ecological and economical needs and desires. Preparing and filing a death certificate by a family is legal in most states allowing a family autonomy from a funeral home or mortuary.

A wake or vigil to honor our beloved can include preparing the body in a bathing blessing ritual using oils and herbs, an anointing and shrouding ceremony, building and/or decorating a casket, creating many types of altars, creating memorial or honoring services in the home that could have a priest, rabbi, minister, shaman or family member officiate.

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