Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The ethics of death and dying

One of the classes I am taking at this time is the Ethics of death and dying. I thought I would share some of the writings I am required to do for this class. Our first major assignment is to write how we would like our funeral.

The Death of a Modern Druid
I have ever been a simple, but deeply spiritual man. In that tradition I see no reason why my funeral should be any different. I have spent my life trying to teach people how to live a good and happy life. How to live with honor, compassion, and a reverence for all things. I love to hear a story and at my funeral I want my story shared in the hopes that those who attend will take something away from it that opens their heart and/or mind. Something that gives them hope or at the very least a good laugh and a memory.
The Wake
When I die and pass over to Tir Na Nog, I want to die in my home surrounded by family and friends. I’d like to stay in the home a day to give those whom I leave behind time to mourn in whatever way they need to, be it to pay respects, to eat and drink, or to support to those who need a shoulder to cry upon. I’d like the woman closest to me, my daughters, my wife, others in the pagan community, over seen by Elena to cleanse my body both physically and spiritually. I would then be dressed in my ritual robes. I do not want my body preserved in any way other then cold storage. I do not want any kind of chemicals put into me. I always tried to live a natural and healthy life. I want that to continue in death. I simply want my body cremated. If possible I’d have it done on a large bonfire in some natural space. Sadly laws prevent this sort of thing. I will make myself content with a cardboard box and an oven. If possible I’d like a few things in that oven with me. I’d like a triskele symbol, as well as my wedding ring burned. The Awen symbol would not go amiss either, and last but not least some thing to represent “Stag” my spirit guide and friend. Any who would like to attend this portion are welcome to, though I suspect it happens so quickly after death that not too many will be there. I’d like my ashes collected of course in a nice box. Perhaps something with meaning, but I’ll leave exactly what it looks like to my loved ones.
The Eulogy
I’d like my friends and family to come together in some natural place in the presence of a great oak tree. Perhaps in a park or some one’s personal property or in the sacred grove I plan to build. I’d like Elena Rose, the priestess who married my love and I, and the sister of my heart, to lead a ritual. I ask that she invoke one of two deities. The Morrigan if I should die by violence or Mannanan Mac Lir should I die a natural death. These are the gods that will take me to the summer lands. I ask that she remind those there of the triskele symbol and it’s meanings of life, death, and rebirth. Remind them that I am going to take some time in the summer lands to review my life, and rest my soul before I will once again be born back into the world. I’d like a Celtic harpist and other Celtic music at my eulogy. I’d like it to be festive and fun. I want people to tell stories about me to each other. The funny and the sad. The mundane and the special. I’d like them to remember…never let the truth get in the way of a good story! I’d like a list of my accomplishments read out aloud so that the Gods, Spirits, and honored ancestors will take note. (So too, I hope, will my children and grandchildren). I am not fond of grave yards, nor of head stones, or other markers. No, I do not want any of these. For my ashes I’d like them divided into thirds. Each third shall be cast into one of the three realms of earth, sea, and sky. If my dream of creating an outdoor temple for use in pagan rituals has come true, I’d like my ashes spread there. One third for earth at the roots of the oak tree. One third for water on the water fall. One third on the chimes or sculpture that represent air. In so doing know that my spirit will be there to protect the sacred ground until I am called again to be reborn. If my dream has not yet come true, then I ask that my ashes be spread at the root of a great oak tree for earth. At the top of Iwihinmu (mt. Pinos) for air, and in the pacific ocean for sea.
During the Eulogy between speakers I’d like the harper to play a song. I’d also want a release of butterflies at the service like my wife and I did at our wedding to honor our ancestors. At the end I’d like there to be a feast in my honor. In my mind I see attendees bringing food as in a potluck. I’d like everyone to sit at one long table. At that table I’d like a place set for myself and food placed there. When the feast was over I ask that the food be sacrificed to the fire.
Cremation Container……..$50.00
Butterflies 1 doz………….$95.00
The two people I consulted on this project were Elena Rose, and my wife Janet. I wanted Elena to be the one to lead the Eulogy and ritual at my death, however since we are so close, I wasn’t sure she would feel she could. I was surprised to hear her say with much confidence that she felt she could and would be honored to do so when the time came. I bounced some of my ideas off her and she fielded them all without flinching as is the practical nature of an earth witch. Talking with my wife was a little different. It was her who gave me the idea of the butterfly release, however I could tell that the discussion made her feel a bit odd or uneasy and we did not discuss it long. Perhaps our recent brush with death made it all too real for her to discuss without getting emotional at this time.



  1. This has given me a great deal to think about; thank you for posting something so personal.

  2. Dearest Gwynyt Siarad,

    Although your death would be something that would sadden me greatly, I admire your courage to face it and plan it through.

    When my mom passed, i was relieved she had a plan

  3. I would be devastated, but as my last gift to a man I love and respect I would do my very best to hold it together to send him off with all the love, honor and laughter he would want and deserves. Then fall apart and cry for days later.