“The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.” ~J.R.R. Tolkein Lord of the Rings
I’ve found myself several times in recent months among other practitioners and believers, and we all share a common vision of changing the climate and practices around death and dying in our society today. These are moments that make my heart nearly burst before it takes wing and flies. I wish I could gift you all even a single moment to see it through my eyes, to feel what that feels like to me. Since I can neither afford such technology nor does it actually exist at this juncture, I’ll do my best to capture that imagery for you in the written word.
I look around the room, in the busy movements of a crowded hall I watch a beautiful old magic slowly being re-birthed into the world. It is a craft we have all but forgotten, how to care for those we love as their bodies fail them, as they slip away, as they die and pass on to whatever lies in the vast beyond. We gave that away to hospitals, we did it out of love, we did it out of so many altruistic motivations, but somewhere, we lost something we needed, and our magic slipped away, until almost none remembered it.
Life does not exist in the absence of death, however, and a beautiful group of strong, loving, courageous and magical souls are working to bring this incredible practice and art back into our world. I watch as soft loving hands demonstrate how to care for a loved one’s body. I turn to see another group learning how to wrap a body tenderly in a beautiful fabric shroud. I smile and inhale the mixed scents of warm coffee, sawdust and ancient wisdom as I sit and watch the construction of a handmade coffin. There is such peace, such love, and such magic in this place. A magic we had almost forgotten.
A magic that could change our tomorrow.