Just in Time for Samhain!-Book Review

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans by Mortellus

Explore the myriad of customs that have emerged around death and dying in the magical and Pagan communities. Filled with rituals, meditations, legal considerations, and deep insights into death as a spiritual process, this book can be used by magical practitioners or shared with non-Pagan professionals who support Pagans in their final transitions… From the Publisher

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus is a timely read that fills a gap that has existed for some time now. Modern American society, as a whole, shy away from death, making it a very sterile and one size fits all affair. The pagan community intuitively and by virtue of many of the traditional and ancient ways has stepped a little more deeply into how death can be honored as a natural and unavoidable process not to be feared and uniquely out-pictures for each individual in its own way. Separated into five (5) parts and twenty (20) chapters, this book assists in bridging that gap and navigating death in a way that is respectful of all concerned.

Part One: Views of Death and What Comes After provides the foundation for whatever disparity may occur between the beliefs and customs of parties involved.

Part Two: Mortuary 101 gives the reader a look behind the scenes of the business of death in the modern world. The author, Mortellus, uses their knowledge as a Mortician to engage us in the reality of funeral rites and what more could be done in honoring the dead. The reminder to make sure that your wishes are known before you die and the choices that an individual may have regarding their funeral are brought into focus reinforcing the thought that each life is unique as is each death.

Part Three: Customs and Funerary Rites takes the reader through some of the more prevalent types of paganism and the nuances and ways in which the dead are honored. I believe this serves a multitude of intentions in highlighting the specifics of rites and their meanings as well as the thread of commonality that is woven regardless of your practice. Some inclusions are: Kemetism, Hellenism, Druidry, Heathenry and others.

Part Four: No Two Deaths Are The Same really drives home the reminder that the one size fits all approach that is common in modern society is a disservice to the beloved dead. It may serve to quiet the discomfort of the survivors around issues of death and honors nothing more. Some of those more poignant inclusions are those rites for those transitions caused by suicide, death of a child or abortion. These, in particular are deaths that are not easily accepted and uncomfortable for many to come to terms with.

Part Five: Grief and Everything After brings the journey of death to its natural ending and offers ways of healing and mourning. Letting Go Poppet Ritual, Mourning Dream-Pillow, Painting with Cremains and Sending Messages to the Dead are some of the spell work and memorial creations offered.

Would I Recommend:

Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus is an intimate journey into death and how we may better serve the lives that have passed on. I appreciate the knowledge that Mortellus is a mortician, and as such, has first-hand experience of the many ways in which death and grief are expressed and the individuals whose lives are touched in the process.

As a much needed resource, this title is filled with sample rites, memorials and suggestions for honoring the dead in a way that is fulfilling for all concerned and in keeping with their specific beliefs and wishes. From the perspective of the pagan community, we need to embrace our wishes and those of our loved ones, step up to let these be known in the more traditional settings and speak from an informed place. Do I Have To Wear Black: Rituals, Customs and Funerary Etiquette For Modern Pagans by Mortellus fills all of the check boxes!

About Author Mortellus:

Mortellus is the High Priestex of the Coven of Leaves in Western North Carolina, a Gardnerian Coven operating an Outer Court training group who like to say that they are a bubbling cauldron of bitter esoterica slithering their way through Western North Carolina. Additionally, Mortellus is a Mortician, Medium, Necromancer, and author of Do I Have To Wear Black? Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans. Currently, they reside on three acres that are hastily becoming overgrown again with their spouse, three-year-old twins, and one really, really ridiculous dog.

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