Death – Healing in times of dying


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Trigger warning, themes of death discussed in this description.

Healing in times of dying.

This piece has taken me months to finish and is the last of the Healing Series. I worked on it throughout the long dark nights of winter, but it wasn’t until the death of my father in the spring 2023 could I finish it and not until after the Solstice I felt ready to write about it. It’s been a long journey and this piece has been a challenge to me in all ways. What started out as an abstract concept, a way to come to terms with living during a mass extinction event, had also became a very personal journey with death. 

It doesn’t matter if death is of one individual important to your personal world or the existential death of your community, society or civilisation, whether it be one death or the death of whole biomes, a small mouse at the bottom of the garden, a family member, a friend or an enemy. It will always come with trauma, you will always feel the wrenching absence of life, the loss and silence of death. That is the grief of the living, in order to accept death and the absence of life, to live in times of dying then we must grieve, accept, and then spend our lives dedicated to the preservation of all life still around us. 

As I’ve said the catalyst for this image was the personal loss of my father. At the point of my father passing across the veil I sat vigil in my house thousands of miles away and as I turned to my gods for solace, as I called Arawn to escort my father to Anwyn I opened myself up to the gods of death and journeyed with them traversing the world together. 

As we traveled I could see below vast swathes of sand and scrub, dotted intermittently with the carcasses of animals scattered around dried up water holes. Then across rocks where glaciers had flowed and along the dried up river beds I saw mothers mourning, cradling their babies in their laps, flies crawling across their starved limp bodies, famine staring out of two large eyes. Shifting across the planet I saw bats and birds falling from the sky in the baking heat to land amongst the bleached branches of dead forests. I saw flames flickering on all corners of the earth, and wrath storms wreaking havoc across the land. I saw bees dropping from their hives, fish choking in seas of acid and floating plastic… I saw habitats crumble, crops failing, people oh so many people moving… Their homes inundated by murky flood waters or desiccated from the creeping deserts, fleeing from violence and conflict, from the uninhabitable zones and the deadly heat domes. I know I am living in the times of great dying and it is so very sad I am almost crippled and crushed. Then I was on my beloved moor and the lord of death looked at me from a hollow in a Hawthorn tree and I fell into his embrace, into darkness, the stillness, enveloped and gone… then he breathes into my ear… “live”

This image is a depiction of that moment. 

It reminds me to accept death when it comes.

Mourn and honour the losses,

Then live on to cherish and protect the life still here.

That is how to heal in times of dying.

Although in my short human life I will not see the rebirth and new growth from the ashes of the current extinction event, I can help those who will live on to heal the world. In these times of dying we must find a peace with death to truly learn the value of all life around us.

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A3, A4, A5 Altar Card, A6 Mediation Card