Ministry of Scorpio – The Guardian

Scorpio

The work of the Ministry of Scorpio encompasses the areas of death, dying, grief and bereavement; sacred sexuality; and ancestor veneration and spirit communication. The ministry includes:

  • Death, Dying, Grief and Bereavement: We endeavor to uphold a ministry of hope and caring so that no member, or family member, of the Temple of Witchcraft will be alone or in need during a time of crisis regarding terminal illness or death. We provide spiritual support, pastoral counseling and ritual practices for those making the transition between this world and the next, and for loved ones left behind after this transition.
  • Sacred Sexuality: Education and training in sacred sexuality in the traditions of witchcraft.
  • Ancestor Veneration and Spirit Communication for the Temple: We are responsible for maintaining contact with the spirit world on behalf of the Temple, particularly communion with and veneration of the ancestors.

To contact the Scorpio Minister, please e-mail scorpio@templeofwitchcraft.org.

Expanded Mission Statement

The Ministry of Scorpio encompasses the areas of death, dying, grief and bereavement; sacred sexuality; and ancestor veneration and spirit communication. The ministry includes:

Death, Dying, Grief and Bereavement: We endeavor to uphold a ministry of hope and caring so that no member, or family member, of the Temple of Witchcraft will be alone or in need during a time of crisis regarding terminal illness or death. We provide spiritual support, pastoral counseling and ritual practices for those making the transition between this world and the next, and for loved ones left behind after this transition.

We establish and maintain network of trained priest/ess who are willing to:

Visit the terminally ill at home, in the hospital or in hospice,

  • Support friends and family involved in care giving of those same persons,
  • Support those preparing for death and, when and where necessary, act as psychopomp for the departed soul,
  • In times of sudden, unexpected or violent death, offer support, comfort and the necessary or requested aid to the grieving family,
  • Offer comfort to the bereaved,
  • Offer teaching and training to the priest/ess of the Temple regarding, developing positive attitudes towards the issues, both personal and societal, of death and dying,
  • Work to establish a culture in which death is recognized as an organic part of life; there are no societal obstacles in the natural expression of grief; people who have suffered the death of a loved one are embraced by a safe and caring community that they can rely upon to help them cope with the grieving process.

Sacred Sexuality: Education and training in sacred sexuality in the traditions of witchcraft.

We establish and maintain network of trained priest/ess who are willing to:

  • Offer openminded support to those seeking and exploring their relationships with the divine through sacred sexuality,
  • Offer teaching and training to the priest/ess of the Temple regarding the creation of and development of positive attitudes towards issues, personal and societal, surrounding the sacredness and life affirming potential of sexuality.

Ancestor Veneration and Spirit Communication for the Temple: We are responsible for maintaining contact with the spirit world on behalf of the Temple, particularly communion with and veneration of the ancestors.

We establish and maintain network of trained priest/ess who are willing to:

  • Assist with the maintenanceof an altar of blood and spirit ancestors, which acknowledges and honors the diverse traditions represented by the Temple membership.
  • Provide an ancestor altar at Temple rituals requiring one.
  • Gather the names of those who have died each year at Samhain from the Temple Community to be held on the Temple Ancestor Altar for the year.
  • Provide education about ancestor honoring and communication

Crossing Over & Bereavement Services

The Scorpio Ministry at the Temple provide assistance for the dying and those left behind after a death. For the dying, we offer crossing over support either in person or over distance, and bedside guidance if desired. At the bedside, anointing of the body with a special crossing over salve is offered with a blessing.

For those left behind, we provide guidance on how to support those dying through the use of altars and rituals. We also provide an ear to those who wish to talk about their experience. In most cases, the bereaved are contacted 2 or 3 times during the initial weeks after the death. Most are able to cope with a relatively small amount of effort from the ministers. These techniques are covered in items 1 to 6 for most cases. In rare cases, the death triggers deeper issues. If this is the case, then the care needs to shift to a referral to a clinical counselor or to paid sessions with a minister who provides spiritual counseling or another modality.

The Scorpio Ministry provides support to those in grief through:

  1. email,
  2. phone calls,
  3. guidance on ritual practices for those who have passed that also support those still present on this side of the veil,
  4. bereavement circles,
  5. other rituals,
  6. meeting for coffee or meals,
  7. in depth meetings for support (which are referred to a clinical counselor or to spiritual counseling sessions which are fee based.)

The Temple also provides assistance in building an ongoing relationship with your ancestors through ritual and altar suggestions and classes.

In related Scorpio ministry work, the community works to hold space for those grieving and helps create a culture “in which death is recognized as an organic part of life; there are no societal obstacles in the natural expression of grief; people who have suffered the death of a loved one are embraced by a safe and caring community that they can rely upon to help them cope with the grieving process.”

Ancestral Shrine: Click the link for a PDF of the Temple’s ancestral shrine ritual to honor the recently departed.

Ministry Resources

Death: Talk about it!

Death Cafes: A place to talk about death in a supportive, nonjudgemental context

Elsa and Danielle’s Death Cafe at Robin’s Nest Facebook page: We share a lot of good resources and articles.

Funeral Consumer’s Alliance (2013). Before I go You Should Know.

Goodman, Ellen, The Conversation Project.

Morgan, Gwen W. (2010 Hardcover, 2014 Trade paperback) What if … Workbook: Give the Gift of Preparedness to Your Loved Ones. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Medical Personnel on Death

Gawande, Atul (2014) Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Co: New York.

Being Mortal is featured on a Frontline presentation available online. The video shows part of what Dr. Gawande included in his book. From the website: “FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors — himself included — are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.”

Kalanith, Paul (2016) When Breath Becomes Air. Random House: New York

Nuland, Sherwin B. (1993) How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter. Vintage Books.

Volandes, Angelo E. (M.D.) (2015) The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care. Bloomsbury Publishing

Your End of Life Care: Plan for it!

Advance Care Planning: Advance care planning is making decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself. Resources from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Advance Directives, Healthcare Decisions, POLST: Information to help complete an advance directive based on requirements under NH law. Also there is information to assist a person who is making health care decisions for another person and an explanation about Portable Do Not Resuscitate (P-DNR) medical orders and Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in NH.

Deathwise is passionate about motivating people to talk about, make decisions, plan for the end of their lives and then documenting their wishes in an advance directive to ensure their preferences are communicated to their medical services providers, family and friends.

My Gift of Grace: A conversation game for living and dying well

National Healthcare Decisions Day: Advance Care Planning Resources.

Deathwise: Deathwise is passionate about motivating people to talk about, make decisions, plan for the end of their lives and then documenting their wishes in an advance directive to ensure their preferences are communicated to their medical services providers, family and friends.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Abraham, John (2017) How to get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide. Upper Access Books: Hinesburg, VT

Butler, Katy (2019) The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life. Scribner: New York, NY.

Butler, Katy (2013) Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. Scribner: New, NY

Neumann, Ann (2016) The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. Beacon Press: Boston, MA

Know your rights about your rites!

The Funeral Consumers Alliance provides resources regarding individual’s rights regarding death and references for state level information.

Slocum, Joshua and Carlson, Lisa (2011) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. Upper Access Inc, Book Publishers: Hinesburg, VT.

Plan Your Rites!

Home Funeral Movement: There are several websites with resources regarding Home Funerals. Here are a few:

Bailey, Sue and Flowers, Carmen (2009) Grave Expectations: Planning the end like there is no tomorrow. Kennebunkport: CiderMill Press.

Beryl, Rev. Paul On Death and Dying (There’s nothing wrong with being compost). (2014) Kirkland, WI: The Hermit’s Grove.

Campanelli, Pauline (1998). Pagan Rites of Passage, St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Fortune, Dion (2000). Through the Gates of Death. York Beach. Weiser.

Mourning Dove Studios: “Our mission is to help you to take control of how you mark the milestones of life and death.  Our products and services will assist you in personalizing final rites of passage and creating a conscious legacy of love, including keeping our legacy to the earth in mind.”

Penczak, Christopher (2013) The Mighty Dead. Salem, NH: Copper Cauldron Publishing.

Rinpoche, Sogyal (2002) The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. San Francisco, CA: Harpers.

Slocum, Joshua and Carlson, Lisa (2011) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. Upper Access Inc, Book Publishers: Hinesburg, Vt.

Starhawk, Nightmare, M. M., & the Reclaiming Collective (1997). The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical rituals, prayers, blessings and meditations on crossing over. San Francisco: HarperCollins.

What do you want done with your body?

Green Burial: With the increase in popularity of environmental awareness and recycling, people are thinking about ways to decrease their footprint at death as well. This is referred to as the “green burial” movement. Here are some references for cemeteries and places to purchase biodegradable caskets and shrouds:

Other ideas:

Mushroom Burial Suit or the Infinity Burial Project:

If you want to create gem stones from your loved ones’ cremains, see this company, LifeGem.

There are also companies that make lockets that allow you to carry a small amount of cremains with you.

For adding cremains to reefs in the ocean, Eternal Reef out of Decatur, GA

For Burial at sea

If you wish to have a fancy casket commemorating your life in line with the style of Ghana: ghanacoffin.com or artcaskets.com for a caskets with colorful pictures that honor a hobby, avocation or interest of the deceased.

Mummification

Donate a body to science

Donate to the Plastination Process: Dr. Gunther Von Hagein has institutes in Dalian, Heidelberg and Kyrgyzstan.

Resources for Grief & Bereavement

The Temple of Witchcraft Scorpio Ministry provides support and ritual suggestions for processing and working with grief. See the Services portion of the top of this page.

Brooke, Jill (2001) Don’t Let Death Ruin Your Life. NY, NY: Penguin.

Canfield, Kack and Hansen, Mark (2003) Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul.

An online source for understanding grief.

Great article on grief and how to help.

Hughes, Kristoffer (2014) The Journey into Spirit: A pagan’s perspective on death, dying, & bereavement. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Kessler, David (1997) The Needs of the Dying: A guide for bringing hope, comfort, and love to life’s final chapter. NY, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

David Kessler’s website which includes books, references and movies to watch to help facilitate grief. www.grief.com

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth (1969). On Death and Dying. NY, NY:Collier Books.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth and David Kessler (2005) On Grief and Grieving, NY, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Kumar, Sameet (2005) Grieving Mindfully: A compassionate guide to coping with loss. New Harbinger.

Prechtel, Martin (2015) The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA

Ten Healthy Ways to Accept the Death of a Loved One

Valle, Ron and Mohs, Mary (2006) Opening to Dying and Grieving: A sacred journey. Saint Paul, MN: YES International Publishers.

Viorst, Judith (1986) Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations that All of us Have to Give Up in order to Grow. Ballantine Books.

Whitmore Hickman, Martha (1994) Healing after Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief. Harper Collins

Wolfelt, Alan D. (2003). Understanding Your Grief. Fort Collins, CO: Companion (an imprint of the Center for Loss and Life Transition).

Death of a Child

The Children’s Room is an organization that helps children and their families who have lost a close relative. Their website often has good resources and ideas.

Compassionate Friends: A national organization providing support and resources for those who have lost a child.

If your loss is of a premature baby

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