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

You can also download this complete resource list as a printable PDF file.

Death: Talk about it!

Mortal Musings: Discussions on Death is a free-flowing discussion group on topics related to death and confronting your mortality through the lens of modern witches and death workers. These discussions began in March of 2020 and are the Temple’s forum for conversations about Death. Please check the Temple calendar page for the next offering.

https://templeofwitchcraft.org/calendar/

https://www.facebook.com/mortalmusings/

https://mothandmoonstudio.com/events/categories/mortal-musings/

Death Cafes

A place to talk about death in a supportive, nonjudgemental context.

http://deathcafe.com/

Funeral Consumer’s Alliance (2013). Before I go You Should Know from the website funerals.org

Goodman, Ellen, The Conversation Project. http://theconversationproject.org/

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 was featured on the PBS television show Frontline in 2015 and the episode is available online at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/being-mortal/ 

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: New York.

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

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

http://www.nhpco.org/advance-care-planning

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.

http://www.healthynh.com/index.php/fhc-initiatives/advance-directives-healthcare-decision-coalition.html

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.

http://www.deathwise.org/

Five Wishes https://fivewishes.org An Advanced Care Planning tool.

Hello Game (Formerly My Gift of Grace) A conversation game for living and dying well

https://commonpractice.com/pages/versions

http://www.mygiftofgrace.com/

National Healthcare Decisions Day: Advance Care Planning Resources

https://nationalhealthcare-decisi.squarespace.com/

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

http://www.nhpco.org/

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

Magnusson, Margareta (2018) The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter. Scribner: New York, 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. www.funerals.org

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:

www.crossings.net, 

http://www.homefuneralalliance.org/, 

https://www.homefuneralalliance.org/directories.html#!directory

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

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

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

Fortune, Dion (2000). Through the Gates of Death. Weiser: Newburyport, MA.

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.” http://www.mourningdovestudio.com/

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

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

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. HarperCollins: San Francisco

For Pastoral Care of and Providing Companionship to the Dying

Braestrup, Kate (2007) Here if you Need me: A true Story. Little Brown and Company: NY, NY

Cappabianca, Chaplain Geralyn (2015) Memoirs of a Hospital Chaplain: I stand near the door. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Dass, Ram & Mirabai Bush (2018) Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on loving and dying. Sounds True: Boulder, CO

Egan, Kerry (2016) On Living. Riverhead Books: NY, NY

Karnes, Barbara (2005) Gone from my Sight: The dying experience. (The little blue book) https://bkbooks.com/

Kessler, David (2007) The Needs of the Dying. Harper Collins: New York.

Kessler, David (2010) Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms; Who and What you see before you die. Hay House: Carlsbad, CA.

What do you want done with your body? 

(Inclusion here is provided for for informational and research purposes.)

An overall good source of information is The Order of the Good Death http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/

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:

Green Burial Council www.greenburialcouncil.org

Memorial Ecosystems www.memorialecosystems.com

Mourning Dove Studio http://mourningdovestudios.com/

Other ideas:

Mushroom Burial Suit or the Infinity Burial Project:

Jae Rhim Lee’s TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/jae_rhim_lee

Her company Coeio. http://www.coeio.com/

If you want to create gem stones from your loved ones’ cremains, see this company, LifeGem: http://www.lifegem.com/

There are also companies that make lockets that allow you to carry a small amount of cremains with you. http://www.perfectmemorials.com/

For adding cremains to reefs in the ocean, Eternal Reef out of Decatur, GA http://www.eternalreefs.com/

For Burial at sea: 

https://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/burial-sea

http://www.newenglandburialsatsea.com/

Mummification http://www.summum.org/mummification/ 

Donate a body to science http://www.sciencecare.com/

Donate to the Plastination Process: Dr. Gunther Von Hagein has institutes in Dalian, Heidelberg and Kyrgyzstan. http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/gunther_von_hagens/life_in_science.html

Resources for Grief & Bereavement

The Temple of Witchcraft Scorpio Ministry provides support and ritual suggestions for processing and working with grief. https://templeofwitchcraft.org/scorpio/

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

Canfield, Jack and Hansen, Mark (2012) Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul: Stories About Life, Death and Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One (Chicken Soup for the Soul). Backlist, LLC – a unit of Chicken Soup of the Soul Publishing LLC; Illustrated edition 

An online source for understanding grief.http://helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

Great article on grief and how to help. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-devine/death-and-dying_b_4329830.html

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

Hughes, Kristoffer (2020) As the Last Leaf Falls: A pagan’s perspective on death, dying, & bereavement. Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN.

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

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. Collier Books: New York.

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

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

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

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. Companion (an imprint of the Center for Loss and Life Transition): Fort Collins, CO.

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. http://childrensroom.org/ 

Compassionate Friends: A national organization providing support and resources for those who have lost a child. https://www.compassionatefriends.org/

If your loss is of a premature baby. http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/emotional-life/grief-and-loss/losing-a-premature-baby.aspx

Resources for Spirit Communication

Dionne, Danielle (2020) Magical Mediumship: Partnering with the ancestors for healing and spiritual development. Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN.

Dominguez, Ivo (2008) Spirit Speak: Knowing and understanding spirit guides, ancestors, ghosts, angels, and the divine. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books (a division of Career Press): Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Grimassi, Raven (2016) Communing with the Ancestors: Your spirit guides, bloodline allies, and the cycle of reincarnation. Red Wheel/Weiser: Newburyport, MA.

Hunter, Devin (2017) The Witches Book of Spirits. Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN.

Penczak, Christopher (2002) Spirit Allies: Meet your team from the other side. Red Wheel/Weiser: Newburyport, MA.

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

Resources for Sacred Sexuality

Charles D’Avalon, A. (2020). “Pain and Power: BDSM as Spiritual Expression.” Inquiries Journal, 12(11). Retrieved from http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=1844

Harrington, Lee (2016) Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond. Mystic Productions Press: Chicago, IL.

Kaldera, Raven (2009) Dark Moon Rising: Pagan Bdsm & the Ordeal Path. lulu.com

Kenyon, Tom & Sion, Judi (2006) The Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus & the Sex Magic of Isis. https://tomkenyon.com/store/the-magdalen-manuscript/

Kraig, Donald Michael (2002) Modern Sex Magic: Secrets of Erotic Spirituality. Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN.

Magdalene, Misha (2020) Outside the Charmed Circle: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Magical Practice. Llewellyn Publications: Woodbury, MN.

Miller, Jason (2014) Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit: The Secrets of Erotic Magic. Red Wheel/Weiser: Newburyport, MA.

International School of Temple Arts (ISTA)

“ISTA is a transmission of the life force, clothed in love and expressing creatively in the world. ISTA is part of a global transformational movement where human consciousness is being opened to its source as love and harmoniously integrating with other sentient kingdoms and dimensions. In particular ISTA works with spirituality and sexuality as two expressions of the life force. Our vision is a world where humans have a peaceful, delightful, shameless, fearless and loving relationship with their own bodies, sexuality, emotions, hearts, minds and spirit.”

https://ista.life/

 

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