Death, Dying + Grief

Death + Dying

On the passing of Kate’s grandmother:

In early May of 2016, my sacred mother, my grandmother Dorothy Becker, who had been a never ending source of love and support since the day I was born, was getting ready to leave her body. Though the pending loss was devastating, I knew this was a profoundly important time and felt blessed to spend the last week of her life by her side. I was ready to fully experience and be present to this sacred passage of a woman who had been everything to me. By this time, I had lost all my other grandparents, precious great aunts, great uncles, friends to drugs and cancer and a few dearly loved pets. But the passing of my beloved grandmother was going to be the biggest yet. For a decade or more, we spoke almost daily and throughout my lifetime, I visited her as often as I could; first in Queens, NY, later in West Palm Beach, FL and ultimately in Tarrytown, NY, where she lived out her remaining days with my artist aunt Janice, musician uncle Alan and my precious cousin Mathew. 

Being with her night and day as she was getting ready to leave her body was one of the most profound, transpersonal experiences of my life. Our days were spent gathered around her bedside, telling stories, laughing and anointing her hands, feet and brow with ancient oil combinations. We spent the hours looking into her eyes, brushing her silver hair and comforting her from the pain of dying. I witnessed that letting go of the earthly plane and physical body can be very uncomfortable.  At night I would lay with her in this godly place between life and death, anticipating the moment of passing. It was not scary. It was familiar. It was beautiful. It was sacred. On May 10th, 2016, she finally let go, a couple of hours after my dad and sisters arrived from Canada. She had been waiting for her son to come and say goodbye. My sister Jodie and I were the only ones with her when she took her final breath and it was a holy moment that will stay with us always. 

Diffusing oils such as Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwoodand Lavender in the space of a dying being can create a transformative atmosphere that is comforting to all who dwell there. Spraying an occasional mist around the bed and room such as Purification and Protection Aura Mist or Heart and Spirit Aura Mist can shift the energy and can be comforting and balancing. In addition, White Sage Mist or Banditos Natural Defense Protective Mist is a great way to purify and boost the energy which can be effective between visitors and to clear away stagnant grief - especially in hospitals and hospices.

Dorothy as a zoo docent in West Palm Beach, FL

For my grandmother, I used Isis & Rebirth Anointing Oil on her feet, Peace & Purification Anointing Oil on her temples and brow, and Water Aromatherapy Body Lotion on her hands. For ourselves, my aunt and I used Healing of the Heart Anointing Oil, Quan Yin Sacred Perfume and many of the same oils we were applying on Grandma. Morning and evening, I placed Frankincense Essential Oil on her crown and Myrrh Essential Oil on her feet. We diffused Lavender Essential Oil, Breath of Life Diffuser Oil and Banditos Natural Defense.

My Grandmother lives inside me now. I continue to feel her support and fierce maternal love and support. Last year my Buddha Cat, Pancho, left his body and this year one of my dearest, closest friends left us. Though the pain isn’t any less, each time I learn a little more about the mystical experience of death and the transformation that comes with it. I now look forward to seeing them again in some form or another when my time comes. It’s comforting to know that they have already taken that otherworldly passage. Each time, these sacred oils from this heavenly planet have assisted, supported and guided me and those passing; as they have done so for thousands of years!

more on death

Death is an unavoidable cycle of life that will inevitably touch all of our lives at some time or another. The Western perspective on death and dying can be unhealthy and uncomfortable at the best of times. For many, the emotional responses and feelings toward death come from a seemingly backwards viewpoint on this particular aspect of life and stems from a lack of understanding of the cyclical nature of birth, life and death. You cannot truly have one without the other.

When someone passes on and we lose their presence in our life, whether unexpectedly or anticipated, does not make the passing any easier. We inescapably go through the motions of shock, anger, blame, pain, guilt, denial, bargaining, sadness, grief, depression and ultimately acceptance. Grief is not linear and does not follow a timeline, for it is entirely in the hands of the mourner and is absolutely natural and normal to go through a range of emotions. Perhaps though, if the concept and idea of death were not so foreign and absolute to the Western World, we may manage and care for the dying in a radically different fashion.

It is undoubtedly painful to watch someone you love die. However, in the pain, we can also feel gratitude to sit beside a human or animal who is taking their last breaths in this world. Being around someone who is dying and taking their final earthly journey, provides access to a certain kind of magic and a unique glimpse into what comes next. It is an honor and privilege to be with someone as they are crossing over into peace and into their next soul journey. People who are near death often see things and people who have already passed on and appear to hold conversations and energetic exchanges with them. With one foot on earth and the other in the spirit realm, passing souls also tend to ask and discuss big, existential questions, topics and themes. It is not unusual for a person on their deathbed to talk about their soul and their earthly body in the context of what comes next; not in a fearful way but in a thoughtful and curious manner.

It takes a very special and loving person to choose the path of a death doula or hospice worker, knowing that a person’s last breath, words and vision are under their care and influence. In many ancient and modern cultural practices and traditions around the world, it was not the job or duty of just one person to usher a life into the spirit world, it was a service carried out by the community. In this way, comfort and care is provided to not only the dying, but to the family and loved ones as well and no one person holds sole responsibility.

Death Rituals Around the World

The ancient Egyptians, Vikings and Celts all had varying death and mortuary rituals which were performed at the time of a person’s death. The Egyptians, often thought to be obsessed with death and dying, were just as engaged and committed to the joys and pleasures of life. So much so, that in fact they considered the afterlife as a continuation of their time on Earth. This perspective is exhibited in the way they prepared a body for the afterlife by preserving the body, freeing the soul and sending it on its way. All of these rituals encouraged and emboldened people to express their grief in healthy and natural ways, instead of repression and restraint. Ancient Egyptian death rituals included purification with oils and herbs, embalming, gifts, feasting and ceremonies to celebrate life and to ready a soul’s passage to the afterlife. Similarly, the Vikings and pre-Christian Celts built funeral pyres and dug burial mounds which would include the deceased’s possessions, offerings, gifts and protective amulets for the soul’s safe journey to the beyond. This universal understanding that a spirit or soul’s journey does not end on Earth, is a healthy and respectful way to greet death and one the modern world could stand to gain a little more wisdom from.

If you or someone you know is experiencing grief related to death or you know someone who is dying, utilizing aromatherapy techniques and practices to ease a soul’s passage into the afterlife can be extremely beneficial and healing to both the dying and those who bear witness to this point in the circle of life. We’ve composed a list of Kate’s Magik products which have been created to assist you or a loved one during this particularly difficult, but magical time. Apply these precious oils to the hands, feet and brow of the dying and use them on yourself to work through emotions, encourage acceptance and to build trust that everything works according to the Highest Good.

Kate’s Magik Products for death, Dying + grief

Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god, is a protector of the dead and an overseer of embalming and funerals. He has been called “Lord of the Sacred Land,'' as well as “God of Deserts and Darkness.” He embodies a protective shaman or priest who guides mortals from one realm to another. Anubis also watches over and guides the souls of the dead on their journey from the physical realm to the afterlife. I created Anubis Perfume to help support us in understanding the temporary nature of our current life and to connect with those who have passed over. This magik potion will also help us travel beyond linear time. Ancient Myrrh and holy Frankincense will help instill trust in what comes after life as we know it. Together with divine Rose we will be guided to the deeper realms beyond this world.

Isis & Rebirth Anointing Oil was created for transformation and new beginnings. This is a sacred blend inspired by the Egyptian goddess of love, rebirth and creation. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, let go of the old and embrace transformation into your next beautiful phase. Embrace living life in the present moment! Isis & Rebirth Anointing Oil is a heavenly blend of Organic Madagascan Vanilla and floral Moroccan Rose. Apply to your Heart Chakra for love, compassion and emotional balance, to your Sacral Chakra for creativity, sexuality and strength and to your Solar Plexus for added benefits related to your truth, self and center of will.

Breath of Life Diffuser Oil is a calming blend of Lavender, Lemon, Sandalwood and Frankincense created to nurture the spirit and inspire sacred wisdom. A perfect oil to relieve stress and diffuse during yoga, meditation or any spiritual practice.

Peace & Purification Anointing Oil promotes relaxation and helps counter stress. This is a comforting and calming blend that helps support us during times of anxiety, stress, and depression and instills a deep sense of calm. Peace & Purification Anointing Oil is also a great aid against headaches and migraines and supports rest and relaxation. Peace & Purification Anointing Oil is a soothing & comforting blend of floral Lavender and calming Roman Chamomile. Apply to your Third Eye for intuition, sight and visualization and to your Throat Chakra for aid in communication, self-expression, song and voice.

Myrrh Essential Oil has been used as a sacred oil and resin since ancient times. It awakens spirituality, aids in meditation and is ideal for cleansing rituals before healing. It instills peace, trust and courage. Helps let go of stagnant pain and resentment and can bring in forgiveness and vision for a new path. Burned as an incense, Myrrh purifies a spaceand lifts vibrations. It is generally used in conjunction with frankincense or other resins. Myrrh is used in healing incenses and in sachets. Its smoke is used to purify and bless objects such as amulets, talismans, charms, and magical tools. Myrrh has been used as an ingredient in incense and perfumes as well as for embalming and fumigation practices in Ancient Egypt. In folk tradition it was used for muscular pains and in rheumatic plasters. Myrrh Oil, distilled from the resin, has been used since ancient times to heal wounds. It is also said that one of the three kings brought Myrrh as an offering to Jesus when he was born. Myrrh was also considered to be sacred to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility.

Meditation & Trance Anointing Oil was created to be an aid in meditation and to enhance spirituality. This is a highly spiritual, sacred blend that's perfect for meditation, yoga, rituals, ceremonies and prayer. It increases visions and connects us to the divine while keeping a centered, grounded mind. Meditation & Trance Anointing Oil is a warm, subtle blend of Frankincense and Sandalwood. Apply to your Third Eye for intuition, sight and visualization and to your Crown Chakra for added benefits related to Higher Consciousness and connection to the Divine.

Quan Yin is the Goddess of mercy, compassion and loving kindness. Heavenly Rose evokes the vibration of the divine feminine and re-instills faith, while Sandalwood and Vanilla encourage forgiveness and help you live in the present. Packaged in a violet glass bottle with roller. Quan Yin is a major deity in Chinese Buddhism but is also worshiped and recognized in other Buddhist traditions all over the world. She is known as the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, the One with Motherly Compassion and She Who Hears the Cries of the People. Call in the divine presence of Quan Yin to help with wisdom, unconditional love, forgiveness, healing, encouragement and clearing unnecessary energies or old patterns. Quan Yin brings forth her beautiful, healing energy when we pray to her.

Purification & Protection Aura Mist is a cleansing aromatherapy mist created to remove negativity, relieve stress and restore balance. Purification & Protection Aura Mist features exotic Sandalwood and comforting Lavender. Use Purification & Protection Aura Mist as an instant aromatherapy treatment by spraying in a circular motion above the crown of your head. As the mist falls down all around you, breathe deeply and feel the purifying power of the essential oils as any anger, negativity or stagnation dissolves away. Take a moment for reflection and embrace your new lightness of being. This mist is also a great way to remove bad vibes and cleanse any space to create a balanced atmosphere. Make it a part of your yoga or meditation ritual to help clear the mind and set your intention for practice. Additionally, Purification & Protection Mist is a powerful alternative when you can't burn sage or other cleansing herbs.

This heart soothing perfume is devoted to the celestial feminine energy of the Divine Mother. When we are in need of motherly comfort, the soothing and unconditional love of the cosmic Mother can bestow tenderness and instill trust in our earthly journey. Whether Mother Earth, Mother Mary, Mother Goddess, Grandmother Moon, the fierce feline protector Bastet, Hathor, Quan Yin, or Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe); all these archetypes represent nurturing, divine feminine wisdom, all-loving presence, courage and shelter from darkness. Sacred Myrrh with a touch of Vanilla cradles exquisite Bulgarian Rose Otto - the ultimate heart-soothing flower of love and compassion. Fortifying Tangerine adds a boost of joy and perseverance. The angelic aroma of Divine Mother perfume is designed to provide comfort, relieve sadness and elevate our spirit to heavenly heights of insight, forgiveness, and trust.

Frankincense Essential Oil is spiritually elevating and a powerful aid during meditation. It is calming and centering on the mind. Helps instill faith and trust and reconnect you with spirit.Frankincense Essential Oil holds the wisdom of the universe. It is an ancient traditional purifying oil and helps remove blocks and negativity. It can instill trust, increase vision and concentration. It brings the blessings of the sun and successful energy. Frankincense has been used since ancient times as a sacred purifying incense. Also known as Olibanum, Frankincense was used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks as an offering to the gods. It is said that it was gifted to Jesus by one of the three wise men. Burn Frankincense Resin to cleanse and purify spaces. Frankincense has been used for thousands of years for its purifying, protective and healing properties.

Healing of the Heart Anointing Oil is a gentle tonic to rejuvenate a wounded or sad heart. This powerful blend is a supportive tool for times of grief, loss, pain and sadness. Sometimes after a difficult event we close off our hearts, which can trap negative emotions. Precious Rose Otto helps open the heart again to release these feelings and heal emotional wounds. Healing of the Heart Anointing Oil is a soothing blend of Bulgarian Rose Otto and Bulgarian Lavender. Apply to your Heart Chakra for love, compassion and emotional balance.

Heart & Spirit Aura Mist is an aromatherapy mist created to lift the spirit and open the heart to compassion, love, healing and grace. Heart & Spirit Aura Mist features uplifting Neroli and balancing Geranium. With its highly spiritual vibration, Heart & Spirit Aura Mist is an instant aromatherapy treatment that empowers grace from within. It creates an atmosphere that promotes healing and is a great way to open the heart for meditation, yoga, or any spiritual practice. Set your intention and spray generously in a circular motion above your head. As the mist falls down all around you, breathe deeply and feel your spirit soar.

Hekate is an ancient Greek goddess that serves as a guide for safe passage through the underworld. The formulation downloaded in an instant of time, with no necessary alterations. Hekate perfume was born out of an acquired fascination for this Greek goddess, sacred warrior, guide of the underworld and master of perfumes. Her torch shines dim moonlight to help us find our way through the darkness. She holds the key to enter and exit the underworld from the earthly realm and serves as protector and guide along the journey. This mystical winter perfume opens the door to a hidden, secret world, where magik and transformation can unfold. Hekate supports the spiritual warrior within and provides protection as she helps lead you forward on your path. Joy-inducing Clementine and spicy Pimento Berry bring trust and courage to this enigmatic perfume. Inhale deeply and let the transformative aroma of Hekate usher you through the mountains, valleys, and crossroads of the upcoming winter season.

Banditos Natural Defense Essential Oil Blend features therapeutic-grade essential oils  of Clove, Cassia, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and White Sage to help guard and protect while supporting healthy immune, respiratory and circulatory systems. Our formula was inspired by Four Thieves Vinegar used by bandits in the 15th century when robbing the sick during plague outbreaks. For a southwestern twist, we’ve further enhanced the blend with the protective and cleansing qualities of White Sage.

Samhain, is a potent magical potion formulated during the most mystical time of year. Samhain is the Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season, when the veil between the worlds is thin and we enter the liminal period of death and rebirth. As October days begin to darken and lead us to All Hallows’ Eve and All Souls, it’s time to purify, let go and surrender to transformation. We make fires, set altars, gather with kin, honor and connect with loved ones passed and celebrate the great gift of life. Samhain Perfume is formulated to open portals and transport you to other realms. Magical, mystical Spikenard, light-bearing Marigold and safeguarding Elderflower are at the core of this transformative potent perfume potion. Anoint your Third Eye, throat and wrist, and get ready to fly.

Bulgarian Lavender is floral and bright with a sweet undertone. It's an exceptional, highly beneficial Lavender that is perfect for medicinal and aromatherapeutic use. Lavender Essential Oil is good for many uses and applications. The aroma of Lavender is calming for body and mind and can help reduce anxiety and stress and promotes sleep. It is an antidepressant and when applied to the temples can provide instant relief of stress and even headaches. It is also a great healing aid when applied to burns, scrapes and blemishes. Lavender can be a great help to calm and relax children.

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