Dying

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Cape Ann Wellness

introtospiritualcareofdyingv2Rev. Sue earned her Master of Divinity degree with distinction from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (Boston College) in 1994. She has served as chaplain at Wellesley College, where she was part of a pioneering interfaith spiritual life program, working with Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, Unitarian, and Muslim colleagues and students. Later, as Chaplain with Community Hospice in Schenectady, NY she became a skillful spiritual counselor and end-of-life educator.In November 2014, Rev. Sue moved to Cape Ann with her husband, artist David Arsenault.  She is Dean of Second Year students and teaches on the Spiritual Care of the Dying at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in NY, NY.

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  • I have heard many interesting cultural stores passed on various subjects in this cultures oral and written history Sharing this too! Dave

    http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1726

    Among many of the Indian nations in Massachusetts there was the idea that after death, the soul would go on a journey to the southwest. Eventually, the soul would arrive at a village where it would be welcomed by the ancestors. In a similar fashion, the Narragansett in Rhode Island viewed death as a transition between two worlds: at the time of death, the soul would leave the body and join the souls of relatives and friends in the world of the dead which lay somewhere to the southwest.

    Among some of the tribes, such as the Beothuk and the Narragansett, it was felt that communication between the living and the dead was possible. Among the Narragansett, the souls of the dead were able to pass back and forth between the world of the dead and that of the living. The dead could carry messages and warnings to the living. Among the Caddo on the Southern Plains, the living could send messages to their deceased relatives by passing their hands over the body of someone recently deceased, from feet to head, and then over their own body. In this way messages could be sent via the deceased to other dead relatives.

    One common theme found in many of the Indian cultures in North America is the idea of reincarnation. The idea that life and death are part of an ongoing cycle is found among many tribes. Sioux writer Charles Eastman reports: “Many of the Indians believed that one may be born more than once, and there were some who claimed to have full knowledge of a former incarnation.”

    In the Northwest Coast area, Gitxsan writer Shirley Muldon reports: “We believe in reincarnation of people and animals. We believe that the dead can visit this world and that the living can enter the past. We believe that memory survives from generation to generation. Our elders remember the past because they have lived it.”

    Among the Lenni Lenape, female elders would carefully examine babies, looking for signs of who the child had been in an earlier life. These signs included keeping the body relaxed and the hands unclenched and reacting favorably to places and things associated with the dead relative. Writing in 1817 about one Lenni Lenape man, Christian missionary John Heckewelder reported: “He asserted very strange things, of his own supernatural knowledge, which he had obtained not only at the time of his initiation, but at other times, even before he was born. He said he knew that he had lived through two generations; that he had died twice and was born a third time, to live out the then present race, after which he was to die and never more to come to this country again.”

    Reincarnation was often viewed as something that happened not just to humans, but to animals as well. Thus, a hunter would thank the animal that had just been harvested so that the soul of the animal would be reborn as an animal with good feelings toward the hunter and would therefore allow its physical form to be harvested again.

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