The Natural Death Centre, the charity behind The Natural Death Handbook, exists to help re-open the dialogue about life’s end, offering a combination of practical advice, how-tos, go-tos, and reflections that inspire, comfort and challenge. At the heart of the movement is a commitment to death as a natural part of life. No longer conceived of as a terror, death is refigured as the winding down of life’s frantic clock — and dying as a means of coming to terms with our identities, our loved ones, ourselves. The second major contribution of this movement is the reconsideration of our death practices, particularly the harmful effects of certain preservation techniques on the earth itself, that patient womb to which we are returned.
a new addition to this printing, is a collection — Writings on Death. Aptly described by the editor, Ru Callender, as “smoked glass, through which together we might glimpse death’s outline,” these essays demonstrate a collective wisdom, courage and clarity in the face of our endings. Whether it be the inspired self-reflection of a mourner or the studied vision of the historian — or the creative spiritualism of celebrants, practitioners and questioners of faith — the perspectives offered here might better be described as prism glass, refracting in full color. It is a great relief and respite from our often somber-hued considerations of death and dying, the best accompaniment I can think of for Death’s summer coat.
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