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Home > Rituals > Deathbed Ritual Search

Deathbed Ritual
by Samuel Wagar


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There are two great poles around which the Wiccan religion revolves: Sex and Death. Although we have numerous rituals for marriages and for the celebration of the great moments of life we have none that I am aware of for the final great Initiation, the moment of death. So I've written one - this is taken from the latest version of the P4P Tradition Book of Shadows.

Typically those who love a person who is dying will be aware that the moment of their death is approaching, even if the dying person is unaware. Even in the case of sudden accidental death there is an interval where those who are with the dying person will be aware of their situation, although they may not be able to mark the moment of death due to their own pain, fear and grief.

So, though this brief ritual may be performed by a loved one of a dying person, or by any person, it is more likely to fall under Ministry and to be performed by a Priestess/Priest visiting the hospital or the home to help through the transition.

I believe that there is some part of a person that survives death, which may undergo changes in the realm of the Goddess prior to being reborn into another body. This part of the person strips off personality and memory more or less rapidly along with its body but it may need assistance in doing so as death occures.

There is no doubt that the person who is dying is experiencing a variety of things, which a death ritual needs to address - the dissolution of personality, the loss of contact with the body, the loss of the family and friends, the fear, the wonder and the awe of this transformation, and the presence of the Goddess and the Ancestors.

And those who are with them, their family and friends ideally, are experiencing terror and confusion, grief, fear at their own mortality. They will also experience the coming of Death and the warmth or cool of the soul leaving the body behind. And what the Priestess says will also have to partly address their feelings (although she will have time with them after the death to comfort them).

The Formal Ritual

Priestess: (Takes the hand of the dying person gently, and looks into their eyes, or into their face if the eyes are closed. )

"You are dying. None should ever die alone. I am here to share your death and to journey with you. There is only love, the greatest Mystery. I reach behind my fear. I open my heart and my eyes in the light of this love. I will go as far on this journey with you as I can. I will not abandon you."

She should breath deeply and centre herself and enter a state of light trance. And she should follow the spirit of the dying person as deeply as she can.

"The Goddess is taking you back now, the Great Mother. She will be with the people left behind, providing strength and comfort. You are not abandoning them. You will leave behind your work. You will give up all of your ties to your family. You will give up sex, and even gender. You cannot be a woman or a man and enter the other world. You will leave behind your body. None who have bodies can pass into the other world. You will become nothing. You will float on the endless waves of the Goddess' womb. You will drift in the warm emptiness at the centre. Nothing will be left but the Will to be reborn."

If possible the Priestess will remain with the dying person until she is dead. At the moment of her death say the following:

"Journey on now, sister. We will follow when we can. May you be born again at the same time and in the same place as those you knew and loved in this life. May you know them again and love them again."

And now the Priestess' task must be to comfort the living.

© Samuel Wagar, POB 2205, Clearbrook, British Columbia, V2T 3X8 CANADA 1994 c.e. Permission hereby granted for reprinting for free distribution or use in classes in Witchcraft taught for free so long as this notice is included. Any other use is violation of my copyright.

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