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Home Funeral Ceremonies

Home Funeral Guides and funeral celebrants, Donna Belk and Kateyanne Unullisi, have midwifed the dying, the dead, and the grieving many times. They know how important and healing it is to intentionally mark a transitional time with ceremony and ritual. This simple yet powerful guidebook will help you with ceremonies to make the journey through a death - from being with the dying person, to preparing the body, vigil, leave-taking, disposition, and beyond. Weaving the practical with poetry and insight, these ceremonies guide with intention and clarity, to bring ritual into the room where death dwells. As Dorry Bless writes in the forward, "As you companion your loved one, let this book be your companion." During a home funeral, we are challenged to blend three elements: physical (where will the body lay in honor, are there enough chairs in the house, when is the memorial service, etc.); emotional (grieving, regrets about things left undone or unsaid); and spiritual (bringing the mystery of life or the sacred into the space). The ceremonies in this book are tools for weaving together the physical, emotional and spiritual elements into a process that honors and serves everyone who is involved. Caitlin Doughty, mortician, author of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," writes, "Having benefited from Donna Belk's clear-headed wisdom in my own work, I am thrilled that she and Kateyanne have created ceremonies that will be available to a wider audience. The important work of re-invigorating ritual around death and dying must be shared and passed on." Dr. Karen Wyatt, physician, and author of "What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying" writes, "To accompany a loved one through life's final passage at home is the greatest gift of love you can bestow. "Home Funeral Ceremonies "provides the guidance needed to create sacred space, honor the life of the beloved, and usher them through their transition with compassion, beauty, and grace. "Home Funeral Ceremonies" is a book that can be adapted for any faith, in any situation. You can use the ceremonies as they are written, or customize them with your values and beliefs. It's a book you will want to own, and to give as a gift to someone facing a last goodbye.
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About the Author

Donna Belk is a celebrant and home funeral guide who is a founding member of the National Home Funeral Alliance, and currently serves on their executive board. She has published books, videos and articles about home funerals and the importance of families being involved with the final arrangements for loved ones. She offers an online course, for this work. Donna is a creative spirit and lifelong spiritual seeker who loves to walk, babysit her grandchildren, and learn new things. She is in Austin, Texas. Contact her at Kateyanne Unullisi is a celebrant and Death and Dying Guide who serves on the board of the National Home Funeral Alliance. She writes about home funerals and death acceptance from a personal viewpoint, and encourages a more healing approach - as hands on as comfortable - in caring for our own dead. Founder of The Emerge Foundation, her focus is in helping families care for their children after death. She loves to knit, spin, read, go on adventures with her grandchildren and hang out with her dog Luna. Contact her at

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