Swan Song Festival: A Nation-wide Festival Celebrating Life through Death

By Angela Gutzer and Nicola Finch, Cariboo Community Deathcaring Network –

The swan symbolizes grace, beauty, love, and transformation. She signifies beauty in the aging process—the shedding of our undesirable characteristics on the path to re-connecting to our eternal inner light. She teaches us to use courage as we hit the pitfalls of life and offers us her guiding intuition to see the bigger picture. Grace comes in when we allow the not-so-pretty parts of ourselves to be seen and acknowledged as a part of us. Her medicine is the surrender to the great unknown regardless of the outcome. She asks us to view our own duality: good/bad, ugly/pretty, life/death with acceptance and humility.

Photo: David Finch.

The medicine of the swan is compelling in understanding life and death. It represents the ultimate duality that we may acknowledge as we age, transform, let go, and ultimately heal. The swan song is a metaphorical phrase for a final performance or gesture prior to death based on the myth that the mostly mute swan sings a beautiful song just prior to dying.

The Swan Song Festival is a nation-wide festival to celebrate death and its inherent invitation to live. It is the prayer we say to life to say our thanks. It is the recognition that this life we live comes to an end through death. It was initiated by Community Deathcare Canada (CDC), which “is a non-profit group coming together in response to the needs and interests of Canadians who seek to re-engage with the dying and deathcare in a more meaningful, holistic, and environmentally sustainable ways”. The festival is being held across Canada October 19, 2019 and will be celebrated through art. The CDC suggests “a death parade, a death dinner, a death poetry night, a cemetery walk, death sidewalk graffiti cafes, death cinema night, a storytelling night of those dying and those grieving.”

Nicola and I, founders of the Cariboo Community Deathcare Network, are excited to announce our alignment with the Swan Song Festival for the Cariboo. We hope to engage the community to create a day of celebration of all things death. The event will unfold over the spring and we will keep everyone updated through our Facebook site and website. Fall is a perfect time to reflect on the ending of cycles, change, and the inspiration to go inwards for reflection. We imagine this day to have multiple locations and events throughout
the day.

We welcome all people to contact us with your ideas, your support, and your email address if interested in participation. We will be having meetings soon and will be inviting anyone interested to join us to brainstorm.

With love,
Angela Gutzer angela@deathtalk.ca and Nicola Finch nicola@deathtalk.ca
Reach the Cariboo Community DeathcaringNetwork @CCDCNetwork
www.deathnews.strikingly.com


Support for Natural Burial in Williams Lake

Natural burial is returning our bodies to the Earth in the least intrusive way so we benefit the Earth in our deaths as we strive to do in our lives. We are circulating petitions in Williams Lake and a Change.org petition online offering information and asking for expressions of interest from residents of Williams Lake and neighbouring communities in support of making natural burial options available in our municipal cemetery. This is the first step. We will be making a presentation to Williams Lake City Hall (hopefully this spring), requesting that local cemetery by-laws be amended to allow green burials. Our local funeral director’s words ring in my ears. When I asked why natural burial isn’t an option, his response was, “No one has asked”. This campaign is to make those asks known.

To sign the petition and find out more visit: https://www.ccdcnetwork.com

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