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We live in a society that is uncomfortable with discomfort. Technology and progress are geared towards efficiency. The focus is on making our lives faster and easier, making our consumption greater, eradicating any waiting. When it comes to grief, however, there are no shortcuts. There's no new gadget that allows us to bypass the suffering that comes with loss. There's no easy way out; there is only through. We have to sit with the ache. Grief teaches us that sometimes discomfort is a necessary part of progress. When we're grieving, it can feel like we are shutting down. As if all parts of us are withdrawing, far away from the world that we'd previously inhabited; a world that made sense ...

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A century ago, the 1918 influenza pandemic spawned intense fear of sickness, of losing friends and family, and created a renewed interest in what occurs after death. A century later, a new pandemic is spreading disease and death. Is it leading to a renewed interest in what occurs when we die? Certainly, compared to 100 years ago, there is far more research on the extraordinary experiences that persons have both as they are dying as well as those who struggle with bereavement—all of which fuel speculation about what happens when we die. Lest readers think I am prone to mysticism, let me assure you that is hardly the case. My training is as a sociologist. Moreover, I am a Lutheran ...

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Death stands above me, whispering low,I know not what into my ear;Of his strange language all I knowIs, there is not a word of fear. (Walter Savage Landor) The wheel of the year turns on its perpetual, ceaseless axis, taking us from one season to another. The golden colours of autumn give way to the impending grey of winter, and as the last leaf falls from the tree of life, we descend into darkness and decay. The blessed Earth turns her northern face from the sun and the breath of death sighs from the edge of forever. Calan Gaeaf, the feast that heralds the Calends of Winter—Samhain—reminds us of the frailty of life, the inevitability of death and its necessity. Eerie eyes ...

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Someday, you will die. It could be a month or two from now, in a terrible car accident. It could be a couple years from now, in your sleep. It could even be many decades in the future, surrounded by family and friends while hooked up to hospital tubes as your vision slowly fades to black. The ways and manners in which you could die are practically endless, but despite the uncertainty over how you'll die, the only absolute guarantee is that you will die. How does that make you feel? Nervous? Scared? Does it make you sad? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Make you start shifting in your seat or even set off a nervous tick of anxiety? Don't worry; all those fears, thoughts, and ...

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FEATURED ARTICLE
Prayers and Invocations from the History of Pagan Literature
by Barbara Nolan
Many religions have long and storied literary traditions, but for both quantity and quality, it would be hard to beat the Pagan traditions of Europe and the Middle East (which overlapped in...
       
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