Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Wow, What a Ride!": The Euthanasia Coaster

Have you heard about this idea for a unique form of assisted suicide?  (I consider it to be "assisted" because obviously one couldn't create one's own personal coaster in the backyard):

I'm of two minds about this one.  I think it's a wonderful and unique idea for those who love roller coasters and who want to enjoy one last "wild ride" before moving on.  But I can foresee some HUGE problems for whoever runs it, including insurance issues, anti-euthanasia protestors, family members wanting to sue, etc.  And what about price?  Would this be made available to people of all incomes, or only those who can afford to spend a lot of money?  Then, after it's all over, who takes care of the body?  And most important of all, what if it doesn't cause death by the end of the ride, what then??  So many things to think about in advance!

This got me to wondering what other kinds of options could be made available.  I can't think of any, but what about you?  Do you have an idea for an awesome way to go?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mummification Meditation

The other night a friend and I did a "mummification meditation".  It was totally awesome, and I want to share the experience with you.

Walking the Twilight Path
First of all, we've been reading a book called "Walking the Twilight Path: A Gothic Book of the Dead" by Michelle Belanger.  (Please note, this is NOT a "Twilight" series book, this is a serious book.)  It's about getting accustomed to the idea of death and dying, which used to be a part of all cultures and really should be again.  One chapter is devoted to a discussion on the pomp and circumstance of burial in ancient Egypt, and this meditation is included to give the reader an idea of what it might have been like.  We made a few changes to it, namely that my friend did the meditation as the deceased, while I took on the role of the ka-priest in charge of the preparations and burial, which was not in the original meditation. 

The room we used is my private 'sitting room', which has all my altars and gothy stuff in it.  With the Egyptian wall hanging, the black curtains, candles, incense holders, statues, etc., the place looks like it could actually BE a room in some Egyptian tomb.  I had her sit in the rocker, as there was no room for her to lay full length on the floor.  She put on an eye mask, so she saw nothing; it was all about sound, touch and scent.  Then I lit the candles and incense, turned off the lights, and played the background soundtrack of the 1979 Tutankhamun exhibition. 

As the music played, I read passages of a modernized version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, called Awakening Osiris, by Normandi Ellis.  While reading portions of the text, I touched her head, hands and feet with my large ceremonial ankh and rattled my replica sistrum.  Next I annointed her in a few places with special scented oils.  To give her a sense of being wrapped in bandages, I lightly wrapped a piece of linen around each hand and foot, then removed it and placed it over her head like a veil.  During all of these, I continued to recite various passages of the book.  Finally, I did a very short version of the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony, which ritually allowed the soul to speak through the body, and was done as the last ritual after the mummy had been brought into the tomb.  Then I faded the music, as though the priests and attendants were leaving and sealing the tomb.  A profound silence fell as the mummy was left alone to begin its eternal existence.  I let the silence last for several minutes before ending the meditation.

What an incredible experience for both of us!  I was worried that she might not have gotten much out of it, but she was thrilled and came out from under the linen veil and eye mask with a huge smile on her face.  She said she really felt that she had experienced something special.  And I was totally psyched after doing such a beautiful and elaborate ritual.  I'd love to figure out how to do this on a more regular basis!  But mummification isn't exactly popular in the U.S. at the moment, so it's not too likely.

If you'd like to hear the music I used, here is the YouTube link for the entire album by Ali Jihad Racy:  Ancient Egypt

"That which is named can be written.
That which is written shall be remembered.  
That which is remembered lives."

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Third Liebster Nomination!!!

Thank you, Winter, for my third Liebster nomination!!  Keep it up, and I'll start thinking people like this blog and get a totally swelled head!  ;-)

I'm not going to do all the other stuff again, but I WILL answer Winter's questions because they are new (to me) and I like them. 

1. Who are some of your favorite goths that influence you? 

One that comes to mind is the musician, Voltaire, because he keeps the fun in funerals!  Seriously, he reminds me that I don't have to be serious all the time, and I love his style of humor, even when it's more than a bit grisly. 

2. How would you describe your style? 

Definitely eclectic, as it changes daily.  Right now, I'm favoring sheer net/lace skirts and my long velvet coat, definitely a Stevie Nicks style.  But next week I might be into spikes and leather pants.  I love being different and unexpected!!

3. What is your favorite horror or thriller film if you like those genres? 

Absolutely "The Crow" (original version with Brandon Lee).  And although it's technically considered an action/fantasy movie, I'd have to say the "The 13th Warrior" also fits this bill.  I'd say these two are tied for first place in my list of favorites.

4. What is your favorite food?  Chocolate!!! 

5. Where would you like to travel to that you haven't been yet?

Egypt, Crete, Malta and Scotland, in that order. 

6. What do you like to do for fun?

Gardening, dancing, reading, needlework, clothes shopping, cemetery walks and picnics (either by myself or with friends), traveling to neat places, fantasy and Renaissance faires, goth band concerts, writing poetry and short stories, hanging out with my friends.

7. Coffee or Tea?  Definitely TEA.  The only coffee I've ever tasted was in candy and ice cream.

8. Lace or Velvet?  Yes!  Wait, you can wear one without the other????  How mundane...  ;-)

9. For you what defines goth?

For me, goth is first and foremost a state of mind.  Clothing styles and music are important, but there are many different kinds of both that I consider to be within the realm of goth.  The most important things to me are these: Being able to accept my own and others' darkness, and being comfortable with death as both inevitable and a part of life to be acknowledged and even celebrated.  Being willing to accept myself and others for who we are AS we are, not as people who need to be changed in some way because we do not confirm to the status quo as defined by some anonymous "they" (excluding dangerous or illegal activities, of course). Then there are the other things, like music, clothes and accessories, decorations, etc.  But they're just the red icing on the black-and-white skeleton cake, so to speak. 

10. What is your favorite season and why? 

 Autumn, because it's just beautiful, although the colors are even better in the eastern U.S. than here in California.  I actually enjoy all the seasons except summer, and I might enjoy that if it wasn't for the Evil Yellow Hurty Thing in the Sky.

11. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working in a museum with ancient artifacts, having a ball AND making more money than I do now.  I see myself debt free (except for student loans, they never go away!), and able to indulge my love of travel.  I see myself publishing short stories, and who knows, maybe even a book of them.  I see myself either renting or buying a house instead of an apartment, with a large garden to play in.  I see myself able to contribute more to causes that are important to me.  And I see myself surrounded by friends and family, enjoying myself thoroughly! 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

June: "I'm SO Goth..."

Oh, I LOVE this!  Not that I'd actually want to DO it, you understand.


And kids, don't try this at home!  I know, most of you are too intelligent, but there's always one...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Death Clock: How Long Will YOU Live?

While doing an online class on the biology of ageing, I came across a comment someone made about using the "Death Clock" to see how long they had to live.  Well, how intriguing!!  So I Googled it, and of course, I found it.

Death Clock.org Death Test

According to its calculations, I will die on December 18, 2053 at the age of 91 years, 8 months and 3 days.  Interestingly enough, it also mentioned that the average life expectancy of other females living in the U.S. with the same BMI who took the test is only 68.3 years.  HAH!!  And my maternal grandmother passed away in March last year at the ripe age of 97; she would have been 98 in October.  My great-aunt, her older sister, lived to be 99.  So I'll be in good company.  However, I'm not exactly thrilled at the thought of expiring on my ex-mother-in-law's birthday...  And it's right in the middle of the holidays, which will put a good many people out.  The good news is, at least it should be dreary, cold and rainy during my funeral!  :-)

To give yourself a date to look forward to, go here:  Death Clock