End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 178 Poems and Rituals: A Tribute to Mary Oliver and Megory Anderson

This special episode is to honor the memories of two very special women who changed the world around them in different ways throughout their lives and died on the same day.


maryoliverOn Thursday January 17, 2019 we learned of the deaths of two women who have contributed much to our understanding of the sacred in nature and in death. Mary Oliver is a beloved American poet whose love of nature inspired her beautiful verses. Her poems reveal the heart of humanity through the natural cycle of life and death she observed during her time spent in the out-of-doors. She authored many books of poetry including Blue Iris, Wild Geese,  At Blackwater Pond, and Why I Wake Early and was honored with numerous awards throughout her career.

megoryandersonDr. Megory Anderson trained in comparative religions and theology and founded the Sacred Dying Foundation in 1996. She is the author of the books Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life and Attending the Dying. Megory trained many end-of-life caregivers and professionals from diverse medical, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Megory’s presence will be deeply missed by everyone who has been touched by her love and compassion.

Listen here:


This episode includes:

  • A reading and discussion of Mary Oliver’s poem In Blackwater Woods
  • How Mary Oliver’s poetry helped me through times of grief
  • A Q&A session with Megory Anderson about her book Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life; recorded for A Year of Reading Dangerously on May 30, 2018
  • Megory’s thoughts on making even mundane moments of life sacred
  • How to incorporate sacred ritual into the practice of medicine
  • How rituals help us become more present to life
  • The grounding provided by sacred objects
  • How to vigil with a dying loved one
  • A ritual for healing grief and guilt over a suicide death
  • Creating a Sacred Dying Journal to tell others what brings meaning to our lives
  • An excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem When Death Comes

Links mentioned in this episode:

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