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Byron Shire
July 29, 2021

Day of the Dead ceremony powerful and healing

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Day of the Dead ceremony at Crystal Castle. Photo supplied.

A celebration of those who have died will be held this Sunday at the Crystal Castle – facilitator Zenith Virago from the Natural Death Care Centre (NDCC) says the Day of the Dead ceremony is an opportunity for everyone to come together for those who have died, are dying, or who are lost to us in some way.

This year so many people have not been able to be with their loved ones, either when they died, or at the funeral ceremony.

Facilitator Zenith Virago says the Day of the Dead ceremony is an opportunity for everyone to come together for those who have died, are dying, or who are lost to us in some way. Photo supplied.

Coming together into the collective is a powerful step in the healing journey of loss.

Although it has the same name as the South American celebration, this is a uniquely Australian cultural experience, open to any religion, spirituality, belief or culture.

Ms Virago says it is an opportunity to celebrate and create positive social and cultural change. It is a wonderful way to introduce children to death and bereavement in a gentle and positive way.

A Deathwalker, Zenith Virago says the event will start with local community artist Sam Collyer on hand to inspire, guide and help with her organically themed and sustainable creativity. ‘You are invited and encouraged to bring photographs or a special something for the shrine, as well as writing messages for loved ones.

A free event at the Crystal Castle

Crystal Castle gates open with free entry at 3.30pm, art from 4 to 5pm,  then Zenith will conduct an inclusive Ceremony of Love & Remembrance accompanied by Ballina-A-Capella and incredible opera singer, Tania De Jong.

At the close of the ceremony participants can choose to join a silent, procession along the Rainforest Walk to the sacred grove, the Forest of Friends and Family, to leave their crafted mementos, which will slowly return to the earth.

Children are welcome, but please keep them with you during the ceremony. Please note, this walk not suitable for those with mobility issues but their mementos can be carried by others and placed on their behalf.

‘We offer this event each year, to bring death, dying and loss back into our own hands and hearts,’ says Ms Virago. ‘As individuals and community we are all touched by loss, and we see the need for people to honour and remember those they have loved who have died, recently or a while ago, without the shock or the rawness of the funeral.

Death the natural and sacred end of life

‘We offer this day towards healing and acceptance. Death is the natural and sacred end of our lives, those we love are always a part of our lives as they continue to live on in our hearts.’

The NDCC charity has an inspirational dream, that every individual, community and service provider has the knowledge and capacity to do death well. They believe in a holistic, empowered approach to death, dying and loss and encourage people to be informed of their options and to make good choices, and to participate as fully as they choose, for an easier bereavement.

All are welcome to the Day of the Dead celebrations on Sunday November 8. Bring a blanket, or chair, if it is a sunny day, bring a hat.

For more information, see: www.naturaldeathcarecentre.org or join the event at the NDCC Facebook Page.

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